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The Grand Conversation: Essays

Conversation Pieces: Book 1

L. Timmel Duchamp

The Grand Conversation, the first volume of the Conversation Pieces series, collects four essays by L. Timmel Duchamp that explore her conceptualization of feminist sf as a conversation. These essays, which have been previously published in the scholarly journals Foundation and Extrapolation, lay out the thinking behind the Conversation Pieces series.

Table of Contents:

  • For a Genealogy of Feminist SF: Reflections on Women, Feminism, and Science Fiction, 1818-1960 - (2002) - essay
  • The Cliché from Outerspace: Reflections on Reports of a Death Greatly Exaggerated - (2003) - essay
  • What Can Never Be: The Ancient Dream of a Transparent--Universal--Language - (2003) - essay
  • Old Pictures: The Discursive Instability of Feminist SF - (2004) - short fiction

With Her Body

Conversation Pieces: Book 2

Nicola Griffith

With Her Body presents three pieces of short fiction by the Nebula-, Lambda-, and Tiptree-award winning Nicola Griffith. Intense stories about hope, joy, the body, mainly joy and the body--feeling the world on our skin, the place where Us and Not-Us meet. Nicola Griffith writes about being as well as doing--about life and love and the fears that keep us from having what we want.

The women in these stories live in a world not quite like ours, where the jungle is alive with more than animals, music can be made with the body, and civilization can only end if we all give up...

Table of Contents:

  • Touching Fire - (1993) - novelette by Nicola Griffith
  • Song of Bullfrogs, Cry of Geese - (1991) - shortstory by Nicola Griffith
  • Yaguara - (1994) - novella by Nicola Griffith
  • Afterword: A Word for Human Is Woman - essay by L. Timmel Duchamp


Conversation Pieces: Book 3

Nancy Jane Moore

All her life, Maggie Hines has dreamed of a city quite unlike Wichita Falls, Texas, where she lives. Her parents have always denied the city exists, but as she comes of age she finds her way there and discovers the truth about herself and her family.

Changeling is a coming of age story. And it's not about faeries.

Counting on Wildflowers: An Entanglement

Conversation Pieces: Book 4

Kim Antieau

A Collection of essays, poems, and a short story

Table of Contents:

  • Rose Red & Snow White - poem
  • Breathing in the Vapors - essay
  • Catastrophe - essay
  • A Strange Attractor - essay
  • Soul Food - essay
  • Light - (2004) - essay
  • Coyote, Chinook Salmon, and Snake - essay
  • Swan Maidens by India Lake - short fiction
  • Transmutation - essay
  • Counting on Wildflowers - (2004) - essay
  • Coyote Whispers - essay
  • Wings - (2004) - poem

The Traveling Tide

Conversation Pieces: Book 5

Rosaleen Love

Table of Contents:

  • Alexander's Feats - (1997) - short story
  • In the Shadow of the Stones - (2003) - short story
  • GoGo - (2005) - short story
  • Ursula K. Le Guin and Therolinguistics - (1998) - essay
  • Bubbles in the Cosmic Saucepan - (1993) - short story
  • In Tribulation and with Jubilee: On Pilgrimage with Bridie King - (2005) - essay
  • Once Giants Roamed the Earth - (2005) - short story

The Adventures of the Faithful Counselor: A Narrative Poem

Conversation Pieces: Book 6

Anne Sheldon

The Adventures of the Faithful Counselor relates a series of poetic narratives about the ancient gods Inanna and Gilgamesh from the point of view of Inanna's lover and sidekick, Ninshibur, the Faithful Counselor. As a storyteller, Sheldon performed "Inanna and the God of Wisdom" based on Diane Wolkstein and S.N. Kramer's translation of the 2nd century BCE cuneiform tablets. After telling the story for a few years, Sheldon began to feel the lack of a point of view that is missing from the traditional story--that of Ninshibur, Inanna's Faithful Counselor.

Ordinary People

Conversation Pieces: Book 7

Eleanor Arnason

Spanning thirty years, this volume collects six stories, one poem, and a WisCon Guest of Honor speech. In the richly ironic "Warlords of Saturn's Moons," first published in 1974, a cigar-puffing woman writes space-opera while the drama of real-life inner-city Detroit goes on around her; "The Grammarian's Five Daughters" offers a playful explication of the uses of the parts of speech; "A Ceremony of Discontent" takes a humorous approach to a modern-day feminist problem; and Arnason's wise, earthy tales of hwarhath serve up new myths explaining the origins of the world and morality (among other things). The work in this collection entertains with its wit, delights with its precision and imagination, and challenges and provokes with its bluntness. Ordinary People offers a small, potent taste of the oeuvre of an important feminist sf author.

Table of Contents:

  • The Land of Ordinary People - (1985) - poem
  • The Grammarian's Five Daughters - (1999) - short story
  • A Ceremony of Discontent - (1981) - short story
  • The Warlord of Saturn's Moons - (1974) - short story
  • The Lovers - (1994) - novelette
  • Origin Story - (2000) - short story
  • The Small Black Box of Morality - (1996) - short story
  • Writing Science Fiction During the Third World War - essay

Writing the Other: The Practical Approach

Conversation Pieces: Book 8

Nisi Shawl
Cynthia Ward

During the 1992 Clarion West Writers Workshop attended by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, one of the students expressed the opinion that it is a mistake to write about people of ethnic backgrounds different from your own because you might get it wrong--horribly, offensively wrong--and so it is better not even to try. This opinion, commonplace among published as well as aspiring writers, struck Nisi as taking the easy way out and spurred her to write an essay addressing the problem of how to write about characters marked by racial and ethnic differences. In the course of writing the essay, however, she realized that similar problems arise when writers try to create characters whose gender, sexual preference, and age differ significantly from their own.

Nisi and Cynthia collaborated to develop a workshop that addresses these problems with the aim of both increasing writers' skill and sensitivity in portraying difference in their fiction as well as allaying their anxieties about "getting it wrong." Writing the Other: A Practical Approach is the manual that grew out of their workshop. It discusses basic aspects of characterization and offers elementary techniques, practical exercises, and examples for helping writers create richer and more accurate characters with "differences."

Table of Contents:

  • Writing the Other: Bridging Cultural Differences for Successful Fiction - essay by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward
  • Beautiful Strangers: Transracial Writing for the Sincere - (1999) - essay by Nisi Shawl
  • Appropriate Cultural Appropriation - (2004) - essay by Nisi Shawl
  • Excerpt from Nisi Shawl's forthcoming novel The Blazing World - short fiction by Nisi Shawl

Alien Bootlegger

Conversation Pieces: Book 9

Rebecca Ore

In Franklin County, when times get tough, people often to turn to bootlegging. But that's a perilous way to make a living, since bootlegging is both illegal and tightly regulated by distributors like Dennis DeSpain. So when the mysterious and scary alien who calls himself "Turk" openly sets up as an independent operator, flouting both the law and the distributors, all hell breaks loose. In it up to their necks and pursuing their own agendas are: ex-activist Lilly, the alien's lawyer; Berenice, an aging '60s radical with a past; Orris, DeSpain's smart, ambitious wife who believes in doing whatever it takes to achieve the objective; and DeSpain's ex-lover Marie, a chemical-engineering student who loves working with machines and whose grandmother was a midwife, bootlegger in the Forties, and notorious for having killed a man.

This novella originally appeared in the collection Alien Bootlegger and Other Stories (1993). It can also be found in the anthology The Year's Best Science Fiction: Eleventh Annual Collection (1994), edited by Gardner Dozois.

The Red Rose Rages (Bleeding)

Conversation Pieces: Book 10

L. Timmel Duchamp

Sarah Minnivitch, an actor sentenced to prison for acts of civil disobedience, wreaked havoc at the for-profit medium-security facility she was first sent to. When Penco transfers her to a high-security facility, the facility's director assigns Dr. Eve Escher the task of rehabilitating Minnivitch and recovering the corporation's losses. Escher believes she is on the verge of a scientific breakthrough that will not only rehabilitate the prisoner but also win the physician fame and glory. But the stakes for both Escher and Minnivitch prove to be higher than either of them imagined.

Talking Back: Epistolary Fantasies

Conversation Pieces: Book 11

L. Timmel Duchamp

Talking Back showcases the epistolary fantasies of eighteen writers, among them Carol Emshwiller, Leslie What, Eileen Gunn, and Rosaleen Love. Invited to "talk back," the authors penned love letters, fans letters, angry letters, thoughtful letters, letters to dead people, letters to fictional characters, letters to corporations. Carol Emshwiller writes to her beloved Ledoyt; Eileen Gunn, provoked by a New York Times review of Lady Windermere's Fan, addresses Oscar Wilde; Heather Lindsley tenders friendly advice to Citibank; and Nisi Shawl explains to Jack Kerouac that the joke is on both of them. "Lovely Madame," writes James Trimarco to Charles Dickens's infamous Madame Defarge, "you whose eyes flash as your knitting needles click-clack at the table, I spit on the death your father has written for you and burn those pages from my book..."

These are letters that will never be sent, intimate and personal, fantasies the authors have agreed to share with their readers.

Table of Contents:

  • from Victoria Elisabeth Garcia to Mrs. Sarah Winchester
  • from Eileen Gunn to Oscar Wilde
  • from Wendy Walker to Guy Davenport
  • from Anne Sheldon to a Scribe
  • from Ada Milenkovic Brown to Sofia
  • from Rosaleen Love to a Dead Man, John Dalton Hooker, Written on the Occasion of a Visit to Kew Gardens, London, July 2003
  • from Nisi Shawl to Jack Kerouac
  • from Heather Lindsley to Citibank, R.S.V.P.
  • from C.G. Furst to Chandler
  • from Leslie What to Timmi Duchamp
  • from James Trimarco to Madame Defarge
  • from Cat Rambo to William S. Burroughs
  • from Carol Emshwiller to Abiel/Beal Ledoyt
  • from E.C. Myers to Superman
  • from Nancy Jane Moore to Lula Mae Cravens
  • from Rachel Swirsky to A Fellow Ugly Girl
  • from L. Timmel Duchamp to Alice Sheldon
  • from Sarah Coats to the People of the World

Absolute Uncertainty

Conversation Pieces: Book 12

Lucy Sussex

Absolute Uncertainty collects seven stories--three of them new--by Lucy Sussex, as well as an interview conducted by Maureen Kincaid Speller. In these stories, a fashionista becomes obsessed with the uncanny resemblance of the dazzling, eccentric "Lady Sanspareille" to the seventeenth-century Duchess of Newcastle; a young man loses his virginity in more than one sense of the word; an older writer shares her insight with Philip K. Dick, who really needs it; and in Biocultural Studies 101, a class examines moral ambiguities and the limits of biography in the case of Werner Heisenberg, "a real slippery customer," via a high-tech "interactive template."

