Science Fiction and Fantasy


Jump Space, forthcoming

The primary SF I’m writing at the moment is in my Jump Space universe.  It encompasses the following (all free to read, except for The Stars Change), ideally read in this order:

These stories will be incorporated into the book, Jump Space, forthcoming from Constellation Press and Riverdale Avenue Press, tentatively scheduled for spring 2023.”

In Joker Moon, the next Wild Cards adventure from series editor George R. R. Martin, we follow Aarti, the Moon Maid, who can astrally project herself onto the surface of the moon and paint projections across the lunarscape.

“Speculative fiction is often about sense of wonder and escapism, but the realities of life and its traumas can make wonder elusive, and escape difficult to even imagine. Editors Mary Anne Mohanraj and JJ Pionke bring you stories of people who have endured serious emotional and physical challenges, and who have found new paths forward, learning to both survive and thrive. The authors featured in this anthology offer more than simple catharsis. These are stories that will evoke wonder, yes, but will also inspire us to look up, full of determination, seeing our spirits lifting higher than the stratosphere.”

18 essays and poems about representation in SF/F, continuing the conversation.

“At twelve, I perfected the baggy clothes drape. I stood and leaned against walls rather than sitting. Leaning kept the bottom edge of the hard, white fiberglass brace from digging into my thighs and the top edge from pinching under my arms. Either or both would drag my clothes funny and ruin the effect. I was pretty careful, but one pat on the back or a joking poke at my ribs and thunk. Hip to collarbone, my identity was wrapped in a hard shell…”

— Fran Wilde, “Notes from the Meat Cage”

“In this volume of the WisCon Chronicles, we find ourselves considering what it means to live at the intersections of various identities, some of them more privileged than others. We ask how we can function as good allies to each other in often challenging situations. We’re living through an intense time of social change, and a variety of questions arise as we have these often difficult conversations about feminism, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and more. Among them are questions about what leads to positive social change and how best to effect such change in our communities.”  This volume includes a mix of essays, fiction, poetry, and roundtable discussion by Nisi Shawl, Samuel R. Delany, Vandana Singh, Kelley Eskridge, Sheree R. Thomas, Michi Trota, Tobias Buckell, and others.

“On a South Asian-settled university planet, tensions are rising. The first interstellar war has just been declared; the pure humans (or at least a segment of them) against the genetically modified humods and the aliens. The players in this game are complex, and the average citizen doesn’t really understand what’s going on. They just want to go on with their life: go to work, go home, make love to their wife. Or wives. Or husbands. Or indeterminate gender human and/or alien partners. Yet when the Warren, the alien ghetto, comes under attack, humans, humods, and aliens must all decide where they stand — what is worth fighting for, or maybe even worth dying for.”

Without a Map is published in conjunction with the appearance of Mary Anne Mohanraj and Nnedi Okorafor as the Guests of Honor at WisCon 34.  Mary Anne Mohanraj contributes a mix of stories, poems, and essays to the volume. In ”Identity Papers,” ”Revised Itineraries,” and ”Saying Hello,” Mohanraj, who was born in Sri Lanka but has lived in the United States since the age of two, recounts and reflects on a recent trip to Sri Lanka, where she wonders if she could ever feel at home. ”Sequins” explores the complications bisexuality bring to an apparently traditional marriage, while in the space opera tale ”Jump Space,” Sarita tests her polyamorous marriage, when she independently makes a commitment that could affect the future of her entire family. Without a Map concludes with Mohanraj’s discussion of racism and how to write characters of color well.”

“The Best of Strange Horizons offers a choice selection of fiction, poetry, and more from the ground-breaking first year of this Hugo-nominated, award-winning science fiction and fantasy magazine, a magazine which James Patrick Kelly calls “a showcase for some of the most exciting new voices in the genre,” (Asimov’s), and which Science Fiction weekly names “one of the most promising of the new publications on the Web.” This is the first appearance of Strange Horizons material in print.”

Stories &  Poems

Hush, 2022 (

Jenny returns to her home planet in the midst of civil unrest. A stay-at-home order has been issued in the wake of anti-alien protests, and only she can escort her neighbor Katika, a Razuli girl, home safely.

