2018 Compilation List: Short Fiction


A list of all 27 pieces of short fiction I read in 2018. This was the first time I made a concerted effort to read more short fiction. Not a bad start to a new trend, if I do say so myself.

Recommended reads are denoted with an asterisk “*”.

Short Fiction

40 Facts About the Strip Mall at the Corner of Never and Was by Alex Acks
“12. Cell phones work in the costume shop, but they will text only one number, which returns answers no one wants.” (via Shimmer)

* Anabasis by Amal El-Mohtar
“A warning is the same as a threat. Television teaches this. Is that a threat / call it a warning. Call it by a different name, and it changes.” (via Tor.com)

And Yet by A.T. Greenblat
Only idiots go back to the haunted houses of their childhood. And yet.” (via Uncanny Magazine)

* Choose Wisely by Fran Wilde
“You sip your coffee down to the dregs, then cast the spell for another, noting you have some time before work this morning. No doctors’ waiting rooms today. No prescription pickups. And the child is already at school, and didn’t forget her wand this time, so this is the perfect moment for dealing with the paperwork that sometimes comes with your latest medical adventure — let’s just call that one “No, it wasn’t anxiety after all.” (via Fireside Fiction)

Disconnect by Fran Wilde
Even in her dreams, Izze always felt pulled in too many directions.” (via Uncanny Magazine)

Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma
“Eliza, tell me your secret.” (via Tor.com)

* From the Void by Sarah Gailey
“I take shallow breaths, trying not to feed the ache, trying not to cough. I breathe as little as I can, but it’s never enough. There is no escape for me. Esther’s bunk is as empty as every other berth in the ship.” (via Shimmer)

The Future of Work: Compulsory by Martha Wells
It’s not like I haven’t thought about killing the humans since I hacked my governor module. But then I started exploring the company servers and discovered hundreds of hours of downloadable entertainment media, and I figured, what’s the hurry? I can always kill the humans after the next series ends.” (via Wired)

Godmeat by Martin Cahill
“Hark took in the cut of godmeat before him, shining a bloody pink against his dark skin, clean and ready for a dry rub of spices. Seven dishes he’d had the honor of crafting, and it still quickened his heart to handle the raw flesh of one of the Great Beasts; no other chef in all the Wild World could say they’d done it, and none could do it so well as Hark.” (via Lightspeed Magazine)

* If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again by Zen Cho
“As a matter of fact, it had been ready to ascend some 300 years ago. But the laws of heaven cannot be defied. If you drop a stone, it will fall to the ground—it will not fly up to the sky. If you try to become a dragon before your thousandth birthday, you will fall flat on your face, and all the other spirits of the five elements will laugh at you.” (via Barnes and Noble)

* Into the Gray by Margaret Killjoy
“I only led the worst of men down to the Waking Waters and death, down to my love in the pool below the falls. I only led the foul men with filth on their tongues, the rich men who contrived to rule other men. I only led the men with hatred in their hearts and iron in their hands. I spurred them on with tales of hidden silver or the sight of my girlish thigh, down out from the mountain town of Scilla, down to the hills and the pines and the ruttish perfume of wildflowers.” (via Tor.com)

Leviathan Sings to Me in the Deep by Nibedita Sen
“The calf was seen drifting some distance from the ship until it grew dark. First Mate Law believes he hears it uttering low crying noises in the manner that whales do, but I think it just as likely that he is hearing only the swirl of water, or perhaps the grinding of broken ice against the hull.” (via Nightmare Magazine)

Moonboys by Stephen Graham Jones
“You ask how my brother died on the moon that day, but that’s the wrong question. Ask instead what he spelled with his bootprints when we first stepped down from the platform. Ask instead the one song he listened to, the whole flight there.” (via Lightspeed Magazine)

* Mother Jones and the Nasty Eclipse by Cherie Priest
“I thought there were lines we’d all agreed not to cross. I thought there were rules, and maybe there were, but they only applied to us. You learned that one the hard way, didn’t you? Well.” (via Apex Magazine)