Table of Contents:

  • Duchess - short story
  • Kay & Phil - (1994) - novelette
  • Matilda Told Such Dreadful Lies - (1998) - short story
  • Frozen Charlottes - (2003) - short story
  • Small Star of Cold - short story
  • A Sentimental, Sordid Education - short story
  • Absolute Uncertainty - (2001) - novelette
  • Interrogating the Past: A Conversation with Lucy Sussex - interview by Maureen Kincaid Speller

Candle in a Bottle

Conversation Pieces: Book 13

Carolyn Ives Gilman

The savants of Institut Sorel, the world center of information mechanics, compute the governing algorithms that give all things their shape and structure. The voyants receive and sort enormous amounts of information. And now the savants say that the whole world, on the brink of a phase transition, is about to change, such that the long-term equilibrium that has locked the world into an "order crisis" will give way to a period of chaos.

Dominique, a new, ignorant acolyte voyant, is asked to watch for the random factor that will trigger the phase transition. But the Institut itself is in chaos. Drawn into political intrigue and the savants' and voyants' struggle over his world's very future, Dominique cares for individuals, rather than abstractions and principles. But even so, he's not sure what it is he should be doing...


Conversation Pieces: Book 14

Wendy Walker

Four spellbinding tales, selected from Wendy Walker's critically-acclaimed short fiction collections Sea-Rabbit, Or, The Artist of Life (1988) and Stories Out of Omarie (1995), showcase some of her finest work as she takes on the themes of art, memory and tragic love in pre-modern Europe and North Africa. "Twin Knots" presents the Goddess of Love's take on an affair between a knight and an unhappy queen. In another tale, a count punishes his daughter for the attempted murder of her husband by placing her in a barrel and sending her out to sea, where adventures with pirates and a powerful sultan ensue. Publishers Weekly writes, "Walker's sentences grow and ramify as luxuriantly as vines in an enchanted wood."

Table of Contents:

  • The Cathedral - (1988) - short fiction
  • Ashiepattle - (1988) - short story
  • The Twin Knots - (2006) - short story
  • A Story Out of Omarie - (2006) - short story

Naomi Mitchison: A Profile of Her Life and Work

Conversation Pieces: Book 15

Lesley Hall

A member of the famed Haldane family, Naomi Mitchison lived an adventurous, politically engaged, and well-examined life even as she wrote dozens of novels and works of nonfiction. From campaigning for women's right to information about and the means of birth control to running for Parliament, from practicing "open marriage" in her own life to exploring a range of sexual arrangements in her fiction, for all of her 101 years, Mitchison embraced change as few people ever manage to do. Along the way she pioneered a new kind of historical novel that combined the immediacy of modern language with an ability to evoke the otherness of the past with great vividness and published her first work of feminist sf in 1962, a few years before the resurgence of feminism with its second wave.

In her profile of Mitchison's life and work, Lesley A. Hall offers an overview of this prolific writer's life and work, beginning from her upper-class origins, through her radicalization as a feminist and socialist and her experimentation and examination of sexual arrangements, to her life as a writer repeatedly breaking new ground.

We, Robots

Conversation Pieces: Book 16

Sue Lange

Imagine a time in the not-so-distant future when robots are manufactured and sold commercially, occupying a space in nearly every human household. Sue Lange evokes this reality as a backdrop for her novella We Robots, which examines the painful transition of one particular robot named Avey from emotionless domestic servant to conflicted human companion. Two weeks prior to the long-anticipated arrival of the Singularity--the moment when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence--old robot models are recalled for the installation of a security upgrade that would allow the growing transhuman population to control them by way of fear tactics: a pain interpreter. This new feature introduces Avey to a cruel, unjust world, engendering a range of human emotions that include sadness, anger, compassion, and love. As robots across the globe collectively discover what it is to be human through the experience of suffering and longing, they inevitably begin to question their exploited existence. Will their joint uprising spoil the transhumans' grand social experiment and release the robots from a life of servitude?

Making Love in Madrid

Conversation Pieces: Book 17

Kimberly Todd Wade

With Making Love in Madrid, Kimberly Todd Wade makes her fictional debut. Anna Tambour, author of The Spotted Lily and Monterra's Deliciosa and Other Tales, describes the novella as "a fantasia of amnesia, of lives that need filling, of writers of every tense, of talent and dry lemons and melted cheese; of giggling and tangled sheets and denture adhesive, competition and tenderness, a bloodless bullfight, the power of a giant smile to diminish greatness--a modern mannerist story around a story."

Of Love and Other Monsters

Conversation Pieces: Book 18

Vandana Singh

At age seventeen, Arun, the narrator of Of Love and Other Monsters, emerges from a fire, his memories and identity vanished with the flames. He finds a refuge and home with Janani and soon discovers his unique ability to sense and manipulate the minds of others around him. Intimately connected yet isolated by this insight, he inhabits a dangerous place outside conventional boundaries: man/woman, mind/body. When someone who shares his ability, Rahul Moghe, arrives on his doorstep, he senses a power beyond any he has known. Janani warns of the grave danger posed by Rahul and sends Arun on his journey, fleeing the one person who may have answers to the mystery of his past.

Of Love and Other Monsters was chosen for Gardner Dozois's The Year's Best Science Fiction for 2008. It was reprinted in Lightspeed, Issue 106, March 2019.

Aliens of the Heart

Conversation Pieces: Book 19

Carolyn Ives Gilman

In these stories, Betty Lindstrom imagines leaving her husband in the town of Lost Road and turning east instead of west and never coming back, but when she does drive west with her husband, alone with the prairie and the wind, she can't get home; Susan Abernathy undertakes to humanize Captain Groton, the alien charged with removing the residents of Okanoggan Falls, WI, with consequences she could not have imagined; Galena Pittman seeks to recover her lover, Thea, from the mountains of Montana, where she devotes herself to literally painting the landscape under the direction of the mysterious Dirigo; and the Conservator, charged with preserving the many layers of the map of the great river "on whose surface the past was written in cipher," discovers that the relationship between map and landscape is more complicated than she had thought.

Table of Contents:

  • Lost Road - (1992) - short story
  • Frost Painting - (1997) - short story
  • Okanoggan Falls - (2006) - novelette
  • The Conservator - (2007) - short story

Voices from Fairyland: The Fantastical Poems of Mary Coleridge, Charlotte Mew, and Sylvia Townsend Warner

Conversation Pieces: Book 20

Theodora Goss

This volume features fantastical poems by Mary Coleridge, Charlotte Mew, and Sylvia Townsend Warner, accompanied by four fascinating essays and several poems by Theodora Goss in conversation with Coleridge, Mew, and Warner's poems. Goss writes that she chose to focus on these poets because "of all the poets I could have included they are the most talented among those whose talents have gone largely unrecognized." Coleridge, Mew, and Warner, Goss argues, "are only three examples of what I consider a broader phenomenon, the rest of the ice that must be present, underwater, when we see icebergs floating on a northern sea. That underwater ice is the tradition of women writing fantastical poetry." Goss's essays explore important themes of that writing, and her poems are written in conversation with Coleridge, Mew, and Warner's poems.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Poems by Mary Coleridge
  • Through the Gates of Ivory and Horn: The Fantastical Poems of Mary Coleridge
  • Poems by Charlotte Mew
  • Into the Wet, Wild Wood: The Fantastical Poems of Charlotte Mew
  • Poems by Sylvia Townsend Warner
  • A Birdsong Wilderness: The Fantastical Poems of Sylvia Townsend Warner
  • Poems by Theodora Goss

My Death

Conversation Pieces: Book 21

Lisa Tuttle

WFA nominated novella.

The narrator of this creepy but feministically delicious novella, an early 21st-century novelist, decides to write the biography of Helen Ralston, an all-but-forgotten 20th-century novelist she has long admired. In the late 1920s, Helen studied painting with W.E. Logan. Logan painted her as Circe, and Helen painted herself as an island titled My Death. When they parted for good, both turned to writing. Willy became famous; Helen did not. The narrator of My Death intends to do something about that. But first she must solve the mystery of Helen's relationship with Willy and why Helen titled her self-portrait My Death.

De Secretis Mulierum

Conversation Pieces: Book 22

L. Timmel Duchamp

According to the Pentagon-owned-and-operated Past-Scan Device, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Aquinas were both women in drag. Jane Pendler's advisor says that's impossible, that the technology must be bogus, and pulls the plug on Jane's dissertation research on Leonardo. What a feminist graduate student to do? What else, but do the research behind her advisor's back, of course...


Conversation Pieces: Book 23

Vandana Singh

Distances is fascinating far-future science fiction, set in a desert city. For Anasuya, mathematics was experiential, a sixth sense that bared before her the harmonies, natural and artificial, that formed the sub-text of the world. So when mathematicians from the planet Tirana, 18-light-years-distant, ask Anasuya's help in solving a series of equations, she finds the new geometrical space they present her with intriguing. But as she explores the new space, she soon comes to suspect that it represents an actual physical system, and that the equations she is ebing asked to solve have a significance the Tiranis are concealing.

This is a story of intrigue, science, and art, rich with emotional and social exploration.

Three Observations and a Dialogue: Round and About SF

Conversation Pieces: Book 24

Sylvia Kelso

After WisCon 20, Sylvia Kelso engaged Lois McMaster Bujold in a rich, snappy correspondence about Bujold's Vorkosigan novels.

  • Letterspace: In the Chinks Between Published Fiction and Published Criticism - (1999) - essay by Lois McMaster Bujold and Sylvia Kelso
  • Third Person Peculiar: Reading Between Academic and SF-Community Positions in (Feminist) Sf - essay by Sylvia Kelso
  • Tales of Earth: Terraforming in Recent Women's Sf - essay by Sylvia Kelso
  • Loud Achievements: Lois McMaster Bujold's Science Fiction Through 1997 - essay by Sylvia Kelso

The Buonarotti Quartet

Conversation Pieces: Book 25

Gwyneth Jones

The man who'd given his handle as Drummer raised heavy eyes and spoke, sonorous as a prophet, from out of a full black beard. "We will be ordered to the transit chamber as we were ordered to this room, or drugged and carried by robots in our sleep. We will lie down in the Buonarotti capsules, and a code-self, the complex pattern of each human body and soul, will be split into two like a cell dividing. The copies will be sent flying around the torus, at half-light speed. You will collide with yourself and cease utterly to exist at these coordinates of space-time. The body and soul in the capsule will be annihilated, and know GOD no longer."

