This is my yearly award eligibility post!
It has absolutely everything I wrote that I could think of, but I'd like to emphasize Standing on the Floodbanks, a novelette, and Given Sufficient Desperation, a short story. The latter was published in the Defying Doomsday anthology and is not available online, but I'm happy to send you a copy if you are reading for this year's awards - leave a comment with your email and the file can head your way. I am also glad to send anything else that's not currently available online.
~~~Standing on the Floodbanks. GigaNotoSaurus, 2016 November. Ed. Rashida J. Smith. Approx. 12,000 words. – Quasi-medieval, quasi-Hungarian fantasy inspired by present-day politics and the 2013 flooding of the Danube. Magical mentorship and a critical take on mages’ guild tropes.
"It’s a lovely story with a strong emotional core wrapped in a complex fantasy situation of magic, politics, and corruption, and it’s one hell of a read." - Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews
~~~Given Sufficient Desperation. Defying Doomsday anthology, ed. Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench. Approx. 3100 words. – A YA SF story involving alien invasion, neuroimaging, and a take on warfare… and dyspraxia.
"The apocalypse here is so delightfully layered [...] In a short space Takács manages to pack in not only character development for the protagonist but also an entire plot about the Earth being destroyed, colonized and liberated." - Marina Berlin, Strange Horizons "Touching, yet with dry humor, this story had the perfect amount of oddity for me, plus great speculation on communication with aliens." - Daniel, Skiffy and FantyToward the Luminous Towers. Clarkesworld, Sep 2016. Ed. Neil Clarke. Approx. 3900 words. – An extremely grim anti-war SF story about the lengths people sometimes need to go to in order to escape a horrible situation. Also with technical bits about neuroplasticity!
"It’s dark and cautionary, exploring the lengths to which a person can be exploited in the name of protecting their “people”." - T. Regina, Books & SuchGood People in a Small Space. Self-pub, Nov 2016. Approx. 2300 words. - This was the reward for my first Patreon goal. It is a fluffy and feelgood story set in my continuity, the Eren universe. (Toward the Luminous Towers is set in a very different corner.)
~~~These are eligible for the short fiction category of most awards, but you are probably better off nominating my longer work. They are here for the sake of completeness! 😀 All Talk of Common Sense. Polychrome Ink Volume 3, ed. Em Salgado. Approx. 1050 words. – A fantasy flash story with an autistic protagonist and palace intrigue. You can also get this one if you sign up for my Patreon, and it's set in the same continuity as the Floodbanks novelette above! Shovelware. Nature Futures, ed. Colin Sullivan. Approx. 950 words. – A near-future hard SF story about software development and lucid dreaming. + Bonus notes The Merry Knives of Interspecies Communication. Angels of the Meanwhile, ed. Alexandra Erin. Approx. 200 words. – A microfiction piece involving masochism in space.
~~~Marginalia to Eiruvin 45b. Bracken Magazine, ed. Alina Rios. – A Talmudically inspired magical-realist poem. I had three more poems published, but they are not speculative in nature: Never Cease. Spelling the Hours, ed. Rose Lemberg. – A poem about Péter Rózsa, a Hungarian Jewish woman mathematician who also wrote popular science. Rays of Light, Stretching. Iowa City Poetry in Public. – A tiny poem about immigration. (Page 18 in the pdf.) Periodicity. Little Village. – A poem about the rise of the extreme right in Hungary, and the spring flood. + Bonus notes
Best Fan Writer
You can find my reviews and other book-related content at Bogi Reads the World! You can also check out the #diversestories and #diversepoems hashtags on Twitter.
If you enjoyed reading my work, you are welcome to visit my bibliography for pieces from earlier years. I try and make sure everything is eventually available online free of charge. Please support my Patreon if you can!
I write speculative / magical-realist fiction and poetry. There is quite a bit of it by now, and most of it is available free of charge online. If you like this kind of stuff, you can support my Patreon.
A specifically Jewish list seems timely; my bibliography is long and messy, and it is hard to separate works out by topic. I will probably also make a QUILTBAG-themed list too.
