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Resist Fascism is out now!

Travel and work obligations have kept me busy of late, and I’ve been remiss in not mentioning here that Crossed Genres’ micro-anthology Resist Fascism it out now! It features awesome stories from 9 authors, including me.

My story, “Pelecanimimus and the Battle for Mosquito Ridge,” takes place during the Spanish Civil War. An American volunteer in the conflict takes time to write home to his boyfriend even as he battles fascists. Oh, and did I mention there are dinosaurs? There are! And they’re cute.

This story also features my favorite last line in anything I’ve written to date.

Grab your copy now! If you buy the ebook, it’s less than $0.50 per story.

Good News

I’ve been remiss in not updating this blog with good news I’ve received of late (and one piece of good news I received a while back and forgot to mention here). Here goes!

“All the Hometowns You Can’t Stay Away From” will appear in a forthcoming issue of Fireside Magazine. It features simulated realities, uncomfortable mother/daughter dynamics, and a particularly unflattering portrait of my hometown. Also featuring: queerness.

“The Crafter at the Web’s Heart” will appear in Apex. A 2nd World fantasy story, this one features a spider god, unplanned transformations, a precarious city and queerness.

“A Dinosaur Without Feathers Is No Dinosaur at All” will be part of the wonderful Robot Dinosaurs! project. A hopepunk story about two teen girls rebuilding their friendship and building a dinosaur. Also: queerness.

“Pelicanimimus and the Battle for Mosquito Ridge” will be part of Crossed Genres’ Resist Fascism: An SFF Call to Action. If you’d like to read this story, part of 30,000 words of SFF against fascism, please consider donating. This story is set during the Spanish Civil War and includes dinosaurs, anarchists, and (IMHO) the finest final sentence I’ve ever composed. Also, naturally, queerness.

“This Next Song Is Called ‘Punk Rock Valhalla'” is forthcoming from the A Punk Rock Future anthology. It’s got a Norse god, antifascism, possibly-unwise tattoos, and unimpressed ravens. No queerness in this one, though.

I’m kidding, I’m kidding. It’s full of queerness.

That’s the good news, folks. I couldn’t be more excited to share these stories with y’all.

What I’m Reading (June 2018)

I meant this to be a monthly series, but that was always too ambitious, especially given the rhythms of the academic calendar. Here’s a sampling of my favorite reads from the last few months, in no particular order.

Mr. Try Again” by A. Merc Rustad: “Six-year-old Violet Wellington was the only child to come out of the swamp. The boys were gone forever.” So Rustad begins, and the tension and horror spin out from that gripping opening, elegantly and precisely leading us into the swamp, preparing us for what we’ll encounter there. Rustad’s breathtaking skill at horror is on full display here, and I wait hungrily for their next story.

Flow” by Marissa Lingen: this story was on my “to read” list for a few weeks before I found the time, and then immediately regretted that I hadn’t got to it sooner. Naiads, conservation, disability, and community come together in brilliant and unexpected ways throughout this tale. To say much more about it would be to spoil some of the effect, so I’ll just add: go read it.

Burning Season” by C. L. Clark: a translator with exceptional linguistic abilities tries to survive in the wake of the latest conquest of her home, and struggles with her own losses and guilt. This is a wonderfully complex and thoughtful story, working brilliantly as a narrative and also bringing deep insight into matters of postcolonialism and queer relationships. It’s also extremely well performed, if you prefer to get your stories in podcast form.

Every Black Tree” by Natalia Theodoridou: a man cursed with immortality seeks death. An always-pregnant woman tries to survive others’ hate and raise her daughter. Both are struggling with the horrors of the past, and seeking to navigate the complications they’ve brought into one another’s lives. An elegant and deeply moving story that explore the complex ties that bind us to the living and the dead.

From the Root” by Emma Törzs: our narrator is a Regenitrix, able to regrow body parts, recover from almost any wound. Only two natural causes can kill one: old age or childbirth, both inevitably fatal. When our narrator’s ambitions cross with a doctor’s and a fellow Regenitrix (pregnant and preparing for the end), none of them can predict what will come of it. A compelling exploration of pregnancy, 18th century medicine, and the choices women make to try to protect themselves from men. Törzs’ narrative is wonderful and kept me guessing throughout, and her prose is scalpel-sharp.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: McGuire breathes new life into portal fantasies by imagining what happens to those who have been through doorways to other lands–and then, sometimes years later, found themselves back in our world, desperate to return. One of these unfortunates has founded a school to help them work through their loss. New student Nancy is just trying to settle in when a murder puts everything and everyone at risk. McGuire portrays her characters deftly, and the cosmology of her multiverse is wonderful, inventive, and thought-provoking. I adored this novel about home, friendship, and the power of knowing oneself.

