March/April 2020

I had every intention of updating this blog again in March—for who, I don’t know, but the intention certainly was there. But then, as maybe you’ve heard, the world went a little insane.

Everyone here is fine. I have at least one friend who’s had the coronavirus (or at least has had to assume she did, because testing? what’s testing?), but my family and I remain healthy, knock on wood. I hope you are too, hypothetical blog reader.

I started working from home on March 9, back when that still felt like maybe an over-abundance of caution, but only a week before it became the company default, and only two weeks before it became New York state law. (You may be surprised to learn that academic publishing is not considered essential services.)

I’m not 100% sure about that timeline—to be honest, two months into quarantine and social-distancing, I’m not 100% sure about the whole concept of time at all. But it sounds about right. I’ve definitely been working from home since the beginning of March, just about a week after I came back from London (and amazingly didn’t get the virus in the over-crowded fustercluck that is JFK customs).

It’s been a weird adjustment, but mostly because of the weird, nerve-wracking circumstances under which this has all happened. I was already working from home a couple of days a week, and day-to-day not a whole lot has actually changed. It’s just days as a whole concept that’s gotten a little hazy.

Anyway, there’s not much else to report. If nothing else, this whole pandemic has kind of eliminated “what’s new?” as a topic of conversation. So let’s just talk about the books, movies, and stuff I enjoyed in the last couple of months.

I’ve only read two books in March and April, and both of those were audio book memoirs read by their authors: Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Simon Pegg’s Nerd Do Well. The First Lady’s book was easily the better, more interesting of the two, but Pegg’s is amiable and has some good jokes. I’m was hoping to have read more books, four months into the year…but again, you might have heard: there have a been a few other things going on.

I read a few short stories in March, but I missed more days than I would have liked, and was terrible about keeping track of them. However, these are the ones I enjoyed most in April:

  • See You on a Dark Night” by Ben Peek (Nightmare Magazine)
  • “A Moonlit Savagery” by Millie Ho (Nightmare Magazine)
  • “Of Marrow and Abomination” by Morgan Sylvia (PseudoPod)
  • “Let Those Who Would” by Genevieve Valentine (Levar Burton Reads)
  • “A Kiss With Teeth” by Max Gladstone (Levar Burton Reads)

I watched 63 movies in March and April. Rather than list each of them individually—I’m keeping a list here if you’re interested—maybe I’ll just list my top five favorites:

And maybe also the worst 5 movies I saw in March and April:

And finally, here’s the music I listened to in March and April:

February 2020

I went to London with my parents and sister in February. Ostensibly to celebrate my mother’s 70th birthday earlier in the month, we had a week in the city, visiting local sites like Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the National Gallery, the Tower of London, and the British Museum. We also took in tea at the Savoy, as well as productions of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and Phantom of the Opera.

I posted a whole bunch of other photos here:

Meanwhile, I read 6 books in February:

  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
  • Giant Days (Vol. 1) by John Allison
  • Zero (Vol. 1) by Ales Kot and others
  • Bitch Planet (Vol. 2) by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro
  • March (Book Two) by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
  • Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker

I didn’t read as many short stories—that week of travel is partly to blame—but there were a few I particularly liked:

And I watched 23 movies in February.

And finally, here’s the music that was new to me in February:

January 2020

It’s been two years since I posted anything here, and I make my triumphant return to weblogging really only to post about the media I consumed in the last month. This is mostly just going to be a place for me to keep track of this for my own piece of mind.

I’m making a real effort to read more books this year, and in January I read two more than I did in all of 2019:


  • Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir
  • Here by Richard McGuire
  • How To Be Happy by Eleanor Davis
  • Check, Please! Book 1 by Ngozi Ukazu
  • Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange – Volume 5 by Steve Englehart, Frank Brunner, and Gene Colan
  • The New Voices of Science Fiction edited by Hannu Rajaniemi and Jacob Weisman
  • Freddy the Detective by Howard Hughes
  • Bitch Planet, Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro
  • March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
  • Transcendent 3: The Year’s Best Transgender Themed Speculative Fiction edited by Bogi Takács
  • Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

I mostly enjoyed them all–though Freddy the Detective, an old children’s book that was bought for me as a gag gift, maybe isn’t the lost classic its cover asserts, and there were more than a few typesetting errors throughout.

