Just saw on twitter that Clarkesworld owner and editor Neil Clarke has lost his day job, after having a bummer of a year that included a severe heart attack and a hurricane. If you want to support the magazine by taking out a subscription, now would be a great time, and you can do this here. In addition to publishing my short stories “Immersion” and “Scattered Along the River of Heaven”, Clarkesworld also has consistently strong fiction: my favourite pieces include Yoon Ha Lee’s “Ghostweight”, Theodora Goss’s “England under the White Witch”, and Xia Jia’s “A Hundred Ghost Parade Tonight”, among many other fine pieces.
-Benjamun Sriduangkaew’s “Woman of the Sun, Woman of the Moon” is a retelling of the myth of the love between the archer god Houyi and the moon goddess Chang’e–except that it makes Houyi a woman and uses the opportunity to poke some pretty sharp points into traditional Chinese family structure. It’s a novella, but it honestly doesn’t feel like it–the two main characters are strongly depicted, and the language is so beautiful and crunchy it just leaves you longing for more. Seriously one of the best stories I’ve read this year.
It is the aftermath of the world’s end, and nine birds–nine suns–lie dead while Houyi cradles the curve of her bow, her fingers locking around the taut hardness of its string. The tenth sun, the last, has fled. Chastise them, Dijun said, a father’s plea. But there is the land and the horror and the dryness, desiccated corpses in empty dust trenches that were rivers not long ago. There are dead dragons, too, and snake women with bright eyes–and is it not right to bring down the suns, is it not what Houyi is meant to do? She is a god who protects; she is a god given a duty.
-Karin Tidbeck’s “Brita’s Holiday Village”: a gentle, dream-like account of a writer’s holiday in an isolated Swedish village and of the people she meets there. Lovely atmosphere and sharp observations.
The cab ride from Åre station to Aunt Brita’s holiday village took about half an hour. I’m renting the cottage on the edge of the village that’s reserved for relatives. The rest are closed for summer. Mum helped me make the reservation—Brita’s her aunt, really, not mine, and they’re pretty close. Yes, I’m thirty-two years old. Yes, I’m terrible at calling people I don’t know.
-Rochita Loenen-Ruiz’s first column for Strange Horizons is up, on Identity and the Indigenous Spirit. Everything she says is worth reading and mulling over.
From Tita King, I learned to wade through the dead weight of imposed culture and the acquired prejudice against my own culture. Her passion for our indigenous culture helped me to find freedom in the indigenous self. Looking back, I know I was very lucky.