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.