Saturday, April 6, 2019

Meta-Anthology 2018

Repeating myself from last year, with slight modifications: I make no pretense to this representing the best short stories of the year 2018. First of all, because they are not of that year, having all first appeared in 2017. But also, since I could not possibly keep up with all short fiction publications of interest, I have culled them from four key anthologies, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Best American series, in its Short Story, Mystery Story, and Science Fiction and Fantasy instances, and the Pushcart Prize. Despite the names of those anthologies, it represents not the best of the best, but a selection of what was deemed "best" by others that I found nonetheless to be worth reading. This version of the meta-anthology, my sixth, comes the latest of any, due to my having completed an interstate move. Why do I keep doing it? I find that it brings or renews good authors to my attention, and also brings or renews to my attention strong publications, the sorts of venues in which I might be honored to have my own work appear. Was 2017 a good year for short fiction? Let me answer a question with a question: Was it a good year for anything?

Charlie Jane Anders, "Don't Press Charges and I Won't Sue," from The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018. First appeared in Boston Review: Global Dystopias.

Anders is not the most politically insightful of contemporary speculative fiction writers, but what she brings to her work far more reliably than most is style.

Michael Bracken, "Smoked," from The Best American Mystery Stories 2018. First published in Noir at the Salad Bar: Culinary Tales with a Bite.

I can't resist barbecue, or shoot-'em-ups.

Yoon Choi, "The Art of Losing," from The Best American Short Stories 2018. First published in New England Review, vol. 38, no. 2.

Love and care can survive the loss of memory and mind, just barely. Somehow, a pair of Korean immigrant grandparents call to mind my own first-generation Jewish-American ones.

Gwendolyn Clare, "Tasting Notes on the Varietals of the Southern Coast," from The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018. First appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September/October 2017.

I suspect this transcends the author's intention, but this story is a perfect illustration of Walter Benjamin's dictum that "There is no document of civilization that is not at the same time a document of barbarism."

Olabajo Dada, "The Bar Beach Show" from 2019 Pushcart Prize XLIII. First appeared in The Southamption Review.

Military cynicism mastered the politics of the spectacle long before practitioners of mass politics recognized it as a thing in the world.

Samuel R. Delany, "The Hermit of Houston," from The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018. First appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September/October 2017.

This was my favorite science fiction story to appear in 2017, and it holds up. Not because it was perfectly realized--it wasn't--but because it was one of the few that I read that was not averse to the risk of failure.

Alicia Elliott, "Unearth" from The Best American Short Stories 2018. First published in Grain vol. 44.3.

I was in tears by the end of my reading, and glad in this case that the word "American" is used, by the series editor, in a sense that includes anglophone Canada.

Jaymee Goh, "The Last Cheng Beng Gift," from The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018. First appeared in Lightspeed.

Some day human beings will outgrow the need for stories about parents needing, and failing, to unlearn a proprietary attitude toward their adult children. Until that day, this was one of the more imaginative examples of such a story that I have seen.

Jacob Guajardo, "What Got into Us," from The Best American Short Stories 2018. First published in Passages North no. 38.

A well-imagined scenario that any queer boy can relate to, strong characterization, and precise control of language that allows the writer to do test the limits of English with past, present, and future tenses.

Maria Dahvana Headley, "The Orange Tree," from The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018. First appeared in The Weight of Words.

With more brilliant sentences in its few pages than in many of the rest of the stories published in that year, this sexual, intertextual piece immerses the reader in Mediterranean brine and the juice of bitter oranges.

Cristina Henríquez, "Everything Is Far from Here," from The Best American Short Stories 2018. First published in The New Yorker, July 24, 2017.

I somehow don't remember having read this earlier, even though I am a New Yorker subscriber. A horrifying story that is both weakened and made more horrifying by the knowledge that its horrors are already being outstripped by reality. Read it before it is made so far out of date that its horrors seem quaint.

Micah Dean Hicks, "Church of Birds," from The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018. First appeared in Kenyon Review March/April 2017.

The greatest curse is a malformed wish.

J. M. Holmes, "What's Wrong with You? What's Wrong with Me?" from 2019 Pushcart Prize XLIII. First appeared in The Paris Review.

A story that left me smelling the funk of weed smoke and testosterone-charged man sweat.

Victor LaValle, "Spectral Evidence," from 2019 Pushcart Prize XLIII. First appeared in Ploughshares.

