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.



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.



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.