In Gwyneth Jones's White Queen Trilogy, the reclusive female genius called Peenemunde Buonarotti invented the instantaneous transit device of the same name. In The Buonaraotti Quartet, Gwyneth Jones shows us humans traveling via the device to alien worlds and situations. Some are diplomats, some are extreme travelers, some are prisoners. All are in for a rough, wild ride.

Table of Contents:

Slightly Behind and to the Left: Four Stories and Three Drabbles

Conversation Pieces: Book 26

Claire Light

Claire Light's fiction shifts our perspective just enough off-center to render the world we know a strange and unfamiliar place. In this volume, a woman with the most thankless job in space will calculate a new kind of "cold equation" to get her home to port. In a fantastical place where adulthood is the biggest threat to adolescent boys, predators arise from unlikely quarters. In a world with wonky physics and no gravity, a lone human learns the meaning of "reckless endangerment of alien life." And an alien abduction is only prelude to a long phantasmagoric journey. Interspersed with evocative flash fictions, this collection of stories luxuriates in the weird and wonky, half-lit realities and sidelong looks at painful truths.

Table of Contents:

  • Vacation - short fiction
  • Drabble #1: Herna - poem
  • Pigs in Space - short fiction
  • Drabble #2: Snake - poem
  • Pinball Effect - short fiction
  • Drabble #3: Christmas - poem
  • Abducted by Aliens! - short fiction
  • Afterword (Slightly Behind and to the Left) - essay

Through the Drowsy Dark

Conversation Pieces: Book 27

Rachel Swirsky

Through the Drowsy Dark collects ten stories and nine poems by Nebula- and Hugo-nominee Rachel Swirsky, "a terrific writer who's been making a name for herself with a string of intelligent, perceptive stories," as critic Jonathan Strahan characterizes her. In Through the Drowsy Dark, Swirsky's characters struggle with too much and too little emotional control, with heartbreak, with grief that has gone deep underground; they search for nothingness, for difference, for oneness. One commits a terrible crime because she believes it's the moral thing to do, while another digs up a dead dog because the very thought of kissing it on the lips makes her clitoris throb. Swirsky's explorations of the heart and mind are fearless--and dangerous fictions indeed.

Table of Contents:

  • Those Who Wait Through the Drowsy Dark - (2010)
  • Heartstrung - (2007)
  • Mirror Images - (2008)
  • Of Passage - (2010)
  • Heat Engine - (2010)
  • The Black Angel's Kiss - (2010)
  • Detours on the Way to Nothing - (2008)
  • Defiled Imagination - (2010)
  • The Debt of the Innocent - (2007)
  • No Longer You - (2009) by Katherine Sparrow and Rachel Swirsky
  • A Season With the Geese - (2007)
  • Pomegranate - (2010)
  • Remembering the World - (2008)
  • Insider Her Heart - (2010)
  • The Dream Vacation - (2006)
  • The Oracle on River Street - (2007)
  • Dear Melody - (2007)
  • Invitation to Emerald - (2007)
  • The Fate of Hitler's Brain - (2006)

Shotgun Lullabies: Stories & Poems

Conversation Pieces: Book 28

Sheree Renée Thomas

In this first collection of the stories and poetry of Sheree Renée Thomas, memory is the only force strong enough to counter the terrors of a scarred and forgetful world. Thomas' characters are people scraping by in slave quarters and institutional margins, people in search of freedom and transformation who come face to face with apocalyptic powers. Thrown back on their wits and their lore, they turn to unexpected sources to make sense of things: to girl-children, old women, old skills, old magic and forgotten ties of kinship with the natural world.

A Brood of Foxes

Conversation Pieces: Book 29

Kristin Livdahl

Uncanny, sweet, and shot through with fairytale weirdness, A Brood of Foxes takes Joey Napoleon into a world as bizarre as anyone's first adulthood--with a few differences. Set in a place where time has its own logic, human and animal is a shifting perspective, and the people we love are always slightly other--and better--than we imagined. A Brood of Foxes faces us with the moral dimensions of environmental disasters--in a troublingly literal way.

The Bone Spindle

Conversation Pieces: Book 30

Anne Sheldon

Anne Sheldon's heroines have lowered eyes and seditious smiles. They are people of folklore and fairy tales: Penelope, the Crane Maiden, the Fates. Her heroes are outsiders in their own stories--Rumplestiltskin and Arachne's father.

These fourteen story-poems and stories focus on the work that women do with spinning wheel, spindle, and knitting needles. They are accompanied by evocative images of these instruments and the cloth they yield

In addition to reworking well-known fairy tales, she has several shining tales of her own making. Under the fluid sign of danger and domesticity--Anne Sheldon explores earthly and ethereal regions of the feminine.

Table of Contents:

  • The Knitters of Paris
  • The Fates at Work
  • The Thirteenth Fairy
  • Spider Yarn
  • The Story of Arachne
  • A Passing Good Woman
  • The Horned Women of Slievenamon
  • Rumpelstiltskin Laments
  • The Girl with Twelve Brothers
  • An Apocryphal Legend
  • Dream from My Mother's House
  • Household Needles
  • The Crane Maiden
  • Penelope at Night
  • Bachelorae Antiquae
  • Grandmother's Flower Garden
  • The Art of Fiber

The Last Letter

Conversation Pieces: Book 31

Fiona Lehn

On Island SG7, one voracious parasite endangers a protected forest and a small community. But the biologist hired to bring the place into balance is already compromised--by a too-narrow view of her duties, and--increasingly--by a love she cannot ignore.

This is the love letter of Peta Sutton, who struggles to perceive the full complexities of her place in a foreign ecosystem and an extramarital relationship. As the island roils and the parasites seem to drag people's worst fears into being, Peta struggles to forge a peace at the heart of fears that threaten to consume everything.

We Wuz Pushed: On Joanna Russ and Radical Truth-telling

Conversation Pieces: Book 32

Lee Mandelo

"To speak radical truths -- unapologetically, ferociously, rudely when necessary -- is the central purpose of Joanna Russ's influential body of work," declares Brit Mandelo in her essay on Russ's radical, groundbreaking literary and critical work.

Mandelo's essay traces Russ's evolving efforts to speak truth throughout her literary career -- examining both Russ's successes and failures in doing so. She insists that Russ problematized and individualized her ultimate understanding of truth without rejecting its possibility. Rather, Mandelo argues, the trajectory of change in Russ's work and her revision of prior truths itself constitutes a valuable part of the truthtelling project.

Russ emerges in Mandelo's essay as a heroic though all-too-human intellectual and artist, one whose angry, brilliant work we cannot afford to ignore or forget.

The Receptionist and Other Tales

Conversation Pieces: Book 33

Lesley Wheeler

Edna, the heroine of "The Receptionist," is a mother and the receptionist for an academic department. The morning after hearing a Voice telling her "The first revolution: simply to refuse," going through her email inbox, "Edna thought to check her spam." The message she found there from "nomic Utterance" changed everything.

Gwyneth Jones, author of Spirit and The Universe of Things writes: "Lesley Wheeler's 'The Receptionist' is a delight: a stirring narrative of fantasy and derring-do, set in the ivy-clad towers and poky offices of modern academia, in which the warrior princess of an ancient line returns to the fray at last and summons ancient powers to defend the right, all told in technically assured terza rima cantos, full of ingenious rhythms. The forces of evil are all too recognizable, the bad guys satisfyingly bad and the good guys not too goody-goody. The infusion of classic children s fantasy, and other bedtime folklore sources, is wonderful too. In the bonus package of shorter poems, 'Zombie Thanksgiving' (T.S. Eliot s 'The Waste Land' retold) is stunning, an absolute tour de force."

Ursula K. Le Guin, author of Lavinia and Cheek by Jowl, writes: "How much Modernism deprives us of when it declared both the fantastic in fiction and the narrative in poetry unrespectable, and what a pleasure it is now to see the exiled witches and the forbidden rhymes return. Where can an evil Dean meet his doom more fitly than in terza rima? Lesley Wheeler's brief novel of misbehavior in academia, subtle and funny, rashly inventive and perfectly realistic, uses all the forgotten powers of metaphor and poetry to make the mundane luminous."

Birds and Birthdays

Conversation Pieces: Book 34

Christopher Barzak

Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Dorothea Tanning: three of the most interesting painters to flourish in male-dominated Surrealism. This is Christopher Barzak's tribute to them, three stories and an essay that enter into a humane surrealism which turns away from the unconscious and toward magic. Sometimes the stories themselves seem to be paintings. Sometimes painter and writer may be characters, regarding each other through a painful otherness, talking in shared secrets.

Barzak's stories are huge with the spacious strangeness of worlds where there is always more room for a woman to escape her tormentors, or outgrow an older self. Here we find a bird-maker and a star-catcher whose shared history spills over into the birds and the stars themselves; a girl who outgrows her clothes, her house, and finally her town--and leaves to find her body a new home; a landlord, whose marriage, motherhood, separation, sexual exploration, and excursions into self-portraiture all take place within a single apartment building. In "Remembering the body: Reconstructing the Female in Surrealism," Barzak comments on the images that inspired these stories and discusses his own position as a writer among painters.

Table of Contents:

  • The Creation of Birds - (2006) - novelette
  • The Guardian of the Egg - (2006) - short story
  • Birthday - (2012) - short fiction
  • Remembering the Body: Reconstructing the Female in Surrealism - (2012) - essay

The Queen, the Cambion, and Seven Others

Conversation Pieces: Book 35

Richard Bowes

Myth is the sea on which the Fantasy story floats. Legend is the wind that drives it. Its place of birth is the Fairy Tale.

Richard Bowes' collection of modern Fairy Tales, their Fantasy offspring, and their legendary ancestors presents eight of his stories including "The Lady of Wands," in which a Fey cop tells her story, that appears here for the first time. Also original to this book is Bowes' afterword, "A Secret History of Small Books," which traces the path of Fairy Tales as a refuge for women, gay/lesbian writers, and LGBT readers from the 17th century on.