This felt to me like the way Raymond Carver would tell a ghost story if he ever allowed himself to tell a ghost story, which he did not, so that leaves space for LaValle to do his thing.

David Naimon, "Acceptance Speech," from 2019 Pushcart Prize XLIII. First appeared in Boulevard.

Human consciousness as the fever-dream of a rampant microbiome trying to think itself out of existence.

Alan Orloff, "Rule Number One," from The Best American Mystery Stories 2018. First appeared in Snowbound.

I thought I saw the end coming, and then I saw the end coming, and then I didn't.

Lettie Prell, "Justice Systems in Quantum Parallel Probabilities," from The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018. First appeared in Clarkesworld Issue 124.

To be frank, when it comes to science fiction stories about alternate legal systems that appeared in 2017, I prefer my own "Menistaria...", which appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of Lackington's. But that had been rejected by Clarkesworld years before, and CW has a larger audience than Lackington's. What I do like about this story are the things that it shares with my own: The willingness to imagine that things could be better, and recognition of the moral stunting of those who cannot imagine things being other than they are.

Karen Russell, "The Tornado Auction," from 2019 Pushcart Prize XLIII. First appeared in Zoetrope: All Story.

Sometimes the bravest thing to do is the least destructive.

Amy Silverberg, "Suburbia!" from The Best American Short Stories 2018. First published in The Southern Review, vol. 53, no. 2.

You can never go home again because why on earth would you want to? A good example of fiction as literalized metaphor.

Curtis Sittenfeld, "The Prairie Wife," from The Best American Short Stories 2018. First published in The New Yorker, February 13 & 20, 2017.

This one I remember consciously deciding not to read when it was first published. The confessed Twitter addiction of both the author and the main character interacted poorly with my own; often when I am reading The New Yorker, I am logged into Twitter, and reading about a Twitter-obsessed character while being on Twitter seemed a bit too--as the main character in Silverberg's story would say--"meta". The presence of this story on the list shows how arbitrary this list really is. My reception of a story varies in part depending on the medium in which I am trying to read it. I am least receptive to fiction when it is on a screen, and stories that work in a fat volume may turn me off on a three-column page.

Turning to the story itself: It has some manipulative tricks, like not stating the gender of the main character's spouse until more than midway through. Though anyone who ends up surprised at that reveal, only reveals themselves, as a clueless hetero. Nonetheless, I am glad of its all-too-relatable depiction of having-kids-in-one's-forties, of getting nostalgic for the erotic abandon of one's teenage self, and its frank descriptions of vigorous scromping. A more ambiguous story might have ended up more cynical, perhaps too much so for The New Yorker, so perhaps I ought to write that more ambiguous story.

Rivers Solomon, "Whose Heart I Long to Stop with the Click of a Revolver," from The Best American Short Stories 2018. First published in Emrys Journal vol. 34.

A story that aims high, higher, more ambitious, than most stories published today, so that even if it does not quite hit its target, one savors the miss, the kickback, the smell of powder.

Cadwell Turnbull, "Loneliness Is in Your Blood," from The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018. First appeared in Nightmare Magazine issue 52.

The first literary treatment I have seen of a soucouyant (I know there are more, but this is the first that I've read), which more than makes up for the single-sentence opening paragraph.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

2018 Nebula Ballot

Novel

My vote goes to: Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller. A sexy and urbane thriller set in the aftermath of climate catastrophe, which deftly handles multiple viewpoints, including technologically mediated shared human-animal consciousnesses. I would say that it was the best novel that I read of any genre that was published in 2018, but I fear that, because my reading list over the last year has been lighter than usual on contemporary fiction, that might seem like faint praise. Let me say then that it is arguably one of the best novels of this decade.

Novella

The Black God's Drums by Phenderson Djèlí Clark wins my vote through having the most original setting of this year's nominees.

"Novelette"

I will never not put this category name in scare quotes, as this term that as far as I can tell is current only among science fiction and fantasy fandoms too often ends up encompassing two disparate literary phenomena: long-ish short stories, sometimes overly long; and brief novellas, sometimes too brief to be fully realized. I have read and enjoyed pieces that fit the boundaries of this category, but none of this year's nominees have won my vote. (To be fair, for some of them it was only because interlibrary loan has been too slow for me to receive and read them before the deadline for ballot submission.) Abstention / no preference.