Richard McGuire’s Here is a genuinely astonishing graphic novel, while Ngozi Ukazu’s Check, Please! was a delightful surprise. Muir’s novel, which I read for my book club, was a whole lot of fun, and I’ll definitely read its sequel. And I was really impressed by Linda Holmes’ first novel. I’m familiar with her writing from Pop Culture Happy Hour, and here voice definitely comes through in the prose, but the nicest thing is how none of the characters or their problems feel contrived, despite the ostensibly romantic-comedy plot.

Which leads into my favorite short stories from the month. I’m still trying to read a new (to me) short story every day:

I watched 19 movies in January:

And finally, here’s the music that was new to me in January:

2017: A Year in Review

Things that happened in 2017:

  • I turned 40. That was weird.
  • I revisited State College, Pennsylvania, where I used to live thirteen years ago. That was weirder.
  • My parents got a new dog, Finn. So by extension I got him too.
  • One of my uncles passed away. He was 83.
  • I went to Florida. I went to Paris. I went to Finland. I went to Charlottesville. I went to San Antonio. I liked all of those places.
  • I published three short stories, including one I sold over a year ago.
  • I saw 150 movies. That might be a lot. These were the ones I liked most:
  • I read 339 short stories. That’s not bad, but less than in years past.
  • I read 25 books. That’s better than I thought, to be honest, and a little up from recent years. But I still like to be reading more.

  • I listened to some music. These were the songs I liked most:

And that was 2017. Nothing of any other consequence happened that year. Nope, no sir.

So yeah, obviously things were kind of a mess globally, politically–and will likely continue to be so for some time–but things were also fairly okay personally. I’ve had better years, maybe, but I’ve had worse. I’m hopeful for 2018. Partly because…well, you’ve gotta be. But I really do think it’s going to be a better year.

I hope it is for you too!

Favorite Stories of 2017

In 2015, with no real plan or expectations in mind, I set myself the New Year’s resolution of reading a short story every day. I wanted to be more involved in the field of short fiction, and better aware of what was going on at different markets (other than my own). Also, if you’re going to try to write short fiction, you should really do yourself a favor and try to read some of it too.

For the past two years, I’ve been pretty good about keeping to the resolution. I miss some days, and some days I forget to write down whichever story I’ve read. But altogether this year, I read at least 339 short stories, which isn’t half bad. And moreover I really liked about half of them. That’s not say the other half were bad stories–those happen, but they’re mercifully rare–but these 151 were my favorites.

Just going by the numbers, for me the top three venues were Uncanny, Lightspeed, and Escape Pod, while the authors whose names appeared most often were A. Merc Rustad, A.C. Wise, and Adam-Troy Castro.

Anyway, here in (roughly) alphabetic order are all the stories I really liked in 2017:

