Time to get organized: “Mag, the Habitat and We,” in Apex 92

Ever get the sense that your work is multiplying? Like every time you wash a dish, you turn around and there’s another one you didn’t see and oh, there’s the dog with something disgusting in his mouth? Or every time you try to find a reference for some basic statement about the history of cinema, a whole stack of scholarship you’ve never even seen just explodes in your face and your footnotes and everywhere? And you’re like, “Drop it, Romeo, no, outside, ick, why,” or “Goddamnit André Gaudreault, you and your culture broth,” or maybe “Help, chocolate,” or something like that? I think this is a pretty universal experience, no?

What if I told you it’s not your fault? What if there really were little gremlins or brownies or otherwise mischievous creatures, or André Gaudreault, for that matter, hiding out and just waiting for their chance to screw everything up yet again?

Well, then, that is the basic idea behind this story, up today in Apex Magazine: “Mag, the Habitat and We.”

ETA: There is also a podcast of this story! Check out Mahvesh Murad’s Apex podcast here.

Please enjoy, or at least find a moment’s respite.

Speaking of respites, here is a picture of me on a snowshoe hike near a lovely lonesome northern lake. I hope all of you had an equally pleasant beginning to 2017.


On Tord Lake, though it looks like any number of the zillion lakes up in northern Minnesota. Feeling weirdly light and free. Photo by Mr. Jeffrey Mitchell.

(apologies to André Gaudreault, whom I have never met, and who is a fine scholar and writer of important things.)

Annual round-up, gratitude, & pie!


Apple & cranberry pie. Secret ingredients: half-shot of rum, copious tears

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Americans! and happy Thursday in November to the rest of you. As you may or may not recall, many SFF writers like to make an annual list of their publications, in hopes that people will say, Hey, yeah, I like that story, maybe I’ll nominate it for an award! I’m not exactly holding my breath on that award thing, but I figure I am thankful to anyone who publishes me, so why not mash the whole thing together into a Thanksgiving/year-end round-up and have myself a blog post. And I was figuring all this while trying, pathetically, to roll out a pie crust, which I will discuss more later.

So, I am extremely grateful to the following magazines and their editors, who have published my stuff this year:

Terraform! who published “Plantation | Springtime,” and Charles Payseur, who wrote a Quicksips review and included it in Nerds of a Feather’s April Roundup

Escape Pod! who did an audio version of “Plural,” and Amanda Ching, who read it. This was a reprint, so it’s not eligible for any awards, but I was still happy about it.

Pseudopod! who published “RAT KING,” in their July podcast, and Rish Outland, who read it.

and finally Shimmer! who published “Skills to Keep the Devil in His Place,” with another thanks to Charles Payseur for his  Quicksips review, and thanks also to AC Wise, who wrote about it in a Words for Thought column.

(One last note on the awards thing: I’m in my second year of Campbell eligibility.)

In non-fiction, I am also very thankful that the French Review published my article on the merveilleux-scientifique, and to have my paper on Maurice Renard’s Le Péril bleu included in conference proceedings: Rediscovering French Science Fiction in Literature, Comics, and Film: From Cyrano to Barbarella. 

Now, for pie! I’m making a pie for Thanksgiving, as one does. I don’t make pie all that often, and the crust, frankly, no matter how hard I try—it’s always a mess. Crumbly, stubborn, falling apart, impossible to transfer without tearing. I patch it, curse at it, sprinkle it with water and flour, coax it with plastic wrap and spatulas, curse some more. Somehow, eventually, I get it on the dish, fill it up with (this time) apples and cranberries and all the sugary stuff. Roll out the top, equally messy, cut little hearts and stars. I’ve started brushing the top with milk and dusting it with sugar to hide all the patches. And you know what? In the end it comes out okay. Nobody knows that I suck at making pie, they can’t taste the frustration and the swears. Pie is good and that’s all there is to it.

This, if it’s not obvious, is a metaphor for writing a story and getting it published. And basically I’m thankful to anyone who takes a bite. I hope you enjoy it. And the turkey, too. Or whatever awesome thing you eat. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


Some kind of idiot savant shit: “Skills to Keep the Devil in His Place” in Shimmer 34


Devil Lia, Halloween 2005

Look, everyone, I wrote a nice story! It’s about some high school girls making friends. And the devil. And some other stuff that’s not so nice, or just kind of weird, but I enjoyed writing it. Took me like six months to draft and then so, so many revisions, I can’t even tell you. Many thanks to E. Catherine Tobler, Joy Marchand, and the rest of the editorial crew at Shimmer, who have displayed admirable tolerance as I turned into a wretched artiste too neurotic to stop editing and too distracted to count her sections correctly.

This is a longer one, so sit down in a comfy chair with a cozy beverage of your choice, or get a good seat on the bus, or sit on spikes and gargle scotch bonnet purée, if that’s your thing, though I hope it isn’t because that can’t be healthy, and anyway—I hope you like the story. Here’s the link.

Skills to Keep the Devil in His Place, in Shimmer 34

Thanks for reading, everybody.