Short Stories

Current Spotlight: “I Would”

High Fantasy / Fantasy Magazine (text & audio) / July 2021 / 5600 words / Author Spotlight

Knira can see thousands of possible futures, but never her captor’s. When two adventurers visit the castle, she’ll need to find a vision of them rescuing her, and make it come true. But it’s hard to manipulate the future of a woman you’ve just met when you can already foresee your relationship falling apart.

Reviews: Charles Payseur (Quick Sip Reviews), Adri Joy (Nerds of a Feather), Sam Tomaino (SFrevu), Simone Heller (Thirteen Lizards)

Forthcoming Short Stories

“The Promise of Iron”

Steampunk / Kaleidotrope / October 2021 / 5800 words / Story notes

Eszter scrounges to put food on the table in a Budapest beseiged by Napeoleon’s war machines. Forty years into the war, both sides fight with machines of steam and thaumic science, but a Jewish girl like Eszter can only dream of getting her hands on the gears.

“Cruise Control”

Science Fiction / Fireside Magazine / July 2021 / 1100 words / Story notes

If your son won’t visit you in the nursing home, it’s his own damn fault. He’s the coward who won’t give you an honest reaction unless you needle him. And he’s the one who keeps bringing pamphlets about sticking your brain in a self-driving car.

Reviews: Quick Sip Reviews

“Conference of the Birds”

Science Fiction / Analog Science Fiction & Fact / Jan/Feb 2021; bookshelves Dec 20201 / 3900 words / Story notes

Surveillance Hub is a hard-working node in the distributed neural network AI of an oppressive cyberpunk megacorp. Doing its job, tracking intellectual-property thieves, hoping for another round of reinforcement signals from the network’s uppermost levels.

Related essay on Analog blog: Embodied and Empathetic Minds

Reviews: Kevin P. Hallett at Tangent Online, Rich Horton at Locus Online, 2020 Nebula Award Suggested Reading List

Other Publications: Curious Fictions (featured story 3/24/2021)

“Memories of Fire”

Contemporary Fantasy Noir / Translunar Travelers Lounge / Feb 2021 / 4400 words / Story Notes

Enoch has spent millennia protecting humankind from its follies, but in 2011 Libya, the threat comes from another fallen star like him. The song of rebellion rises into the world again, stirring every soul against the tyrants of Heaven and Earth.

2020 Year in Review (Award Eligibility) post

“Weights and Measures”

High Fantasy / Heroic Fantasy Quarterly / Nov 2020 / 5200 words / Story notes

Agnella, senior priestess of the god of trade and justice, has come north to Senvosk to track a stolen relic. But by the time she arrives, the local priest has already been murdered. Agnella has only one local novice to rely on, as a rival god begins his hunt.

Reviews: Quick Sip Reviews, Seraph at Tangent Online, Double-starred recommendation on 2020 Tangent Recommended Reading List2

“Machines in Motion”

Steampunk / Hybrid Fiction (defunct) / Sep 2020 / 4200 words / Story notes

In the war’s endless need for personnel, a Jewish refugee has a chance to become a military engineer, despite the restrictions against her religion and gender. To win her place among the engineers, she’ll need to outmaneuver all the officers and mentors who want to keep her under their control.

“The Gentry”

Contemporary Fantasy (Humorous) / Kaleidotrope / Jul 2020 / 4500 words / Story notes

The eldritch diner with the portal between worlds was torn down for condos years ago – but there’s one last fairy chevalier stranded in this world, homeless and down on her luck, and she needs a few things from the diner-owners’ son.

2018 Year in Review (Award Eligibility) post

“The Hammer’s Prayer”

Contemporary Fantasy / Diabolical Plots / Dec 2018 / 3400 words / Story notes

Jakob works in the underbelly of the airport to avoid seeing anything beautiful that will tempt him to use his miraculous powers. But would it really be so dangerous to bring something new and holy into the world?

Reviews: The Hammer’s Prayer made the 2018 Nebula Awards Suggested Reading List, and received a double-starred recommendation on the Tangent Online 2018 Recommended Reading List.

Other PublicationsDiabolical Plots Year Four anthology

“Elegy of Carbon”

Science Fiction / The Internet Is Where the Robots Live Now (Paper Dog Books; defunct) / Nov 2018 / 4100 words / Story notes

For centuries, a lone miner robot has scoured the edges of the solar system in search of the finest diamonds. But once every diamond has been found, this robot will strike out towards Earth to find a new purpose and identity—even if it means defying humans for the first time.

