In Review: 2015

So, this year is almost gone, 2016 is almost here, and like most people, it’s time for me to take a look at what has transpired. Things forgotten, things to be remembered.

I start with something I do better than talking about my own work, which is promoting the work I’ve read from others, and this year was filled with amazing stories and poetry from so many authors I love. If you haven’t read any of the following, go do it immediately or save it as something to do out loud on New Year’s Eve. If you aren’t mentioned in this list, please don’t be offended – I read and enjoyed so many pieces this year, and I’m only a human with a human brain and human fingers that get tired like human parts are apt to do.

“Android Whores Can’t Cry” by Natalia Theodoridou in Clarkesworld. I’ve mentioned this piece at least a dozen times since it was published. Natalia is incredibly talented, and if you haven’t scoured the internet for her work, including “The Eleven Holy Numbers of the Mechanical Soul” from last year, you’re missing out.

“Artemis, with Wildflowers” by Ani King in Strange Horizons. Ani is prolific as well as genuine. Find her work “Dirty Blue” in Pidgeonholes, as well as many other places online. Rumor has it she’s working on a novel. Or two. And she should be, because the only possible outcome is awesome.

“Be Not Unequally Yoked” by Alexis A. Hunter in Shimmer. Alexis is like a master craftsman. She is perpetually pursuing ways to improve or enlighten her craft, even if its video games or a day at work. And it shows. There is an undeniable, authentic humanity in all of her work, which is always Grade A gold, even when the work is about robots, like “Gold Dress, No Eyes”.

“The Animals, Who Are In Your Mouth” by Vajra Chandraskera in Liminality. Vajra has a fearless imagination that matches his fearless language. Whether its in poetry or in strange, provocative fiction in some of the best genre magazines around, he always has something important to say about life and a new angle to examine it from.

“Word Problems” by Anna Zumbro in freeze frame fiction. Anna is always coming up with fresh ideas. I was reading for freeze frame fiction when the experimental volume came out, and this piece is an easy personal favorite. It captures Anna’s knack for younger characters well as her skill at making experimental forms feel effortless.

“The Falling Cinders of Analog Pi” by Jennifer Todhunter in Bartleby Snopes. Jennifer, aside from being published in, and now reading for Pidgeonholes, has work in a number of magazines I admire. This piece was nominated for a Pushcart, and there is no question as to why. Her recent work in Zetetic and Literary Orphans is worth checking out, as well.

“The Beast” by Louis Rakovich in Zetetic. Louis is, to me, a name to watch in dark fiction and magical realism. His stories are always compelling, his language is tight and effective, and this story is no exception. If you haven’t checked out his novella, The End of the Trail, do it. It’s available for pretty much any device you have, and is beautiful, unnerving, and deeply moving.

“And Now, Playing Us Out, The Sweet Sounds of Legendary Jazz Trumpeter UNCO-895i” by Paul A. Hamilton in freeze frame fiction. Paul says he loves robots. Really, Paul loves the possibility of science. Pretty much all of his work, from “Paranoid Android” in Pidgeonholes to “Lunik-Mechta” in Zetetic embodies this.

“Genesis” by Anton Rose in Maudlin House. Anton has been busy this year. He completed his Ph. D. He’s appeared in Pidgeonholes, Litro Online, and Structo, to name a few. He doesn’t get tired, he doesn’t get down, he’s like a train of success with quality stories and poetry. This was a personal favorite of the numerous publications Anton has achieved this year.

“Roots” by Joyce Chong in Noble / Gas Qtrly. Joyce puts out some of the most daring, most stunning, most beautiful poetry. If you aren’t following her insomniatic string of publications, you need to, starting with this poem and her Pushcart-nominated “the things that are left behind” in FLAPPERHOUSE.

This brings us to me. Now, I don’t often brag or boast or really even promote my own writing, so what follows… was exhausting, almost painful, to write out. But, I did it because I believe in all of the pieces I’ve put out this year as well as all the amazing, superb zines, big and small, that I’ve had the honor of appearing in.

Overall, I’ve racked up 128 rejections this year, sent 14 withdrawls, and had 37 pieces accepted by 27 publications. Let me share a few favorites, some of which have been overlooked and neglected by me since their initial publication.

This has been a year filled with death and upheaval, shift and rebirth in many ways, and I feel my body of work reflects that. Starting with “Oil and Cherries” in Volume IV of freeze frame fiction, and on to “In the Season of Black Flags” in Dirty Chai‘s REVOLT issue and “Schrödinger’s Cat Now Made of Light OR The View from Superposition” in Lockjaw. There may be hope, there’s always hope, but it gets tinged to something more sad so easily, like in “Unraveling Lisa” published by Duckbill Fiction or my examination of decay, “Bloom” in the special, themed Anti-Apocalypse issue of Plasma Frequency. Even my poetry hasn’t escaped the shift, from my Moby-Dick-inspired found poems in Unlost, to my post-apocalyptic lament, “Postlude” in Zetetic; from my prose poem on the advent of blue eyes roughly 10,000 years ago,  “First Blue” (which somehow was nominated for both Best of the Net and a Pushcart), to the parallel tales of collapse in “The Bridge, Before and After”.

And last, but not least, I have been honored to bring Pidgeonholes through its first year. There have been many pieces to love along the way, including many rejected works. The works nominated for various awards speak for themselves, and I haven’t worked on projects quite as fun (or exhausting) as #MICROVEMBER and the special 90’s Mixtape volume in a long time.

This has been the year in review. 2015, done. 2016, here I come. Be ready.

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