  1. “A Wound Like an Unplowed Field” by Max Wynne (Lightspeed)
  2. “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” by K.M. Sparza (Uncanny)
  3. “Whatever Tower, However High” by Julia K. Patt (Escape Pod)
  4. “A Cure for Ghosts” by Eden Royce (Fireside Fiction)
  5. “A Lumberjack’s Guide to Dryad Spotting” by Charles Payseur (Flash Fiction Online)
  6. “Ad Infinitum” by Kate Heartfield (Daily Science Fiction)
  7. “Alexandria” by Monica Byrne (F&SF)
  8. “All the Songs the Little Birds Sing” by T.D. Walker (Luna Station Quarterly))
  9. “An Abundance of Fish” by S. Qiouyi Lu (Uncanny)
  10. “An Equal Share of the Bone” by Karen Osborne (Escape Pod)
  11. “An Unearned Death” by Marissa Lingen (F&SF)
  12. “And No Torment Shall Touch Them” by James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s)
  13. “And Then There Were (N-One)” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny)
  14. “And With Her Went the Spring” by Caroline Ratajski (Nightmare)
  15. “Angels of the Blockade” by Alex Acks (
  16. “Attending Your Own Funeral: An Etiquette Guide” by Erika L. Satifka (Daily Science Fiction)
  17. “Auspicium Melioris Aevi” by JY Yang (Uncanny)
  18. “Beetle-Cleaned Skulls” by J.E.Bates (Escape Pod)
  19. “Big Girl” by Meg Elison (F&SF)
  20. “BlueBellow” by Alexis Pauline Gumbs (Strange Horizons)
  21. “Bodies Stacked Like Firewood” by Sam J. Miller (Uncanny)
  22. “But Only Because I Love You” by Molly Tanzer (Nightmare, reprint)
  23. “Cake Baby” by Charlie Jane Anders (Lightspeed)
  24. “Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian (The New Yorker)
  25. “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” by Fran Wilde (Uncanny)
  26. “Cold Print” by Ramsey Campbell (Pseudopod)
  27. “Crossing” by A.C. Wise (PodCastle)
  28. “Crow Girl” by Lynette Mejia (Daily Science Fiction)
  29. “Crown of Thorns” by Octavia Cade (Clarkesworld)
  30. “Daddy’s Girl” by Jennifer R. Donohue (Syntax & Salt)
  31. “Daisy” by Eleanor Arnason (F&SF)
  32. “Dipso and the Crow” by Rich Larson (Mythic Delirium)
  33. “Down and Out in R’lyeh” by Cathrynne M. Valente (Uncanny)
  34. “Drift Right” by Wendy Wagner (Pseudopod)
  35. “Elemental Love” by Rachel Swirsky (Uncanny)
  36. “Evil Opposite” by Naomi Kritzer (F&SF)
  37. “eyes I dare not meet in dreams” by Sunny Moraine (
  38. “Fandom for Robots” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny)
  39. “Flowers for the Moon” by Clio Yun-Su Davis (Luna Station Quarterly)
  40. “Given Sufficient Desperation” by Bogi Takács (Escape Pod, reprint))
  41. “Glasswort, Ice” by Emily B. Cantaneo (Lackington’s)
  42. “God-Ray” by Gregory Norman Bossert (Saturday Evening Post)
  43. “Goddess, Worm” by Cassandra Khaw (Uncanny)
  44. “Holding the Ghosts” by Gwendolyn Clare (Escape Pod)
  45. “How the 576th Annual Pollen Festival Blossomed My Budding Career” by S. L. Saboviec (Flash Fiction Online)
  46. “I Built This City for You” by Cassandra Khaw (Uncanny)
  47. “If a Bird Can Be a Ghost” by Allison Mills (Apex)
  48. “In the Blind” by Sunny Morraine (Clarkesworld)
  49. “Infinite Love Engine” by Joseph Allen Hill (Lightspeed)
  50. “James, In the Golden Sunlight of the Hereafter” by Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed)
  51. “Jonathan’s Heaven Has Many Cats” by Rachael K. Jones (Lackington’s)
  52. “Later, Let’s Tear Up The Inner Sanctum” by A. Merc Rustad (Lightspeed)
