(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)
(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)
Short story: The White-throated Transmigrant by E. Lily Yu
* Miles Morales - A Spider Man Novel by Jason Reynolds
Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He's even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he's Spider Man.
* Bright Thrones by Kate Elliott
An exciting e-novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Court of Fives, from World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott!
* Drawing Dead by SM Reine
The vampire slayer is turning into a vampire? Over her dead body. Dana McIntyre has been bitten by a master vampire. She's infected with the venom. And after killing hundreds of vampires to keep Las Vegas safe, she'd rather die than turn.
* Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. Chen
On the way home from his latest mission, secret agent Kangaroo’s spacecraft is wrecked by a rogue mining robot. The agency tracks the bot back to the Moon, where a retired asteroid miner—code named “Clementine” —might have information about who’s behind the sabotage. Clementine will only deal with Jessica Chu, Kangaroo’s personal physician and a former military doctor once deployed in the asteroid belt. Kangaroo accompanies Jessica as a courier, smuggling Clementine’s payment of solid gold in the pocket universe that only he can use.
* The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture...a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes. But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.
* Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
Blackfeet author Stephen Graham Jones brings readers a spine-tingling Native American horror novella. Walking through his own house at night, a fifteen-year-old thinks he sees another person stepping through a doorway. Instead of the people who could be there, his mother or his brother, the figure reminds him of his long-gone father, who died mysteriously before his family left the reservation. When he follows it he discovers his house is bigger and deeper than he knew.
* Shattered Minds by Laura Lam
Carina used to be one of the best biohackers in Pacifica. But when she worked for Sudice and saw what the company's experiments on brain recording were doing to their subjects, it disturbed her—especially because she found herself enjoying giving pain and contemplating murder. She quit and soon grew addicted to the drug Zeal, spending most of her waking moments in a horror-filled dream world where she could act out her depraved fantasies without actually hurting anyone.
* The Last Good Man by Linda Nagata
carred by war, in pursuit of truth: Army veteran True Brighton left the service when the development of robotic helicopters made her training as a pilot obsolete. Now she works at Requisite Operations, a private military company established by friend and former Special Ops soldier Lincoln Han. ReqOp has embraced the new technologies. Robotics, big data, and artificial intelligence are all tools used to augment the skills of veteran warfighters-for-hire. But the tragedy of war is still measured in human casualties, and when True makes a chance discovery during a rescue mission, old wounds are ripped open. She’s left questioning what she knows of the past, and resolves to pursue the truth, whatever the cost.
* Mars Girls by Mary Turzillo
What Nanoannie and Kapera find at the Smythe’s Pharm is more than the girls bargained for. The hab has been trashed and there are dead bodies buried in the backyard! If that wasn’t bad enough, the girls crash the rover and Kapera gets kidnapped by Facers who claim her parents are murderers! Between Renegade Nuns, Facers, and corp geeks, Nanoannie and Kapera don’t know who to trust or where to go. Kapera only wants to find her parents so they can get to Earth Orbitals and she can be treated for her leukemia. Nanoannie wants to help her friend and experience a little bit of Mars before selling her contract to the first corp that offers to buy it.
Prompt: "ghost consciousness."
The house had lain ruined for decades upon decades, quiescent at the edge of the town. Once, it was said, a fine family had dwelled there, wealthy at first, much given to parties and entertainments. The oldest people in the town still remembered the parties: the music of string quartets, and cakes decorated with spun-sugar ornaments, and couples dancing gaily through the night. But now none of the windows had glass in them anymore, save for a few sharded teeth, and the wind blew freely through the rooms where people had once gathered to gossip.
Nevertheless, the house was not entirely uninhabited. A ghost remained attached to the house, and it murmured to itself during the long winter nights, singing tuneless ghost-songs of the shapes that shadows make in the dark, and the sounds that mirrors make when no one is around to hear them, and footsteps in the distant wood. The ghost did not remember the name of the person it had been, once upon a time, but neither did this make it unhappy.