 

 

When Creation Falls

I’m delighted to announce that my poetry collection When Creation Falls is now available. I’m so pleased to be able to share it with you, and I think you’ll agree with me that Meadowlark Books did an amazing job with the design.

This collection is both deeply personal (beginning with my childhood in Kansas) and political (because there’s no way to disentangle the personal from the political). It arises from my fury at the injustices and horror in the world, but does not, I hope, give into cynicism or despair.

Here’s what the poet Eric McHenry had to say about it:

Izzy Wasserstein is broadly and deeply learned, but also committed to the clear utterance. The poems in When Creation Falls are as transparent as glass—not a window, but a corrective lens, restoring detail and dignity to world of distortions and cynical simplifications. This is a poet furious at injustice but suspicious of fury. I kept thinking, as I read, of Auden’s ‘September 1, 1939’—‘All I have is a voice/ To undo the folded lie’ —and it was satisfying to discover that poem’s last line in one of this book’s last poems: ‘Show an affirming flame.’ Auden, of course, infamously renounced the poem, and Wasserstein acknowledges that fraught history in order to craft a durable new affirmation for her-self: ‘And if my words/ become ugly, if I recant/ every last kind thought,/ if the lines of my face/ twist in cruelty,/ may these soundings/ outlast me.’ In a poem addressed ‘To the Child I Will Never Have,’ her final piece of advice is ‘Make something beautiful.’ Someone must have told her the same thing.

When Creation Falls is available through Meadowlark Books, Amazon, or order it through your favorite bookstore. If you’d prefer a personalized copy, and don’t mind that I’m not Amazon Prime and have to charge for shipping, reach out to me through my contact page.

The Good Mothers’ Home for Wayward Girls

My horror story “The Good Mothers’ Home for Wayward Girls” is now available in audio and full-text from PseudoPod.

It’s a story that is dear to me, in part because I wrote the first draft at Clarion West 2017, so it will always be associated for me with my wonderful experiences there, and the amazing friends I made. Unlike Clarion West, though, the housing in my story isn’t very pleasant.

The narration by Tatiana Grey is amazing, everything I could have hoped and more. I found myself experiencing my own words in a new and breathless way.

What horror have you read recently that’s stayed with you, dear reader?

What I’m Reading, March 2018

This morning I want to share with you all some fiction that I’ve read and loved over the last few weeks. There’s no particular order here, just words that have been on my mind.

A Witches Guide to Escape: a Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow. Witches, libraries, endangered adolescents, and a defense of escapism. I loved this story, and if you’ve ever had a kind librarian give  you just the book you needed, I bet you will too.

And Yet” by A. T. Greenblatt. I was fortunate enough to get to see an early draft of this story at Clarion West 2017. It’s a haunted house story, a multiverse story, and a moving contemplation of just what cost we might pay to try to fix horrors from the past. You may think you know what’s coming here, but you don’t. Greenblatt keeps us guessing right to the very end. Come for the haunted house, stay for the keenly observed sibling relationship.

Like a River Loves the Sky” by Emma Törzs. Another story that I first saw as an early draft at Clarion West (Team Eclipse, you are killing it!), “Like a River Loves the Sky” explores questions of friendship, loss, loneliness, and what it means to truly love something. That may sound like well-trod ground, but not under Törzs’s deft hand: she makes it new, breathless, moving. It’s the rare story that features dead dogs that can win me over, but this one absolutely does.

Amatka by Karin Tidbeck. It’s nearly impossible to describe the brilliance of Tidbeck’s novel without spoilers. There’s a city where objects continue to exist only if people habitually re-affirm their existence, an increasingly oppressive government, and a growing sense that what has long been barely controlled will soon be uncontrolled. Tidbeck’s novel takes on systems of power, queerness, and the power–and limitations–of language in ways that I’ve never seen before.

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Those are some of the pieces that have most stayed with me of late. What have you been reading?

Unplaces: an Atlas of Non-Existence

I’m pleased to be able to share with you my story of Unplaces, antifa, queer love, and the importance of memory, “Unplaces: an Atlas of Non-Existence” at Clarkesworld.

It’s a story that brings together many of my obsessions, and includes references to two stories I love, Borges’ “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” and Theodora Goss’ “Cimmeria: From the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology.” You don’t need to have read either story to make sense of mine, but they’re both fantastic, so you should read them anyway. 🙂