  53. “Longing for Stars Once Lost” by A. Merc Rustad (Lightspeed)
  54. “Making Us Monsters” by Sam J. Miller and Lara Elena Donnelly (Uncanny)
  55. “Marta Ranunculus Wolf Calf” by Gillian Barlow Graham (Lackington’s)
  56. “Maybe Look Up” by Jess Barber (Lightspeed)
  57. “Milla” by Lorenzo Crescentini and Emanuela Valentini (trans. Rich Larson) (Clarkesworld)
  58. “Never Truly Yours” by Marion Deeds (Podcastle)
  59. “Next Station, Shibuya” by Iori Kusano (Apex)
  60. “Nilda” by Junot Diaz (This Is How You Lose Her)
  61. “Nozizwe and Almahdi” by J.R. Dawson (Escape Pod)
  62. “On Grief and the Language of Flowers: Selected Arrangements” by Damien Angelica Walters (Mythic Delirium)
  63. “Paradox” by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny)
  64. “Phase Day: A Log of the Journalistic Career of Amaltua Obon” by Kara Dennison (Devilfish Review)
  65. “Probably Still the Chosen One” by Kelly Barnhill (Lightspeed)
  66. “Promises of Spring” by Caspian Gray (Nightmare)
  67. “Red Kelly Owns the Moon” by Shaenon K. Garrity (Escape Pod)
  68. “Remote Presence” by Susan Palwick (Lightspeed)
  69. “Reversion” by Nin Harris (Clarkesworld)
  70. “Rings” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (F&SF)
  71. “Rising Star” by Stephen Graham Jones (Uncanny)
  72. “Rocket Surgery” by Effie Seiberg (Escape Pod)
  73. “Run” by C.R. Hodges (Escape Pod)
  74. “Secret Keeper” by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Nightmare)
  75. “Seven Kinds of Baked Goods” by Maria Haskins (Luna Station Quarterly)
  76. “Seven Permutations of My Daughter” by Lina Rather (Lightspeed)
  77. “Sex After Fascism” by Audie Shushan (Luna Station Quarterly)
  78. “Shades of Infinity” by Heather Morris (Shimmer)
  79. “Shape Without Form, Shade Without Color” by Sunny Moraine (
  80. “Silenced” by Melissa Mead (Daily Science Fiction)
  81. “Snow, Blood, Fur” by Theodora Goss (Daily Science Fiction)
  82. “So Sings the Siren” by Annie Neugebauer (Apex)
  83. “Soliloquy in a Cheap Diner Off Route 66” by James Beamon (Apex)
  84. “Some Cupids Kill With Arrows” by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Uncanny)
  85. “Some Remarks on the Reproductive Strategy of the Common Octopus” by Bogi Takács (Clarkesorld)
  86. “Stealing Tales” by Mari Ness (Daily Science Fiction)
  87. “Still Life With Abyss” by Jim Grimsley (Asimov’s)
  88. “Still Tomorrow’s Going to Be Another Working Day” by Amy Griswold (F&SF)
  89. “Straight Lines” by Naru Dames Sundar (Escape Pod, reprint)
  90. “Sun, Moon, Dust” by Ursula Vernon (Uncanny)
  91. “Taking Notes on the Varietals of the Southern Coast” by Gwendolyn Clare (F&SF)
  92. “Terra Nullius” by Hanuš Seiner (translated by Julie Nováková) (Strange Horizons)
  93. “Texts from the Ghost War” by Alex Yuschik (Escape Pod)
  94. “That Game We Played During the War” by Carrie Vaughn (Escape Pod, orig.
  95. “The All of Nothing Days” by Gus Moreno (Pseudopod)
  96. “The Better Part of Drowning” by Octavia Cade (The Dark)
  97. “The Birding: A Fairy Tale” by Natalia Theodoridou (Strange Horizons)
  98. “The Bone Plain” by Karin Tidbeck (Uncanny)
  99. “The Bridgegroom” by Bo Balder (Clarkesworld)
  100. “The Care of House Plants” by Jeremy Minton (F&SF)
  101. “The Dark Birds” by Ursula Vernon (Apex)
  102. “The Desert Cure” by Daniel Ausema (Mythic Delirium)
  103. “The First Stop Is Always the Last” by John Wiswell (Flash Fiction Online)
