A smattering of good news, a whiff of controversy

The ToC for How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens (aka Immigrant SF) has been released, and it’s a thing of beauty. I am happy to share a ToC with Ken Liu, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Sonya Taaffe, Nisi Shawl, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Bogi Takács, Bryan Thao Worra, Zen Cho, and oh so many brilliant others.

In other news, my poem “I will show you a single treasure from the treasures of Shah Niyaz” has been nominated for the Rhysling award. Thank you to the person who nominated it! I am noting that this is the sixth year in a row that my work’s been Rhysling-nominated, ever since I started publishing poetry; I am grateful to those who nominated me over the years.

The inaugural issue of Lackington’s is going to go live on Thursday, and I heard that my story will be illustrated by Galen Dara. I cannot wait! Behold the cover:


The cover of Lackington's #1

The cover of Lackington’s #1


Finally, the new wave of last year’s SFWA controversy. If you haven’t yet seen this and want to see for yourself, I recommend an entry by Natalie Luhrs. Natalie is on Twitter as @eilatan, and you should follow her there if you are so inclined, because she is awesome. I don’t think I have much to say beyond that, except that I was really, really disappointed to see CJ Cherryh’s signature. I used to own every book of hers. Some of these feet-of-clay moments are more painful than others.

Stone Telling 10: Body

The new Stone Telling is here, after a long wait. “Body” is a double issue with 23 poems, and it is especially hard-hittng.

We are now reading for ST11, so if we’ve never published you before, please send us your work. If we have published you before, please nudge other poets our way!

A short post

…to report two poetry acceptances. My poem “Landwork” will appear in Goblin Fruit (spring 2014), and my poem “The Three Immigrations” will be reprinted in How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens.

Happy new 2014, everyone!


2013 in review

This was a very difficult year for me. I got divorced, started single-parenting my kid after the ex left town, and went up for tenure. My health has been frustrating and often outright scary. While my personal life was in upheaval, some SFF things happened; here they are.


Stories published:

Teffeu: A Book from the Library at Taarona,” in Strange Horizons. Locus recommended review.

Theories of Pain,” in Daily Science Fiction.


Stories reprinted and translated:

“Held Close in Syllables of Light (reprint), in Best of BCS, Year 4.

“Geddarien” (reprint), Journal of Unlikely Architecture.

Las siete pérdidas de Na Re (Spanish Translation of Seven Losses of Na Re) at Cuentos Para Algernon. Also collected in Antología Cuentos para Algernon: Año I.


Stories sold to appear in 2014:

“A City on its Tentacles,” to Lackington’s Magazine.


Poems published in 2013:

The Journeymaker, Climbing,” Goblin Fruit, Winter 2013 (short)

The Journeymaker to Keddar,” Goblin Fruit, Winter 2013 (short)

לכבוד אַ סטרונע (Lekoved a Strune)“, Through the Gate 2 (short)

Bone Shadows,” Interfictions Online, issue 1. (long) – this is not really a poem, but an unclassifiable.

I will show you a single treasure from the treasures of Shah Niyaz,” Goblin Fruit, Summer 2013. (long)

Resh,” Through the Gate, 5 (short)

Where the ocean falls into itself,” Apex Magazine. (short)


Poems sold in 2013 to appear in 2014:

“Earth Map,” to appear in Mythic Delirium

“Dualities,” to appear in Mythic Delirium

“The Rotten Leaf Cantata,” to appear in Strange Horizons (this was scheduled for late 2013 release, but got delayed).

“Landwork,” to appear in Goblin Fruit


Editorial projects:

Stone Telling 9: Menagerie, featuring JT Stewart (who is amazing).

Stone Telling 10 got very delayed due to combined health issues and my personal issues, but we are hoping to get it out in the next two weeks.

Apex, Lackington’s, and other news

I am not around much these days. Life’s been happening.

My short story “A City on its Tentacles” will appear in the inaugural issue of Lackington’s. I might have finally gotten this one right; very happy it found a good home.

My prose poem “Earth Map” will appear in Mythic Delirium.

Apex Magazine 54 is out, with my poem “When the ocean falls into itself“. It is the first love poem I’ve written in over a decade. It is apparently the first poem in a triptych, but the second and third installments in the triptych are private.

Also in this issue of Apex are two much awaited (at least by me) short stories: Bogi Takács’s “Recordings of a more personal nature” (with notes at eir website) and Keffy Kehrli’s “This is a Ghost Story.” I am looking forward to the rest of the issue as well!

Finally, Cuentos Para Algernon published a virtual anthology of their first year, including the Spanish translation of my story “Seven Losses of Na Re.”

poetry sale, reviews, remembrance

My mythic SF poem “Dualities” has been accepted to appear in Mythic Delirium.

