It's that time of year again...or maybe a little late, but better that than never, right?
If you're reading and nominating for science fiction and fantasy awards, please consider my stories from 2017. All four are eligible in the short story category.
Also, please consider the original fiction published by Escape Pod in 2017. As Assistant Editor and then Co-Editor, I am proud of every story we ran last year. Escape Pod is also eligible in the Best Semiprozine category for the Hugo Awards.
Microbiota and the Masses: A Love Story - on Tor.com (free to read online)
The scents of earth—loam, pollen, compost, the exhalation of leaves—permeated the inside of Moena Sivaram’s airtight home. She stood near the southeast corner and misted the novice bromeliads. The epiphytes clutched the trunk of an elephant ear tree, its canopy stretching up to the clear, SmartWindow-paned roof and shading everything below.
Moena whispered to the plants: “Amma’s here, little babies. You’re safe with me, but you must grow those roots.” With her isolated life, these would be her only children.
Nava - Gamut, Issue 1
Three times Nava tried to change eir skin, and three times e dissolved into primordial ooze. Three times e ended as a painful mess of skeleton, flesh, nerves, and silicon. After the first two failures, Maker collected Nava into a womb and rebuilt Nava to wholeness.
After the third, e regarded Nava's ravaged form and said, "I'm calling in your grandmaker. I'm not sure why this is so hard for you, but maybe Grandmaker will have some insight. Don't worry. You'll come into your abilities."
Ayla clutches her tab with a trembling grip and reads the words again. She can hardly believe her eyes, but the blurring message on the screen doesn't lie: she will be a passenger on the Mayflower expedition. Coming to Denver had been a good attempt at forgetting California, but Mars might be far enough to put her past to rest.
An Unexpected Boon - Apex Magazine (free to read online)
Kalyani had to stop and touch the Jambu trees lining the road, each exactly twice, or else her insides would itch. She counted as she walked.
“Twelve. Fourteen. Sixteen,” she murmured, tapping the bark lightly with the pad of her index finger.
“Hurry up,” Aruni said.
Her brother was three years older and one hundred steps ahead. Kalyani was twelve. She could have kept up with him if it weren’t for the trees.