Among the Marithei, 2021 (Asimov’s)
Sergey hummed under his breath as he walked to the Marith temple. His steps retraced a path he knew so well, he could have walked it at night, in the dark, even under assault. Yet the Marith enclave was the most peaceful place he’d ever been—so calm that Sergey didn’t even need to hum to soothe his newborn daughter, fast asleep in her sling, bound tight against his chest. Three days old, and still Katya mostly slept, which both his wife and the doula had assured him was normal. They laughed at his anxieties, but they didn’t understand how Katya’s small griefs pierced his soul. He was no Marith empath, but he felt what she felt.

Wake, 2021 (Whether Change: The Revolution Will Be Weird)
Amudhini reached out to touch her husband’s hand, feeling guilty about disturbing his sleep, but needing the reassurance.  Outside their window, the sun was climbing in the sky, and all seemed well, but Amu’s sleep had been troubled.  A roiling mass of incoherent dreams, dark figures striding across a shadowed landscape, torches blazing.  Stephen made a small, grumbly noise, but then his fingers curled around hers, squeezing.

That She Might Fly, May 2019 (Escape Pod)
“O’Brien,” the captain’s voice snapped across the net, interrupting Nuala’s conversation with her husband, demanding her attention. “We’re moving on to the last block, but there’s one holdout at number three-thirty-seven. Arjun Sivaloganathan. He’s refusing to evacuate. Go down and dig him out, by force if you have to.”

Farewell, December 2017 (Welcome to Dystopia)
“The noise at O’Hare is a dull roar of voices, rising and falling, dissolving into chaos.  We must almost shout to hear each other, packed into long lines that press against each other, sticky in the June heat, waiting to get into the building.  My mother frowns, raising a folded newspaper over her head to block the relentless sun.  ‘Keep Raj inside.  You know how dark he gets at the end of the summer.  He looks like such a blackie – he won’t be safe.'”

Tomorrow and Tomorrow, 2017 (XPrize)
“Anu huddled over her lecture notes in the airplane seat, a thousand regrets gnawing at her chest. She’d given her last lecture. Her oncologist hadn’t even wanted her to fly out for it, with the chemo compromising her immune system, but they’d given her such a small chance of survival regardless, Anu didn’t really see the point of missing one last opportunity to make her mark….”

Plea, 2016 (Lightspeed)
“Three families ahead of them in line. Many more behind, stretching along the beach; it had taken most of the day to get this far, and Eris’s sun was now setting, casting red-gold rays across the sand. Gwen resisted the urge to remind Jon to stand up straight. Their hosts—potential hosts—couldn’t stand up at all, and there was no reason cetaceans would even notice a human’s posture, much less care. The only bodily attributes the Erisians might care about would be whether the humans had the added blubber and other genetic modifications to sustain them in a mostly watery environment. Though if they didn’t have those modifications, then there’d be no reason for any humans to be standing in this line, begging refuge of aliens. No, the Erisians wouldn’t be paying attention to their bodies at all—all of their attention would be focused on the humans’ minds.  Which reminded her—Gwen started humming again. A strange, deliberately atonal pattern that she had memorized—that her whole family had memorized, and in fact, the entire long line of human families had memorized, it seemed, as Gwen could hear the hum rising around her. Oh, the patterns weren’t identical, and some people were whispering rhymes under their breath, but the general concept was the same. Keep the hum going, and they won’t be able to read your minds…”

Webs, 2016 (Asimov’s, to be reprinted in Lightspeed online April 2018)
Bam-bam-bam! No polite neighbor knock, but desperation in the hammer of fist against metal. Anna had taken three steps across the small room, automatically, but now she hesitated. She’d been watching the news for hours, and though nothing dramatic had happened yet, the newscasters sounded tense. They spoke in short, clipped sentences, and their eyes flickered up and down and away, as if they were monitoring a dozen developing situations, just waiting for something to break.”

Communion, 2014 (Clarkesworld)
“If a human saw the deep delvings of Chaurin’s people, it might faint away in sheer terror. On awaking, it would cling to the walls, begging not to be dragged any further, shown any more. Then Chaurin would insist—no, you must come; you think us animals, barbarians; you must see what wonders we have wrought! And he might pull that human to the very edge of a twisting stone stair, and with a single, careless motion, toss it tumbling down. They were ephemeral, these humans, light and slight, of no consequence. It would be easy to dispose of one.”