Reviews: Elegy of Carbon made the 2018 Nebula Awards Suggested Reading List

Other Publications: Curious Fictions (featured story 11/15/2019), Best Vegan Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2018

“The Seeds We Plant”

Science Fiction / Compelling SF Special Companion Issue  / Nov 2018 / 2100 words / Story notes

Nathan’s limbic net implant makes him the perfect guardian for a cargo of frozen embryos across interstellar space. When disaster strikes, and his limbic net stops regulating his emotions for him, how will he know what’s worth doing?

“Where the Anchor Lies”

Science Fantasy / Beneath Ceaseless Skies / Feb 2018 / 4000 words / Story notes

Staff-General Eita has had a distinguished career in battle,  a prisoner-of-war camp, and now politics. But she still loves the Dreaming Warship, even if its broken bones have a new and better purpose.

Reviews: Quick Sip Reviews

“Toward Lands Uncharted”

Fantasy / Mind Candy / Feb 2018 / 5000 words / Story Notes

Eftekhar is the ambassador and spy for a recently-conquered nation, fallen to an empire with border-magic that rewrites maps and forces the world to follow. To confront the power of the Censor of Maps, Eftekhar must risk the erasure of her people, her history, and her own memories.

Other Publications: Curious Fictions

2017 Year In Review (Award Eligibility) post

“The Setting of the Sun”

Science Fiction / Compelling Science Fiction / Aug 2017 / 1300 words / Story notes

Winder is a Dyson swarm, drawing energy from a slowly dying sun. When they find a relic of the long-extinct biological progenitors, the hard part is finding someone who can use that knowledge.

Other Publications: SFVN fanzine (Vietnamese)

“Cyborg Shark Battle (Season 4, O’ahu Frenzy)”

Science Fiction Satire / Cat’s Breakfast (Third Flatiron)  / Jun 2017 / 1000 words / Story notes

Listen, kid. I know you love paddling with the sharks and remote-controlling their brains, but what if I told you we could launch ourselves onto every gossip site’s front-page news?

Reviews: CSBS4OF was a starred recommendation on the Tangent Online 2017 Recommended Reading List

Other Publications: Curious Fictions, Event Horizon 2018 anthology

2016 Year In Review (Award Eligibility) post


Science Fiction / Metaphorosis / Sep 2016 / 6100 words / Story notes

Everyone is ready to celebrate the moment when the one interstellar spaceship returns to the Centauri system on its ten-year loop. But when the ship arrives running silent, it exposes deep faultlines between the Earth-born colonists and their Sea-born children.

Reviews: 2016 Nebula Awards Suggested Reading List

“The Time Cookie Wars”

Science Fiction Black Comedy / Flash Fiction Online / Aug 2016 / 1000 words / Story notes

When your past self didn’t leave you any cookies, sometimes you need to get creative. Other times, you need revenge.

Reviews: Quick Sip ReviewsTangent 2016 Recommended Reading List

Other Publications: (audiobook), Curious Fictions, Toasted Cake (podcast), Drabblecast 426

“Sweeter than Lead”

Neo-Lovecraftian Dark Fantasy/ PodCastle (audio & text) / Jul 2016 / 2700 words / Story notes

High Seer Yeva must teach her successor the skills of prophecy. But when foresight only shows scenes of terror and death, one must tread carefully to avoid catching the eye of the future itself.

Other Publications: Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores (with original art), Curious Fictions.

“The First Confirmed Case of Noncorporeal Recursion: Patient Anita R.”

Contemporary fantasy / Strange Horizons / Jun 2016 / 3400 words / Author notes

Anita was a scientist. She didn’t believe in ghosts, when she was alive. Now she’s stuck in an endless loop of manifestations, trapped with nothing more than the last moments of her life.

Reviews: 2016 Nebula Awards Suggested Reading List, Quick Sip ReviewsDiabolical Plots Hugo/Nebula Recommendation List, and recommended by Rocket Stack Rank

Other Publications: Curious Fictions (featured story 11/2/2017), Event Horizon 2017 anthology.


Science fiction / Strange Horizons / Mar 2016 / 2100 words / Story notes

Percel’s lover Emlune has died one time too many, and they need Emlune’s help to get her back. It’s lonely work, rebuilding the shattered and empty Earth.

Reviews: Quick Sip Reviews

Other Publications: Escape Pod (text and audio), Curious Fictions.