The collection also includes "Seven Smiles and Six Frowns" a story of the evolution of a Fairy Tale; "The Cinnamon Cavalier," a Fairy Tale variation a critic has called, "The Gingerbread Man, writ large," and "The Margay's Children" a modern take on a "Beastly Bridegroom" tale; "The Progress of Solstice and Chance," with its complex sexual relations and invented pantheon of gods, the outrageous situation and characters of "The Bear Dresser's Secret," and the "The Lady of Wands," set in a fairy/mortal demi-monde; and two Arthurian tales, "Sir Morgravain Speaks of Night Dragons and Other Things" and "The Queen and the Cambion" in which the eponymous queen, though famous, is not Guinevere.

Spring in Geneva

Conversation Pieces: Book 36

Sylvia Kelso

Mary Shelley, a young banker's son, and William, an excessively tall man with a "lividly hued visage, watery eyes, and blackened lips within a straggling beard," pit their wits and derring-do against Lord Byron, master of steampunk technology, and his thuggish minions.

The XY Conspiracy

Conversation Pieces: Book 37

Lori Selke

Why Are There No Women in Black?

Jyn, an Asian-American lesbian, makes her living stripping in clubs in San Francisco. But stripping is only her day job. Her true vocation is UFO hunting. One night, working at her day job, she sights a Man in Black and realizes he is stalking her.

Jyn's "not entirely orthodox theories" involve the origins and history of the XY chromosome pair. The next day, Jyn packs up her car and sets off on an extended road trip--part "serious UFO tourism" and part flight from the MIB--that takes her though a variety of western states, stripping in clubs and bars as she goes, drawn, inexorably, to New Mexico...

Numa: An Epic Poem with Photo Collages

Conversation Pieces: Book 38

Katrinka Moore

The poems in Numa tell the story of a shape-shifting numen. Numa, whose home body is that of a wild feline, learns by trial and error to take the form of other animals, plants, and the elements. As she grows up, she uses her skill to experience and share the divine in ordinary aspects of the world. She gives birth to a cub and begins raising her to shape-shift. Then an interloper appears, a young man on a quest for glory who believes he should defeat the "monster" in the forest.

Myths, Metaphors, and Science Fiction: Ancient Roots of the Literature of the Future

Conversation Pieces: Book 39

Sheila Finch

The great myths seek to explain us to ourselves -- our exploits, passions, triumphs, and failures. They can be found all over the world, often displaying remarkable similarity. Nobody -- scientist, seer or science fiction writer -- can reliably predict what will happen two days from now, let alone two millennia. Science fiction is really about us as humans -- living, loving, fighting, raising families -- but set in another place and time so that the message may get through without being censored by the self-protective function of our egos. This welcome discussion of the connections between future fiction and stories about human inception emphasizes how mythic roots contribute to the emotional power of narrative. Finch investigates the inexplicable awe and wonder that emanates from close encounters between myth and science fiction. This juxtaposition emphatically indicates that science fiction is the predominant mythic metaphor of our time.

-- Marleen S. Barr


Conversation Pieces: Book 40

Sarah Tolmie

For top chef Hardy Arar, his whole life is food. What is he to do when technology eliminates the need for it? TGB (total gastric bypass) is a giant leap forward for humans longing to transcend their flesh. It has fulfilled the desire of the rich to escape illness, boring sustenance routines, and disgusting bodily processes. But like all technological change, TGB unleashes a cascade of effects, social, political, and economic, effects drastically changing the lives of the characters in NoFood. For what is lost with the elimination of the drive to eat?

The Haunted Girl

Conversation Pieces: Book 41

Lisa M. Bradley

The supernatural, the animal, and the deadly often find each other in Lisa M. Bradley's landscapes, tame or wild. Vampires, either restless or filled with ennui; shape-shifters and skin-walkers; demigoddesses of evil and lust; haunted girls and dying fairies--the characters in this collection inhabit worlds of danger, decay, and, sometimes, rebirth. Often rooted in issues of family, ritual, and belonging, the poems and short stories in The Haunted Girl display Bradley's loving mastery of language, which grants us myriad moments of impish wit and startling beauty.

Table of Contents:

  • The Messenger Ensnared - poem
  • Lament for a One-Legged Lady - (2008) - poem
  • Immobility - (2004) - poem
  • No Patron Saint - poem
  • Three Things - (2008) - poem
  • Scavengers - poem
  • Red Eye - (2012) - poem
  • Sun's Stroke - (1998) - poem
  • Begging Auspices - poem
  • Ankhst - poem
  • The Haunted Girl - poem
  • Castle Lanes - (2012) - poem
  • Geminids - poem
  • The Skin-Walker's Wife - poem (variant of The Skin Walker's Wife 2011)
  • In Defiance of Sleek-Armed Androids - (2011) - poem
  • Kyrielle for a Cloned Baby - (2011) - poem
  • Morphos - (2002) - poem
  • embedded - poem
  • Empty Nest - poem
  • Teratoma Lullaby - poem
  • we come together we fall apart - poem
  • The 'Ludes - (2001) - short story
  • Gehenesis - short story
  • Blood Is Thicker Than Water - (2000) - short story
  • The Pearl in the Oyster, and the Oyster under Glass - (variant of The Pearl in the Oyster and the Oyster Under Glass 2012)
  • Bilingual, or Mouth to Mouth - novelette

Three Songs for Roxy

Conversation Pieces: Book 42

Caren Gussoff

Three Songs for Roxy tells three inter-related tales: of Kizzy, a foundling raised by a Romany Gypsy family in present-day Seattle, as she is about to be claimed by the aliens who left her to be raised as human; of Scott Lynn Miller, an unstable survivor of Katrina and security guard who is deeply affected by what he witnesses when the aliens contact Kizzy; and of "Natalie," an alien assigned to retrieve Kizzy-- who is befriended by the current champion of the "Night of a Thousand Stevies" and falls in love with Kizzy's adopted sister Roxy.

Three Songs for Roxy explores issues of identity, gender, sexuality, and what it means to be an outsider.

Ghost Signs

Conversation Pieces: Book 43

Sonya Taaffe

A Collection of 36 poems and 1 short story

Table of Contents:


  • Prologue: Kalligeneia 2012
  • I Follow Me Home
  • Cold Spring Calling-On
  • Anon
  • Phersu
  • The Road to Volodny (Partisan Song)
  • Domovoi, I Came Back!
  • Radio Banquo
  • Ovid's Two Nightmares
  • Lyric Fragment
  • Lucan in Averno
  • Graffiti
  • Drowning Like You Mean It
  • Anakatabasis
  • The Hero's Journey
  • Di Vayse Pave
  • Mercury Retrograde Theatre
  • The Clock House
  • Settling Accounts
  • The Color of the Ghost
  • Trying for It
  • Being Providence
  • Spirit Photography
  • The Ceremony of Innocence
  • Danger UXO
  • Larva
  • Catullus V.101
  • Atque in Perpetuum
  • Delenda
  • Censorship
  • Ortygia to Trimountaine
  • Ψαπφοι Σελαννα
  • The Etruscan Prince
  • Clear
  • Red Is for Soldiers
  • Epilogue: Ghost Signs

Short Story

  • The Boatman's Cure

The Prince of the Aquamarines

Conversation Pieces: Book 44

Louise Cavelier Levesque

Edited and with an Introduction by Ruth Berman

In "The Prince of the Aquamarines," the Prince is cursed by a Bad Fairy with the gift of the death-dealing glance. The heroine, the Princess of the Island of Night, is likewise condemned by a Fairy to live alone in the Dark Tower, until freed by a monster whose sight brings death.

In "The Invisible Prince," the curse is a prophecy delivered by the priest of Plutus, the god of wealth, who announces that the young prince will undergo assorted dangers that will, however, lead in the end to good fortune. The Prince's guardian fairy gives him the stone of invisibility in the hope that it will help get him safely through the intervening dangers.

Back, Belly, and Side: True Lies and False Tales

Conversation Pieces: Book 45

Celeste Rita Baker

Short stories from the Caribbean and beyond.

Some magical, some mimetic, some in Caribbean dialect, some in Standard English

Table of Contents:

  • Single Entry
  • Now I Got Girl
  • Jumbie from Bordeaux
  • Name Calling
  • The Dreamprice
  • Mrs. Littleson's Recollection
  • Stuck
  • Imaginary Foes
  • Nobody
  • Birdbrain
  • Cane and Jelly
  • Mrs. Aswald's Time
  • Responding in Kind

A Day in Deep Freeze

Conversation Pieces: Book 46

Lisa Shapter

1963: Emran Greene is a successful corporate accountant, a hopeful soon-to-be-father, and an unremarkable husband - except for the lingering effects of an experimental wartime truth serum, his ex-boyfriend, the impossibility of his conceiving a child, and all of the other secrets he keeps from his wife and his employer. One of these, the secret of the lonely grave he visits regularly in Riverport's Castleview Cemetery, holds a tragedy that just won't stay gone...

A Field Guide to the Spirits

Conversation Pieces: Book 47

Jean LeBlanc

In A Field Guide to the Spirits, poetry becomes a means of time travel in which voices from the past offer insights, reveal secrets, transform our concept of now. These poems explore the interwoven pathways of ghost, memory, imagination, and desire. The spirits visited range from Caroline Herschel and Mary Shelley to Zane Grey and Dashiell Hammet, William Blake to Anne Hutchinson, John Keats to Isaac Newton's niece.

