Monday, November 20, 2023

All the Short Stories John Wiswell Published in 2023

2023 is ticking down to a close. As I’m wrapping up the final touches on my debut novel, I’m also looking back on all the short fiction I got to share with you folks this year. I got late word from an editor that the final story of mine that *was* going to be published this year will now be coming out next year. Having things wrapped up makes a boy nostalgic.

I'm proud of all my weirdo fictional children. Each story I published this year did something totally different. 

I'm curious, though. Do you, dear reader, have a favorite?

Here are the contenders:

"Bad Doors" at Uncanny Magazine

Everywhere Kosmo goes, a mysterious burgundy door appears, as though stalking him and demanding he open it. He tries to avoid the terrors he’s sure lies behind it. Everyone in his life tells him not to worry about it, but none of them are taking this new outbreak seriously—something the news is calling “COVID-19.”

"So You Want to Kiss Your Nemesis" at Lightspeed Magazine

The Intimate Blade is a unique blacksmith shop. They sell the weapons you’ll need to propose to that special nemesis in your life—to win the duel, and maybe tip their chin up with the tip so they have to look you in the eyes. They’ve just gotten a new customer in dire need of help.

"Irresponsibly Human" at Small Wonders

For their senior thesis project, an alien student plans to conquer the planet Earth. They view this planet as backwards and ridiculous—come on, social media is still legal there—but they run into more problems than they expected. Especially with how delicious their new humanoid form is.

"The Three O'clock Dragon" at Tordotcom

Liza is the only dragon in Prosperity City, a long scaly creature who rules the rails. It’s a good life, if a lonely one. It’d be better if the military stopped hunting her. Soon Liza gets an idea: if she runs for mayor, she can call off the military goons. She quickly learns the current mayor has more enemies than just a dragon.

So which is your favorite? Has something from one of these stories stuck with you the longest? I’m always curious how this sort of thing breaks down.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

New story day: The Three O'clock Dragon at Tordotcom

It’s a new story day! My short story “The Three O’clockDragon” is live and free to read on Tordotcom.

“The Three O’clock Dragon” follows Liza, who is your average, mild-mannered half-mile-long dragon, who lives on the city’s rail system. These metro tunnels make great lairs. The mayor spends no expense trying to kill her off, and she’s frankly exasperated with all the paramilitary assaults. So she’s got a plan: she’s running for mayor, to kick the current jerk out.

She can’t do it alone. As she starts to open up to other city dwellers, she might even make some friends. Certainly there’s no shortage of commuters who’d like a ride on the dragon.

“The Three O’clock Dragon” is my second story at Tordotcom, following last year’s smash hit “D.I.Y.” It’s been a pleasure to work once again with the great editor Jonathan Strahan, who helped this story find its final form.

You read this story for free by clicking right here.

I’m excited to see what y’all think of Liza. Would you vote for a dragon?

Monday, July 10, 2023

New Story: So You Want to Kiss Your Nemesis

 I’m proud to share my first-ever story in Lightspeed Magazine: “So You Want to Kiss Your Nemesis.” 

You can read it for free right here. 

“So You Want to Kiss Your Nemesis” is a flash fiction story about an unusual kind of romantic supply store. Do you absolute detest someone who is frustratingly hot? Well, the Intimate Blade sells the weapons you need to propose to that special arch-enemy in your life. It’s an engagement ring store, but they sell swords.

It’s such a pleasure to bring this zany little gem into the world. I hope it brightens your day.

Lightspeed Magazine is an award-winning magazine that I’ve wanted to publish in for years. They’ve published works by luminaries like Ken Liu, An Owomoyela, Peter Watts, Yoon Ha Lee, Jack McDevitt, Merc Fenn Wolfmoor, and Catherynne M. Valente, among numerous others. Breaking into this magazine was a bucket list goal for me, and learning they wanted this particular story made my day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

New Fiction: "Bad Doors" at Uncanny Magazine

It's New Story Day! "Bad Doors" is live at Uncanny Magazine.

Kosmo is a simple English teacher with no interest in evil magic doors. However one day they take an interest in him. A burgundy door with a shiny black knob appears in his hallway, where no door has ever been.

Kosmo does what he thinks anybody would do: he grabs his dog, runs out of his house, and never goes back in. He thinks it’s over, but the door isn’t finished with him, as they pursue him everywhere he goes. They beckon old Kosmo. He struggles with why they’re appearing, but refuses to ever look inside one. Everyone in his life chides him to be adventurous and not be so afraid. However, this is 2020 and it’s the same time when everyone around him isn’t taking this “COVID thing” seriously. What’s a man to do to dodge a cursed door and a pandemic?

“Bad Doors” is the story of a man who refuses to be in a Horror story. What happens to you when you refuse to answer the call of a nightmare?

“Bad Doors” is free to read right here on Uncanny Magazine’s website.

This one is for everybody who thinks they'd just walk out of a Horror story. For people who'd say, "Nah."

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