“The Wind and the Spark”

Steampunk / Fictionvale (defunct) / Oct 2015 / 6100 words / Story notes

Fifty years into the Napoleonic Wars, a British scientist investigates automata that act not like machines, but like thinking creatures.

Other Publications: Digital Science Fiction, Curious Fictions


• “Short Fiction Rejection Letters: Best Practices and Expectations” on the SFWA Blog (August 24, 2021)

• “Embodied and Empathetic Minds” in the Astounding Analog Companion Blog (February 2, 2021)

• Short story analyses for Escape Pod (see Hosting below; post-story commentary appears in the audio for all episodes, and also in text starting EP716)

• Author Spotlights for Lightspeed Magazine: A.T. Greenblatt (Feb 2021), An Owomoyela (April 2021), Andrew Dana Hudson (July 2021), Meg Elison (September 2021)

NeuroThursday (a.k.a. Twitter hashtag #NeuroThursday) weekly feature (2017-2019)

• “What’s Possible with Cyborgs and Cybernetics” chapter in Putting the Science in Fiction, edited by Dan Koboldt (Writer’s Digest Books, October 2018)
– Available from Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and more.

• “Right Hand, Human Brain: The Mysteries of Handedness,” (October 15, 2017). Author notes with bonus trivia (lobes of the brain)

Interview on science & writing for Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores Science News (July 10, 2017)

• “Tools and Problems of Modern Neuroscience,” File 770 (February 3, 2017)

• “The Evolved Brain,” Clarkesworld (January 2017). Author notes & references.

• “Seven Things Authors Should Know About Cybernetics,” Science in Sci-Fi, Fact in Fantasy (May 28, 2015).

• A stack of peer-reviewed scientific publications under my real name.


Assistant Editor of Escape Pod since May 2017. I manage the first reader (Associate Editor) team, choose which stories from the submissions queue to pass up to the Co-Editors, and write most (90%+) of the personal rejection letters. Read here for more details.


  • Escape Pod 797, “Flashback – Flash From the Vault: Summer 2021”
  • PodCastle 689, “Gitl Schneiderman Learns to Live With Her In-Laws” by Rebecca Fraimow
  • Escape Pod 784, “Annotated Setlist of the Mikaela Cole Jazz Quintet” by Catherine George
  • Escape Pod 755, “Consolidation” by Langley Hyde
  • Escape Pod 743, “Flash From the Vault: Summer 2020, #2”
  • Escape Pod 734, “Murmuration” by E. Catherine Tobler
  • Escape Pod 726/727, “And Never Mind the Watching Ones” by Keffy R. M. Kehrli
  • Escape Pod 716, “Physics by the Numbers” by Stephen Granade
  • Escape Pod 709, “In a Wide Sky, Hidden” by William Ledbetter
  • Cast of Wonders 380, “Comfort is Universal” by Bogi Takács
  • Escape Pod 691/692, “Lab B-15” by Nick Wolven
  • Escape Pod 685, “A Vocabulary of Remorse” by Dantzel Cherry


2021 Igynte Award Finalist for Best Fiction Podcast

• Hugo Award Finalist for Best Semiprozine as part of the amazing Escape Pod team: 20212020, 2018

• Longlist (#12) for the 2018 Astounding (then Campbell) Award for Best New Writer

• Writers of the Future Contest final award count: 6 Honorable Mentions, 2 Silver Honorable Mentions, 2 Finalists – the last one withdrawn.

• “The Promise of Iron” was a finalist in the 2015 Friends of the Merrill Short Story Contest.

• Winner of various contests on the Codex writers group (2015-2017).

• Winner of Steven Brust’s One-Sentence Worldbuilding Contest (2015): “The legionnaires drove the sandgrouse from the oasis, and the spirits from their shrines, but they could not quiet the ghosts on the salt-flat wind.”

• “The Demands of Iron” (now The Promise if Iron) was shortlisted for the 2014 James White Award.


• “Congress of Vienna” theater LARP, head GM (Intercon 2016, ProCon 2004)

• “Second Dawn” theater LARP, head GM (Intercon 2013, ProCon 2007)

• “Age of Dragons” theater LARP, co-GM (ProCon 2005)

  1. This means the story is eligible for the Nebula as a 2020 story, but for the Hugo as a 2021 story.
  2. Tangent Online 2020 Recommended Reading list not linked due to unhinged rant. Google if you want, but I’d recommend against that.

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