“Lucky You” is up at Ideomancer.  Editor Leah Bobet’s description of the story is very generous and totally apropos to what I was trying to do – regardless of whether or not I succeeded: “breaks the world and then draws us through to the other side.”  Basically, this is my post-apocalyptic vision.

I want to share the music I wrote this story to, because both songs are generally excellent – both have particular “moments” where I hear them in the story, but that’s just me:

I got the new world in my view
On my journey I pursue
I said I’m running, running for the city
I got the new world in my view

photo by Roy Toft

spatial concentration

My story “Pugelbone,” which won the recent ChiZine Short Story Contest, is now live as part of the October-December issue.  As I said before, this was the story based on a dream I had in China.  Here’s the beginning:

I was born in the Warren, and the Warren was all I knew. Both my mother and father were Meers. We go back to the founders. My father was very proud of our ancestry, but he was also very ill. He talked about forging tunnels and building walls and digging rooms for more families, more, when of course the Warren was already finished, and there was no more concrete to dig a new space out of. The rooms had been split as small as they could go without forcing adults to stoop, without making stretching out to sleep completely impossible. Babies were being suffocated, usually under older children, sometimes under their parents. The tunnels had become so narrow that we could only pass through one by one, and even then we had to dodge laundry from the overhead apartments, and falling garbage bags, and other things that people decided they just didn’t have room for. I guess before Warrens get finished – get carved up into this Swiss cheese honeycomb as far and as dense as they can go – people have high expectations of how it will turn out. I’ve seen my father’s sketches. There is an order there that is inhuman, it is so exacting. My mother used to say that in a Warren, you eventually lose control. I don’t just mean the jealous lovers that beat each other’s heads against the floor, or the men we kids used to call trenchcoat nasties. I mean you lose control of the Warren.

What ended up tying it together was the concept of the Kowloon Walled City.

marine biology

Sea of MarmaraSze Tsung Leong: Sea of Marmara

“Lake Tahoe’s Lover” is now up at Fantasy Magazine!  It’s been waiting there for a year, but I still love this story.  A little more romantic/whimsical than most of what I write, but blame it on the Hudson River and my best friend’s old lake house that I used to spend summer weekends at growing up.  I love the picture they chose to accompany it.  Exactly how I pictured the lake (except with a few less trees).

Actually, I’ve never been to Lake Tahoe.  But I think it’s a lovely name for a lake.

Little fish. Big fish. Swimming in the water.
Come back here, man. Gimme my daughter.

PJ Harvey

game theory

west-point-new-yorkAlec Soth: “West Point”

“Intertropical Convergence Zone” was nominated for a Shirley Jackson award in the short story category.  Obviously it’s amazing and wonderful to get this kind of recognition.  Results are in July, although I am absolutely not hoping for anything.  It’s a cliche, but to be nominated is honor enough.  I think that “psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic” is a pretty accurate description of my so-called genre.  I’m getting more and more comfortable saying that horror’s my favorite genre to read, write, and watch (because let’s just be honest, it is).

“Everything Dies, Baby” was accepted by Strange Horizons.  I am so happy because this story is so close to me.  It’s named for one of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs (“Atlantic City”) and is based on “Behind Closed Doors,” an episode of Air Crash Investigation.  Basically, I combined the Windsor Incident (American Airlines Flight 96) with the much worse crash of Turkish Airlines Flight 981.  “Atlantic City”‘s chorus is one I instinctively, immediately related to/understood as pertaining to not only grief but spirituality: “Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact/ and maybe everything that dies someday comes back.”

collateral damage

Nick Brandt: Zebras Crossing Lake, Ngorongoro Crater 2000

“On The Island” has been accepted by Cezanne’s Carrot. Something different, but the story’s also something different, and it’s been through quite a few drafts, so I’m pleased it’s seeing the light of day. I edited the last draft at the Consul General’s Residence in Surabaya and my boss asked me “I thought you’re supposed to write about what you know. What do you know about animal testing?” Not really anything personal, of course, but it is an issue I feel strongly about, and it’s my first really environmentalist story. it’s based on the true story of Vozrozdeniye Island, which I learned about in Weapons of Mass Destruction: the USSR used this island, filled with various animals, as a testing base for various biological weapons – it is now completely contaminated and is negatively impacting surrounding areas on the coasts of the Aral Sea.

Factoid: It’s split into 4 parts, and I named all 4 parts after Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes. What a fan am I.

in pitch dark I go walking in your landscape, broken branches trip me as I speak

there’s always a siren singing you to shipwreck:steer away from these walls, we’d be a walking disaster

just cuz you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there… we are accidents waiting to happen

– Radiohead: “There There (The Boney King of Nowhere)”

democratic peace theory

Annika Aschberg: Cambodia

Just had a story accepted, wonderfully, by ChiZine.  It’s called “Intertropical Convergence Zone” and it’s based very loosely on G-30-S (Gerakan 30 September, or the 30th of September Movement).  Indonesian children know what I’m talking about.  American kids have Paul Revere.  We have G-30-S.

Not yet sure when it will be out – sometime within the next half-year.  I am very psyched about this to say the least.  It’s probably the most political story I’ve written and as a political science major and someone who was very affected by the New Order, it’s extraordinarily validating.

I am in Surabaya, Indonesia, right now.  The City of Heroes.  It’s filled with crocodiles and submarines.


Denise Grünstein

I just had a story accepted at Fantasy Magazine Online, which is amazing. Secret: this story’s a reject. It won’t be out until next summer but really, what does it matter. I’m nervous about the size of their readership and propensity to comment and bludgeon but I do believe in this story. It’s called Lake Tahoe’s Lover.

We’re going to Yellowstone next week.


“Blind Spot” is up at Postcards From…  It’s from the Woody End, not Hell, which I am somewhat glad for, as I don’t really consider myself a horror writer.  Although I think mine is the “futuristic horror fantasy”.  That is pretty much what my novel-set Ilium is, futuristic horror fantasy.  I like that genre.

Allison by Jack Radcliffe

Jack Radcliffe: Alison

This story is somewhat autobiographical, but as I’ve said before, my writing has been profoundly affected by my life experience, and I can’t help but think this is natural.  When I was in high school, writing was instrumental in helping me think things through, to figure out what I believed.  It still is.  As Chandra Mohanty says, “The maps I draw are necessarily anchored in my own discontinuous locations.”  Suharto died this year and it frightens me how much of an impact he has had on my mother and I.

Also, the hammer in the story is largely inspired by “Hammer” by Sarah Blasko:

there’s a hole in the roof, and the dust that’s pouring through, means you want to build the world again from scratch/ cuz nothing moved means nothing’s found, but there’s a sadness in the sound, as the walls crack and the scenes change so fast/ if you had a hammer you would knock the whole thing down but tell me, how you build again with what is left of all you’ve spent?

ecological footprint

“The Five Stages of Grief” is up at Three-lobed Burning Eye.

The Fishmonger’s Daughter

Michael Garlington: The Fishmonger’s Daughter

I wish I could fish. This picture reminds me of Spearfish, South Dakota. I love the Black Hills insanely – Spearfish, Deadwood, the Black Hills National Forest, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, Hill City for their tiny museum’s take on their melodramatic struggle with the Field Museum of Chicago over a T-rex named Sue. And yes, Sturgis. Everyone should go.