If you want to read about anti-Semitism specifically: Periodicity, The Tiny English-Hungarian Phrasebook for Visiting Extraterrestrials, Never Cease (this last one is in a book you can buy; the first two are free)
And now on to the complete list...
The Size of a Barleycorn, Encased in Lead, in TBA (Forthcoming, 2017) - Prose poem combining my interests in Talmud study and nuclear power
Synthesis: This Shining Confluence, in Sunvault anthology (Forthcoming, 2017) - solarpunk science-fantasy about riding the Livyatan
Marginalia to Eiruvin 45b, in Bracken (2016) - Talmudic cycle #2, tractate Eiruvin
Never Cease, in Spelling the Hours anthology (2016) - about Hungarian Jewish computer scientist Péter Rózsa, and the Holocaust
Periodicity in Little Village (2016) - on the current rise of neo-Nazism in Hungary, in memory of poet Miklós Radnóti
Six Hundred and Thirteen Commandments, in Ideomancer (2014) - on Sha'ar haGilgulim
The Tiny English-Hungarian Phrasebook for Visiting Extraterrestrials, in Stone Telling (2013) - on violent anti-Semitism and other forms of ethnocentrism in Hungary
How (Not) to Avoid Harmful Spirits - A Talmudic Guide, in Through the Gate (2013) - Talmudic cycle #1, tractate Berachot
Torah and Secular Learning, in Strange Horizons (2012) - on Torah u-madda
A Hail of Pebbles and Dust, in Astropoetica (2011) - a hard-SF poem with serafim and exoplanets
Skin the Creature in Through the Gate (2015) - my ars poetica, sort of... Brief Jewish mention
Three Partitions, in Giganotosaurus (2014) - science-fantasy novelette examining the gender binary in Judaism.
This Secular Technology, in Mirror Shards 2, reprinted in Drabblecast (2012/2015) - Orthodox Jewish girls fighting demons on a space station
Forestspirit, Forestspirit, in Clarkesworld (2015) - Set in far-future Hungary, the protagonist belongs to an unnamed but persecuted ethnic minority, and another character too. (The ambiguity was deliberate, because sadly there is more than one such group. You can read them as either Jews, Roma or Beás people)
Recordings of a More Personal Nature, in Apex (2013) - quasi-Jewish secondary world fantasy, with a Sanhedrin
- (Comic) (Non-free) The Little Black Fish by Samad Behrangi and Bizhan Khodabandeh, published by Rosarium Press, 2016.
- (Novella) (Non-free) Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall, published by Riptide Books, 2015.
- (Short story collection) (Free & Non-free depending on each story) The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu, published by Saga Press, 2016.
- (Novella) (ARC) (Non-free) The Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson, published by Tor.com, 2016.
- (Short story) (Free) The Librarian's Dilemma by E. Saxey, published in Unlikely Academia, 2015; reprinted in Transcendent: The Year's Best Transgender Stories, published by Lethe Press, 2016.
- (Short story collection) (Non-free) Love Beyond Body, Space and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology, published by Bedside Press, 2016.
***Specific content warnings for the story: warfare and combat injuries described in detail, medical abuse specifically directed at a disabled person, oppressive political regimes, detailed discussion of suicide.
***Spoilery notes: This story is a prequel to a series of stories I'm working on, Iwunen Interstellar Investigations (I3) - about two queer, nonbinary trans people who are a couple, and who fight crime! with magic! in space! The series is going to be much more cheerful in tone, but I wanted to show separately that the characters have rebuilt their lives starting from very difficult places; something that I think resonates with many trans people, immigrants, and so on - people like me. The protagonist of this story is going to be one of the two investigators in I3. And yes, e is going to remain disabled, though differently than at the end of this story (in some aspects more disabled, in others less) - the teleport jump will also affect em permanently. I just want to write about the facts that disability is not a singular, unchanging thing, and that even in the amazing magical space future, there will be disabled people.