Hammer in the Dark, 2013 (The Stars Change, reprinted in Mithila Review, 2017)
“‘You did not have to turn away your friend, just because we are here.’ Jequith said the words politeness demanded, but it was intensely grateful that there were no more humans crowding into this small space. One was more than enough. The scent of this one alone, heightened by adrenaline and endorphins, was so thick that Jequith could barely think. Its mother had been right — it had been a fool to leave their world, to come to such a strange, human-filled place. Over ninety-nine percent of this planet was human populated, and yet that wasn’t enough for them. They had to have it all.”

Ties That Bind, 2014 (Wild Cards:  Lowball)
NOTE:  Recommended you read “Sanctuary” (below) first.  “Detective Michael Stevens walked into the Jokertown precinct and paused, blasted by noise that didn’t help his pounding head. It had been a shitty day even before he came into work. Michael had woken with a raging hard-on, but he’d somehow slept through his alarm. Both of his girlfriends were already up and dressed, and his daughter was up too and hollering for her breakfast, so there was no chance of persuading one of the women to come back to bed, even if he hadn’t been late. And then Minal had gotten distracted by Isai pissing all over the kitchen floor, so the eggs had gotten overcooked, and if there was one thing Michael hated, it was dry eggs. Also, piss on his kitchen floor.”

The Night Air, 2013
Not fucking again.  Literally fucking, which was the problem — Kimmie’s upstairs neighbors, the skinny brown human and the curvy gold female, were at it again.  For what, the fourth time tonight?  The management could claim however much it wanted that the walls were supposed to be sound-proofed, the truth was that this was a shitty apartment, it clearly wasn’t up to code, and when two grown-ass adults decided to hurl their bodies together on a battered wooden bed, you could hear it.  Not to mention that the girl was a screamer.  You would think after getting the news that the war was finally on, they would have gone decently to sleep, but no.  They were probably celebrating life or some such bullshit.  Kimmie couldn’t take it anymore.  She shoved back the chair from her desk, grabbed a fur to wrap around herself, and headed out into the night.”

The Princess in the Forest, 2012
“The princess walks for hours, her face smooth as an undisturbed pool of water, her eyes laughing, light as butterflies. New-married, full of adoration for her husband, her prince. Rama hunts in the forest; he pursues the slender hart, lays traps for cunning rabbits. But always he comes to his Sita before the sun is down, comes to their modest hut, their gentle home in exile. He smiles to see her, lays the game aside and takes her in his arms, draws her down to the forest floor, the soft grasses, and she loves him then, as the gopis loved blue Krishna, she loves him with everything she has, everything she is.”

Sanctuary, 2011 (Wild Cards:  Fort Freak)
“Kavitha eased her way out of her daughter’s room, closing the door quietly behind her. It had taken longer than usual to get her toddler down; Isai had insisted on telling her a long, incomprehensible story about Daddy and dragons. When Michael got home from the station, Kavitha would have to ask him if he’d said something to Isai. In Jokertown, it was entirely plausible that Michael had encountered real dragons in the course of his detective duties — or at least something close enough to pass for real. He was going to have to stop reading his daughter police reports; Isai was getting old enough to understand them. And even though the child appeared to be fearless, some of the things Michael dealt with on a day-to-day basis terrified even Kavitha; Isai didn’t need to hear all the gritty details of Daddy’s job. Not yet. Isai might be an ace, with fearsome shapeshifting abilities, but she was also only two-and-a-half years old. Michael was just going to have to learn how to make stories up. Appropriate stories.”

Ten Scenes from a Life in Gears, 2011
“Can you hand me that ratchet?”  Xta’s voice was muffled, coming as it did from inside the hood of some strange contraption she was trying to repair and reinvent.  Sometimes he thought he knew her voice better this way, screened from him by rusty metal.  Did she prefer it that way?

Talking to Elephants, 2010
“”What are you doing?”  The voice was low, and might have been sweet in other circumstances.  But Ezi hadn’t expected to hear any voices at all when he’d come to his refuge in a corner of the palace gardens.  Although it was only drizzling a little today, during the rainy season most people avoided the gardens, with their muddy paths and hordes of breeding mosquitoes.  It was a good place to be alone, and Ezi had never minded getting a little wet.  He opened his eyes to see a thin girl, dressed in a dark green sari, bordered in gold.  The heavy brocaded fabric was too heavy for her slight frame; she looked as if she might collapse under the weight.  She held a simple black umbrella over her head.”

