It's that time of year when people within the Science Fiction and Fantasy community are considering which works to nominate or vote for in various important industry awards, such as the Hugo, Nebula, Otherwise, or British Fantasy Society awards. This year, I published two novellas, two short stories, and one non-fiction essay. Whether you are looking for works to consider in these categories, or just looking to catch up with what I've written recently, here they are, along with a brief excerpt to give you a taste!
Another Life (Stelliform Press, May 2023)
"Otra Vida couldn’t be seen from a distance. By the time you could see the palm fronds or the shade sails, you were practically underneath them. By the time you could tell that the slab of smooth stone between two jagged hills was actually a dam, you could hear the rush of water pouring through it. But approaching now over the rough road at dusk, I could see the glow of soft lights radiating a dome over the basin. The tops of buildings and trees peeked over the rocky ridges. We weren’t quite so hidden as I’d thought.
The road followed a canal that snaked through the desert. Solar panels shaded the water to reduce evaporation, and to power the pumping station that moved the water up a rugged incline before it could pour into the basin where Otra Vida and our primary reservoir were located. Between the dam, the panels, and a few strategically placed helix turbines, we generated far more energy than the pumps or the city used."
Steel Tree (Android Press, December 2023)
Nathan bowed to the fairies and they bowed back. He turned to Fritz and Klara.
“They communicate through dance,” he explained. “I believe if I watch them for an hour or so, I can catalog enough of their movements for functional translation.”
“What?” Klara asked.
“Oh!” Fritz said. “Like bees.”
“…what?” Klara repeated.
“Bees.” He spoke with a sense of wonder that Klara had never heard from him before. “An insect pollinator from Earth. Bees communicate partially through a type of dance, making complex movements while they fly to signal information to other bees.”
“Huh,” Klara said. The universe grew stranger by the moment. She linked her arm with Nathan’s, not wanting to be far from him in this unknown environment, beautiful as it was. “And you think you can understand them.”
“I’ve figured out a few phrases already.”
“Let’s go watch the show then, and find out what kind of a story we’ve found ourselves in.”
"Sea Shells and Soda Cans" Bioluminescent: A Lunarpunk Anthology (Android Press, January 2023)
Flashlight beam sweeping the ground, we left the relatively level strip of old highway and picked our way across the uneven lava rock until the light reflected on calmly sloshing water. Just as I suspected, we were near one of the new lagoons. I shut off the flashlight, and once our eyes adjusted, the water lit up in pale blue and green. It glowed brighter when the water rippled from the kinetic energy of a wave that crashed against the shore farther out.
“Whoa,” Kade said, spellbound. “It’s magical.”
“It’s plankton,” I said. Warmer waters had actually been favorable to some species of sea creatures, including the plankton and algae that glowed in the nighttime waters like neon lights, especially when they found their way into new, protected pools like this.
Kade leaned closer, gazing into the bioluminescent lagoon. Something splashed nearby, and he startled so much he fell over onto his hip, catching himself on the lava rock with one hand.
Green eyes flashed in the moonlight, blue sparkles trailing after those eyes before disappearing into the night.
"Walking Through Fog" Solar Flare: Solarpunk Stories (Zombies Need Brains, LLC, July 2023)
“Don’t you remember the sandhill cranes?” Malena asks over a dinner of the fragrant soup she’s been craving.
I shake my head. “I was a city kid, remember?”
“Even in the city,” Malena says, “for a few weeks, every year, they’d pass through. We’d see them anywhere there was a field. I remember spotting them in city parks and high school football fields and golf courses.”
Malena and I are nearly the same age, and we’re talking about the same Midwestern city, yet I have no memory of the cranes. I’m startled by this omission. Had these creatures truly flown overhead and grazed in nearby fields without me realizing they were there? How had I managed to make them disappear from my awareness even before they disappeared from the ecosystem? It is a guilt I don’t know what to do with, weighing heavy on me.
She goes on to tell me about a road trip her parents took her on when she was very young, to see something called the Festival of the Cranes.
“At this revitalized marshland way down in New Mexico, where the cranes would spend the winters,” she says. “You had to get there early in the morning. Even earlier than you like to get up. Hundreds of cranes. Thousands, probably. Snow geese, too. All of them waiting out the night in a shallow lake, and then taking flight at sunrise. People came from everywhere to watch, just to see so many birds, and take pictures.”
I find some of those pictures online, the sky so full of birds they nearly block out the sun.
Malena rubs her swollen belly affectionately. “I wish we could take our little one to see something like that,” she says sadly.
“Maybe this will be the crane’s new nesting grounds after all,” I say. “Winters are warmer, so they won’t have to go so far south.”
Malena doesn’t respond and I recognize that expression on her face: a crack of doubt. She’s second-guessing herself, weighing what she knows she saw against the unlikeliness of its reality. Letting her mother’s voice in to tell her she’s been imagining things again.
"The Single-Use Soul" (Solarpunk Station, August 2023)
"According to “Our World in Data,” approximately 109 billion humans have lived and died in the history of human existence. With nearly 8 billion humans alive right now, that’s 101 billion distinct souls occupying the afterlife. And that number only counts humans—never mind every other sentient being we share the planet with. The idea that souls occupy a human body for (generally) less than a hundred years and then spend eternity in a celestial plane sounds to me like an unbalanced, wasteful system. The single-use soul reminds me of a single-use plastic cup tossed into the landfill as soon as it’s emptied."