Table of Contents:

  • Know Your Spirits
  • Great Interest in Our Underthings
  • What We Really Mean When We Say "Love"
  • Photographing Snowflakes
  • Katherine Wheelwright Nanny Naylor's Privy
  • Marie, sans Pierre
  • Last Words
  • Hope, Hunger, Birds
  • Automatic Writing
  • The Way To and From Forever
  • Ptolemy Prepares to Read a Friend's Astrology
  • Free Will
  • How Else Could Kate Fox Know Your Secrets
  • To Live Like the Polypody Fern
  • March Conversation
  • Caroline Herschel, Twelve Years Old
  • Caroline Herschel on the Journey from Hanover to Bath
  • Caroline Herschel at Ninety-Eight
  • William Caxton Encourages an Apprentice
  • Gout
  • Joseph Banks Describes Tahiti to Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • You Don't Want to Be Like That
  • Autopsy
  • Now the Field Is Cold where Last Spring
  • Medium
  • Moonflower
  • Vento et Rapida
  • How the Smith Boys Died, and When
  • William Blake Teaches His Wife to Read
  • In the Neighborhood of the Mind
  • The Forgotten Language of the Dead City
  • Cleopatra's Snake Girl
  • The Plague Stone
  • Split Rock
  • Anne Hutchinson in the State Hospital for the Criminally Insane
  • When the Self Goes, It Goes.
  • With All that Has Been Written about the Soul
  • Headwaters
  • When Bones Speak
  • Hee Is Paile
  • Isaac Newton's Niece Catherine Barton Explains the Apple
  • In Memory
  • The Language of the Grave
  • When We Ugly Women Die
  • Joan of England's Portable Chapel
  • The Fortune Teller
  • My Father, Photographing My Mother
  • Every Journey Ends in Prison
  • She Talks about Teaching Herself How to Draw
  • Dashiell Hammett, Age 57, Reads Jane Eyre in the Ashland Federal Correctional Institution, Ashland, Kentucky, 1951
  • Reading Dostoevsky to the Girls
  • Mary Shelley Writing Frankenstein
  • A Brief Life of John Keats
  • Luncheon with Henry James
  • What If Your Dentist Were Zane Grey?
  • William James and Sigmund Freud Walk to the Train Station, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1909
  • Eleven Reasons Not To Marry A Poet
  • Adverbs
  • Our Maladies
  • Emma Darwin's Prayer
  • Hyperbole
  • Journey's End
  • Disembodied Gossip
  • A Field Guide to the Spirits

Marginalia to Stone Bird

Conversation Pieces: Book 48

R. B. Lemberg

In this powerful debut collection, Rannu Award-winning poet Rose Lemberg explores the deep-rooted fluidity of gender, tradition, language, and desire in landscapes as familiar as high fantasy and as foreign as San Francisco. Written in the voices of immigrants, shape-changers, sentient ships in a distant future and heroes of a mythic past, her poems inhabit a fragile, vital space of complex identity and story as a conscious act, stubbornly urging the reader's attention toward the marginal, the liminal, and the unheard--a firebird cautioned to burn less brightly, a ghost-child ignored by the gods, a lover laying a road of words for a beloved to follow. By turns devastating and deeply hopeful, Marginalia to Stone Bird writes a fearless commentary on our history and others.


Conversation Pieces: Book 49

Susan diRende

Earth has discovered it is not alone in the universe. The aliens -- pink, shapeless, and peaceful -- are very nice, but after a string of failed diplomatic missions, they ask Earth to stop with the crazies and send someone normal. In frustration, the UN devises a lottery to pick the next ambassador. Enter Rose Delancy, a Jersey waitress with a grudge against pretty much the whole world. Rose is not happy about winning; she's not particularly happy about anything. When she arrives on Unpronounceable -- the planet having a name she refuses to attempt saying -- she is nothing but rude to the Blobs, as she calls them, and they find it refreshing. She likes them; they like her. She settles in and starts teaching the natives all about junk food, movies, and sex. They show her a few things of their own involving the transformation of matter, but Rose is only interested in how it applies to sex. That is until she learns that she's been suckered to play the patsy for an interstellar takeover by Earth...

Sleeping Under the Tree of Life

Conversation Pieces: Book 50

Sheree Renée Thomas

Sleeping Under the Tree of Life evokes the realm of ancestral knowledge with a deep respect for the natural world, a love of language, and an invitation for survival, and asks: Who survives without being transformed? Beneath luminous layers of imagery and mythology, science and nature, fantasy and the recounting of history, is the grace and tenderness of a poet's heart, the unwavering gaze of an oracle's vision, and the dreamlike whimsy of a storyteller's mind. Hope, love, and hard truths spring from these pages of a writer whose imagination conjures an unforgettable journey. Readers enter these poems and stories the way some souls enter church, a quiet garden, or a stand of trees--for rest, for the blessing of silence and reverie, for beauty if not redemption.

Table of Contents:

  • 1 - The Tongue We Dream In - poem
  • 2 - What the Map Knows - poem
  • 4 - Original Sin - poem
  • 5 - Sleeping Under the Tree of Life - poem
  • 6 - Ruins - poem
  • 7 - Repast - poem
  • 8 - Unmarked - poem
  • 9 - Burial Ground - poem
  • 10 - The Silent Ones - poem
  • 11 - Mama River - poem
  • 13 - Rootwork - poem
  • 14 - Highly Favored - poem
  • 15 - The Nightflies - (2015) - poem
  • 17 - Fallen - (2006) - poem
  • 19 - Kneeling - poem
  • 20 - Dawning - poem
  • 21 - A River Almanac - poem
  • 22 - Hurricane - poem
  • 23 - Visitation of the Oracle at McKain Street - (2015) - poem
  • 25 - If There Is Darkness - poem
  • 27 - Machu Picchu - (2000) - poem
  • 28 - In the Crone's Herbarium - poem
  • 29 - Terrarium - poem
  • 30 - Confess - poem
  • 31 - Urban Blight - poem
  • 32 - Dead Ends & Corner Stores - poem
  • 33 - Testimony - poem
  • 36 - Reunion - poem
  • 38 - Arachne Star - poem
  • 40 - Arachne on the Rebound - poem
  • 41 - Diary of a She-Creature, or The Little Death - poem
  • 42 - The Silence Between Us - poem
  • 43 - Arachne & Medusa Jump Athena - (2015) - poem
  • 45 - This by My Hand - poem
  • 47 - Lucy, Betsy, Anarcha - poem
  • 49 - Sister Fates - poem
  • 50 - Medusa Got Game - poem
  • 52 - The Sun Burnt Up and Other Reasons to Riot - poem
  • 53 - Church of the Saint of Dead End Streets - poem
  • 54 - Ring Shout for Survivors - poem
  • 57 - Return Song, or Why I Went South - poem
  • 58 - On Entering William Edmondson's Sculpture Yard - (2006) - poem
  • 59 - In the Negro Section of Nashville - (2006) - poem
  • 60 - Revival: A Gathering of Mosses - poem
  • 61 - How Everything Begins - poem
  • 63 - East Is Genesis - poem
  • 64 - Splendid Iridescence - poem
  • 66 - What Demeter Knew - poem
  • 67 - Black River Ritual - (2002) - poem
  • 68 - Full Blown Magnolia - poem
  • 69 - Treesong - (2016) - short story
  • 72 - Origins of Southern Spirit Music - short story
  • 77 - River, Clap Your Hands - (2015) - short story
  • 88 - The Grassdreaming Tree - (2004) - short story
  • 105 - Tree of the Forest Seven Bells Turns the World Round Midnight - short story

Other Places

Conversation Pieces: Book 51

Karen Heuler

Life unfolds in strange ways. You may encounter people from your past living in your former apartments, or realize you have a penis as you engage in war-dreams, or find a planet filled with ghosts that look exactly like the ghosts back home. Is it possible they are the same as the ghosts back home? Wherever you travel, you'll have tough decisions to make about the aliens you may have harmed and the aliens who may harm you. Other Places, Karen Heuler's latest story collection, follows travelers as the familiar becomes strange, and the strange becomes life.

Table of Contents:

  • The Rising Up - (2016) - short story
  • The Apartments - (2016) - short story
  • Twelve Sisters, Twelve Sisters, Ten - (2014) - short story
  • How to Be a Foreigner - (2013) - short story
  • What They See on Nox - (2016) - short story
  • The Moons of Martle Hart - (2016) - short story
  • Respite - (2016) - short story
  • Which Side Is the Other Side? - (2016) - short story
  • The Alien Came Over the Hill - (2015) - short story
  • The Brief Return of Marianna Napoli - (2016) - short story

Monteverde: Memoirs of an Interstellar Linguist

Conversation Pieces: Book 52

Lola Robles

Translated from the Spanish by Lawrence Schimel

Terran scholar Rachel Monteverde journeys to Aanuk, a paradisiacal planet famous for both its beaches and the generosity of its nomadic inhabitants. The aanukiens are not the only people on the planet, however: Rachel is eager to meet the Fihdia, a cave-dwelling people who share a congenital condition that makes them blind. Rachel's relentless determination to communicate with them despite the Aanukien's dismissal and the Fihdia's secretiveness will yield more than she ever hoped for.

The Adventure of the Incognita Countess

Conversation Pieces: Book 53

Cynthia Ward

The Blood-Thirsty Agent #1

t's the easiest assignment a British intelligence agent could hope for. Lucy Harker needs only see the secret plans of the Nautilus safely across the Atlantic. As German spies are largely a fantasy of newspapers, she anticipates no activities more strenuous than hiding her heritage as Dracula's dhampir daughter. Then among her fellow Titanic passengers she discovers the incognita Countess Karnstein--and it seems the seductive vampire is in Germany's service. Can Agent Harker stake Carmilla before her own heart--and her loyalty to the British Empire--are subverted by questions as treacherous as a night-cloaked iceberg?

Boundaries, Border Crossings, and Reinventing the Future

Conversation Pieces: Book 54

Beth Plutchak

The personal is political, and the political is personal. This collection of essays and an sf tale explores the intersections of representation, science fiction, feminism, social justice, and fandom, specifically in relationship to the feminist sf convention WisCon. Plutchak argues that to build a new future we need new stories, stories that tell us where we have been as well as show us where we are going, and she uses feminist theory to analyze feminist sf fandom's history, present, and future.

Liberating the Astronauts

Conversation Pieces: Book 55

Christina M. Rau

Winner of the 2018 Elgin Award

From the Pointer Sisters doing the Neutron Dance to David Bowman's exclamation while traveling through the star gate near Jupiter; from stealing Joan Didion's sadness to erasing F. Scott Fitzgerald's Gatsby, this collection weaves its way through the awkward paradox of wanting freedom while fearing it. A little science, a bit of sci-fi, a little feminism, a bit of lit, in Liberating the Astronauts, we see that not fitting in gives us the freedom to stand out.

