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#diversestories and #diversepoems Jan 19-23 – also miniessay on the series concept!

Here is my weekly roundup of Twitter story and poem recommendations by diverse authors! I hope you enjoy my picks. We’ve been having a plumbing disaster that still hasn’t resolved, so this week sadly had some gaps. I’ll see what happens next week…

Jan 19: No update

Jan 20: (Novelette) The Devil in America by Kai Ashante Wilson on Tor.com, Apr 2014 (This would’ve been my MLK Day special; alas, I spent my time dealing with a flood of sewage instead.)

Jan 21: No update

Jan 22: (Poem) Nothing Writes to Disk by Kythryne Aisling in Stone Telling, Nov 2014

Jan 23: (Poem) Jörmungandr by Vajra Chandrasekera in Ideomancer, Dec 2012

Since it came up this week, I also want to reiterate that it is my very conscious decision to focus on diverse authors and not diverse themes. A focus on diverse themes tends to prioritize white straight cis American authors who write about minorities. I focus on diverse authors who write whatever they want. As you can see above in Vajra’s Old Norse-themed poem, sometimes they write about other cultures too!

It is IMO best to focus on diverse themes if one picks a particular topic  – gay people, Latin@s, etc. In that case, the majority of content will probably still be by diverse people themselves, since I do estimate that the most gay stories are written by gay people, the most stories by Latin@s are by Latin@s, etc. And the person/s running the initiative will likely belong to the group in question too, and thus have a feel for who to prioritize.

But if one starts a general all-purpose diversity initiative, it is very tempting to fill it with cis white straight (etc.) Westerners who write diverse characters, since they are the loudest, the most numerous, and have the most resources for promotion. If one does a cursory search, that kind of content will come up first. If one reviews “all diverse content in major online mags”, that will happen, I know because it happened to me in 2011! It annoyed the heck out of me how many clueless stories by white Americans I ended up having to read, by my own self-declared criteria. Needless to say, I changed my criteria. :D

The occasional great diverse story by a nondiverse author falls victim to this, but it’s a much lesser price. And those stories are usually very well-promoted anyway, often at the expense of stories by diverse authors.

As far as I can see, there are quite a bunch of cool queer stories by straight authors (I always wonder how many are queer people in the closet!), not so much with ethnicity/race. Trans stories not written by trans authors tend to be horrible.


There will be an announcement on Monday! I’ll do a fun blogging event in February. :D I’ve already written the announcement post, but I’m saving it for later…

Written by prezzey in: sf |
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#diversestories and #diversepoems Jan 12-15: Strange Horizons Readers’ Poll edition!

This week’s #diversestories/#diversepoems entry is posted a bit earlier than usual, because Strange Horizons is running a 2014 readers’ poll and it closes tomorrow. For the past few days, I’ve been focusing on recommending stories from Strange Horizons I missed during the year, and now you can go forth and vote!

Jan 12: (Short story) Rib by Yukimi Ogawa in Strange Horizons, June 2014

Jan 13: (Short story) Santos de Sampaguitas by Alyssa Wong in Strange Horizons, Oct 2014

Jan 14: (Short story) Nkásht íí by Darcie Little Badger in Strange Horizons, Dec 2014

Jan 15: This roundup!

My further SH story recommendations for 2014, covered in the #diversestories series previously:

Sadly, only the relatively recent ones are Twitter threaded. For older ones, I’m linking to the story itself.

* 21 Steps to Enlightenment (Minus One) by LaShawn M. Wanak

* Storytelling for the Night Clerk by JY Yang

* Never the Same by Polenth Blake

* Kenneth: A User’s Manual by Sam J. Miller

And 2014 SH poetry recommendations:

* Raw Honey by Sara Norja

* The rivers, the birchgroves, all the receding earth by Rose Lemberg

* Salamander Song by Rose Lemberg and Emily Jiang

* Seeds by M Sereno

* Gorgon Girls by Saira Ali

* We Saw No Signs of Life by Ting Gou

* Una Canción de Keys by Lisa Bradley (also my Rhysling 2014 long form nomination!)

