Head on over to LGBTQIA podcast Glittership to hear the audio version of my story “Nostalgia”: http://www.glittership.com/2017/09/29/episode-46-nostalgia-by-bonnie-jo-stufflebeam/
It’s that time of year again, when people like me rush to catch up on all the fiction we’ve missed throughout the year in order to nominate them for various awards including the Nebula, the Hugo, the World Fantasy, the Tiptree, etc. Lots of great stories this year. I’d be honored if you’d consider one of mine.
Thus, the annual Awards Eligibility Post. There’s just one work I present for consideration for the year 2016:
In the Novelette Category
The Orangery (December 2016 | 8,700 words | Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
Eligible for Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, etc.
In several myths, women turn into trees to escape unwanted sexual advance. I combined three of these stories to tell my own story, an exploration of the cruel treatment of women in mythology.
The Orangery is a haven for these women-turned-trees, watched over by the Guardian. When Apollo breaks into the Orangery looking for Daphne, the Guardian must fight him–and make sacrifices in the process.
This one’s received some great reviews, with the following nice things being said about it:
- “This is a neat story that to me tackles a lot of the tropes in mythology, the image of a woman transforming into a tree to escape the unwanted advances of a man, and draws out a story about desire and consent, violation and, ultimately, respect.”–Quick Sip Reviews
- Included on the 2016 Favorites lists of A.C. Wise, Jason Sanford, and Ada Hoffman
- “The Orangery by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, published at Beneath Ceaseless Skies in December is another a story, like Takács’ “Standing on the Floodbanks,” which touches on the power of choice.”–Words for Thought at Apex Magazine
- “A Great Twist on the Apollo-Daphne Myth.”–Rocket Stack Rank
- Added to the Nebula Recommended Reading list
- Inclusion on the Tangent Recommended Reading List
Other People’s Work
Or: this is not an exhaustive list of everything I have loved this year, and I am still catching up on so much reading!, but here are some places you might start with if you are like me and working through All the Fictions
All the Birds in the Sky | Charlie Jane Anders | Tor | Novel
Anders combines sci-fi and fantasy to create a clever story of witches, AI, and apocalypse.
Summerlong | Peter S. Beagle | Tachyon | Novel
Well, we’ve established that I love retold myths, so Beagle’s retelling of the Persephone story is right up my alley.
A Fierce and Subtle Poison | Samantha Mabry | Algonquin | Norton YA
Beautiful magical realist YA novel about a boy who falls for a teenage girl rumored to be poisonous to the touch.
Sooner or Later Everything Falls into The Sea | Sarah Pinsker | Lightspeed | Novelette
I love Pinsker’s stories about musicians’ lives after the dissolution of society. This novelette is one of my favorites from the year.
Every Heart a Doorway | Seanan McGuire | Tor.com | Novella
This one explores what happens to children who, like Alice or the Pevensie kids from Chronicles of Narnia, have visited other worlds but are now not allowed to return; they’re sent to a home where they try to heal (and some try to go back any way they can).
This is Not a Wardrobe Door | A. Merc Rustad | Fireside | Short Story
I’ve been shirking on my short story reading this year, but this was one of the stories I read and loved, which, like the above, plays with portal fantasy tropes in a brilliant way.
Bogi Takács | Bogi Reads the World | Fan Writer
Love Takács’ reviews of works from marginalized authors and was excited to see their reviews given their very own space here.
Sarah Gailey | Women of Harry Potter | Tor.com | Fan Writer
Gailey’s series about the oft-underappreciated women in the Harry Potter world are brilliant–and part of my inspiration for re-watching the movies and re-reading the books.
Today my very first novelette publication released online for free reading! “The Orangery” is available at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
This one comes from my fascination and repulsion with women-turning-into-trees narratives. I say fascination because I have always loved trees. For years I have taken photos of beautiful trees when I travel. In college I used to find patterns in bare branches: women’s faces, mostly, and when I felt a darkness creeping in each winter, I looked to these patterns for comfort. (When I told my mom about the women I saw in trees, she said, “You see them too?” I have inherited her strange world.)
The women in mythology who turn into trees often do so to escape unwanted sexual advance or assault. That is where the repulsion comes from. Although I have always loved trees, I never felt like these mythological women were being gifted this new form. Instead, I felt like they were being punished. As if they were being told, you can either accept every advance that comes your way or opt out of a human life altogether.
In “The Orangery,” I made a place for these women-turned-trees, the Orangery of the novelette’s title, a walled-in grove watched over by a Guardian who tend to the trees’ wishes and lives out her life within the woods. But when Apollo breaks through the wall to find and reclaim Daphne, the Guardian must fight him–and make sacrifices in the process.
Read it here.
Some Photos of Trees
to both prove my point and because maybe you love trees too, I don’t know
I took a trip to the Czech Republic and mostly came home with photos of trees; this one is in the village Český Krumlov
It may look like I was photographing this tiger, but I was probably most excited by the juxtaposition of tiger and tree
Tree with arm-like branches in Oklahoma
Crumbled tree on Wood Island on Lake Texoma
Two pieces of awesome news this week. First, my surrealist story “Scars” has been performed for the audio podcast Manawaker Studio. Listen to it for free here.
I’ve always been interested in the little-explored pieces of the original Little Mermaid story: the lives of the sisters, the weird concept of souls, the sea witch’s back story. I wrote a story about all these things. Today it’s been reprinted online in Grendelsong: https://grendel-song.com/2016/05/07/sisters-bonnie-jo-stufflebeam/
“Sisters” originally appeared in SCHEHEREZADE BEQUEST.