Underland Arcana: Deck Two

This month, Underland Press released Underland Arcana: Deck Two, collecting the Underland Arcana stories from the past year. “Bones Placed in Apposition” is among them.

I am very pleased to have this dapper hammerhead sitting on my bookshelf. If you would also like this dapper hammerhead sitting on your bookshelf or swimming on your e-reader, copies can be acquired from the publisher and a range of retailers.

Cover of Underland Arcana Deck Two

“Harriers”

The Dire Dark is out today, the latest in Shacklebound’s series of flash fiction anthologies. My story about werewolves in a military company is what happens when you start a story too soon, then decide that the opening bit works just fine as a little standalone (and are lucky to find an editor who agrees). You can buy the book from the publisher or Amazon.

Cover of The Dire Dark

Kickstart Bicycles & Broomsticks

Bicycles & Broomsticks is the latest entry in Microcosm’s Bikes in Space series of anthologies. As in the previous volumes, these stories share the themes of bikes and feminism; but this time, the secret ingredient is witchcraft.

My story is set in 1890s London at the intersection of middle-class bicycling, Egyptology, occult societies, solitary magical practice, and gendered power dynamics. I had a lot of fun researching and writing it (and editing it—no, really!) and I can’t wait to hold the book.

The Kickstarter funds the publication and adds to base author payment (so buying through the Kickstarter rather than other bookstores will toss a bit extra our way). Aside from me wanting more filthy lucre to buy more books for myself, I’d like to see it succeed for the sake of a quirky small press. As I’m typing, the project’s approaching halfway funded and the campaign continues until October 27th. So if you like bikes, feminism, and witches, please consider backing.

“Bones Placed in Apposition”

My short story “Bones Placed in Apposition” is available in the Summer issue of Underland Arcana. It’s free to read online, or you can buy it as an ebook or softcover. Issue 7 also includes stories by Scott Edelman, W. T. Paterson, Ben Curl, Mike Robinson, Eric Witchey, D. Thea Baldrick, and Mattia Ravasi.

Cover of Underland Arcana Issue 7
Cover image by thanawong

Some years ago I spent a fair amount of time with the correspondence of nineteenth century scientists. Among them was Isaac Hays, an ophthalmologist who also had a strong interest in natural science, including the study of fossils. (This was not an uncommon hobby among a group of Philadelphia physicians categorized as “extremely quarrelsome” by scholar Keith Thomson.) Hays and G. W. Featherstonehaugh, an English geologist, found themselves on opposite sides of an argument about the classification of one particular set of fossils. Battles were fought in papers and lecture halls, late friends were defended and honor assailed.

Drawing of fragments of a mastodon skull, including tusks and notes indicating dimensions.
A Titian Peale illustration of the fossil in question, from John D. Godman’s “Description of a New Genus and New Species of Extinct Mammiferous Quadruped,” posthumously published in the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society in 1830.

If you appreciate passive-aggressive sniping—or, for that matter, aggressive sniping—then I really do recommend perusing the primary sources. I obviously find the entire controversy delightful; and, more seriously, it serves to illustrate some of the practical and philosophical issues involved with scientific study in the United States, as well as the country’s negotiation of its relationship with Europe. Nationalism intertwined with the interpretation of the past, invented species roaming a prehistorical landscape. The small fantastical aspect of my story is less a feat of imagination than conjuring an elephant from a few shards of bone.

“Used Armor Smell”

Today you can pick up a copy of Dread Space, an anthology of flash length dark military science fiction stories. My story “Used Armor Smell,” about armor more rugged than its wearer, is included.

Cover of Dread Space

When choosing pronouns for nonbinary characters in the past, I’ve defaulted to they/them. It’s a somewhat lazy decision: most nonbinary folks I know use they/them, and as a reader and writer I find they/them more transparent than other sets of pronouns. But in this case, I decided to use Spivak pronouns. Partially, it’s about variety in my writing; on general principles, I should be employing different pronoun sets (including this one, which has been in use for decades). But here, it also serves the story.

My point-of-view character’s gender is completely irrelevant. However, this was a case where I specifically wanted to avoid “they.” Yes, singular they is in widespread use and has a long history as part of the English language. But sentient machines are common in science fiction, as is the merging of human and machine consciousnesses. I quite enjoy those explorations of sentience, but in this case I wanted to make it very explicit that the human is a human and the machine is a machine, a tool of humans, not an artificial intelligence.

Martian: Year One

Martian: Year One is an anthology collecting all the drabbles from Martian Magazine‘s first year. I’m pleased that two of my stories—“Honey and Apples” and “Tethered, In Darkness”—are included.

Cover spread for the print edition of Martian: Year One

Buying the anthology is a great way to support the magazine, so if you like very short stories (and a robust short fiction market), please consider picking up a copy.

Available today: Martian Issue 4

Not a joke! The fourth issue of Martian: A Magazine of Science Fiction Drabbles is available from Amazon. This is the first chronological appearance of my 100 word story “Tethered, In Darkness,” which will also be in the annual anthology and on the Martian website in May.

Cover of Martian Issue 4

I’m a big fan of the cover images chosen by editor Eric Fomley—to say nothing of the stories within. It makes for a very slick package I’m pleased to join.

Underland Arcana: Deck One

This reprint anthology was a December release, but it’s still worth crowing about. The book collects all the stories published in the first year of Underland Arcana. My contributions—the short story “Wayfinding” and the flash “Family Dinner”—are in excellent company.

Book opened to "Wayfinding" and the Three of Wands from the Murder of Crows Tarot
Three of Wands, Murder of Crows Tarot, Corrado Roi and Charles Harrington
Book opened to "Family Dinner" with the Five of Cups from the Tarot of the Divine
Five of Cups, Tarot of the Divine, Yoshi Yoshitani

Tarot cards were included with the contributors’ copies, as a special treat. Mark Teppo is having fun with Underland’s Tarot-themed publications, and I’m glad I came along for the ride.

The anthology is available as a trade paperback or ebook (or as a paperback/ebook bundle if you order from the publisher) and can be found at the usual vendors.

Deck One cover

Preorder Martian Issue 4

I’m going to have a story in the fourth issue of Martian: The Magazine of Science Fiction Drabbles. (It’s called “Tethered, In Darkness” and it’s about a generation ship.) If you read your ebooks on a Kindle and enjoy them popping up on release day, like a present from Past You, consider preordering from Amazon.

Cover of Martian Issue 4

You can also, of course, order other issues of the magazine (#2 is at Smashwords, because KDP is not always cooperative). Especially if you like to consume drabbles like popcorn: delicious bites in a big bowl of more delicious bites.

Release day for In Somnio

Okay, it’s been a bit of a staged release. I know some folks have already received physical copies and ebooks were available last week, but now the anthology is available for everyone in every format. The publisher, Tenebrous Press, has trade paperbacks; Godless and Amazon have ebooks. If you’re in the mood for Gothic feels, check it out, and I hope you enjoy my story “Always an After.”

In Somnio cover
Cover art by Sally Contirino