From an output perspective, it’s been a quiet year–I had 25% output compared to 2020. I expected the news side of writing to match this. Instead, I have three stories published in 2021 which are eligible for the awards of your choice, along with nine poems. (“It only takes one editor to make a sale,” is the mantra, and that can seem trite when you’re shoveling out all your rejection letters… but apparently this year was the year a fair amount of work found its forever-homes! Hooray!)
We’ll start with the fiction, which would be Nebula or Hugo-eligibile. (I’m no longer new enough at this to qualify for the Astounding Award, though I like to think I maintain my “new writer smell.”)
Fiction: “Techniques for Folding Time and Space to Fit Into Your Nightstand” (1000 words)
3. Crumple.Departure Mirror, Issue #3: April 2021
We were somewhere in orbit around Altair IV when she vanished. There was neither flash of light, nor explosion, nor scream. There weren’t droplets of water left behind from some otherwhen. One moment she was in the seat beside me. The next she was not. The faintest pinprick feeling stabbed me in the arm.
That was my heart’s cue to start sobbing.
Unfortunately, Departure Mirror has since dissolved, and the story isn’t currently online. (Glitch in space-time, alas.)
Fiction: “Thirty-Three Kilometers from Kiev” (2200 words)
She knew from his face that the argument was already lost. The time to help was weeks ago, when the first villagers fell ill. There was a poison, he’d said, in the reactor at the old factory. He’d insisted evil spirits had come from there. She’d pleaded with him to stay, or to flee.
Neither would have been Dmytro, and she’d known it as she’d asked. Instead, he’d said, They’ll need you, Lina, if we don’t come back. Help them get away. Take them south to Kiev. Lead them as fast as the trucks will take you. Please, Lina!
And she let herself be convinced.Cossmass Infinities, Issue #6 (September 2021)
This story was different for me–I don’t usually foray into near-world fabulism. But I’m still very proud of how this turned out. I may have to try other things like this, someday.
Fiction: “There’s An Art To It” (2100 words)
Twenty years! It had taken me all this time to find every bookhouse in the Valenthi Empire. The borders expanded as I worked, conquering every city between the far mountains and the Endless Sea. And now, the last one: the greatest one. Folmaer, conquered by the Valenthi not one year ago, held the largest library in the known world. The Bibliothedral—a series of spires said to contain the whole of the human mystery—had accumulated written words for longer than the Empire had existed.
I came to burn it.Diabolical Plots, Issue #82A (December 2021)
And now for something completely different–secondary world fantasy about a man utterly exhausted with the evil he perpetuates. I wrote it in January 2020, before I knew what being tired really was. It still resonates. (The tiredness, I mean, not the evil.)
If you’ve taken the time to read any of those through the year, I really appreciate it!
I had nine poems appear in print throughout the year. Rather than summarize, I’ll provide the list and let you click as you’d like:
- “The Opposite of Time” – Haven Speculative Issue #1 (November 2021) — 14 lines
- “Nuclear Option” – Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor Issue #3 (October 2021) –30 lines
- “Under the Skin” – Eye to the Telescope Issue #42 (October 2021) — 30 lines
- “We used to skip stones” – Liquid Imagination Issue #49 (October 2021) — 15 lines
- “turning and turning” – Star*Line Issue 44.4 (October 2021) — 10 lines
- “droplets” – Penumbric Speculative Fiction (October 2021) — 13 lines
- “Simulation says…” – Abyss & Apex, Issue #79 (Summer 2021) — 30 lines
- “On brutal wing” – Apparition Literary Magazine, Issue #13: Justice (January 2021) — 48 lines
- “Vineyard before dawn” – Star*Line Issue 44.1 (January 2021) — 19 lines
These are eligible for any poetry award you would deem them fit. From an SFPA perspective, this would be Rhysling short-form — or a Dwarf Star, for “turning and turning.” But whether they inspire you to nominate, or inspire you to get a cup of coffee, I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read.
There are no guarantees in writing. I have no real expectation I’ll match the success of 2021 in the future. All I can do is keep my hope well-stocked, and keep submitting, and keep writing (as much as life allows, of course–life supersedes art, and a poem can’t take the garbage out to the curb) (yet).
I do have one story slated to appear next year so far, and two poems. I’ll post more here as their time comes closer.
But that’s the rest of the year away from here. I hope anyone reading this has a safe and happy holiday, whatever and wherever you celebrate, and I hope we can share words again soon.