Short Story

Phenderson Djèlí Clark wins my vote again, this time with a story that tests the limits of fantasy at the levels of concept, narrative, and stylistics, "The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington." While I am disappointed at the entirely anglophone nature of the nominee list in a year when a number of brilliant stories in translation found their way into science fiction and fantasy publications, this story is head and shoulders above almost anything else the genre brought us in 2018.

Abstention / No Preference for the Bradbury Award (dramatic presentation--my media consumption habits are dominated by print), Norton (YA; as it is--too much of what was nominated for the "adult" Nebulas reads like YA for my taste); or Game Writing (also not my bag). I would be tempted to vote for Black Panther for the Bradbury, as I did actually see it in the theater, but to do so without having yet seen Sorry to Bother You seems unfair to the latter.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Introducing: Just Outside the Eruv

In our return to New York State my family ended up living in one of the towns adjacent to the village of Kiryas Yoel. When I share this information with fellow New Yorkers and fellow Jews it triggers nods of recognition, and often furious warnings and denunciations, but it means little to anyone else, so let me explain. Kiryas Yoel was founded in the 1970s by the Satmar Hasidic Rebbe Yoel Teitelbaum, as a place where his followers could live in a more rural setting yet still be surrounded by fellow members of their sect. Though the Satmar Hasidim are the largest such group today, they are much less well-known, to either non-Hasidic Jews or to non-Jews, than Chabad-Lubavitch, so explaining who they are I might as well contrast them to Chabad. Whereas Chabad aggressively proselytizes their variety of orthodoxy to other Jews, the Satmarim grew after the Holocaust through a more restrained method of ingathering, in which they welcomed other ultra-orthodox Jews who had lost their religious and community leaders. This is not to say that there was never any chicanery: In Israel, there were some scandals provoked by the Satmarim adopting the children of impoverished Yemeni Jews from state-run orphanages. But for the most part, they focus their outreach most on those who are adult and already ideologically proximate to them. Whereas Chabad is Zionist--supporting the State of Israel, participating in its elections, and accepting its material support--the Satmarim are known for being anti-Zionist. Though it would be a mistake to presume that such opposition to Zionism as a political movement is motivated by humanitarian concern for the indigenous Palestinians. Rather, they regard Zionism as being a sin against the Jewish religion, arguments for which Rebbe Yoel Teitelbaum was known for publishing in lengthy tracts in the postwar period. Whereas Chabad will speak English, Hebrew, any language needed to proselytize, the Satmarim promoted the use of Yiddish as a means of asserting and promoting Jewish religiosity and identity--and in an effort to keep the loshen ha-kodesh of the Torah and Talmud pure of the muck of commerce and statecraft. And while Chabad-Lubavitch has become infamous for a growing messianic cult around their late Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, the Satmarim keep the veneration of their rebbes within the traditionally Judaic bounds of a cult of personality. Thus, for example, while there have been disputes over rabbinical succession in the forty years since Yoel Teitelbaum's death, to the best of my knowledge no fraction of the Satmarim have ever entertained the thought that he might return from the dead and reveal himself as the Messiah.

"Just Outside the Eruv" will be my name and tag for an occasional series of posts to this blog about experiences I have living in such close proximity to these fellow Jews, interacting with them, or with others in the area when the interactions are inflected by their presence. ("Eruv" is a Talmudic term referring to the boundaries of an area which, on the Sabbath, an orthodox Jew can treat as an extension of his or her house. To live within Kiryas Yoel is to live within an Eruv. I am just outside the Eruv--close enough that some of the more prosperous members of the Satmar community can own or rent houses and walk the short distance to services on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, but far enough that they cannot carry their keys with them.) This is the first entry in that series.

Today, my son and I paid our first visit to the Monroe Bakery. While it is not within Kiryas Yoel, it is Hasidic-owned, shomer shabbos, and has a good reputation for the quality of its challah and other baked goods. I entered the bakery a bit nervous.

Today was my first full day back home after a week-long trip to Florida, in which I briefly visited the bedside of my grandfather before his death, and comforted my mother and other relatives after it. My grandfather would have had no love and little sympathy for the Satmarim. His beliefs were no less atheistic and strongly held than my own, though not sharing the Marxist integument that holds my world view together. My grandfather was someone who through his life demonstrated that one could be ethical, upright, and consistent without any belief in a creator, though the ethics on which he acted were, too often, patriarchal and chauvinistic. His mother, whom he loved even to the point of cutting off all contact with his elder sister for what he regarded as her inadequate filial piety, was on the other hand the only one of my great-grandparents on the Jewish side of my family who adhered to any measure of orthodoxy. Thus I never met her, because she treated the day of my mother's marriage to my father as the day of her death. Given this background, it is not surprising that my grandfather had a greater impact on the beliefs of his descendants than his mother did, and so all the relatives present to remember him were about as secular as I am, and it showed in their attitudes toward my Satmar neighbors.