Jump Space, 2009
“Joshua glanced over to where Kate stood in the doorway, her hands twisting together in front of her.  She was the calm one, but she’d never make a good poker player.  Her hands always gave her away.  “Maybe Mommy will sing you a song?”  They were usually careful not to break the routine — bath, book, song, bed, in strict order.  The adults had long ago agreed that the children needed as much routine as possible in their itinerant lives.  But Sarita hadn’t come home for three nights now.  The story was her job.”

The Poet’s Lullaby, 2008
“The poet decided to have a child. This took her by surprise.”

At the Gates of the City, 2004
“The snow fell gently over the gravestones, piling thick and dense on tall crosses, rectangular stones, low Gothic iron fences. Anjali sat on one of the thicker stones, a heavy coat wrapped around her sturdy frame, her long hair loose and covered in snow. She could no longer read the inscriptions, not with the snow and the nighttime darkness. But she knew them by heart.”

gold rose dust, 2002
“they promise her a kiss, the twelve
fairies bending over her crib, a kiss to wake
her from her sodden sleep, a kiss to make
up for the weeping years, the loss
of sunrise in the mountains, water
dried to dust in fountains across
her courtyard; a consolation and a hope,
a rope to cling to as she swings through
the abyss, a kiss…”

The Poet and the Mathematician (a fable), 2002
“In a far away land under the coconut palms, there was a quiet little house by the sea. It had old boards that creaked when the wind whistled through them. It had small rooms that filled with sunshine on sunny days and moonlight on cloudless nights. Sometimes the roof leaked a little rain. And it had a young poet…”

The Fallen Star, 2001
“Once upon a time, oh my darlings, my little ones, there lived nineteen cousins in one great house.”

Esthely Blue, 2000
“My toes curl and release. I am lying with my back against his chest, with my ass against his groin and him slowly going limp inside me. I am catching my breath, slowing down, listening to my heartbeat fill the room. I am waiting for the right moment to shift away; though it would be nice to cuddle, I’m dying of the heat. Yes, long enough, and in one movement I slip a little forward and he slides out and only our toes are touching now, way down at the bottom of my bed. And I look down the curve of my body, smiling, down the faint moonlit bed, down my thighs to knees and calves, looking for my toes — they are not there. Ankle, heel, and emptiness.”

Would You Live For Me?, 2000
“…a mythical creature of varied powers and weaknesses. Peasant wisdom claims that garlic worn at the wrists and neck and wreathed around doors and window frames will ward off the monster, and that the touch of a cross or Christian holy water will burn the undead skin, as acid would burn a human…”

Beneath the Lemon Tree, 1997
You know the tale as it was told to maidens
young and grannies old who sit by fires forgotten.
That sad sweet tale of woman’s love which heals
the dreadful beast, and turns black dross to gold.
Recall the prince discovered underneath
the monster’s hide, the prince who has since
disappeared, though woman searches far
and wide and grannies sit and gnash their teeth…

The Devouring Night, 1995
“The bride-to-be of Gamilah, twelfth prince of that name, lord of the richest province in all of the country of Ranek, was alone in her tower room. It was her first moment alone in twelve days, and she cherished it, holding it to her like a gift far more precious than the dozen purebred peacocks in the courtyard or the teardrop ruby hanging at her throat.”

Feather, 1995
“There was an angel on my bed. Really. An incandescent, feathery white-winged, ten-foot-tall angel. Don’t ask how it got there. I don’t even go to Mass. In any case, no nun I ever talked to mentioned the possibility of multiply-gendered, stark naked holy visitations. Not even the saints got naked angels.”

Even Arthur Would Forgive, 1994
“Top of Arthur’s Seat
wind gusting fiercely;
tourists scattered talking softly
(voices captured and dispersed)
suddenly remembered
how much I wished you with me
to glory in the mountain
as it hung above the sea…”

Diana, 1994
“He began counting the women, finding it difficult to concentrate on anything other than the slide of water of smooth, dark skin. None of the seven women were pale; no, tanned golden by weeks of playing in summer sunlight. Their hair was uniformly blond except for one, and she, she was red. Red as the leaves across the hills, red as sunset.”

Fleeing Gods, 1994
“’My apologies, maiden, but I cannot have you turning into a bull, or a swan, or trying to run away’ he said, in a voice slightly softer than before.”

Oak Arching Above Me, 1993
“We’ll be walking hand in hand
in a forest we will kiss –
not stopping not watching
cross boundaries so blind.
In the middle of a kiss
you will shiver and dissolve
melting like the witch
into a puddle into a pool…”