It’s suddenly mid-December, so it’s time for my annual writing wrap-up / awards eligibility post. I had six pieces of original short fiction published in 2022. In no particular order, they are:
“Rewind” (1,000 words) at The Dread Machine. This is a second person, told-in-reverse ghost story that was recently shortlisted for 2022’s Brave New Weird.
“Juliette locks the caravan doors behind her, shutting out the mid-morning sun. She slips off her aviator sunglasses when she notices you’re conscious, and her eyes look brighter than they ever did at school, like she’s become fully alive out here. Maybe that’s how all of the living will seem, now that you’re a ghost.”
“Restoration” (200 words) at Stupefying Stories. This one’s about taking back-ups of yourself, and it came 3rd in the ‘Ice’ competiton of The Pete Wood Challenge.
“My wife and I go to get scanned every four months; every quark that we’re made up of is recorded as a back-up. Our physical and mental states in that moment put figuratively on ice.”
“Neuro” (5,100 words) in The Art of Being Human anthology. This is a piece about recording and playing our life experiences (including touch, smells, temperature etc.) like we would currently do with YouTube videos.
“Immediately, my sensations started to shift, like falling gently out of a dream. The first thing I noticed was the heat: the sun radiating down, the warm breeze ruffling my shirt, the hot sand between my toes. The light was so much brighter, reflecting off the dunes and waves, than in my bedroom, but my new eyes were almost used to it. Then my new body—the body I was borrowing, the body of the woman who originally recorded that experience—started to move, and I was overwhelmed by the difference between our physical realities. How her longer, athletic legs travelled with such fluidity down the beach. How her smaller breasts didn’t bounce as we walked. The sensation of where her shoulders and nose sat in space. And she was so happy, so content. I could feel it through her whole body, her whole mind.”
“Inheritance” (200 words) at Stupefying Stories. This one’s about inheriting your family’s memories, and it came 2nd in the ‘Haunted’ competition of The Pete Wood Challenge.
“They tell me that taking the memory pill is when you really become an adult.”
“The White Factory” (1,600 words) came out in The Quarter(ly) Vol. III. Many women with the same name are invited into a converted factory to play a game; they have to collect as many rings as possible from a maze of puzzle rooms.
“One day in late spring, 108 women named Nicole gather outside a large white building that was once a factory. Within the first five minutes we discover we share the same name, and after that it takes only slightly longer to uncover that we had all had our 27th birthday exactly two weeks ago.”
And finally, “Faewild” (5,000 words) was published in Wyldblood 10. This is my love letter to the monster taming / creature collection genre, including a monster taming boarding school and illegally travelling to the dark realm that the monsters come from.
“The boys downstairs had gotten louder, like they may have ascended to the next floor. The salve on Emory’s dirty hand had already begun to dry and crack, and deciding that she couldn’t wait any longer, she crossed her fingers amongst the flakes so tightly that her joints hurt. Then she retrieved the Fae Cube from within the portal and felt in the darkness for the latch. Miraculously, it had flipped to horizontal, for locked. Something was inside. Relief flooded her whole body like plunging into a hot spring; she had caught something.”
I’ll also be doing my usual end-of-the year video plus my 2022 Short Fiction Recommendations List (aka ‘some of my favourite stories I’ve read this year’), but I wanted to get this out first before it got too late in December!
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