The attitudes of secular American Jews to the ultra-Orthodox (collectively referred to as haredim--all hasidim are haredi but not all haredim are hasidic) resemble the attitudes of elite, assimilated German Jews to the Ostjuden before the war, or of more Americanized cohorts to fresh-off-the-boat newcomers in generations past. Thus I had spent all week being the recipient of unsolicited warnings--"they're horrible people;" "they hate anyone who isn't one of them;" "they're the rudest people around, even worse than Israelis;" "greedy bastards;" "they stink;" and of course "they'll destroy the public schools around you once they get a chance."

Even if I know that these statements range from slanderously false to only partly true, having this be a recurrent coda for the week prior meant that I was on guard as I entered the bakery. I will report that the bakery smells like a bakery--delicious. The price on the chocolate babka was a bit high, but based on the smell it emitted as I cut slices for each of the kids, it is probably worth it. The challah we are saving for tonight's dinner, so I don't yet know if it is good, but the price is reasonable. The service could have been a bit nicer, but the conversation with the clerk changed tenor slightly when I took one of the three Yiddish newspapers in stock--from Der Blat, Di Tsaytung, and Der Yid, this time I decided to try Der Yid.

"You're interested in Jewish newspapers?"

"Ikh kon leyenen af yidish. I'm Jewish and I'm trying to keep my Yiddish up so I can translate things."

"That's good!"

Then I meandered into some apologetic, grammatically dubious statement in Yiddish downplaying my Jewishness, and he replied with a rabbinical saying in Hebrew that I did not recognize at first. Then he gave an English translation summing it up as, from God's standpoint, all his children are on the same level. And I thought that was a pretty decent thing to say, and not at all reflective of "hating anyone who isn't one of them."

So I left the bakery feeling pretty well disposed toward the Satmarim... until the drive home. From the bakery, the quickest way home takes me through the fringes of Kiryas Yoel. And on a Friday afternoon, drivers around there get a little frantic. After all, one must arrive home and turn off the ignition of the car before sunset, preferably well before sunset. So the driver behind me seemed a bit hurried. Let me be frank: He was riding up my ass. And then, as I approached a crosswalk where a teenage boy--still beardless--waited to cross, and where State law and basic decency dictated that I should stop to allow him to cross and finish his walk home before sunset, I did in fact stop--and the driver behind me honked, directly at me and implicitly at the pedestrian.

It left me wondering, which was the greater respect to the Sabbath? To rush home frantically honking one's horn at anyone who gets in the way? Or to yield to others in deference to their eagerness to perform a mitzvah in which one does not believe? Another way to ask this question might be: Who was the better Jew, the great-grandmother who never met or spoke to me, or the grandfather who loved me always, through all our differences?

Sunday, January 6, 2019

O Maine, addio

In the last week, I ended my seven-year sojourn in the State of Maine, a period that had, until now, been coterminous with my literary career. After several years of unemployment and underemployment, my spouse was offered a good position in her field at an institution in Poughkeepsie. This also opened the possibility of living much closer to her parents, that is, two of the beloved grandparents of my two children. (The third beloved grandparent, my mother, is in Florida, a state I avoid as much as possible.) Since my spouse's field is librarianship, I still need to find work in order to make the finances of this move work, but I have some prospects, and so, overall, it seemed worth the risk. Maine has inspired many, but not all, of my stories, and the corner of New York State in which we find ourselves has inspirations of its own. For example: right now, over my laptop screen I can look through the kitchen window, over the deck of the rental house in which we are living, and see the height of land known as Storm King. So I think we made the right choice.