In time a pregnant cat moved into the house for the shelter it offered. The ghost did not remember much about cats, except that they liked cream, and it had no such thing to give the cat. But it had other things to offer. It encouraged the old closets to throw their doors open and disgorge their rotted linens so that the cat would have something to nest in, and it offered all house's hiding places, as well as the lullaby of the crooning wind.
For her part, the cat was a pragmatist. She did not share human prejudices against ghosts, and a ruined house was as good as any other place for her to raise kittens. She merely made sure that there were no raccoons or the like already occupying the place, and then she set to building her nest in earnest.
Cats are not the most talkative of folk, but this cat was friendlier than most. She asked the ghost why it lingered in the house, instead of going to its rest the way humans usually did. While she didn't always put credence in human stories, she had heard that ghosts usually stayed in the realm of the living because they had left some task unfinished.
The ghost said to the cat, "The only task is the task of the house itself. It was my home when I lived, and it remains my home in death."
"Then I am sorry I cannot help you," the cat said, dismayed in spite of the very pressing matter of the kittens she expected to arrive in a matter of days. "A human could help you restore the house, but I am a cat. I may have clever paws and whiskers, but they are no good for building."
The ghost's laughter gusted through the house, although it tried to keep the worst of the cold from the cat. "What do I care about restoration?" it said. "Perhaps once, when I had flesh, it would have mattered to me. But now I am a creature of shadows and dust and ash, and this house suits what I am now. I can keep it safe for you and your kittens. They can play in the house's halls and grow to adulthood without fear of being chased out by human owners; is that not enough?"
"If that is the case," the cat replied, "I shall gratefully accept your hospitality, and my kittens and I will keep your house free of mice."
"It is a very old bargain," the ghost said, "and if it suits you, it suits me."
Two days later, the kittens were born without fuss, or more fuss than the usual, anyway, and in the years to come, generations of cats made their home in the house. They probably live there still. As for the ghost, it has been busy adding the songs of cats to its repertoire. The result is noisy, but none of them mind.
As with the first two volumes in this series, all profits go to benefit Con or Bust.
Here’s the full table of contents:
- Introduction by K. Tempest Bradford
- Heroes and Monsters, by T. S. Bazelli
- Notes from the Meat Cage, by Fran Wilde
- What Color Are My Heroes? by Mari Kurisato
- The Zeroth Law Of Sex in Science Fiction, by Jennifer Cross
- Our Hyperdimensional Mesh of Identities, by Alliah
- Erasing Athena, Effacing Hestia, by Alex Conall
- Not So Divergent After All, by Alyssa Hillary
- Skins, by Chelsea Alejandro
- The Doctor and I, by Benjamin Rosenbaum
- My Family Isn’t Built By Blood, by Jaime O. Mayer
- Lost in Space: A Messy Voyage Through Fictional Universes, by Carrie Sessarego
- Decolonise The Future, by Brandon O’Brien
- Natives in Space, by Rebecca Roanhorse
- I Would Fly With Dragons, by Sean Robinson
- Adventures in Online Dating, by Jeremy Sim
- Of Asian-Americans and Bellydancing Wookiees, by Dawn Xiana Moon
- Shard of a Mirage, by MT O’Shaughnessy
- Unseen, Unheard, by Jo Gerrard
Huge thanks to the contributors for sharing their stories and experiences. I’ve learned so much from earlier volumes in this series, and this one was no different.
If you’re a reviewer and would like a copy, please contact me and let me know your preferred format and where your reviews are published.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
- The Channel Islands
- The Isle of Man
- Northern Ireland
- The Falkland Islands
- Ascension Island
- South Georgia
- St. Helena
- The Pitcairn Islands
- Hong Kong
- Victoria BC
I doubt he even remembers enraging me. But I almost screamed at him.
I’m still not sure whether it was his fault.
But let’s rewind. I have a friend who has pretty severe walking issues – he gets only so many steps in a day before he collapses. Most days he can get to nightfall without needing a walker – and he works hard, very hard, not to be seen as a burden.
More so, he struggles to be seen as a person. If you’ve never friended someone with a disability, you don’t quite understand how a visible handicap can eclipse someone’s personality. People tend to assume that everyone in a wheelchair acts the same – they talk a little louder, a little slower, they’re quicker to dismiss their opinions because really, do they know what they want?
