This year is actually almost over! Sure, some part of you says it's still March, but that part is sleep deprived and needs a hug.
And because 2020 year is almost over, awards nominations are starting to open up. That leaves us writers with the nervous task of collecting our awards-eligible material.
Below, I humbly present the stories and articles I've written this year. This has been the most fruitful year of my career, with more publications and fan outreach than ever. I'm profoundly grateful to everyone who has enjoyed my weirdo stories. "Open House on Haunted Hill," for instance, is the single most popular thing I've ever written, despite being exactly the sort of thing so many people told me I couldn't and shouldn't write. Thank you all who proved those voices wrong.
"Open House on Haunted Hill" at Diabolical Plots, (3,016 words) published June 15, 2020
133 Poisonwood Avenue is the loneliest haunted house in the world. It doesn't want to kill; it doesn't want to terrorize. It just wants to find a human who will live in it. Today is the last open house the realtors are going to try. Can it find someone to make it feel full?
"Gender and Other Faulty Software" in Fireside Magazine #78, (1,000 words) published April
Reclaiming abandoned spaceships is hard work. The firmware the crew uploads in the newest abandoned mining ship they find hits a unique snag: the ship has a lot of questions about why the software wants to gender it male. It has questions, and cannons designed to shatter moons.
"The Bottomless Martyr" in Uncanny Magazine #37, (4,986 words) published November 1st
Rang carries the weight of a miracle. Whenever she dies, she resurrects hours later and a miracle will happen somewhere. Once a whirlpool opened and swallowed the enemy fleet; another time, a hurricane disappeared and spared her enclave. But people want to exploit Rang's power and convince her that harming herself is for the greater good. To get the real change she wants, she'll have to live.
"Tucking In the Nuclear Egg" at Nature Futures, (869 words) published March 18
This egg could destroy the country. It's a kilometer tall, holds an infant kaiju inside, and is putting out more radiation than a nuclear reactor meltdown. Engineers race to figure out how to contain the fallout, and potentially shield the creature inside. It's going to hatch eventually, and the question is whether they can communicate to it and prevent a rampage.
"8-Bit Free Will" at PodCastle, (3,763 words) published November 24
Hollow and HealBlob are two standard enemies in a videogame dungeon, designed as enemy fodder for the players. But after they accidentally defeat the player, they start leveling up. Can they evade the players long enough to escape across the game world? With players hunting after them, all either of them wants is to keep the other safe. That companionship might be the key to escaping.
"Alien Invader or Assistive Device?" at Robot Dinosaurs, (1,400 words) published April 3
Earth's first contact with alien intelligence wasn't between people and Martians. It was between dinosaurs and smart probes. This disabled utahraptor is about to make an uncommon bond with strange technology. Is it an invader? Or an assistive device?
"Let Me Show You Something" in the Going Further anthology, (1,547 words) published June 24
Carter has a new assistive device to let him move around at work, but he's not a drone. He takes it out to go hiking, something he hasn't done since he became disabled, reclaiming his hobby, with a plan to show something special to the woman who's been by his side the whole time.
"The Snow White Institute" in If There's Anyone Left: Volume 1, (996 words) published November 23
Soobin is afraid her stepmother is out to kill her for some very unnecessary pathos. She reaches out to a mysterious institute that is studying the leading cause of death in young women: unnecessary pathos for the surviving men. Might they have a cure for her plot?
Article: The Assassination of Professor X: The Destruction of Marvel's Most Famous Disabled Character at Uncanny Magazine Issue #35, published March 1
A look at the history of the famous X-Men character Professor X, and how the use of retroactive continuity sought to rewrite him as despicable and strip him of his disabilities. It also probes into troubling ableism in the rest of the X-Men universe that coincided with Professor X's downfall.
Article: The Lodge and Seven Contrivances: How Contrivance Affects Horror Plots at Diabolical Plots, published May 27
An examination of how Horror storytelling uses contrivances to create and increase tension, and how they malfunction. The focus on is on the 2019 film The Lodge, and its overload of contrivances that break their own flow.
Article: Personal Canons: Dragon Ball at Here's The Thing, published November 9
A personal story about how the writing of Akira Toriyama changed how I look at the possibilities of Fantasy. Dragon Ball's profound weirdness meant I could never settle for less again.