The Brave New Weird shortlist

The awesome folks at Tenebrous Press are kicking off a new award anthology showcasing new weird horror. (What is “new weird horror”? Matt and Alex call it “a Horror subgenre focused on progress, creatively capturing themes and questions that bleed into fiction straight from the modern reader’s life and future. It acts as a challenge to break new ground in terms of form and content and to engage with the unknown.”)

I am incredibly stoked that “Used Armor Smell” made the nomination cut. My little story is in some truly excellent company.

Winners will be announced in a few days, and the anthology drops in February.

Award eligibility post, 2022 edition

It’s that time of year again. 2022 is winding down and it’s time to flog award-eligible work—or at least make a note of it in one handy place. So if you’re reading with an eye to nominating for the Hugos, Nebulas, Stokers, Locus, etc., etc., here is a list of my published stories in order from most to least chonky.

“The Relative Positions of Dead Things in the Dark” (approx. 6,900 words) features a family outing on a derelict spacecraft used for crime. It appears in ParSec Issue 4 (July 2022) edited by Ian Whates. You can buy the e-book (or a subscription) from PS Publishing.

“Bones Placed in Apposition” (approx. 2,300 words) is about fossils and scientists with dueling visions of the past. It appears in Underland Arcana Issue 7 (June 2022) edited by Mark Teppo. You can read the story for free online, buy the issue, or buy the anthology that collects this year’s stories.

“Ruminants” (approx. 1,300 words) is about a weird goat roaming around an even weirder California town. It appears as part of the multimedia shared world anthology Los Suelos, CA, a project conceived by Lauren LavĂ­n, Joshua Duke, Ian Kappos, Karter Mycroft, and Barton Aikman, and released upon an unsuspecting world in February 2022. You can read my story online.

“Harriers” (approx. 1,000 words) is about a pair of werewolves on a violent mission. It appears in the flash fiction anthology The Dire Dark (November 2022) edited by Eric Fomley. You can buy the anthology as an ebook or paperback.

“Used Armor Smell” (approx. 1,000 words) is a science fiction story about a squishy human soldier and eir less vulnerable armor. It appears in the flash fiction anthology Dread Space (June 2022) edited by Eric Fomley. You can buy the anthology as an ebook or paperback.

“On the Beach” (approx. 900 words) is a selkie’s experience of love, loss, and climate change. It appears in Wyld Flash (June 2022) edited by Mark Bilsborough. You can read the story for free online.

“In Transit, Beautiful” (approx. 600 words) is a SF-adjacent tale of space junk and determining your place in the universe. It appears in The Antihumanist Issue 3 (January 2022) edited by Tim Dubber. You can read or download the story for free online.

“Detox” (100 words) is about what happens when you’re locked out of your virtual reality. It appears in Martian (August 2022) edited by Eric Fomley. You can read the story for free online later this month or buy the issue.

“Tethered, in Darkness” (100 words) is about a generation starship’s passenger facing the end of the voyage. It appears in Martian (April 2022) edited by Eric Fomley. You can read the story for free online or buy the issue or annual anthology.

I did have other publications in Martian Year One, Underland Arcana Deck Two, and the forthcoming Holiday Leftovers, but those are reprints. I’m no longer eligible for the Astrounding Award (in the nearish future, I will be posting some of the authors who are). For purposes of citizenship and geography, I’m a USian living in Pennsylvania.

Whatever stories and authors you end up nominating, happy reading!

“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

“Detox”

I have a little tale of addiction recovery or living with a disability in Martian Issue 6. (One of the fun things about drabbles is that they’re so short they really highlight how the reader is an active participant in creating the story. There’s just not space to spell everything out.) You can buy the ebook from Amazon or, if you’d rather read online, check out the website on November 21st.

Cover of Martian Issue 6

“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.

“On the Beach”

My short tale of grief, climate change, and selkies is live on the Wyldblood website. I’ve always liked the idea of a selkie (or similar fae creature) hitting the spousal jackpot; but it’s hard to be completely optimistic in the current (literal and figurative) climate.

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.

“In Transit, Beautiful” in The Antihumanist

My space junk story “In Transit, Beautiful” appears in the Third Edition of The Antihumanist. I was charmed a number of years ago when I learned about space archaeology as a field—I’d never thought of space junk in those terms, but obviously it makes sense to do so—and this vignette looks at that built environment decaying as part of nature.

The Antihumanist 3rd Edition cover art
Cover art by Zuzanna

Award eligibility post

It’s that time of year again. Like so many other authors, I’d like to present a rundown of work that came out in 2021. If you are nominating for the Hugo, Astounding, Nebula, Stoker, Locus, or any of the other awards out there, I’d appreciate your consideration. For purposes of awards restricted by geography, national citizenship, etc., I’m in the United States, specifically Pennsylvania.

Astounding Award: I’m in my second (and final) year of eligibility for this Not-A-Hugo award for new writers. Like the Hugos, it’s voted on by members of Worldcons 79, 80, and 81 (aka DisCon II, Chicon 8, and a con/location to be decided in December). My eligibility clock started in 2020 with my first short story publication at professional rates. (Eligibility requirements can be a bit hard to determine from the outside, as they involve factors like pay rates, print runs, net income, etc. The Astounding Award website lists some of the eligible authors.)

“Always an After” (approx. 3,250 words) appears in In Somnio: A Collection of Modern Gothic Horror, edited by Alex Woodroe and published by Tenebrous Press. The anthology is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon, Godless, and Tenebrous. (You can also watch me read the opening of the story in this video.)

“Now and Then and Back Again: A Play of Three Acts” (approx. 2,200 words) appears in The Chorochronos Archives, edited by Jessica Augustsson and published by JayHenge Publishing. The anthology is available as an ebook, paperback, or hardcover from Amazon, Bookshop, and other retailers.

“Wayfinding” (approx. 1,800 words) appears in Underland Arcana 4 (Fall 2021), edited by Mark Teppo, and is free to read online.

“Family Dinner” (approx. 200 words) appears in Underland Arcana 3 (Summer 2021), edited by Mark Teppo, and is free to read online.

“Honey and Apples” (100 words) appears in Martian: The Magazine of Science Fiction Drabbles, edited by Eric Fomley, and is free to read online.

Audio: I also had two stories included in podcasts. “Coffin Bell” was part of The NoSleep Podcast‘s Suddenly Shocking Vol. 13, available to season pass holders. CB Droege’s reading of “Kill Switch” for Manawaker Studio’s Flash Fiction Podcast is available for free online. (Note that while the audio performances are new, the text of both stories was previously published. “Coffin Bell” was published in 2019 on the Patreon site I scrapped. “Kill Switch” originally appeared in Daily Science Fiction in 2020.)

And that was my 2021 output. Whether you end up liking my stuff or preferring other folks’ work, I wish you happy reading and nominating!