Disabled people struggle to be seen. And my friend, well, he worked really hard to be more than his disability –
– which meant he pushed himself hard at conventions. Lots of covert sweating, casually leaning on bars, sitting down when they could. Because if he displayed weakness, the conversation would shift from all the happy things that made his life worthwhile and would focus on “Are you all right?” – which is a question he asks himself entirely too damn much as it is.
He wanted the con to be a vacation and not an explanation. Which was why his disability was, largely, not quite a secret among friends but something where the extent wasn’t entirely revealed unless you were in the know.
And my friend had held up well during the day but was starting to fade in the evening. He was looking for, well, let’s call him The Guy Ultimately I Wanted To Yell At, or Tguiwtya.
He was looking for Tguiwtya. Because he was good friends with Tguiwtya, and and wanted a few moments to hang with Tguiwtya to hang out before he collapsed. And my friend texted Tguiwtya to say “Hey, I’m on my way,” and Tguiwtya had said “I’m in the back of the ballroom.”
Tguiwtya was not in the back of the ballroom.
I ran into my friend, looking exhausted, who asked me if I’d seen Tguiwtya. I knew he’d walked all the way down from their room to meet Tguiwtya, exhausting the very last of his daily steps, and getting back up to the room would be an effort. I said I hadn’t.
He plopped into a chair, sweaty, miserable, waiting for Tguiwtya to show. I kept him company, brought him water. But Tguiwtya wasn’t responding to texts. And eventually, my friend said, “Well, let’s see if I can find him,” and staggered off, leaning heavily on his cane.
I wondered if he was going to make it.
I left. And lo, a couple of hallways down, there was Tguiwtya! Merrily laughing with a bunch of his friends. I collared him.
“Hey. Our friend’s walking the halls looking for you.”
He looked puzzled, as if unsure why I’d bring such a trivial thing to his attention. “Yeah,” he said. “That’s fine.”
I almost screamed.
What I wanted to yell was, “Do you fucking realize how much effort it takes for my friend to find you? You said your dumb ass would be at the back of the ballroom, and they exerted themselves to get to you because they like you, and now they’re straining themselves to find you again, and your answer should not be some pudding-faced ‘that’s fine’ but ‘Yes, sir, I will get right on that.'”
Then I saw Tguiwtya’s friends, crooking their necks at me.
Did I want to make a scene?
Was it worth looking like a fucking maniac in front of all these people, just to make a point about someone’s condition? Because they didn’t know. They couldn’t understand unless I literally barged into their conversation, twisted it, made it about this, and….
Shit, that’s gotta be what it’s like all the time, isn’t it?
Let’s be honest: Tguiwtya should have fucking known how much effort it took my friend to walk all the way down to meet him. I know for a fact that my buddy had talked to Tguiwtya about his illness. He was one of the inner circle, one of the folks who’d pushed a walker for my friend.
But how many times do you want to call some able-bodied person out for not comprehending something that they cannot experience? For Tguiwtya, “walking to the ballroom and back” was such a trivial effort that I doubt he even contemplated it as an effort.
Would I be damaging Tguiwtya’s friendship with my friend by explaining what an accidental asshole they were being?
That was, I realized, a brief window into being disabled. People don’t see your illness, even when you make it clear to them. They can’t comprehend that this background static of their lives could be a deafening uproar to anyone else.
And you always get to choose: make an embarrassing fuss and maybe get accommodated, maybe get rejected – or keep the peace and keep a friendship that means less but at least you get to keep it?
To this day, I’m still not sure if I should have yelled at him. Maybe I should. But he wasn’t my friend, and even if he was, I’m not sure I wanted to dress him down in front of a crowd of people.
What I do know is that I doubt Tguiwtya even ponders that moment. If he does, he thinks of me as the asshole who gave him a vicious side-eye when he didn’t break off his amusing anecdote to rush to meet our friend in the ballroom.
But I remember.
I learned something that day.
I hope I learned to listen.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.