Recent Short Stories Reviewed

My Birdverse novelette “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies) has had a very warm reception from readers and reviewers so far. Here are two samples:

Charles Payseur at Quick Sip Reviews writes (read the full review here):

Well this is a long but very good story about self-determination, about transition, about making a choice. […] I loved the magic of the setting, the names holding power, because names and naming do have such power, because pronouns do have such power. That we at the same time have to be less invested in names that haven’t been chosen by the person bearing them. It’s a subtle story but a rich one with layers deep and moving. A complex and emotionally resonant story.

And from Tangent Online (read the full review here):

“Grandmother-nei-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” by Rose Lemberg is a superior fantasy. It is a deeply felt and well considered story with a Middle Eastern flair. It deals with gender roles but through the use of pronouns, not sex or physical types. Words are its most important theme—words used to describe and delimit our lives. It tells us that stories and words are the truths we tell to ourselves. […] The story is complex without being overly complicated, but it is the theme of language/words that flow through this story as its life-blood. […] the very language of gender association is explored with depth usually not found in a novelette. A rich and rewarding work that compares favorably with Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie in its depiction of fluid gender roles. This story is an accomplished work of rare insight.

I am very happy with these, and also with the readers’ response. Michele Bannister wrote,  for example, “I could almost taste the grit in the air and the texture of cloth-of-winds when reading it; masterful presence of place.” I cannot be more pleased that my Birdverse work is reaching its audience; I am thrilled where I am at the place, craftwise, where I am beginning to do justice to the complexity of my own secondary world.

My Queers Destroy Science Fiction! short story “How to Remember to Forget to Remember the Old War” (available for purchase at Lightspeed) has also been well-received. Lois Tilton at Locus Online seems to have enjoyed the story even though she was ambivalent about QDSF! as a whole (read the full review here):

The narrator is a damaged ex-soldier who seems to have once been minimally cyborged, but the military implants have been removed and the human remnant cast ashore. The narrator has flashbacks and breaks things, and manages to keep it all under control in the times and places where this matters.

[…] the narrator and other damaged war veterans are fully human, which is what makes them so different from those around them, who haven’t been where they have been, or seen and done what they have seen and done. We can recognize them in this effective work.

Spelling the Hours – the lineup!

At long last, here’s the table of contents announcement for the poetry chapbook focusing on forgotten figures in science and technology, Spelling the Hours! This chapbook is one of the bonuses for the forthcoming An Alphabet of Embers anthology.

The chapbook is very cool – different styles, people, time periods – but I think that the most precious thing about Spelling the Hours is the emotional, personal nature of the poets’ explorations of the scientific and scholarly figures therein. I cannot wait to share it with you!

Spelling the Hours

  • Introduction by Rose Lemberg
  • The Clock House by Sonya Taaffe
  • Madrepore by Mari Ness
  • noble, nobel by na’amen
  • Marginalia by Michele Bannister
  • A Personal History of the Universal History of the Things of New Spain by Lisa M. Bradley
  • Agnes Pockels Washes the Physics by Mary Alexandra Agner
  • Pismis 24 by Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas
  • The Lessons of the Knife by Lev Mirov
  • Phliasian Investigations by Sonya Taaffe
  • Never Cease by Bogi Takács
  • Augur Effect by A. J. Odasso
  • Girl Hours by Sofia Samatar

Poetry collection forthcoming!

I am thrilled to announce that I sold my first poetry collection, titled Marginalia to Stone Bird, to Aqueduct Press. It includes forty-six reprinted and nine original poems, and it will appear in the Conversation Pieces series.

I’m really happy with this. I loved working with Aqueduct for my first edited anthology, The Moment of Change; and I’ve been enjoying the Conversation Pieces series, which recently featured work by Lisa M. Bradley, Sonya Taaffe, and Celeste Rita Baker.

Marginalia to Stone Bird
will be my first single-authored collection. It will be out sometime later this year.

Congratulations, Galen Dara!

I learned that Galen Dara has been shortlisted for the Chelsey Award with her illustration to my story “A City on its Tentacles” in Lackington’s Magazine. I am so incredibly happy for Galen. It was truly an honor to have my work illustrated by her, and the octopus painting is just so true to the spirit of my story, and it’s such a beautiful and heartfelt painting – I love it so much and I am thrilled to see it honored.

Another person who absolutely deserves a sea of kudos is Ranylt Richildis, the editor of Lackington’s Magazine. Yes, I am a contributor, so I am a bit biased. That said, Ranylt has consistently produced a beautifully curated and presented magazine that showcases an inspiring variety of writers and artists; it’s always such a joy to read the magazine.

And now you have seen Rose gush, a less than frequent occurrence!

Poem sale!

I sold a short mythic poem titled “A Riddler at Market” to Uncanny Magazine. It’s short, homey, and has many food items. It’s dedicated to Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner, and it’s a part of AoE backer rewards.

Very happy about this!

