This month saw the launch of a book and all the attendant stir of that. Buy my book. Also, read this great stuff that’s free online that I’m telling you to read. That’ll do nicely.
The Patron Saint of Dykes is a very short story about what it means to be queer and protected and known. The author is a Clarion grad, but this story sounds like a new voice that’s never been told what to do, and I really love it. I hope to hear more from Audrey Hollis.
I don’t read enough speculative poetry, and I’ve been trying to change that. This poem is a good reason why. Rose Lemberg turns the story of Medusa into a tragic song of borders and belonging, and I read it twice, then listened to it twice (poetry is always best when spoken aloud). It spoke to me of my own snakes, and my own pruning process: “One by one, my angers grew back.”
In a trend that should surprise no one, I’ve fallen under the thrall of pop-philosopher Natalie Wynn: YouTube’s Contrapoints. Her newest video on the necessity of refusing the label “gender critical” or other broad monikers of skepticism to folks who just hate trans people is so tightly argued, so beautifully shot, so subversively funny, and so shockingly personal that I just can’t stop watching it. If you don’t know her, you should. Contrapoints is my new favorite essayist.
It’s hard to write about grief, because everything feels like it’s been said before and the experience is at once universal and cruelly personal. Eric Scott at the Wild Hunt walks his sorrow through the woods in a way that is beautiful and plaintive and moving.
Rockstars conjure demons by accident. I’ve got your attention, right? This one is just fun.
Fate and curses work the same way: they gather power from how much you believe in them. Shweta Adhyam has a wonderful story in Lightspeed about that sameness, and about the choices we cannot take back.
The best book I read this month was Fran Wilde‘s “Riverland,” which does its fanciest footwork in a parallel between the rigid rules in most realms of fantasy and the specific control and secrecy experienced by children in an abusive household. It’s great fantasy writing, and the author understands that magic doesn’t fix everything. If you know a kid who’s been through some shit (or if you used to be one) put this on your list.
Finally, Indrapramit Das added to the Slate Future Tense series with a story about a tourist on Mars, the nature of authenticity, and what it is to sing from one world to another. I’m biased about this series (because I’m part of it) but Future Tense is getting some really original and memorable science fiction out into the world. If this one isn’t your jam, try one of the others.