* The Rotten Leaf Cantata by Rose Lemberg

You can also vote for two of my poems if you are so inclined:

* You Are Here / Was: Blue Line to Memorial Park (animated! nonlinear!)

* A Self-Contained Riot of Lights (SUDDENLY TELEPATHIC TAPEWORMS)

Caveats and remarks:

I didn’t read everything. (I still haven’t read the Ann Leckie story! *sigh*) As the purpose of this Twitter review series is to focus on marginalized authors, I mostly skipped stories that did not fit with that theme… my reading time has been sadly limited this year. I did read all the poetry, and the majority of the stories.

Sometimes I felt I read a bit too much on a given topic; in the second half of the year, there were many stories focused on death, and it became a bit tiring after a while. So some stories fell victim to that.

Overall I thought this was a strong year for Strange Horizons, and I think it is very hard to pick five nominations even from my recommendations shortlist above!

Conflict of interest statement:

SH has published my poetry and nonfiction previously. They also approached me to apply for their fiction editor position earlier this year, which I had to turn down due to limited time. I’m still sad about this!

Most authors on my recommendations list I know online, but frankly I know pretty much everyone published in SH at least tangentially (and those who I don’t, I seek out). Some people are quite close to me, I think this is kind of expected :D

And finally an endnote:

This was a lot of work, so I’m taking tomorrow off – there will be no diverse recommendation on Friday. The series will resume on Monday, G-d willing.

Written by prezzey in: sf |
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Rhysling award eligibility 2014

These are my poems from 2014 eligible for the Rhysling award and other poetry awards. I bolded the ones that are probably the strongest in each category. I also added a bunch of extra material for those who already read and enjoyed the poems!

I aim to post my 2014 fiction and poetry recommendations in February if all goes well (IY”H) – in the meantime, be sure to keep an eye on #diversestories and #diversepoems on Twitter; just yesterday I posted about an absolutely awesome story. If you like the series, also consider nominating me for Best Fan Writer in the Hugos!

Short poem category:

You Are Here / Was: Blue Line to Memorial Park in Strange Horizons, Nov 2014 (34 lines) + bonus notes

Outside-In / Catalytic Exteriorization in Stone Telling, Jan 2014 (38 lines) + bonus notes + interview with me

Grow in The Cascadia Subduction Zone, April 2014 (6 lines) + bonus notes

Autonomous, Spacefaring in The Cascadia Subduction Zone, April 2014 (8 lines) + bonus notes

A User Guide to the Application of Gem-Flowers in Apex, Aug 2014 (27 lines) + bonus notes

Long poem category:

A Self-Contained Riot of Lights in Strange Horizons, July 2014 (78 lines) + bonus notes

Six Hundred and Thirteen Commandments in Ideomancer, Dec 2014 (92 lines)

Other award eligibility:

* Go here for fiction

* I’m also eligible for the Campbell award and I’m in my 2nd year of eligibility

Written by prezzey in: sf,writing |
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#diversestories and #diversepoems Jan 5-9

Here are this week’s recommendations on #diversestories/#diversepoems, my Twitter series focusing on SFF stories and poems by diverse authors.

This week I had a special theme: Goblin Fruit week! The new issue of Goblin Fruit just came out on Dec 31 and it was both very diverse and extremely strong, so I thought it was very much worth highlighting in this manner. You might wish to note that Goblin Fruit is a magazine edited by a queer woman of color, the awesome and squeeful Amal El-Mohtar. You can support Goblin Fruit on Patreon!

Jan 05: (Poem) Manananggal by M Sereno in Goblin Fruit, Winter 2014

Jan 06: (Poem) After the Red Sea by Sonya Taaffe in Goblin Fruit, Winter 2014

Jan 07: (Poem) Demands by Mari Ness in Goblin Fruit, Winter 2014

Jan 08: (Poem) Pyromancer by Ada Hoffmann in Goblin Fruit, Winter 2014

Jan 09: (Poem) The Law of Germinating Seeds by Rose Lemberg in Goblin Fruit, Winter 2014

Everything is shifted a day and I did the last one after Shabbes because I was somewhat behind.