*The protagonist is gender-unspecified here simply because it is a first-person story and it is not so relevant to the plot, but in I3 we will see that e is agender. (There will be multiple sets of nonbinary pronouns in I3, similarly to my story in Capricious last year, and similarly to... um... real life? 🙂 ) Eir former teacher is also a nonbinary person and this is mentioned only so that I can use the appropriate pronouns - specifically, they pronouns -, but this fact is not in focus. There will be Many Genderthings in I3, though, and all the trans feels 🙂
*The old song about the night sky quoted several times is not an actual song; I had people ask me if it were. I made it up from scratch - I wanted it to sound a bit Soviet-style, but the setting is not based on the Soviet Union or even the Eastern Bloc in general. (Beyond the fact that I am from a former Eastern Bloc country, which no doubt influences my storytelling.) I simply wanted the lyrics to have a flavor that reminded me of my childhood.
*Character names are not meant to evoke a specific culture. I spent a lot of time fussing over this and even changing a name in the proofing stage (sorry!!). The names do not have a canonical pronunciation; for the podcast reader, I recorded them with my rather haphazard pronunciation that ended up being a mix of Hebrew, Hungarian, and maybe even German?? *I wrote the story while being very unwell. I have an inflammatory disorder that occurs in waves, and at that point I had trouble just moving around at home in our apartment. This probably accounts for the very cynical and bitter voice.I do have all my limbs, though, unlike the protagonist; I'm just not always able to use them very well. I also have motor dyspraxia, which means I can't use them very well even when I have no inflammation flareups; but that is an entirely different issue and I do not want to claim similarity. Losing limbs is different and is not something I am writing from experience. If you want to read an #ownvoices story about motor dyspraxia by me, I have one in the recently released anthology Defying Doomsday. This one is #ownvoices on different axes :)*As mentioned in-text, the protagonist is neuroatypical, like me; I do not get into the details in this story (this is why I am planning on having a very sprawling series of stories!), but e is autistic, specifically. This will be plot-relevant later, but is not plot-relevant here.* The drugs are futuristic and all-powerful, but they were vaguely inspired by real-world drugs: GS-10 by modafinil and VPR-56 by valproic acid. I haven't taken either, I just know about them related to work. Valproic acid is an anti-seizure medication, but it also has an effect of promoting neuroplasticity, as it has been recently described in a human study involving the acquisition of absolute pitch. (Hungarian first author!) Disclaimer: do not take any drugs based on my story; I do not recommend this.
The story was beta read by Rose Lemberg. Thank you Spouseperson!!
*The neuroplasticity theme was inspired by a doctoral seminar I was taking on developmental trajectories, led by Karla McGregor. She bears absolutely no responsibility for this story and hasn't seen it before publication. The bits about the logistic function, etc. are likewise based on actual science, and I was talking quite a lot about this the previous semester, when I was teaching labs for Psychology of Language. ...I guess this is a hard SF space fantasy story. *throws up hands*
*I think many people do not really think about how librarians specialize in managing large amounts of data. It seems like such an innocuous occupation. I had this realization quite recently, and it stopped me in my tracks.
*The very prima facie meaning of the ending is that the protagonist does not die but instead escapes, but I am sure there will be many people who read it as a suicide scene; it is kind of inevitable. What I was trying to express was that there are situations from which the only potential escape might as well look like suicide; both from an inside and an outside point of view. This point is very personal to me in ways that are probably not readily apparent from the story itself.
For people who like to keep track of such things (I know there are many of you!): this story found a market on the second try.
Finally, thank you everyone who came to my Worldcon reading to listen to this story! It meant a lot to me that I had an audience despite the fact that my reading was rescheduled multiple times and the wrong time was printed in the schedule. Thanks again!!