In the chaos of the move, however, I lost track of publication schedules, and thus overlooked that the book Geek Out: Queer Pop Lit, Art & Ideas, ed. Sage Kalmus, is now available as an ebook or a paperback. In this book one can find my short story "O terra, addio" (quotation marks are part of the title, as it is an allusion to Verdi's Aïda). Much of the story takes place at Lincoln Center in the City, a place I will be able to visit more often now than I did during my Maine exile. I encourage you to order the book. I will, as soon as we are done unpacking our existing library.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

2018 Nebula Nominations

My literary income this year was good enough (mostly from translations) to justify rejoining SFWA, which means I can nominate things for the Nebula award. But I have not read quite as much contemporary science fiction and fantasy this year as in some recent years, and with my upcoming move I do not have much time for catch up reading, so my nomination slate is full in only one category, Short Story. Here we go:

Novel

  1. Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller
  2. The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley
  3. The Emissary by Yoko Tawada: I should note that this one, I am not 100% sure whether to classify it as a novel or a novella. It is 138 densely packed pages long.

Novella: None (unless I'm wrong about the Tawada)

Novelette

  1. "Widdam" by Vandana Singh
  2. "The Department of Happiness and Reimbursement" by Karen E. Bender

Short Story

  1. "Walking" by Der Nister: The only entry in which I have a hand, albeit as translator rather than author
  2. "The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington" by Phenderson Djèli Clark
  3. "Domestic Violence" by Madeline Ashby
  4. "A Night Out at a Nice Place" by Nick Mamatas
  5. "Hainted" by Ashley Blooms

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Paean to Bureaucracy

For the last not-quite-seven years at Bates College. The following text was composed and delivered as an address at a farewell party organized on my behalf, somewhat against my will. I ended up surprised and pleased by what I wrote, and so I share it.

I decided to prepare remarks because while, as you all know, I have no trouble with improvised public speaking, sometimes others have trouble with what I end up saying when there’s no script to guide me. I would have preferred to individually thank and praise each person in this room, and some who are not here but apologetically warned me of their inability to make it, but since I wasn’t exactly sure who would be here, that would have entailed improvisation, dangerous improvisation, in which what I intend as thanks and praise to one might be construed as cutting satire of another.

Earlier today, one of you sent me a quote from David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King that I believe perfectly encapsulates this strange job of mine, whatever one chooses to call it, whether “grants officer,” “sponsored programs professional,” “research administrator,” what have you. I’m not a fan of Wallace’s style, which I find bloated, so on the page, I’ve put ellipses where I think there should be cuts, over which I will elide in reading it out.

“I learned that the world … as it exists today is a bureaucracy. This is an obvious truth … the ignorance of which causes great suffering…. I discovered the key. This key is not efficiency, or probity, or insight, or wisdom. It is not political cunning, interpersonal skills, raw IQ, loyalty, vision, or any of the qualities that the bureaucratic world calls virtues, and tests for. The key is a certain capacity that underlies all these qualities…. The underlying bureaucratic key is the ability to deal with boredom…. The key is the ability, whether innate or conditioned, to find the other side of the rote, the picayune, the meaningless, the repetitive, the pointlessly complex. To be, in a word, unborable…. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.”

To become immune to boredom requires the disposition (thank you, Lauren Ashwell, for that word) to find the fascinating, the novel, the thing you did not understand before about nature, history, or the given ensemble of social relationships, within the absurd origami of statute, regulation, policy, and procedure. Most academics despise bureaucracy and yet every academic organization, as far as I can tell--and I have worked in and with a good few--is one. Provided with powers and responsibilities of self-governance that are the envy of most American workers, you build infernal machines of your own devising. Then, realizing that you need more resources, you go to foundations, corporations, and yes, especially, government agencies, bureaucracies of greater refinement and power which impose further elaborations on your own native convolutions, with gestures, and paperwork, mirroring their own. You hate bureaucracy, but you need bureaucrats, and here I am, at your service.

Usually at these sorts of events, we are celebrating someone venturing forth to something that, within the careerist and meritocratic system of values common to bureaucratic organizations of all types, can be regarded as “something better.” As it stands, though, I am the proverbial “trailing spouse,” for while my wife is pursuing an opportunity at Marist College to be and, perhaps more importantly, be recognized as, one of the best damned cataloging librarians on the North American continent, no sane mind sets out with the ambition to be and be recognized as a master bureaucrat. Things are not yet settled, but the most probable outcome is that, within a month or so, I will be doing a very similar job at a very similar institution. In other words, I will be called upon, in the next few years, to do much the same sorts of things that I have accomplished at Bates over the last seven: To establish policies and procedures, identify strengths, opportunities, threats, and weaknesses, align institutional priorities and faculty expertise with sponsor missions and guidelines, design budgets ranging from four figures to seven, and to have the arrogance necessary to polish the prose of certified geniuses.