Birdverse: Grandmother’s Cloth is out

My Birdverse novelette “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” is out at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

This story has queer families (a cultural default for Khana women), and striving for acceptance within the family; it has generations of women and trans people, and friendships, and autism, and very many bonus carpets. It takes place in the south, and while there are white people in Birdverse, there are none in this story.

I love this story. I cannot explain to you how much it means to me, and how happy I am to share it with you.
I am happy to answer any questions about this story, by the way – please leave a comment here or tweet at me!

A note on stress: Khana names ending in -ah, -eh, -it, -et, -at and -el have ultimate stress, so TammAH, GitIT; names ending in -i tend to have word-initial stress, so KImi, BAshri.

— NOTES WITH SPOILERS

Kimi does have what we would diagnose as classical autism. The Khana do not have exact word correspondences for our contemporary diagnoses, but developmental disabilities and language delays (and, of course, physical disabilities) are known. A male child whose educational progress is delayed may or may not be able to pass the tests to gain admission to the inner quarter. These tests involve linguistic as well as mathematical aptitude, as the Khana men are supposed to engage in scholarship of the Writ, and in Holy Artifice. In practice, the vast majority of male children are admitted even if their performance on the tests is weaker, and not all inner-quarter residents go on to become scholars and artificers. A significant speech delay, however, is a major issue.

Many autistic people feel the need to roam, wander, spin, and engage in other types of movement which are calming and emotionally rewarding. In the modern American culture children’s roaming is restricted regardless of disability level, but other cultures are not like this, including many contemporary earth cultures. Kimi’s roaming in the desert is not restricted, and this is normal rather than neglectful for the culture.

Surun’ family structure is different from Khana family structure in that there is no major gender segregation, and marriages between men and women are the norm. The woman is expected to add her husband’s names to hers, while men as a rule do not take their wives’ names. Thus, Naïr e Bulvát’s husband’s name is simply Bulvát. However, they do recognize more than two genders, and allow for non-heterosexual and non-monogamous unions; Benesret e Nand e Divyát had two husbands.

QDSF! and other shinies

The Queers Destroy Science Fiction! Special issue of Lightspeed Magazine is out and available for purchase with new stories, flash, non-fiction articles, and interviews. My full-length short story, “How to Remember to Forget to Remember the Old War,” is available as an exclusive ebook/print content. I also have an author spotlight in this issue! (Some info about the story).

I share the table of contents with Bogi Takács (always love when it happens), who has a flash story “Increasing Police Visibility” (it’s a hard SF flash about statistics and border control). Bogi also has a new story in June’s Clarkesworld – “Forestspirit, Forestspirit,” which I beta-read and which is a poetic hard SF set in Hungary (bonus notes here). It’s eir first sale to Clarkesworld!

Next week, I hope you watch out for a new issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, with my Birdverse novelette “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds”. It’s the first one of my three upcoming Birdverse novelettes, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Julie Dillon’s art for the upcoming issue is fabulous and works great with the feel of my story.

Joy and joy again

Today’s mail included a hefty package from PM Press. Inside was my contributor’s copy of Sisters of the Revolution, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.


My contributor's copy of Sisters of the Revolution

My contributor’s copy of Sisters of the Revolution



And here, between James Tiptree, Jr.’s “The Screwfly Solution” and “The Evening, the Morning, and the Night” by Octavia E. Butler, is my little story.

Seven Losses of Na Re

Seven Losses of Na Re



This happened. This really, really happened.

“Stalemate” Podcast!

“Stalemate” podcast is live on Glittership! It’s the seventh episode – I am so happy to have this podcast around, and have loved the choices Keffy has made so far.

“Stalemate” was originally published in Lackington’s, which has just received a very well-deserved Prix Aurora Award Nominee in “Best Related Work – English” category.

 

Story sale to Journal of Unlikely Academia

When Unlikely Story first announced their “Journal of Unlikely Academia” issue, I thought it would great to write for it. But I could not write anything until I read Amal El-Mohtar’s wonderful short story “Pockets,” in Uncanny Magazine. Warda, a music librarian, is one of the characters. When I talked to Amal about this story, she said, “Warda gives narratives to others.”

I love this story so much.

A few weeks later, I wrote a story about alt!Warda, who is younger than Warda in “Pockets”, and who is a sociolinguist instead of a musicologist. I asked Amal if that was ok; she was delighted.

My story is called “The Shapes of Us, Translucent to Your Eye.” It’s magic realism about a woman academic’s life, complete with budget cuts and  ghosts. There’s nothing unlikely about it; but it will indeed appear in the Journal of Unlikely Academia. Here is the full ToC!

I cannot wait to share this story with you!

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About

Rose Lemberg is a queer immigrant from Eastern Europe. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Uncanny, and other venues. Rose co-edits Stone Telling, a magazine of boundary-crossing poetry, with Shweta Narayan. She is currently editing a new fiction anthology, An Alphabet of Embers. For a quick taste of Rose's writing, try the Sampler. You can support her work on Patreon.

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