Table of Contents:

  • With No One at the Watch
  • Chasing Zero
  • Skyscape
  • Why It Took So Long to Watch the Lunar Landing
  • Sounds of Privacy
  • Remembering the Challenger
  • Consumption of Space
  • Neutron Dance.
  • Night Light
  • Action at a Distance
  • Opposition Night
  • Colony Collapse
  • Where You Used to LIve
  • Overnight Rain
  • Carrying All That You Can
  • Blue
  • The Numerologist's Prescription
  • Perfume
  • The Atomic Hypothesis
  • The remains of the
  • Detrain
  • The Going
  • Kepler's Laws
  • A Vessel
  • Polarity
  • The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light
  • The Gradual Pull
  • Anger on Peaks
  • Microsampling Mission
  • Withstanding Mars
  • Dorm Life, or Judith Learns Astronomy
  • Chem in Everyday Life
  • Where to Go on a Rocket Ship
  • Space Is the Place
  • Who Is At Work
  • Curiosity
  • Flight Log
  • Recalling Solaris
  • (Or Maybe It Went Like This)
  • Beyond a Plume of Dust
  • Reading the Surface
  • Having Forgotten How to Quilt
  • Mermaid on the Moon
  • An Infestation of Angels
  • Liberating the Astronauts
  • Please Come Home

In Search of Lost Time

Conversation Pieces: Book 56

Karen Heuler

After beginning chemo for a rare cancer, Hildy discovers an extraordinary talent--the ability to see and take other people's time. She also discovers there's an underground market for quality time. After all, who has enough time? The dying, especially, want to get more of it, but giving it to them means taking it from someone else. How moral is she? How will she juggle the black marketers' strong-arm tactics and her own quandaries about stealing something so precious and vital that it can never be replaced?


Conversation Pieces: Book 57

Kristi Carter

Nothing escapes me, not even light.

Mother, monstrosity, woman, Cosmovore.

In this narrative collection of poems, the voice of the void reels and keens over meditations on consumption, the body, and the world. From the edges of the Milky Way to the confines of an eggshell, nowhere is safe from her hunger. In the tinny echoes of a much-hated musical triangle, explore the questions she faces about womanhood, motherhood, society, and a goat as she tries to reconcile those around her with her own identity.


  • Cosmovore - interior artwork by Tahlia Day
  • 2 - Cosmovore, Homo neanderthalensis, and You - (2013) - poem
  • 4 - Cosmovore Meets Her Antithesis - (2012) - poem
  • 6 - Cosmovore in Limbo with You - poem
  • 8 - Cosmovore Loses the Fired Pearl - poem
  • 9 - Cosmovore Surrounded by Husks - (2013) - poem
  • 11 - Crepuscular Sabotage with Citronella - poem
  • 18 - Cosmovore Suspects Being Cuckolded - poem
  • 20 - Cosmovore Finds Pluto Less Palatable Than Imagined - (2013) - poem
  • 22 - Cosmovore Returns to Earth - (2015) - poem
  • 24 - Cosmovore Renovates the Kitchen - (2015) - poem
  • 26 - Cosmovore Cleans the Attic - (2015) - poem
  • 28 - Post-Arson, Cosmovore Visits the Clearance Bin at a Record Store - poem
  • 34 - A Poorly Kept Fish-Tank Fascinates Cosmovore, but Not Him - poem
  • 36 - Cosmovore Pines for More Than a Reuben - poem
  • 38 - Cosmovore Gets Stung - (2012) - poem
  • 40 - Cosmovore Has Night Demons - poem
  • 42 - Notes on a Marriage and the Ubiquity of Apples - (2017) - poem
  • 48 - Cosmovore Searches the Animal Shelter - poem
  • 50 - Regrets Involving the Balut - (2017) - poem
  • 52 - Consequences of Baking While Feral - poem
  • 54 - The Memory of Certain Flavors Renders Scars in My Eternal Mouth - poem
  • 55 - Cosmovore Contemplates Astrology - poem
  • 62 - Cosmovore at Coney Island - (2014) - poem
  • 64 - The Maturity of Offal As Mapped by Cosmovore - (2015) - poem
  • 66 - Cosmovore Goes to the Doctor - (2013) - poem
  • 68 - Cosmovore Is Haunted by Eating the Ortolan - (2012) - poem
  • 71 - Cosmovore Gains the Vantage Point from Fourth Dimension - poem
  • 73 - Cosmovore and Redhaired Infant at the Corner of Death and Infinity - poem

Helen's Story

Conversation Pieces: Book 58

Rosanne Rabinowitz

Contrary to rumors of her death, Helen Vaughan is alive and well and living in Shoreditch, East London, stirring up the art world with a series of erotically-charged landscapes depicting the strange events of her youth. Brought up by a man who regarded her as loathsome, shuffled between boarding schools and foster homes, young Helen only found pleasure in visits from a secret companion. She made one other close friend, a girl called Rachel who disappeared in full daylight. After that, Helen was left with her companion.

As she remembers her friend, Helen lays on each stroke of paint as if it can bring Rachel back or take her to where Rachel went. She paints to summon her companion once again, and show everyone what really lurks beyond the vanishing point.

Some readers might have met Helen in Arthur Machen's classic novella The Great God Pan. Now she gets to tell her side of the story. Nominated for the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award for outstanding achievement in literature of the "dark fantastic," Helen's Story gives a voice to one of the genre's most enigmatic antagonists.

Liminal Spaces

Conversation Pieces: Book 59

Beth Plutchak

Yes, these stories are science fiction and fantasy, but they are deeply rooted in reality, especially in the lives of women. We learn about being in college in 1960s, going back to nature in Alaska, working in a bank and trying to make a good life for a child with a disability. If there is a single theme, it's the struggle of women to control their lives - to be free. In addition to this often ordinary, gritty struggle of girls, wives, working women and mothers, the stories have time travel, space travel, game theory, clones, and magic. Grit and sense of wonder and (often) hope. What more could you ask for? I strongly recommend the collection." ---Eleanor Arnason

Table of Contents:

  • The Swan Sister - short story
  • Skin and Bone - short story
  • What She Thought She Knew - short story
  • A Matter of Time - novelette
  • Game Theory - (2017) - short story

Feed Me the Bones of Our Saints

Conversation Pieces: Book 60

Alex Dally MacFarlane

A civilization of only women and foxes fights against its extermination. A series of maps point to the place of our sun in alien skies. A story of vengeance is told and then lost, held only in the wind's teeth and rain-ruined tapestries. A god creates a narrative map of a nation.

Foxes run through these stories, in various guises. They make memories, turn history into truth or toss it aside--but they're as susceptible as we are to being forgotten.

Table of Contents:

  • Feed Me the Bones of Our Saints - (2012) - short story
  • Iddad Library Catalogue of Surviving Foxes - (2015) - short story
  • Written on the Hides of Foxes - (2014) - novelette
  • Out They Come - (2013) - short story
  • O Fox Confessor, Your Mouth Is as Powdered Turmeric - short story
  • Fox Bones. Many Uses. - (2012) - short story
  • Teeth, Tapestries - (2016) - short story
  • Inari Updates the Map of Rice Fields - (2014) - short fiction

If Not Skin: Collected Transformations

Conversation Pieces: Book 61

Toby MacNutt

The pieces in If Not Skin are united by themes of embodiment--all that a body can be, all that can be a body, by magic, science, and experience. Not all bodies grant ease, but neither are all arduous bodies necessarily shaded with horror. Move through pain, pleasure, gender, freedom, age, and memory with every shapeshift, taking them in through richly textured, sense-heavy poetry and prose.

Table of Contents:

  • Chatterbones, Chatterbones
  • Green Thumbs
  • A Travelling Age
  • Innervation
  • Heart to Heart
  • Relapse
  • Bodily Humours
  • The Somatic Market
  • How I Lost the Sky
  • Grit
  • All Sparks
  • Running Cold
  • The Way You Say Good-Night
  • Past Far Gone
  • Bodily Humours, continued
  • Of Burials at Sea
  • Journeyman
  • Subtle Revels
  • Flashpoint
  • Planetary Alveolus
  • Skin-Changer
  • Burning the Candle
  • Best Beloved, Flesh of My Flesh
  • If You Find Me Out

The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum

Conversation Pieces: Book 62

Cynthia Ward

The Blood-Thirsty Agent #2

Intelligence agent Lucy Harker receives the most dangerous job in the world--keeping Winston Churchill safe on the Western Front. Despite her unique abilities as Dracula's daughter, she loses Churchill to Kaiser Wilhelm's inhuman allies. If she's to recover Britain's greatest leader, Agent Harker must gain the aid of her Austrian lover, Countess Karnstein--better known as Carmilla. But the notorious vampire is keeping secrets that might doom the British Empire.

People Change

Conversation Pieces: Book 63

Gwynne Garfinkle

The stories and poems in People Change illuminate the personal and feminist concerns evoked by classic horror movies and other aspects of popular culture. Mining the implications of figures like the Bride of Frankenstein, Samantha Stephens, and the Stepford Wives, the book explores such themes as family and misogyny. At times horror merges with autobiography, as in "It's a Universal Picture." The women and girls in Gwynne Garfinkle's stories variously seek the gift of flight and the gift of friendship, real and imaginary.


  • In Lieu of a Thank You - (2008) - short story
  • The Paper Doll Golems - short story
  • The Imaginary Friend - (2015) - short story
  • Don't Look Back - (2017) - short story
  • Man-Size - (2017) - short story
  • The Hedgehog and the Pine Cone - (2016) - short story
  • bell, book, candle - (2012) - poem
  • she's alive, alive - (2014) - poem
  • The Last Word - (2017) - poem
  • ode to Dwight Frye - (2017) - poem
  • Una O'Connor unleashes her scream - (2016) - poem
  • It's a Universal Picture - (2014) - poem
  • Ralph Touchett Awaits Revision - (2011) - poem
  • levitation class - poem
  • Dorothy's Prayer - (2015) - poem
  • Witches of Childhood - (2014) - poem
  • family (a form somehow must) - (2017) - poem
  • Ginnie and the Cooking Contest - (2013) - poem
  • Linda Blair Pantoum - (2016) - poem
  • Bye Bye Love - poem
  • The Pied Piper vs. the Sirens - (2012) - poem
  • song for Mary Henry - (2016) - poem
  • Irena in the Garden - poem
  • Dybbuk Song - (2000) - poem
  • The Golem of the Gravestones - (2017) - poem
  • Flaxen Mane - poem
  • Gojira / Godzilla - poem
  • Thirteen Faces of Deathdream - poem
  • Mildred's Villanelle - poem
  • Misogyny - (2015) - poem
  • shell - poem
  • Champagne Ivy - (2016) - poem
  • an American ending - (2002) - poem
  • People Change: A Love Story - (2016) - poem
  • 50 Foot - (2017) - poem
  • love song from The Blob to Steve McQueen - poem
  • a tipping point - (2013) - poem
  • Poetess Strikes Again - (2016) - poem


Conversation Pieces: Book 64

Gemma Files

Myths and fairytales, monsters and magic, dead gods and forgotten goddesses--these are the subjects that most often inspire Gemma Files's third collection of speculative poetry. By running folk horror symbolism through the filter of contemporary language, she maps the shadow-side of fiction out with spells, curses, confessions, and prayers in an effort to show how the stories we tell ourselves pull us headlong forward through history, illuminating all the most unsolvable central mysteries of human existence in words of both faith and fear.

