Have you preordered this book yet? It’s the debut collection by one of the best writers of short fiction alive, and it comes out on October 3rd. Inside you’ll find stories playful and dark, sexy and heartbreaking, so structurally inventive they’re like nothing else you’ve seen. Also, it happens that it was just among the ten books longlisted for the National Book Award. If you like fiction but aren’t reading Carmen Machado’s then you are making bad life choices.
Tag: Carmen Machado (page 1 of 2)
At WorldCon in Kansas City I got the chance to join Jo Walton on the Coode Street podcast, hosted by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe. We talked about writers that characterize different eras of science fiction, how science fiction differs rhetorically from fantasy (more detail on that here), and whether there’s a difference between the kinds of literary experimentation in the past and what is pursued today. As tends to happen, I fell a little bit into just listening to Jo be enviably clever, but I did get a chance to talk about the Iowa Writers’ Workshop’s modern support for genre writing, and contemporary writers who inspire me (going on for a bit about Carmen Maria Machado and Meghan McCarron and Carola Dibbell). You can listen to the episode on the Coode Street site, on your podcast player of choice through iTunes, or via the embedded player below.
The nomination period for the Nebula awards closed a couple of days ago, and in the lead-up to that deadline many people said awfully nice things about my story.
- Morgan Dhu reviewed it at length on her book blog, concluding that it’s, “A profoundly thoughtful, elegantly written work.”
- John Chu included it in his “Stuff I want people to read” blog post.
- Rachel Swirsky recommended it for Nebula consideration, saying it’s, “the best riff on ‘disappearing male’ stories I’ve ever seen, a smart story that accomplishes both literary and speculative goals in a sharp, well-characterized, traditionally ‘what if?’ SF way.”
- Joseph Tomaras put it at the top of his list of tentative Nebula nominations.
- Carmen Machado tweeted that it deserved a place on the ballot.
- Aliette de Bodard helped spread the word on Twitter also.
Thanks to all of you for taking the time to read “The New Mother,” and for sharing your appreciation. I’m really touched to see that it’s connecting with so many people.
A few more people have been publicly kind about “The New Mother” recently.
- On the Tangent Online 2015 Recommended Reading List, Bob Blough gave “The New Mother” the maximum three stars. I’d like to meet Bob someday, he’s been consistently supportive of this story.
- In the Strange Horizons 2015 Year In Review, Carmen Machado named it as one of her three favorite pieces of short fiction.
- Nicholas Whyte put it on his nominations list for the BSFA second round.
As ever, my thanks for spreading the word.
I’ve often been asked lately whether I miss teaching. My standard answer is to say that I miss teaching very much, but I don’t miss all the things around teaching: the low pay, the lack of benefits, the constant feeling that I’m complicit in the adulteration of a once-great intellectual tradition. Which is all to say, I miss teaching, but not adjuncting. The work itself gave me profound satisfaction, but the working conditions were an affront to my pride. It was nothing like the vision of academia I received as an undergraduate; I went to a small liberal arts university which I’m not sure even had any adjunct professors. I certainly never had one. So while I now know the adjuncting experience from the faculty side, I have only my evaluations to suggest what it’s like for a student.
Carmen, though, has lived at both ends of the adjunct’s college classroom. She wrote about it for the New Yorker with exquisite clarity. Read about the pathology of placing students’ formative experiences in the hands of those with “great responsibility, precariously held.”
As I’ve spent most of my reading time this year in books, I’ve gotten way behind on the things my brilliant friends have published digitally. So here’s a slice of 2015 writing worth catching up on, with more to come.
- “Descent” by Carmen Maria Machado – Newly Nebula-nominated author and all-around force of nature Carmen Machado, with a horror story about women haunted by death.
- “Pockets” by Amal El-Mohtar – A story about the quiet magic of reaching your hand in your pocket and pulling out something you never put in, that’s also an extended metaphor for the act of making a piece of art and sending it out into the world. (Disclosure: I gave the author some advice that informed the scientific testing scenes in this story.)
- “And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead” by Brooke Bolander – A pulpy, profane, bloodslicked story of cyborg assassins and data thieves who don’t give a damn about anything but each other. Like Battle Angel Alita and Ghost in the Shell got addled on bourbon, had a stumbling fuck in an alley, and couldn’t look one another in the eye the next day.
- “A Girl’s Guide to Sexual Purity” by Carmen Maria Machado – Because she’s as adept with a personal essay as she is with a short story, here’s Carmen again, revealing that she was once an earnest, purity ring-wearing 13-year-old, and how she became the queer, sex-positive feminist she is now.
- “Kidhood (Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall)” by Rebekah Frumkin – The latest installment in Rebekah’s continuing column for McSweeney’s about psychoactive pharmaceuticals, and the insider’s view of the cognition that makes doctors hand them out.
- “In Manila, Two Seasons, No Regrets” by Laurel Fantauzzo – A Modern Love article about falling into a relationship while traveling, the kind of relationship that’s everything it can be, but not everything you want it to be.
- “Reflections on a Dirty Dog” by Lisa Wells – A kaleidoscopic, hypnotic essay of suffering for the sake of experience, or for no reason whatsoever, on cross-country Greyhound bus trips.
- “Thigh High” by Knar Gavin
I have many of them, and they just keep on writing things you should read. Also I’m instituting an new tag, My Friends Write Things, to link all these posts together. I’ve propagated it back through my archives, so clicking that will lead you to a trove of work from my most-loved people.
- “The Husband Stitch” – Carmen Machado, one of the best fantasists writing today, in Granta with a gorgeous story inspired by Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
- “Mothers” – Carmen Machado again, because she is a force of nature. This time in Interfictions, with a story about two women in a broken relationship who make a baby. Carmen has put personal experience at the service of fiction with astonishing force and efficacy. You can read a little about the writing of this story on her blog.
- “Becoming” – Anna Noyes in Guernica with a story from the point of view of a chimpanzee being raised as a human. I was lucky enough to see an early draft of this memorable story in workshop, and am thrilled it’s found a home.
- “Quality of Descent” – Megan Kurashige in Lightspeed with a story about a man meeting a woman who definitely has wings, and may or may not be able to fly.
- “Ideal Head of a Woman” – Kelly Luce in Midnight Breakfast with a story about a museum employee who has an unusual relationship with a piece of sculpture.
- “The Gospel of Paul” – Ariel Lewiton writing in the LA Review of Books with a profile of bookseller and new author Paul Ingram. In addition to being a gorgeous portrait of a fascinating man, this is also the best record of the culture of Iowa City that I’ve read.
- “Did Eastern Germany Experience an Economic Miracle?” – Ben Mauk writing in the New Yorker about regional economic variations in Germany 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
- “Freedom to Fuck Up” – Thessaly La Force interviewing Merritt Tierce about her novel Love Me Back, discussing pregnancy, abortion, and sex in fiction.
- “Reconciliation” – Monica Byrne on the need for reconciliation between the United States and Iran, and how that can begin with connection between individuals. If you’re an American and her article makes you want to visit Iran yourself, she’s also written a how-to for U.S. citizens on her blog.