Cover Reveal for THE OUTSIDE!

Just in time for Halloween, Tor.com has revealed the AMAZING awesome spooky cover art for THE OUTSIDE!

I love this art SO MUCH, and I’ve been impatiently waiting for the reveal ever since my editor showed me the first draft version.

The reveal also comes with a short essay by me about mysticism and Lovecraft. You can read it here.

Cool Story, Bro: Favorite Speculative Writing From July through October

It’s been a busy, stressful summer, but that hasn’t stopped me from finding a few stories and poems that fill me with delight.

Half of it is from Twisted Moon. Don’t judge me.

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STORIES

Brooke Bolander, “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat” (Uncanny, Issue Twenty-Three, August). This is a feminist velociraptor fairy tale and if the words “velociraptor fairy tale” don’t already have you bounding off to read it then I don’t know how to help you. It is SUCH fun. It is a thing of pure joy and I’m just a tiny little bit mad that I didn’t think of it first.

Beth Cato, “To This You Cling, With Jagged Fingernails” (Fireside, June 2018). This is not a horror story. It is quiet and domestic and melancholy and nothing scary happens. But it also is a story that captures one of the inherent horrors of adolescence, especially non-neurotypical adolescence (although it is not an autism story either), in a way I have never seen done this accurately before. I feel seen by this story.

Meg Elison, “Rapture” (Shimmer #44, August). This story is beautiful and amazing. I want to go to Elison’s afterlife-for-writers when I die.

Lavie Tidhar, “Gubbinal” (Clarkesworld, July). This is gorgeously alien (in the adjectival sense) SF with just the right little hint of cosmic horror. But what I most appreciate about it is the Boppers. If AI ever did run amok, become self-sustaining, and escape its creators, it would be vastly less likely to take over the world etc as humans understand it, and much more likely to behave more or less the way Boppers do. As a computational creativity researcher, I love them.

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POEMS

Alix Bosley, “Leda’s Womb” (Arsenika, Issue 3). YOU WANT SOME MYTHIC BODY HORROR POETRY? HERE’S SOME MYTHIC BODY HORROR POETRY. This gave me a very effective heebie jeebie without even talking about anything graphic or gross, just eggs and pregnancy and birds. Yipes. Well done.

Ceto Hesperia, “Io.” (Twisted Moon, Issue 4). Proving once again that I am a sucker for sexy astronomy poems.

Ariadne Makridakis, “Desert Skin in the Rainforest” (Twisted Moon, Issue 4). And this one! This is just so sensory in the best way.

Lynne Sargent, “Tasting” (Twisted Moon, Issue 4). Um. Speaking as a wildly unpredictable non-neurotypical person, I am pretty sure being in a relationship with me is EXACTLY like this poem. Again, I feel seen.

Autistic Book Party, Episode 49 and a half: Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction!

These past two months marked the release of Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction! special issue, and many autistic authors appeared in this issue at the top of their game – both existing favorite authors of mine and at least one voice which is new to me.

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Rita Chen, “Ctenophore Soul

[Autistic author] A poem about the central role of damage and injury in… well, all of life, and of choosing to live with the damage instead of trying to erase it. I love the sea imagery in this – I am a sucker for anything involving weird sea creatures and a ctenophore is a real thing. [Recommended-2]

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Rose Lemberg, “core/debris/core

[Autistic author] This is a poem about skin disease, but also about aesthetics and shame, about the desire to write a future in which everything is clean and perfect, even though this denies and erases the reality of human bodies – particularly disabled human bodies, but also all of them. Angry and compelling. [Recommended-2]

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A. Merc Rustad, “The Frequency of Compassion”

[Autistic author] Ok so this story just happens to push, like, SEVENTEEN of my personal story buttons at once and I love it. “The Frequency of Compassion” is a first contact story in which Kaityn, a hyperempathic autistic astronaut, encounters a wounded member of an alien hive mind. I love the hive mind – a friendly entity/ies in which individuals remain distinct and valued parts of the whole – so much. I love Kaityn’s helpful AI friend Horatio. I love the way everyone respects each other’s pronouns and needs, how the alien makes mistakes with Kaityn’s mental boundaries and then apologizes and fixes them, how both the AI and the aliens respect and make adjustments for Kaityn’s needs, including the need for a few days of downtime after a stressful experience and for forms of sensory stimulation that aren’t overloading. I love how Kaityn is kind-hearted and interested in art, despite their need to withdraw from other people. I love how they are hyperempathic on a sensory level, but are also shown as deeply caring even when they don’t sense emotions directly – respecting the imagined boundaries of the moon they land on, for instance, with a characteristically (but un-stereotypically) autistic sense of animism. I just. I love almost everything about this. GO READ IT. [Recommended-1]

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Bogi Tak√°cs, “Spatiotemporal Discontinuity

[Autistic author] This poem shares some traits in common with Toward the Luminous Towers and other work of Bogi’s – depicting, not a real-life disability, but the experiences of a person in some other world who is modified for some sort of incredible journey through physical or conceptual space, and who has difficulty with ordinary embodied existence afterwards. Bogi’s writing about this type of techno-magic and its complex personal and social effects is always fascinating, and this one is no exception. [Recommended-2]

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Finally, while I do not review essays, there are interesting essays in this issue by Bogi, A.C. Buchanantwo by A.C. Buchanan, in fact – Ira Gladkova, and me.

Spaceship’s Block

Check out my new poem, “Spaceship’s Block,” up on Patreon!

This one was born out of my, ah, frustrations with my writing life while moving to a new home and starting a new job. I’m happy to report that this situation has improved since then. Slightly, at least. Enjoy!