RACHEL READS 5/15/2018

I read these, and YOU SHOULD TOO.

Sanjena Sathian - "Neighbors" Joyland Magazine 

The creepiness of this story rises as slow and inevitable as floodwaters. An unnerving look at karmic retribution in a disarmingly literal sense.

Theodore McCombs - "Six Hangings in the Land of Unkillable Women" Nightmare Magazine

Turn-of-the-century speculative historical horror where women, at long last, are the fiercer sex.

Zach Doss - "The Season of Daughters" Fairy Tale Review

I never met Zach in person, but we were pals on Twitter and page-mates in the Ochre Issue of Fairy Tale Review, and I was shocked and heartbroken to hear of his untimely death earlier this year. His story "The Season of Daughters" is strange, unsettling, and a pristine example of Doss's neon-bright talent.

Emily Louise Smith - "What Becoming a Mother Has Taught Me About Home" House Method

A beautiful, bite-sized essay recounting the first few months of motherhood by Lookout Books impresario Emily Smith; I hope Birdie inspires a hundred thousand more of these.

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RACHEL READS 4/6/2018

"The Father Box" - John Lane, Sliver of Stone

Poet, essayist, novelist, teacher and friend John Lane is a person whose presence I miss, if only for his echoing call of "HELLO, BETSY!" whenever he visited the office. His fragmentary, poetic essay is both tribute and tactile reckoning. Sliver of Stone published my essay on roller coasters last summer.

"Like A River Loves the Sky" - Emma Torsz, Uncanny

I met Emma at a friend's wedding and we bonded over our jumpsuits; hers was dramatic, mine was very, very sparkly. Emma's story in Uncanny is a love story unlike any other--sensuous and distressing, romantic and restrained. I've never been so charmed by roadkill.

"And Then There Were (N-One)" - Sarah Pinsker, Uncanny

Fellow B-more transplant Sarah Pinsker's novella is an Agatha Christie multiverse send-up that tricked me with its sheer imagination. It's a whodunnit--was it Sarah Pinsker or SARAH PINSKER?--with a final image I still can't shake. I'm making my way through the 2018 Hugo and Nebula nominees, and I'm happy to see this included on both.

Finally, I'm ending with this seasonal Edna St. Vincent Millay poem from THE VAULTS OF TIME:

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RACHEL READS 3/31/18

SURPRISE, IT'S THE CLARION CLASS OF 2017, 2017 EDITION! Here are tales by my illustrious peers published in 2017:

"An Equal Share of the Bone" - Karen Osborne, Escape Pod

Fellow Balti-martian Karen Osborne's story of space-whale hunting genuinely made me gasp as I was walking my mutts and listening to the podcast. Luckily, a little space krill told me she's expanding this into a novel.

"Ora Et Labora" - Theodore McCombs, Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Ted McCombs is as tall as he is smart, and this epic Medieval fantasy deftly weaves two enormous concepts this agnostic writer never fully understood--mathematics and monasticism--but loved nevertheless.

"Trees Struck By Lighting Burning From the Inside Out" - Emily Lundgren, Shimmer

Emily Lundgren, my Midwestern sister from another mister, has a voice all her own, hugely on display here with werewolves who say things like "all gone to fuck in a dickbasket." Just look at these tags: FOREST, MONSTER, QUILTBAG, WOLVES.

An Ashley Blooms turkey (three strikes in a row in bowling and a hilarious sports word):

"Fallow" - Shimmer

Something weird is growing in the field. My little bugs say this, too, is on its way to a novel.

"The Dead Father's Cookbook" - Strange Horizons

When you meet Ashley, you can't tell how gross she is because she cleverly hides it under her Kentucky sweetness. I, too, try to embody this dichotomy, represented by a picture from the Daily Bull I've been carrying around for 10 years of an adorable puppy captioned "I will fucking kill you." Ashley's story is both touching and disgusting, featuring siblings trying to rebuild their family via a golem made of vomit.

"Fire in My Bones" - Oxford American

Ashley is also a bang-up essayist, shown here in this incredible piece that will crack your heart.

"Notes Towards a New Fairytale" - Patrick Doerksen, Metaphorosis

If you can't tell by his anglicized umlaut, Patrick's self-appointed nickname Geschroepfchen,  the German for "tiny creature" (but isn't, because I just googled that and it's "cupping therapy" meaning my Deutsch is vastly out of date) should indicate his love of all dass Deutsches ist. Germany did give us the Brothers Grimm, after all. This story features a delightful little critter of its own and all the magic I expect from the Schwarzwald.