Autistic Book Party, Episode 30 And A Half: Short Story Smorgasbord – Award Edition!

Today I’m going to do something a little bit special. I worried that, by separating my Recommended stories into Recommended-1 (for stories with autistic characters, regardless of author) and Recommended-2 (for stories by autistic authors with no autistic characters in them), I would be somehow ghettoizing the work of autistic authors. Instead, I feel freer and more excited about reviewing stories that would go in the Recommended-2 category. I’m no longer putting pressure on myself to justify why these works are as relevant to Autism Issues as the Recommended-1 stories; I can let them be their own, good, thing.

In this spirit, I want to review four short works by autistic authors that are up for awards this year. Let’s celebrate some autistic award nominees!


Rose Lemberg, “The Ash Manifesto” (Strange Horizons, October 10, 2016)

[Autistic author] A powerful poem about personal strength (and un-strength), written in gorgeous, mythic words. “The Ash Manifesto” was one of my favourite speculative poems of 2016, and is one of two poems of Lemberg’s to be nominated for the Rhysling award this year. [Recommended-2]


A. Merc Rustad, “This Is Not A Wardrobe Door” (Fireside, January 2016)

[Autistic author] A 2016 Nebula finalist, this is a subversive take on portal fantasies in which two friends in different worlds attempt to fix the malfunctioning portal that is keeping them apart. It’s a short, sweet tale with a firm emphasis on the value of community and connection, and some gorgeous, surreal descriptions. There is also some minor, but nice, queer content. [Recommended-2]


A.J. Odasso – “Nothing Goes Away” (The New England Review of Books, November 30, 2016)

[Autistic author] A poem that uses beautiful language to describe a moment of inaccuracy by a doctor, and the sheer density of thought that can occur in a moment in response. I don’t know if this poem is autobiographical, but it is certainly meant to be read as the experience of an autistic person who is similar to the author, and it succeeds at that. It is one of three poems of Odasso’s that are nominated for the Rhysling award this year. [Recommended-1]


Bogi Takacs, “Marginalia on Eiruvin 45b” (Bracken, issue ii)

[Autistic author] A poem about a character, like some of Takács’ fictional protagonists, who accumulates intense levels of magical power in their body and has to learn to let some of it go. (Eiruvin 45b is a verse from the Talmud, which, as far as Google can tell me, has to do with movement and water – but you don’t have to be a Talmudic scholar to understand the basic events in the poem and appreciate the way they are described.) “Marginalia” is a Rhysling nominee this year in the short category. [Recommended-2]


Of course I cannot review my own work, but just to round out the set, I will note here that my own short poem, “The Giantess’s Dream“, has also been nominated for this year’s Rhyslings.

The Giantess’s Dream

Cover of Twisted Moon, Issue 1

As promised, here I am today posting about my new poem!

“The Giantess’s Dream” came to me, very nearly fully formed, on Halloween night of 2012. I had no idea what to do with it. It was… a sexually explicit poem about Loki. (The mythical Norse Loki, not the Marvel Loki, although I am totes not in charge of what you picture in your head when you read it!) Who the heck was going to publish this? I sent it around fitfully anyway, because I liked the poem, but I did not really feel that it was a good fit anywhere, so I ended up reluctantly putting it aside.

Then I found out on Twitter that someone was making a new magazine devoted specifically to erotic speculative poetry. SCORE!

Apparently, several other very good speculative poets had similar sexy things stuffed in their closets somewhere that they similarly didn’t know what to do with. Because Issue 1 of Twisted Moon is now out. It’s gorgeous visually and verbally and features delightfully naughty work by Neile Graham, Sonya Taaffe, Mat Joiner, and other speculative poetry luminaries.

You can read the whole issue here. Or, if I had you at “a sexually explicit poem about Loki”, you can skip straight to my poem here.

(The words of the poems are NSFW, obviously, though the visuals and art that I can see on the site right now are very spare and tasteful.)

(If you are in my immediate family and read this, I don’t want to know.)

Updates and sales

I’ve been continuing to sell things these past few months, which is gratifying.

My short story “A Spell to Retrieve Your Lover From the Bottom of the Sea” will appear in Strange Horizons next week. This is my first short story sale in quite a while, hopefully with many more to follow.

Another short story, “As Hollow as a Heart”, will appear in the December issue of LampLight. This story is about Lady Blue, the gender-flipped Bluebeard protagonist of “Lady Blue and the Lampreys”, but may or may not actually take place in the same universe at that story. More on that later.

For poems, I’ve sold “The Giantess’s Dream” to the very first issue of the erotic speculative poetry magazine Twisted Moon, which is coming out tomorrow – eep! I guess you’ll get another post tomorrow. Another much shorter poem, “Unicorns”, will appear in a future issue of Liminality.

Finally, a few updates on works that are already in the wild. I neglected to mention that earlier this month, “Million-Year Elegies: Edmontonia” went up on the Mythic Delirium website and is now free to read. And the HWA 2014 Poetry Showcase, which features my poem “Evianna Talirr Builds a Portal On Commission”, is now out in paperback. Happy reading!