  104. “The Greatest One-Star Restaurant in the Whole Quadrant” by Rachael K. Jones (Lightspeed)
  105. “The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs” by Kelly Jennings (F&SF)
  106. “The House at the End of the Lane Is Dreaming” by A. Merc Rustad (Lightspeed)
  107. “The Joy of Baking” by Holly Lyn Walrath (Luna Station Quarterly)
  108. “The Ladder-Back Chair” by Barbara Krasnoff (Mythic Delirium)
  109. “The Lamentation of Their Women” by Kai Ashante Wilson (
  110. “The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon” by Finbarr O’Reilly (Clarkesworld)
  111. “The Lies I’ve Told to Keep You Safe” by Matt Dovey (Daily SF)
  112. “The Lily Rose” by Emily B. Cataneo (The Dark)
  113. “The Lion” by Mari Ness (Daily Science Fiction)
  114. “The Man in the Crimson Coat” by Andrea Tang (Apex)
  115. “The Names of the Sky” by Matthew Claxton (PodCastle)
  116. “The Ones Who Know Where They Are Going” by Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s)
  117. “The Quiltmaker” by Mike Allen (Apex)
  118. “The Regression Test” by Wole Talabi (F&SF)
  119. “The Scholast in the Low Waters Kingdom” by Max Gladstone (
  120. “The Stars and the Rain” by Emily McCosh (Flash Fiction Online)
  121. “The Stars That Fall” by Samantha Murray (Flash Fiction Online)
  122. “The Three-Tongued Mummy” by E. Catherine Tobler (Apex)
  123. “The Toymaker’s Daughter” by Arundhati Hazra (F&SF)
  124. “The Water and the World” by Premee Mohamed (Mythic Delirium)
  125. “The Weight of Sentience” by Naru Dames Sundar (Shimmer)
  126. “The White Fox” by L.P. Lee (PodCastle)
  127. “The Whole Crew Hates Me” by Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed)
  128. “The Wind You Touch When You Run” by James Beamon (Escape Pod)
  129. “The World Is Full of Monsters” by Jeff VanderMeer (
  130. “These Constellations Will Be Yours” by Elaine Cuyegkeng (Strange Horizons)
  131. “This Is How I Wish to Be Restored” by Christie Yant (Lightspeed)
  132. “To Budapest With Love” by Theodora Goss (Uncanny)
  133. “Two Ways of Living” by Robert Reed (Clarkesworld)
  134. “Vegetablemen in Peanut Town” by August Marion (Escape Pod)
  135. “Water Like Air” by Lora Gray (Flash Fiction Online)
  136. “Wave-function collapse” by Filip Wiltgren (Daily Science Fiction)
  137. “We Are Not These Bodies, Strung Between The Stars” by A.C. Wise (Pseudopod)
  138. “We Are Turning on a Spindle” by Joanna Parypinski (Nightmare)
  139. “Welcome to Astuna” by Pip Coen (Apex)
  140. “Wendy, Darling” by A.C. Wise (Daily Science Fiction)
  141. “What I Told My Little Girl About the Aliens Preparing to Grind Us Into Hamburgers” by Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed)
  142. “When Dooryards First in the Lilac Bloomed” by B. Morris Allen (Lackington’s)
  143. “When First He Laid Eyes” by Rachael K. Jones (reprinted at Pseudopod)
  144. “Which Super Little Dead Girl™ Are You? Take Our Quiz and Find Out!” by Nino Cipri (Nightmare)
  145. “While the Black Stars Burn” by Lucy A. Snyder (Apex)
  146. “Will You Meet Me There, Out Beyond the Bend?” by Matthew Kressel (Nightmare)
  147. “With Cardamom I’ll Bind Their Lips” by Beth Cato (Uncanny)
  148. “Women’s Work” by Amelia Aldred (Flash Fiction Online)
  149. “Yosemite” by D.S. McNab (Escape Pod)
  150. “You and Me and Mars” by Sandy Parsons (Luna Station Quarterly)
  151. “You Will Never Know What Opens” by Mair Ness (Lightspeed)