*Since last time people asked for subject warnings, here they are. I will not list allusions, only direct mentions, because allusions are less straightforward to interpret, and I do not want to forcibly impose my reading on the poems. Mentions of death: Shuttlecock, A Gun and a Boy (Le Cercle Rouge), Plate 24, The Dancer, the commute Mentions of self-injury: marsyas Mentions of medical abuse: quiet hands
- (Non-free) (Novel) Infomocracy by Malka Older, published by Tor.com in 2016
- (Free) (Poem) To My Shyaam by Shweta Narayan in Strange Horizons, Aug 2016
- (Non-free) (Novel) Bereft by Craig Laurance Gidney, published by Tiny Satchel Press in 2013
- (Free) (Poem) Children of the Geese by S. Qiouyi Lu in Zetetic Record, Aug 2016
- (Free) (Short story) Pimp My Airship by Maurice Broaddus in Apex, Aug 2009
- How (not) to get non-native speakers of English to submit to your magazine - reflecting on some of the side threads in the current conversation wrt anti-Blackness in SFF
- Goodreads lists of 2016-17 adult SFF by authors of color - I didn't start these, but I added a lot and the lists are a great resource to me. Please add books; if you can't, let me know and I can add them. Tell me about your own books, too!
- My recs of awesome Black SFF writers I actually have a lot more, so if you just follow my #diversestories & #diversepoems hashtags, you can find more. But I was very upset by the suggestion in my Twitter feed that Black SFF writers did not exist beyond a few popular names, so I did this thread for an hour and a half, before my arm started to really hurt. (Literally, the bottleneck was not the number of absolutely awesome authors I could mention, it was the amount of very rapid typing I could accomplish.)
- Diversity and free books Reviewer copies, library copies, Little Free Libraries... Many things about who has the money/resources for marketing their book (it's usually not marginalized people)
*The new issue of inkscrawl, guest-edited by me, is coming just in a few days, G-d willing - almost all poets have responded to their proofs by now, and everyone signed their contracts. Behold the amazing table of contents! All credit is due to the great poets who sent their work to me. I am truly honored!
*I will have a story in next month's Clarkesworld, titled Toward the Luminous Towers. If you met me at Worldcon, you've probably already heard about it! This will be my second appearance in Clarkesworld, and probably one of the most upsetting things I've ever written. (Yes, I am planning on having story notes, with copious warnings.) Toward the Luminous Towers also serves as the first prologue to the Iwunen stories, about which more later as I actually end up writing them... They will be very different in tone and much more cheerful (though also depicting many difficulties), but it is important for me to establish where the main characters will be coming from.
*I will have a poem in the upcoming next issue of Bracken Magazine, Marginalia to Eiruvin 45b - it is a very brief magical-realist poem about the riverside, and a Talmudic reflection at the same time.
*My story This Secular Technology will be reprinted in the anthology "Menschen and Minyanim" featuring Jewish-themed SFF.
*I will have both a science-fantasy poem and a full-page line art drawing in a... something whose table of contents hasn't been released yet. 🙂 I ACTUALLY DREW A THING I HAVEN'T DRAWN ANYTHING IN SUCH A LONG TIME. And it found a venue!
*Also, I've found a home for my fantasy story To Rebalance the Body in another something whose table of contents... etc. You will see, G-d willing! This is the story I mentioned several times that forms a pair with my story in Capricious, The Need for Overwhelming Sensation. Both feature similar characters and dynamics, but a diametrically opposite setting. You might also remember this as the story which led the chief editor of a "trans-friendly" "QUILTBAG-inclusive" venue to publicly, repeatedly misgender me, while attempting to summarize my story in rather confusingly misleading ways... AKA, the vampire story which features no vampires. So, if you wanted to read that one, it is coming! It took a bit, because after that fiasco, I was determined to see it published in an explicitly trans context and not as much in general SFF markets.
*I am also almost completely out of things to send out, so if you told me at Worldcon that you'd like to see more work from me, you'll unfortunately have to wait for me to write it first... I did manage to settle in in Kansas, and my visiting year at the University of Kansas started relatively smoothly after the two weeks of utter paperwork chaos. So things might happen... In the meanwhile, the #diversestories and #diversepoems (and even #diversebooks and #diversecomics) recommendations have resumed on Twitter - the first roundup is coming this weekend, IY"H. Enjoy the ride!