The Need for Overwhelming Sensation by Bogi Takács
“These ships do not run on pain; that’s a misconception. They run on raw magical power. It can be produced in any number of ways. Pain is just easy for many people. Of course, it’s a matter of choice. Even those who find it easy don’t have to like it. I like it. I need it. If I go without, my body protests. Maybe it’s about the need for overwhelming sensation; I’m not sure.” (via Capricious)

No Flight Without the Shatter by Brooke Bolander
“Once upon a time the waters rose to cut you off from your mother continent, better independence through drowning. Some day soon, when the ice across the ocean turns to hungry waves, all the rest will follow, sliding beneath an oil-slick surface as warm and empty as a mortician’s handshake.” (via Tor.com)

A Priest of Vast and Distant Places by Cassandra Khaw
“You don’t sound like you anymore, or at least the you that existed before. You don’t act like her either. You are louder, wiser, brasher, harder, entirely unafraid, your edges razored by all the places you’ve lived, your accent a consortium of previous experiences.” (via Apex Magazine)

* The Quiet of Homecoming by Cassandra Khaw
“I leave pawprints on the stairs, even though I am wearing shoes. It amuses me to do so. The front desk says nothing. Someone in the lounge, a woman with a voice like a broken heart, begins to sing, and it sounds like a story of you and I.” (via Lightspeed Magazine)

Rust and Bone by Mary Robinette Kowal
“Grandmother’s rocking chair is made of iron. It is rust and death and blood. Grandmother’s rocking chair sits in the middle of the porch so that she can watch me and pet her turtle. Tortoise, really. It is as old as Grandmother and waits patiently by the chair like an end-table of shell.” (via Shimmer)

* Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal El-Mohtar
Tabitha first sees the glass hill as a knife’s edge of light, scything a green swathe across her vision before she can look away. She is stepping out of a forest; the morning sun is vicious, bright with no heat in it; the frosted grass crunches under the press of her iron heels, but some of it melts cold relief against the skin exposed through the straps.” (via Uncanny Magazine)

* The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington by P. Djèlí Clark
“When George Washington wore the Bonny man’s tooth, he found himself humming an unknown song, that sounded (strange to his thinking) like the tongue of the savage mermen. And in the dark hidden parts of the sea, old and terrible things, stirred.” (via Fireside Magazine)

Sparrow by Yilin Wang
“On the grime-covered window in front of you, Sparrow Li’s face appears instead of your own. She scales walls and jumps across rooftops in a single leap, with no need for a single rope. Centuries ago, she stole silver taels from the wealthiest duke to give to beggars, slaves, and peasants, leaving only a folded paper sparrow behind to claim the deed. If you were her, you wouldn’t have to worry about buying enough rice to feed yourself.” (via Clarkesworld)

A Study in Oils by Kelly Robson
“He tried to explain, but she was terrified. That big red label on his button—KILLER—FAIR GAME—didn’t fill people with confidence in his character. She hit the button hard, several times. He spent an hour on the floor of the elevator, riding from level to level, and came to with internal bleeding, a cracked ocular orbit, three broken ribs, and a vicious bite mark on his left buttock.” (via Clarkesworld)

The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births by José Pablo Iriarte
“I know him. I know him from before.” (via Lightspeed Magazine)

Sucks (to Be You) by Katharine Duckett
Call me lamia, call me lilith, call me nightmare, slattern, slut. I don’t subscribe to labels. I’ve moved around, through many lives, and they’ve always invented new names for me.” (via Uncanny Magazine)

* Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™ by Rebecca Roanhorse
“All a Vision Quest requires is a dash of mystical shaman, a spirit animal (wolf usually, but birds of prey are on the upswing this year), and the approximation of a peyote experience. Tourists always come out of the Experience feeling spiritually transformed. (You’ve never actually tried peyote, but you did smoke your share of weed during that one year at Arizona State, and who’s going to call you on the difference?)” (via Apex Magazine)

The Witch in the Woods Falls in Love a Third Time by Kate Lechler
“Since I split from my mother like a sprout from a seed, I had never laid eyes on another human ’til they came. When they did, the only words I said were words of love, declarations of devotion. How they twisted when they passed my lips, I couldn’t say.” (via Shimmer)


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