“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.

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

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!

“Wayfinding”: Underland Arcana

My short story “Wayfinding” appears in Issue 4 of Underland Arcana. It’s a sort-of ghost story about cities, people, history, and memory. The story is free to read on the website, or you can click over to Amazon to buy the .mobi or paperback.

Underland Arcana Issue 4 cover

Publication was actually at the beginning of the month. Let’s all just say that I intentionally held off on posting until it was almost Halloween, rather than because I have dropped a number of balls over the past few weeks.

“Family Dinner”: Underland Arcana

My flash story “Family Dinner” is out today in the third issue of Underland Arcana. It’s free to read online. You can also buy the issue as an ebook or paperback and support the cool stuff Mark Teppo’s doing with Underland Press.

Cover image of Underland Arcana Issue 3

So far, my stories for Underland are 2 for 2 incorporating unhealthy relationships with food—let that serve as a content warning and promise that the third story will deal with different themes. “Family Dinner” was inspired by a different publication’s flash contest; the prompt was Dorothea Tanning’s Portrait de famille.