The Green and Growing

Conversation Pieces: Book 65

Erin K. Wagner

In this intriguing tale of the clash of two worlds and cultures, Miquita, one of the forty-two daughters of Commander Hritrar, is sent to the Ruburuii after their defeat at her father's hands. Hampered by diplomatic etiquette and a thoroughly alien culture, Miquita struggles to understand the destruction her father has leveled against the cities and orchards that depend on a failing artificial intelligence. Can she help repair the terrible damage her father's forces have inflicted? Perhaps more importantly: should she?

Everything is Made of Letters

Conversation Pieces: Book 66

Sofía Rhei

A man risks his life by carefully forging bibliographic references in a parallel Barcelona; at the Cyclotech, a woman strives to keep the storytelling different engine safe from ignorant hands that could get words lost; off-planet, an interpreter gives an account of her language learning process involving a realistic alien doll that claims to be a sentient being... Words boast a heavy, at times disturbing, weight of their own across these alternative realities in which language rules supreme, fleshed out by the mind of one of the most prolific writers in contemporary Spanish genre fiction.


  • 1 - Techt - (2016) - novelette (trans. of Techt 2015)
  • 31 - The BubbleLon Cyclotech - (2015) - novelette (trans. of La cicloteca de BubbleLon 2014)
  • 67 - Secret Stories of Doors - (2016) - short story
  • 88 - Learning Report - short story
  • 112 - You Cannot Kill Frownyflute! - short fiction

Midnight at the Organporium

Conversation Pieces: Book 67

Tara Campbell

What do a homicidal houseplant, an enchanted office picnic, sentient fog, and the perfect piece of toast have in common? They're all part of the world of Midnight at the Organporium. At turns droll, wicked, and surreal, these tales cover topics from white flight, to the Princess and the Pea, to marriage in the afterlife. Visit Midnight at the Organporium for a dose of twisted obsession, covert complicity, and peculiar empowerment--and don't forget to pick up your spare heart while you're there.


  • 1 - Death Sure Changes a Person - short story
  • 19 - New Growth - short story
  • 31 - Aftermilk - short story
  • 41 - Another Damn Cottage - (2017) - short story
  • 43 - Bedpea - short story
  • 47 - You, Commuter - short story
  • 49 - Speculum Crede - (2016) - short story
  • 86 - The Rapture - short story
  • 89 - Lost Kingdom - short story
  • 93 - The Legend of Fog - short story
  • 106 - Midnight at the Organporium - short story

Algorithmic Shapeshifting

Conversation Pieces: Book 68

Bogi Takács

Algorithmic Shapeshifting is the first poetry collection of Bogi Takács, winner of the Lambda award for editing Transcendent 2: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction, and finalist for the Hugo and Locus awards. The collection includes poems from the past decade and previously unpublished work. The scope of pieces extends from the present and past of Jewish life in Hungary and the United States to the far-future, outer-space reaches of the speculative--always with a sense of curiosity and wonder.


  • The One Who Commands Me Call Out My Name - poem
  • Outside-In / Catalytic Exteriorization - (2014) - poem
  • The Handcrafted Motions of Flight - (2012) - poem
  • A Self-Contained Riot of Lights - (2014) - poem
  • Trans Love Is - poem
  • A User Guide in the Application of Gem-Flowers - (2014) - poem
  • Seven Handy Ideas for Algorithmic Shapeshifting - (2018) - poem
  • Autonomous, Spacefaring - poem
  • Grow - poem
  • Continuity Imperative - poem
  • Gently Chew to Soften the Ridges - (2017) - poem
  • Pivot Point - poem
  • The Iterative Nature of the Magical Discovery Process - (2015) - poem
  • Torah and Secular Learning - (2012) - poem
  • The Size of a Barleycorn, Encased in Lead - (2017) - poem
  • Six Hundred and Thirteen Commandments - (2014) - poem
  • How (Not) to Avoid Harmful Spirits, A Brief Talmudic Guide - poem
  • Marginalia to Eiruvin 45b - poem
  • A Hail of Pebbles and Dust - (2011) - poem
  • Synthesis: This Shining Confluence - (2017) - poem
  • Never Cease - poem
  • The Tiny English-Hungarian Phrasebook for Visiting Extraterrestrials - (2013) - poem
  • Skin of the Creature - poem
  • Radiation Hormesis - poem
  • Activities to Perform After Regime Change, I - poem
  • Replicate Personal Experience - poem
  • The Bursting Season - (2015) - poem
  • The Oracle of DARPA - (2012) - poem
  • Periodicity - poem
  • Flee to Far Shores - poem
  • The Weight of Granola and Gefilte - poem
  • Travel-Charm - poem
  • A Song of Expanses - poem
  • Three QUILTBAG+ science micropoems - poem
  • Expect the Creaking - poem
  • The Third Extension - poem
  • Two Tailed Triptych #1: The Ides of March - poem
  • Two Tailed Triptych #2: Why I Intend to Vote for the Two-Tailed Dog - poem
  • Two Tailed Triptych #3: Ode to the Ganymedean Telepathic Slime Mold - poem
  • My Planet / Silence and Noise - poem
  • Overlays - poem
  • You Are Here/Was: Blue Line to Memorial Park - (2015) - poem (variant of You Are Here 2014)
  • Malchutt - poem

The Rampant

Conversation Pieces: Book 69

Julie C. Day

It's ten years since the hordes of old-world Sumerian gods arrived in Southern Indiana to kick off the end of the world, but things have not gone to plan. A principal player decided not to show. Now humanity is stuck in a seemingly never-ending apocalypse. Sixteen-year-old Emelia Bareilles and Gillian Halkey are determined to force a change, even though it means traveling into the lands of the dead.

Mary Shelley Makes a Monster

Conversation Pieces: Book 70

Octavia Cade

All our monsters are mirrors. And when Mary Shelley's monster -- built from her life rather than her pen, born out of biography instead of blood -- outlives its mother, that monster goes looking for a substitute. But all the monster really knows of women is that women write, and so the search for a replacement takes it first to Katherine Mansfield, and then to other women who know what mutilated things can be made from ink and mirrors...

Articulation: Short Plays to Nourish the Mind & Soul

Conversation Pieces: Book 71

Cesi Davidson

"In these fanciful, often hilarious plays you will discover a fantastic variety of characters--familiar nursery-rhyme figures who work in a ninety-nine-cent store and bet on horses, bananas and radishes who discuss their ill-fated destinies, birds who sing songs of unrequited love, time travelers who skip about from Caribbean present-day to slavery-era Virginia, bunnies who meet in support groups."

--from the Foreword by Zachary Sklar

City of a Thousand Feelings

Conversation Pieces: Book 72

Anya Johanna DeNiro

The City doesn't let certain people inside its walls. It's a place where emotions can become visible, but it flees the approach of a makeshift army who want to enter. Two of the trans women in this army forge a deep, complicated, and at times contentious friendship spanning thirty years. They must deal with not only the City's literal and figurative gatekeeping, but also other, even more sinister forces that use necromancy against them.

As the narrator and her friend's lives are sundered apart, they must come to terms with what it means to not have a home, and what it means to be queer and aching for such a home.

Ancient Songs of Us

Conversation Pieces: Book 73

Jean LeBlanc

The poems in Ancient Songs of Us suggest that no song is "ancient," that every story crosses time and transcends place to remind us what it means to be human. Love, hatred, fury, longing, ennui, sadness--these states of heart and mind in all their nuanced hues overflow from these poems.

The Adventure of the Naked Guide

Conversation Pieces: Book 74

Cynthia Ward

The Blood-Thirsty Agent #3

The earth is hollow - a trackless primordial wilderness. It's also the new front in the Great War. Here, the British spy Lucy Harker - Dracula's daughter - must locate Britain's missing vampire slayer - her own mother. Then she's separated from her lover, the vampire spy Carmilla, and captured by Germany's most brilliant scientist, the sinister Dr Krüger. Now, Agent Harker may discover her most dangerous opponents are on her own side.

Sacred Summer

Conversation Pieces: Book 75

Cassandra Rose Clarke

In the empty halls of a house on the edge of the woods, a dancer faces the aftermath of a career-ending injury and subsequent divorce.

Twenty years earlier, on the land where her house would be built, two boys died violently and mysteriously while recording a music video for their band, leaving one survivor. Something sleeps in the woods beyond the house, and when the dancer finds the last musician, it will start to wake...

From Rhysling Award finalist Cassandra Rose Clarke comes a visceral examination of dance, music, and obsession told entirely in verse.


Conversation Pieces: Book 76

Sarah Tolmie

Bodily life is an uneasy business. The terror of disease is a ubiquitous one. New diseases are being discovered all the time. This book collects twenty contemporary diseases -- privacy, for example, or innovation, or involuntary compassion -- and presents their primary symptoms and etiologies. It presents sufferers' anecdotes: Owen wakes up one day made of glass. Deirdre is allergic to tourists. A middle-aged diabetic is haunted by the feet of a Kurdish refugee child. Apples develop a persistent tremor, and peanuts plot underground. Human resilience is tested in dramatic new ways in Disease.

Goddess Bandit of the Thousand Arms

Conversation Pieces: Book 77

Hal Y. Zhang

Women with knives and loves travel through time and space in Goddess Bandit of the Thousand Arms, the first full-length collection of Hal Y. Zhang. In personal, lingering poems and a short story, Goddess Bandit details the ways--fantasy, escape, insurrection, deification, transcendence--women and often unheard voices can overcome oppression and become bright lights against the darkness.


