If you’re looking for a summary of everything I’ve published in 2019, look no further! Thank you for reading, and for your consideration if you’re looking for work to nominate for awards. You have my eternal gratitude.
‘The Shadow We Cast Through Time’ in Nisi Shawl’s New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color (Solaris): A tale of exoplanetary demons and folklore, mortality and love in the time of collapsing stargates.
‘The Patron Saint of Night Puppers’ in Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin’s The Outcast Hours (Solaris): A dog hotel night shift attendant in Vancouver takes care of her canine flock on Halloween weekend, with a possible dogsnatcher prowling the streets of the city. An autumnal tale about regret and loneliness, and the bonds we make with animals human and not to keep reality’s sharp teeth at bay.
‘The Song Between Worlds’ (free to read via the link) in Slate.com for Future Tense Fiction (a series of short stories from Future Tense and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination about how technology and science will change our lives): A story following the dovetailing paths of a young one-percenter space tourist and an indigenous Martian ‘shepherd’ in the desert of settled Mars, where the traditional ‘silent song’ of the shepherds proves a more elusive art form than expected.
‘Kali_Na’ in Navah Wolfe and Dominik Parisien’s The Mythic Dream (Gallery/Saga Press): My first published cyberpunk story, set in a future megacity sprawl in Bengal, about a young scrap-scavenger who witnesses the epochal birth of an AI goddess in a public Virtual Reality domain, and finds an unlikely inspiration for resistance in the long infowar against fascist troll armies, the self-declared protectors of India’s sacred virtual estate. Inspired by (some of) the creation myths of the goddess Kali.
‘A Shade of Dusk’ in Ellen Datlow’s Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories (Gallery/Saga Press): And last but not least, my first published ghost story, a tale sprung from the loneliness of an elderly Bengali woman writing through her fears and memories in the darkness of the power cuts (i.e. ‘load sheddings’) that plagued 1990s Calcutta. Like all ghost stories, it’s about death–the gendered fear and expectations of bodies and their fragility, the knots that snare extended familial love, the shadows cast by our fear of mortality.
Just a few things I’ve read and loved this year, for your reading and nominating needs:
‘Dayspring’ by Anthony Oliveira
‘The Harvest of a Half-Known Life’ by G.V. Anderson
‘Blood Is Another Word for Hunger’ by Rivers Solomon
‘A Bird, A Song, A Revolution’ by Brooke Bolander
‘Some Kind of Blood-Soaked Future’ by Carlie St. George
‘A Salt and Sterling Tongue’ by Emma Osborne
‘Advice For Your First Time at the Faerie Market’ by Nibedita Sen
‘The Last Voyage of Skidbladnir’ by Karin Tidbeck
‘Fare’ by Danny Lore
‘A Catalog of Storms’ by Fran Wilde
‘The Brightest Lights of Heaven’ by Maria Haskins
‘And Now His Lordship Is Laughing’ by Shiv Ramdas
‘Omphalos’ and ‘Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom’ by Ted Chiang (from Exhalation: Stories)
The Rosewater Insurrection by Tade Thompson
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
The Deep by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes
The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z. Hossain
The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall
The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht
The City of Folding Faces by Jayinee Basu
Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
The White Book by Han Kang (translated by Deborah Smith)
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi (translated by Jonathan Wright)
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk (translated by Jennifer Croft)
The Overstory by Richard Powers
I’m a bit biased, but please consider reading/nominating all my fellow contributors’ stories (and in Editing or Anthology categories, our wonderful editors for each of the books) in New Suns, The Mythic Dream, The Outcast Hours and Echoes. I haven’t been able to read all of them yet, and one of the books got lost in the mail on the way to India, as things tend to, but some of my favourites include ‘Dumb House’ by Andrea Hairston (New Suns), ‘Harvest’ by Rebecca Roanhorse (New Suns), ‘Ambulance Service’ by Sami Shah (The Outcast Hours), ‘Sleep Walker’ by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (The Outcast Hours), ‘Wild To Covet’ by Sarah Gailey (The Mythic Dream), ‘¡Cuidado! ¡Que Viene El Coco!’ by Carlos Hernandez (The Mythic Dream), ‘Live Stream’ by Alyssa Wong (The Mythic Dream), and ‘Buried Deep’ by Naomi Novik (The Mythic Dream). But honestly, they’re all really, really good, and it’s very hard to pick favourites.