Here we are at the pointy end of 2018. I haven’t been especially good at updating this blog with my short fiction publications this year, partially because they tended to come in a flurry and partially because I’ve been so focused on my short fiction collection, Next Curious Thing, which came out about a month ago. So I thought I’d hit two birds with one stone: here’s a round-up of everything I had published this year that is also eligible for awards.
Quick personal note: the story I’m most proud of in 2018 is “The Secret Death of Lane Islington” (#10 on this list); I’d be especially honoured if you considered it.
Short Fiction (Anthologies, Magazines & Journals)
1. As Long as We Both Shall Live and After, Too (~700 words in Hashtagqueer Vol. 2)
A flash fiction piece about losing your wife, android bodies, and cloning. My own wife describes it as “sweet and creepy.”
First line: Before she dies to save us both, my wife shears off a chunk of her hair, thrusts it into my hands and tells me to take care of the cat.
Vanessa Fogg was kind enough to review this just a couple of days ago; she does a much better job at describing it than I would:
“The most ambitious retelling is “Five Tales of the Rose Palace,” which takes as its frame story the tale of “Beauty and the Beast,” and then proceeds to unfold a series of nested narratives, one re-imagined fairy tale within another, characters reappearing across narratives, unexpected connections revealed, until the reader arrives again at the outermost frame. It’s a technical tour-de-force and a delight.”
First line: My father vomits when he sees the palace.
3. Cavorts With Foxes (~1000 words in Wild Musette Journal: Vegetable Pulp)
A quiet piece of fantasy flash about women living in an isolated Queen Anne house, who may or may not be witches.
First line: “You’re here because you think we’re witches,” she says through the crack in the door.
4. Easy Like Arsenic (~16,000 words in Dimension6, Issue 15)
A free-to-read novelette about a world that believes in the “rules” of fairy tales, but is in fact no more magical than our own.
First line: ‘To the Witch of the North-Northeast,’ begins the letter.
Short Fiction (First Published in Next Curious Thing)
5. Emelia and the Undrowned (~900 words in Next Curious Thing)
A fantasy flash piece about a community who, as children, were all saved from drowning by magical squids.
First line: Clarice falls out of the canoe when she is five and a half.
6. Honey in the Blood (~1,200 words in Next Curious Thing)
The story of a thylacine farm, rivers of honey, giant bees, and genetic engineering.
First line: As we all know, thylacines (or Tasmanian tigers) became extinct because they swam in rivers of honey, and were delicious.
7. Everybody Knows (~400 words in Next Curious Thing)
A flash piece where a mother attempts to save her small daughter from the monsters in their home.
First line: Millie saw the monsters as a child, so she knows the signs when they come for her daughter.
8. And the Queen was Vein (~2,200 words in Next Curious Thing)
A dark retelling of Snow White from the queen’s perspective, where Snow is literally breathtakingly beautiful.
First line: The queen’s first child was a small, strange-shaped boy with a tumultuous spirit.
9. All the First Born Children (~200 words in Next Curious Thing)
A very short flash piece (almost a poem) about what happens to the first born children who are taken away from their parents by the fae.
First line: When they’re taken away, all the first born children, at the pointy end of deals struck and bargains made…
10. The Secret Death of Lane Islington (~6,900 words in Next Curious Thing)
A teenage singer invites her doppelganger from a parallel world to pose as her for most of her public life.
First line: I first meet Lane Islington when she steps out of the lake, all smeared eyeliner and pointy incisors, and says, “Do you want to be a star?”
21 of my stories from 2013 – 2018, all collected in one place. From Vanessa Fogg’s review:
“In various ways, these dark and bright stories are about human connections—connections made, maintained, lost, or severed. They are strange, surreal, lyrical, and moving. “An otherworldly banquet” of tales is how the back cover describes this book, and I would agree. This is a beautiful collection of imaginative stories. I greatly recommend it, and also greatly look forward to seeing more from Ephiny Gale. ” – Vanessa Fogg