Lois Tilton at Locus gave my Strange Horizons story Teffeu: A Book from the Library at Taarona a “recommended” rating:

A beautiful little meditation on the love of books and languages and words, and the narrator’s attempt to hold fast to that love when the mundania of life intervene.

Finally, a new review by K.E. Bergdoll of the Journal of Unlikely Architecture highlights my story Geddarien:

Geddarien by Rose Lemberg is a surreal Holocaust story about music, the power to move past tragedy, and the ultimate deliverance of the dead into the future by those they leave to struggle on. MC Zelig’s progression from student at his grandfather’s knee to survivor is beautiful and elegantly offered within a poignant theme often mishandled. This story is by far my favorite

I think this might be my favorite review of this story so far. It is just so gratifying for me to see that this story is still being meaningful for people.

a page of sheet music hand-copied by my alter zeide for one of his friends

a page of sheet music hand-copied by my alter zeide for one of his friends

When my great-grandfather, a survivor of three wars, could no longer hold the violin bow, he earned money by copying scores for his friends. Not one of them younger than sixty, these musicians had once played in the Jewish Theatre before it was closed by the Soviets. I used to sit under the desk while zeide worked, and listened to many conversations in Yiddish. This single score page, Paganini’s Perpetuum Mobile, must have had some copying error, since it remained with us and was not given away; it is one of the very few things I brought with me from the Soviet Union. I carried it around through my immigrations and wanderings until at last I had a chance to frame it and hang it up in my home.

new short story, and Strange Horizons fund drive

Strange Horizons is a magazine close to my heart. My first professional sale, Kifli, appeared in Strange Horizons in 2010; they published my award-winning epic poem In the Third Cycle, as well as Between the Mountain and the Moon and The Three Immigrations.

They are currently running their annual fundraiser, and my short story Teffeu: A Book from the library at Taarona ran as a $3000 bonus content. This is about multilingualism and language loss (and bookloss), and I hope you give it a try. Even if you don’t like the story, I hope you will consider donating to support this excellent and important venue for short fiction, poetry, reviews, and commentary.

The next bonus content will be an essay titled “Recentering Science Fiction and the Fantastic: What Would a Non-Anglocentric Understanding of SF and Fantasy Look Like?” by Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay. I am very much looking forward to it! More fund drive issue content: a review by Aishwarya Subramanian, a story by Nisi Shawl, a poem by Bryan Thao Worra, a roundtable, an interview with Helen Oyeyemi (by Niall Harrison), and more. Dom Parisien’s excellent poem “I am learning to forget” ran as bonus content earlier this month.

Thank you, Strange Horizons team!

New poems and a reprint: now with more Birdverse

Happy things! First of all, a new issue of Through the Gate is up, featuring my poem “Resh” alongside excellent work by Sara Norja, Bogi Takács, Mari Ness, and Sonya Taaffe. It is a small, but perfectly formed issue with poems that work with each other to create a lovely harmony. Major kudos to editor Mitchell Hart, who has consistently been putting out wonderfully edited issues. Bogi has posted a compilation of Hungarian folk songs that inspired eir poem, “Flee to the Far Shores.”

Second, a new issue of Goblin Fruit is out, featuring my poem “I will show you a single treasure from the treasures of Shah Niyaz” and… oh wow, the wonderful art by Betsie Withey illustrates it! This is a Birdverse poem, featuring the secondary world universe in which I am often writing. I have read this poem during the Readercon Mythic Poetry reading MC’d by Mike Allen. This is what C.S.E. Cooney, writing the convention up for Black Gate, had to say about my performance:

Rose Lemberg […] tore my heart out and gave it wings.
She recited her piece from memory. She cried it out. She embodied it. And it consumed her like a fire. She left me weeping and trembling.
I think her poetry is dangerous. At least, it left me feeling like the most gorgeous shipwreck.

The mp3 of me reading this poem is up at Goblin Fruit; it is not as powerful as my Readercon performance (the poem came over me and I was shaking after that was over), but I hope you give it a listen nonetheless.

Third, my Birdverse novelette, “Held Close in Syllables of Light,” has been reprinted in Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year Four, which is now available from Weightless Books. If you enjoy Beneath Ceaseless Skies, please consider purchasing an issue to support this magazine.

inkscrawl.net seeks short poetry submissions

inkscrawl.net, a magazine of short (10 lines or less) speculative poetry, is open to submissions once more. This time, it is guest-edited by Jennifer Smith, who asked me to post about her vision. I am very happy to do so!