In other important news: don’t miss Rose Lemberg’s series of tweets on marginalized writers and self-rejection #dontselfreject. Storify by Charles Tan.

Also, Rose now has a Birdverse Patreon, with chapters of a work in progress posted once every week! I’ve read all completed chapters so far and I really like it :D It is also somewhat inspired by my antics. ;) I recommend subscribing!

(yes, you want to read the adventures of nonbinary autistic people by nonbinary autistic people ;) )

Written by prezzey in: sf |
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#diversestories and #diversepoems Dec 29 – Jan 02

This week’s SFF story and poem recommendations by diverse authors! Links point to the Twitter discussion, which in turn point to free online reading. Enjoy the lineup:

Dec 29: (Flash story) Níðhöggr by Vajra Chandrasekera in Grievous Angel, Nov 2014

Dec 30: (Poem) She is, there – amongst the Mango Trees – a Flytrap Garden by Penny Stirling in Verse Kraken, 2014

Dec 31: (Short story) The Peacock by Ted Infinity and Nabil Hijazi in Strange Horizons, Jul 2011

Jan 01: (Novelette) Trees of Bone by Daliso Chaponda in Apex Book of World SF 2, reprinted online in Apex Dec 31 2014

Jan 02: (Novelette) Wine by Yoon Ha Lee in Clarkesworld, Jan 2014

 A huge thank you to Jason Sizemore of Apex and author Daliso Chaponda for the online reprint. (I asked Jason if the story could be put online by any chance and it happened!) You are great. I hope my little series gets this story more visibility!

This week I also received books from Christina @science_kittens, Serena @activehearts and Jessica Liang, and digital content (inc. reviewer copies) from Rachel Cotterill, @neongrey and Marcell Géza Takács! Thank you VERY much for your support!! You are awesome people!

I am assembling a list of people who supported my project so far, it will be up soon IY”H. I also have a little plan about expanding it to longer works – you’ll see! :D

On supporting #diversestories and #diversepoems:

Due to my student visa terms, I can’t do a Patreon or fundraiser or anything of the sort. (I can only be paid by my university; I can’t presently receive payment for my fiction and poetry writing either.) After long deliberation I finally came up with a way you can support me! If you enjoy my story reviews and recommendations, or think my writing is cool, or you just want to cheer up a random trans person on the internet, you can get me gifts on my Amazon wishlist. Reviewer copies of your own work are also appreciated. Thank you!!

Written by prezzey in: sf |
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#RealLiveTransPeople story and poem recommendations!!

There is a Twitter hashtag #RealLiveTransPeople right now – I’m not describing what prompted it because it’s awful and potentially triggery to many if not most of my readers. But this hashtag is about how real trans adults exist and it tries to focus on the positive.

So here is a little recap of some of my more recent SFF story and poetry recommendations by non-cisgendered authors (trans* / genderqueer / nonbinary / GNC etc., people identify in various ways, and as a trans person myself I do not want to play “who is more trans”).

Many of these authors are people of color or otherwise multiply marginalized. These are all great works and I wholeheartedly endorse them! All of the pieces are available for free online, and many – but not all – of them have trans or generally QUILTBAG characters. My focus is on authors, not themes.

Now that Twitter has threading, I am linking discussion threads where they exist. Where they don’t, I’m linking to the original publication.

This is NOT an exhaustive list and I am regularly tweeting about trans* authors on #diversestories and #diversepoems (among other underrepresented groups in SFF), you are very welcome to join!! I’m @bogiperson on Twitter.

* (Short story) Never the Same by Polenth Blake in Strange Horizons

* (Short story) On Shine Wings by Polenth Blake in Unlikely Story

* (Poem) The Grand Vizier by Rose Fox in Goblin Fruit

* (Poem) The Nerve Harp by Mat Joiner in Stone Telling

* (Short story) Stalemate by Rose Lemberg in Lackington’s

* (Novelette) Eyes of Carven Emerald by Shweta Narayan in SF Signal (reprint), Jan 2011 (originally published in Clockwork Phoenix 3 in 2010)

* (Poem) Triumph XXI: Atman by Shweta Narayan in Goblin Fruit

* (Poem) Yajñāḥ / Offering by Shweta Narayan in Strange Horizons

* (Short story) And Wash Out By Tides of War by An Owomoyela  in Clarkesworld

* (Short story) How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps by A. Merc Rustad in Scigentasy

I also had a post on 2014 stories with non-binary-gendered characters – note that not everything listed in the comments is by trans people.