  • Majorana, Back Again - (2019) - poem
  • How to Leave the Planet - (2020) - poem
  • What We Gain in Translation - (2019) - poem
  • Steeped in Stars - (2019) - poem
  • Victor St. - (2020) - poem
  • Sea-Child, Sea-Mother - (2019) - poem
  • The Mind Remembers Flight - poem
  • Swallow - (2018) - poem
  • Sundoown - (2019) - poem
  • No Casualties - poem
  • Recollecting Soil - (2020) - poem
  • Only Found in Dreams - (2019) - poem
  • The Empire of Sugar, Its Rise and Fall - poem
  • To My Ghost by the Sound - (2020) - poem
  • Summer, Scalloped Dredges of (Colorized) - poem
  • Sunday Cleansing - (2019) - poem
  • Outfield - (2019) - poem
  • Clay, January - poem
  • Pomegranate--Persephone - poem
  • fear cat - (2019) - poem
  • The Celestial In Fall - poem
  • Sound Science - poem
  • Sorrow for the Featherweight - poem
  • Anatomicon - (2020) - poem
  • cardiod - (2018) - poem
  • Denaturing - (2019) - poem
  • Sky King Toast - (2018) - poem
  • oubliette - (2019) - poem
  • Sievelike - (2018) - poem
  • Only Treading - (2020) - poem
  • Seraphima - (2018) - poem
  • Themaligned - (2020) - poem
  • Hypnogogia - poem
  • Seven Heads - (2019) - poem
  • Shelly Scully - (2019) - poem
  • Napa Pork Glass Sea - poem
  • My Last Tooth - poem
  • Pearling - (2019) - poem
  • Exeunt, or from the Weary Adventurers to Their Creator - poem
  • Runes, Ruins - (2019) - poem
  • The Great Filters - poem
  • Étude for Warblers - poem
  • Things I'm Not - (2019) - poem
  • Sun Caves - (2019) - poem
  • Litotes - (2019) - poem
  • Dawn, a Genesis - poem
  • To the Astronomer Aspiring - poem
  • New Mass - (2019) - poem
  • Ruby, Ruby, Black Sand - (2019) - short story

Resistance and Transformation: On Fairy Tales

Conversation Pieces: Book 78

Mari Ness

Once upon a time... a group of French aristocrats, trapped by their culture and gender, wanted to speak out against the regime and the king. But they could not, for that king was Louis XIV.And so they turned to fairy tales.In this collection of fourteen essays, Mari Ness explores the lives and tales of these remarkable writers who used fairy tales to subtly critique -- and in a few cases, support -- the absolutist rule of Louis XIV. They include the scandalous Henriette Julie de Murat, imprisoned for debauchery, and rumored to wear men's clothing; Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de la Force, imprisoned for writing impious poetry; and Madame d'Aulnoy, who spent years of her life in exile from her beloved country, but still insisted on contributing to French literature.

Told with wit and humor, the essays help set beloved fairy tales into their historical and cultural context. A must read for fairy tale lovers and anyone interested in how words can be shaped into acts of resistance.

The Silences of Ararat

Conversation Pieces: Book 79

L. Timmel Duchamp

It's an old, old story: the King loses what passes for his mind and accuses his perfect trophy wife of adultery and prepares to have her put to death. Temporary insanity, right? Often in such cases, there's collateral damage, and that's the case in this story. But who, in a monarchy like Ararat, can oppose the King? Enter, Paulina, stage left, a sculptor with a hidden talent, a dea ex machina with her own ideas about how this story should end.

Cabinet of Wrath: A Doll Collection

Conversation Pieces: Book 80

Tara Campbell

Deep in the recesses of childhood memory, your old playthings await. Listen: don't you hear them crying out for you? Come take a peek inside the Cabinet of Wrath to find out what really happens when toys go missing and the stark decision they must make if they ever want to go home again. Discover what doll heads really think about being separated from their bodies. Follow a skull-and-bones novelty ring as it assembles a full body for itself, bit by grisly bit, and learn how loving your doll too much can lead to grave consequences. Open the door to these fabulist tales of toys and vengeance for a playtime you'll never forget.

In "Fairbanks," an elderly woman playing around with voodoo believes that she's successfully invited her husband's spirit to inhabit her adult daughter's old toys--but her daughter tries to convince her that she's conjured more than just his ghost. Marie Antoinette's daughter's new doll becomes ever more demanding of treats in "Petite Marie." And in "Spencer" a toy slowly fashions itself a new body from its neglectful owner's body parts.


  • The Box - short fiction
  • Midge - (2020) - short fiction
  • Spencer - (2020) - short story
  • Becky - (2020) - short fiction
  • Petite Marie - (2020) - short fiction
  • Malibu Lacey - (2019) - short fiction
  • Plot Baby - (2019) - short fiction
  • Fairbanks - (2021) - short story
  • Pino - short fiction

The Adventures of the Golden Woman

Conversation Pieces: Book 81

Cynthia Ward

The Adventure of the Golden Woman is the concluding novella of the author's Blood-Thirsty Agent series.

Lesbian vampire spies at the cabaret!

It's 1931, and conquest of the earth isn't enough for the British Empire. But the demi-mondaine of occupied Berlin harbors a resistance movement, and the double agents Lucy Harker--Dracula's daughter--and her lover, the vampire Carmilla, steal England's spaceship plans. Then the handoff to American agent Adolph Hitler is foiled by an impossibly advanced mechanical woman, and the lovers are imprisoned on a lunar spaceship scheduled for imminent launch. Now Lucy and Carmilla's only hope of saving the solar system is to overcome the ship's robot crew and outthink England's greatest espionage agent: Sherlock Holmes.

Fricatives: Short Plays to Nourish the Mind & Soul

Conversation Pieces: Book 82

Cesi Davidson

Fricatives, the second anthology of Short Plays to Nourish the Mind & Soul has positioned Cesi Davidson as a champion of brevity and depth in playmaking. Her years of listening to the collective us, her unconstrained imagination, and her linguistic flexibility result in unusual interpretations of the complexities of American life. Fricativesfollows her first book, Articulation, with an eclectic mix of storytelling providing challenges to performing artists and a roller coaster ride of entertainment for the reader.

We've Been Here Before

Conversation Pieces: Book 83

Anne Carly Abad

In the spaces between dreams and reality, the strange and the familiar intersect. As if walking into different pockets of existence, each poem is a world of its own, but with beings who experience joy and pain the same ways we do. Suddenly, there is this undeniable sense--of being able to cross the liquid boundary between the self and the Other.


  • 5 - A Philosophy of Chairs - (2014) - poem
  • 6 - The Assessment - poem
  • 7 - Above and Below - poem
  • 8 - Autopsy - poem
  • 9 - The Weight of Forgiveness - (2015) - poem
  • 11 - Rehearsal for When He Wakes - (2014) - poem
  • 13 - Sea and Stars - (2015) - poem
  • 15 - The First Stone - (2014) - poem
  • 16 - A Story - poem
  • 18 - Ace Hardware - (2013) - poem
  • 20 - Sorry, Were Those Your Sneakers? - (2015) - poem
  • 22 - Ceramics - (2021) - poem
  • 24 - Woman Came Last - (2014) - poem
  • 26 - Caskets to Sleep In - (2013) - poem
  • 28 - Little One - poem
  • 30 - A Good Wife Is Hard to Find - poem
  • 32 - Nebulous - (2015) - poem
  • 33 - Albatross - poem
  • 35 - Functions of the Tongue - (2015) - poem
  • 37 - Jellyfish - (2014) - poem
  • 40 - Collection Day - (2020) - poem
  • 42 - Captivity - poem
  • 43 - Mud Baby - (2019) - poem
  • 45 - Nature - poem
  • 46 - Fear - poem
  • 48 - Illumination - poem
  • 50 - Tire under the bridge - (2015) - poem
  • 51 - Vessels - (2014) - poem
  • 53 - The Law of Kindness - poem
  • 55 - how the world got owned - poem
  • 56 - Dilapidation - poem
  • 57 - The Distance of Stars - poem
  • 58 - Truth Is a Flat-Earther - poem
  • 59 - Ticket - (2021) - poem
  • 60 - A Kingdom of Walls - (2013) - poem
  • 62 - Recpgnition - poem
  • 64 - Between - poem
  • 66 - Revelation - poem
  • 67 - The Choosing of the Babylan - (2014) - poem
  • 69 - Chatterbox Buffet - poem
  • 70 - Pact - poem
  • 71 - Sculpture - poem
  • 73 - X:\Users\AndroidX>start eden.exe_ - (2014) - poem
  • 75 - And It Was Bad - (2020) - poem
  • 77 - Possible New Species of Worm and Louse in the Domestic Ecosystem: - (2014) - poem
  • 79 - A Study of Swarm Intelligence - (2013) - poem
  • 81 - Dissociation - (2021) - poem
  • 82 - Exchange - (2016) - poem
  • 84 - Chapters - poem
  • 86 - Dysmorphia - (2015) - poem
  • 87 - Pigs Scream Too - (2021) - poem
  • 89 - Their Extinction - (2014) - poem
  • 90 - The Bitter Gourd's Fate - (2014) - poem
  • 93 - Final Thoughts of a Companion (Beta) - (2014) - poem
  • 95 - Remnants - (2020) - poem
  • 97 - Caterpillar Man - (2013) - poem
  • 99 - Generation - poem
  • 101 - The Seer - (2015) - poem
  • 103 - Watering - poem
  • 105 - The Visitor - (2014) - poem
  • 107 - Crown of Flies - poem
  • 109 - Gingerbread(board) Baby - (2014) - poem
  • 110 - The Child That Can't Save Us - poem
  • 111 - Core - poem
  • 113 - Migration - (2021) - poem
  • 114 - Error - poem
  • 115 - The Secret Life of Cabinets - (2015) - poem
  • 117 - Crossing - poem
  • 118 - The Watcher - poem
  • 119 - Why Animals Don't Talk - (2015) - poem
  • 120 - This Rat - (2016) - poem

Bilabials: Short Plays to Nourish the Mind & Soul

Conversation Pieces: Book 84

Cesi Davidson

Cesi Davidson has crafted the third book in the series of Short Plays to Nourish the Mind & Soul. The three anthologies of plays (Articulation, Fricatives, and now Bilabials) are eclectic mixes of stories with surprises, tragedies, delights, and wit. Bilabials departs from the earlier books by its concentration on plays with some theme of love. She also places prose between each play that may sting or please or some modicum of both.

This collection isn't a how to manual. It isn't a for women only, "Aha." This often laughable, often tear-jerking collection if a label is needed, is a rousing cheer for asking the question, "What is love anyway?" The answer lies somewhere on the horizon between the earth and the sky. This is where Cesi Davidson dwells. She offers her heart in her hands and releases her voice inviting us to travel into the depths of a mystifying unknown. Love is.