It is—once again!—that time of year. The time of year when speculative fiction authors cower under their bedding materials for an extra hour in the mornings. When all and sundry leave offerings on their blogs, Twitter feeds, front lawns, local librarians’ inboxes, writing website author threads, gubernatorial mansion front lawns, and—yea verily—unto the surface of the moon itself. Yes, it’s the time of year when writers everywhere wake drenched in sweat, their innards burning with that mix of fear and excitement that means the awards fairy might just have visited.
That’s right, folks. It’s AWARDSMAS EVE! Uh, but at 9AM. So I guess it’s really AWARDSMAS EVE MORNING?!
Anyway, as is traditional on Awardsmas Eve, I offer up this humble list of my favourite fictive publications from calendar year 2017. I hope you find something you enjoy.
First up is the story with the shortest title I’ve ever written: “How I Became Coruscating Queen of All the Realms, Pierced the Obsidian Night, Destroyed a Legendary Sword, and Saved My Heart’s True Love,” (co-authored with Matt Dovey as Baker and Dovey). Essandra’s a simple woman. All she wants is adventure, romance, and enough piles of loot to fill an olympic-sized swimming pool. Oh, and maybe a slightly less annoying sword. Unfortunately for Essa, her adventuring companions Korgar and Elutriel decide their invasion of the Mad Wizard-King’s lair is the perfect time to compete for her affection… First published in No Shit, There I Was… from Alliteration Ink, February 2017, and reprinted in PodCast (linked above). (Also noteworthy: The story and several others in the anthology feature art by Jane Baker, my talented wife!)
In “The Thing About Heisenball,” (Daily Science Fiction, April 2017), our narrator tries to put an end to what they think is an unsuccessful relationship. But first, their soon-to-be-ex, Paulie, drags them down to the gym for a game of Heisenball. With the many-world theorem in play, nothing is off the court… This story is also an entrant in this year’s Quantum Shorts competition, if that sort of thing interests you!
“Kuriko” tells the story of a mechanical doll (からくり人形) with the unusual quality of being alive. When Kuriko’s inventor-father is killed by the greedy and ambitious lord of Tosa Province, will she ever be able to live happily again? A period piece set in the late Tokugawa bakufu. Published July 2017, in Guardbridge Books’ Tales of the Sunrise Lands. (This is one of the first stories of mine I ever really considered good enough for publication, so I’m very happy it found a good home.)
Another story with a Japanese setting is “Blood-Stained Letters Found in a Roadside Shrine on the Outskirts of Kyoto” (Syntax and Salt, September 2017). This epistolary piece explores themes of vengeance in a world peopled by bakemono like foxes and tanuki.
“Mercy at Eltshan-Time” (IGMS, December 2017) is actually not out yet! But I will update when it is. This story is a warm, uplifting holiday-themed story about far-future book curses, various mostly dead aliens, and other fun stuff. This one also features a bit of artwork by Jane, in the form of a string of alien language.
To round out this year’s Awardsmas Eve Morning offerings, a poem! “The Fragmented Poet Files a Police Report” was the first place winner (long form) in this year’s SFPA poetry contest back in late September. Go give it a read!
So. There we have it! Although 2017 has been a raging dumpster fire in many respects politically and socially, It’s been a decent enough year for me in terms of publications. In addition to the stories and poem listed above, I’ve had work published in Remixt, Galaxy’s Edge, and Kaleidotrope, and a few other places. You can see my full bibliography for the year in the “published fiction” section of my website.
Also, stay tuned for next week, when I’ll post something far more interesting than this: A list of mind-blowing stories I’ve read by other people this year.