I also had a Diverse Editors list where diverse people editing SFF are listed with their self-ID and many of them are likewise not cis, it might be of interest.

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#diversestories and #diversepoems Dec 22-26

This week’s set of SFF story and poem recommendations by diverse authors:

* Dec 22:  (Poem) Raw Honey by Sara Norja in Strange Horizons, Dec 2014

* Dec 23: (Novelette) Infinities by Vandana Singh in Clarkesworld (reprint), Feb 2014 (originally published in The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and Other Stories in 2008)

* Dec 24: (Poem) Turning to Stone by Ada Hoffmann in Stone Telling, Jan 2014

* Dec 25: (Poem) Ahas, Tala by M Sereno in Interfictions, Nov 2014

* Dec 26: (Novelette) Eyes of Carven Emerald by Shweta Narayan in SF Signal (reprint), Jan 2011 (originally published in Clockwork Phoenix 3 in 2010)


I can’t accept payments off-campus due to my visa restrictions, so I can’t run a Patreon or similar fundraiser. The best way to support the recommendations series is to gift me things from my Amazon wishlist.

Thank you everyone who got me birthday surprises! The ones that have already arrived (and thus I know who sent them) were from Mea Fiadhiglas, Polenth Blake and D Libris. Yay! I still have some en route…

Written by prezzey in: sf | Tags: ,
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Today is my birthday!

Merry Christmas to those celebrating! Today is my birthday! I am eating the wonderful foods Roseperson made me. :D

Here are a few things you can do on my birthday:

* Wish me happy birthday – it is cheerful!

* Get me something from my Amazon wishlist (this also goes to support my diverse fiction and poetry reviews series!)


This last one worked very well in past years, so now I’m expanding it a bit. Previously I’d relied on people knowing me well, but now there are a lot more people following me who do not necessarily know me closely. So what I’m going to do is post pointers! I made a list of what I’d like to see more of in speculative fiction a while ago, but I never ended up posting it. (Yes, Charles, this is my infamous backlog of 40+ posts.) So here it is now!

Literary works, comic books, video games etc. are all fine as recommendations, they also don’t need to be speculative in nature (even though the list focuses on that). If you know of a wonderful novel by a white American straight cis etc. man that satisfies ONE of these items very well, yes, I’m still interested. :D

* QUILTBAG people in happy relationships solving difficult problems not having to do with gender at all
* Solid stories about QUILTBAG (especially trans*) people in general. There are so few! Yes, this can absolutely include “issue stories” and gender-focused themes… so basically I want QUILTBAG stories both about QUILTBAG themes and not about QUILTBAG themes.
* Characters collaborating on something hard but not against other people – e.g., defense from a force of nature
* Issues of race and ethnicity in general (a VERY broad category, yes)
* Mixed-race and mixed-ethnicity characters with a thoughtful exploration of their backgrounds
* Oppressive regimes treated with more subtlety than the typical dystopian SF fare
* Environmentalism, also on other planets, related ethical issues
* Disabled characters, especially intersectional disabled characters
* Nonconventional forms of narrative (also includes nonlinear, poetic, etc.)
* Explorations of magical and/or spiritual themes grounded in real-life traditions
* Non-Christian religions in SFF
* Power asymmetry in personal relationships of any kind. Also including teacher-student relationships and mentoring. Another thing I see infrequently even in Western-European-based fantasy is discussion/awareness of the feudal relationship
* Major social-political transitions (regime changes, joining a different political bloc, etc.)
* Issues of social class and characters from a wider variety of class backgrounds. Everypeople characters
* Resource scarcity, issues of resource allocation (often intertwined with class)
* Aspects of everyday life infrequently discussed at length in SF. For example fashion, street sports, popular or folk music…
* The aftermath of conflicts / upheaval that is usually not shown in stories (something like Gears of War: Jacinto’s Remnant by Karen Traviss)

A hint to authors: yes, I very much appreciate you writing something along these lines, anytime, ever :D Two years ago, Ada Hoffmann wrote this wonderful story in response to a similar post.