Says Jennifer:

I’m a mythic poetry fanatic, and while I do see that many short form poems written to form are flawed in substance, I love the forms and want to give them more than an even break. Hard sci-fi without a personal connection is a hard sell because I am not educated in hard science and therefore might not properly understand the substance, but I do count science fiction poems among some of my favorites. I’m terribly, terribly biased against English language haiku — it’s not you, English language haiku poets, it’s me. I prefer poems which uplift humanity over poems which illustrate challenges or hardship.

Jennifer is reading till October 31. Please send your submissions (up to five poems per batch) to poetry at inkscrawl dot net. Either “Ms. Smith” or “Jennifer” are appropriate forms of address for this editor.

(Please note that while I publish inkscrawl, I do not edit it – editors have the full freedom in choosing poems!)

Disability access and being a bystander

I am continuing my posts on disability and #accessiblecons because there are things I need to say.

Yesterday, a commenter, Lou, left this comment to the Disability, Diversity, Dignity post:

What the heck? I would not participate on a panel where one of the members had to be seated separately from the rest of the panel. I would sit on the floor with Mari before I would allow this to happen. What’s wrong with the rest of the panel that they would accept this arrangement?

When an event is occurring, few bystanders react the way we’d like to react. People observing con harassment often do not interfere. People observing disability-related injustices often do not understand what is going on, are not sure how to react, what is appropriate to do.

In 2002, I was a young graduate student doing summer language immersion school in an Eastern European country. The students were international, from Eastern and Western Europe, the Americas, Japan. It was very cool. The organizers were cordial. Among us students was a girl who used a wheelchair. I do not remember her name now – she was not in my class. One day we were about to go out to a tour to a famous historical site. We got on the buses, and at that point, out of the window I saw the girl in the wheelchair arguing with two of our organizers, and at that point I realized they intend to leave her behind. Some of us ran out to find out what was going on. We were told that the girl cannot come with us because the wheelchair cannot go on the bus. “No worries,” said one the guy students who ran out, “We can easily lift her, collapse the wheelchair, then unload it again. It will fit. No worries.” The girl in a wheelchair really wanted to go and was ready to accept the help. The organizers said no. Even if we loaded the wheelchair, the student would be a burden to “the healthy students” (I remember this phrasing). We kept arguing that she would not be a burden, that we would help her along the way, stay with her in places too narrow for the wheelchair – to no avail. Eventually we gave up and went on the bus and it drove away without her.

The historical site was very beautiful.

I had wanted to stay behind. I should have stayed behind with that student, who, like the rest of us, was paying to be in the summer school and was all paid up to go on the tour. Staying behind with her would have been the ethical thing to do. I did not. I was very young. I was afraid to speak out more than I already did. I have always been a good student and wanted to remain a good student. I wanted to go on that tour. I was very young and had no experience with disability advocacy yet. I was confused and unsure what to do.

I continue to remember this event with great personal guilt and shame. But it taught me something about disability advocacy.

What we can do is act as a community to prevent mistreatment and dehumanization to members of marginalized groups. We have discussed con harassment a lot this year, including what you can do as a bystander, so let us do the same for disability issues.

As I said in Diversity, Disability, Dignity, it is very important that each of us congoers contact the cons we are attending and ask about their disability policy. Also, this is a very good question to ask: “Are you asking attendees whether they have special needs/need accommodations?” All cons should ask attendees regarding their needs, so that attendees on wheelchairs get their ramps, attendees with hearing issues get appropriate aids (e.g. Wiscon has an ASL interpreter – they apply for grants!) etc.

Second, let’s create more public discourse about this. Please consider speaking out online and offline.

Third, if you are on a panel where accessibility issues are not being accommodated properly, get involved. Speak to the organizers (but do NOT pressure the person with disability into accepting help). The person with disability might accept a personally problematic, painful and inappropriate solution because they are likely embarrassed, hurt, unwilling to delay the panel and create issues – in short, they are afraid of being perceived as a burden.

No! It is NOT a burden for cons to provide a ramp, it is no more a burden than providing chairs for rooms, reserving a con suite, providing tea and cookies in the consuite, or any other logistical thing that cons do. Disability access is simply not on the agenda for many cons.

So let’s put it on the agenda. The Other is us. It could be you, or a loved one, mortified and sitting below other presenters, on the floor, in front of a crowd of people who came to listen to your words but can neither see nor hear you. We must uplift each other. The time to care is now.

(People are tweeting and discussing these issues on Twitter using the hashtag #accessiblecons. I am @roselemberg there. Please join us).

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Rose Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Their work has appeared in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Uncanny, and other venues, and has been a finalist for the Nebula, Tiptree, Elgin, Rhysling, and Crawford awards.

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