(I did imply earlier that I’ve improved David Foster Wallace’s prose, so why not yours as well?)

Don’t pity me, though, because if things work out that way, I will love it every bit as much as I have loved it here, and if I succeed, it will be as a result of all I have learned from working with--or in some cases, around and through--each of you. And if it doesn’t work out quite like that, well, there are plans B and C. Because the bureaucratic mind always has at least two backup plans.

Since the announcement went out about my departure, a number of people have said variations on, “What will Bates do without you?” And my response has always been, “Bates will be just fine.” And that is not only because Theresa is excellent at what she does and will grow into new responsibilities, or that Malcolm will put together a great job description and a search committee that will select an excellent replacement. They will. But a bureaucrat’s greatest virtue, unlisted by Wallace and which derives from the key disposition of unborability, is to be replaceable. Here I’ll quote more fully, from someone whose style and insight I like better than Wallace’s, the sociologist Max Weber, for whom “bureaucratic leadership” created a tendency toward “formalistic impersonality: … without hatred or suffering, and therefore without love or enthusiasm … ‘without regard for personality,’ formally the same for ‘everyone,’ and therefore in the same practical manner despite various given interests, the ideal [bureaucrat] carries out their duty.” (Yes, that is my own translation from the German, so it may vary a bit from what the sociologists in this room recall from their graduate seminars.) The Weber seems to be in contradiction to the Wallace, just as it may seem to contradict how I have carried out my duties at Bates. Here is my synthesis:

The ideal bureaucrat creates the conditions necessary for impersonality, for the work to be carried on one way or the other, with or without love or enthusiasm. The love or enthusiasm described by Wallace describes merely the conditions for the survivability of bureaucracy by any one individual human organism. For example, the ability to discover a neat trick for streamlining the issuance of subawards, and for one’s response to that discovery to be life-affirming excitement rather than grinding ennui. Bureaucracy as such is indifferent to whether the individual bureaucrat experiences excitement rather than boredom. What matters is that the subawards are issued, in conformity with the Uniform Guidance, on a timeline that can be defined as timely, not whether or not the individual bureaucrat enjoys or even appreciates the process; with the utterance of that statement I have divided the sheep from the goats, the bureaucrats from those who merely live through bureaucracy, based on whether or not you rolled your eyes.

So if you miss me, what you may miss will be my love or enthusiasm, whether it is for the research or teaching that animates your spirit, or for the behind-the-scenes processes that attempt, not always successfully, to minimize your administrative burdens. But if I have succeeded in what I set out to accomplish, that love and enthusiasm, whether it is replicated in a new Director of Sponsored Programs or not, will become progressively less important, as the processes take on lives of their own, shaping the office in the image of the formal, instrumental rationality that is the necessary and sufficient condition for its existence.

And so, with amore ac studio, I hope to have undone the necessity over the long term for both. And that is why I say, Bates will be just fine. Thank you all for your help over the years in making it so.

Friday, November 16, 2018

A Newly Published Story, and a Note about Awards Eligibility

My story "Simple Present" has been published at "Igxante: An Ontology / Becoming: An Anthology" (scroll down for my piece) by Kate Morgan / Human Decency Is Key. Though fictionalized, this is also the most personal piece I have published yet. It also serves as a reductio ad absurdam against Orhan Pamuk's rape-apologia in the form of a philosophical novel, The Museum of Innocence. And the person who inspired it is now 11 years old.

This is the time of year when writers of science fiction and fantasy start doing "awards eligibility" posts, with an eye toward nominations for the Nebula and Hugo prizes. "Simple Present," while it is "speculative" in the philosophical sense of the word, is not part of either of those genres of fiction, and so, even if you like it, this is not an awards eligibility post for that story, which is the only piece of my own fiction to be published to date in 2018. Another story of mine has been accepted for publication in the Geek Out! anthology forthcoming from Qommunicate Publishing, but I am not certain when it will appear, and thus do not know whether that story will be out in time for 2018 awards eligibility.

Something I did have a bit to do with, that would be eligible for awards, is the story "Walking" by Der Nister, which I translated from the Yiddish. The translation was first published in March 2018. I loved it enough to translate it; perhaps a few readers might love it enough to nominate it for some honor or another.