Written by prezzey in: sf,writing | Tags:
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Poem notes: You Are Here

Happy holidays as the Western world  grinds to a halt!! I have some more free stuff for you :D It kind of piled up…

My animated poem You Are Here / Was: Blue Line to Memorial Park went live a while ago in Strange Horizons, I just didn’t have time to post about it. These are my customary bonus notes! Spoilers follow.


I originally wanted to program the animation in Twee (a command-line version of Twine) – I have quite an amount of Twee experience, gathered on personal non-public projects, so this was a natural first choice. But the resultant code was incredibly resource-intensive and kept on crashing browsers.

So I used JS and MooTools; I’d never used MooTools before. I was writing the poem on a very tight deadline (not for SH) and I couldn’t figure out the syntax of the for loop in it, so I just ended up generating repeated instructions with something else and pasting them in. A very ugly solution, I know. I do actually know what for loops are and I’m happy to use them. :D

The published version has a proper for loop, I’m happy SH has a more clueful programmer than me!


I wrote the two halves of the poem in parallel, and it was at times outright painful to make all the function words fit. (“OK, I still have three more “and”-s and two more “to”-s…”) I am greatly thankful to Rose Lemberg for the help and encouragement and commiseration!!


I greatly enjoy writing nonfiction-ish things masquerading as poetry, and vice versa. Another example is The Tiny English-Hungarian Phrasebook for Visiting Extraterrestrials, in Stone Telling.


The poem sold on first attempt, but I ended up withdrawing it from the market I sent it to (a long story). I then sent it to Strange Horizons, who responded in a day – my fastest poetry acceptance so far.

This was my third poem I sent to SH, and my third acceptance. I wish I had this much success with their fiction department…


I have a very different poem about the same locale: My Planet / Silence and Noise, originally published in Comets and Criminals.

Their site often goes down and is in the process of restructuring, and the poem rights have reverted back to me, so I think I’ll just copy the poem here:

My Planet / Silence and Noise
by Bogi Takács

You are my homeland, mother of all; you are my genius.
Eren, with all your clanging and creaking
with your gigantic metallic halls.
My mining colony, once and for all; I belong to you.

You and I intertwined, branching into each other.
Bronchial tunnels dug into stone, and your breathing
making everything still.
You are my bones.


Nothing is flesh, everything is structure
and unbearable strictness
everything is constrained.

and in the silence buildings wheeze.


Note: I can’t do fundraisers or accept monetary payment due to my student visa restrictions. You can support my work (and the perpetuation of cool free stuff!) by buying things on my Amazon wishlist!

Written by prezzey in: sf,writing | Tags: , , , ,
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Happy Chanukah + Suddenly a poem + My birthday!

Happy Chanukah! The holiday is almost over, but I have a new poem I can share, and it’s coincidentally Jewish-themed! It just came out in Ideomancer: Six Hundred and Thirteen Commandments. I wrote this poem quite a long time ago, then it got a rewrite request at Ideomancer (asking for clarifications), which I sat on for quite a while.

I don’t have bonus notes on my own website this time, because the Ideomancer editors asked for some bonus notes to be posted right after the poem! So if you read the poem, it’s all right there. (My notes are actually not very long this time.)


My birthday is on Dec 25!

Due to my student visa terms, I can’t do a Patreon or fundraiser or anything of the sort. (I can only be paid by my university; I can’t presently receive payment for my fiction and poetry writing either.) After long deliberation I finally came up with a way you can support me! If you enjoy my story reviews and recommendations, or think my writing is cool, or you just want to cheer up a random trans person on the internet, you can buy me gifts on my Amazon wishlist.

I’m still trying to figure out what to put on it, but there’s already a bunch of books on there, and some food. I posted about this new development on Twitter, and it was a joy to see people go ahead and buy things for me even before I could make this blog post! Someone got me a carton of protein bars! THANK YOU all.

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