Nightscript II is a rich anthology of high-quality weirdness / Nightscript II es una rica antología de extrañezas de muy buena calidad

This never happens: I buy an anthology because of a short story that is on a preliminary awards list and that story disappears from the final list of nominees and I still love the anthology and am glad I bought it. But that’s exactly what happened with Nightscript II: An Anthology of Strange and Darksome Tales, edited by C.M. Muller.

I took a chance on it because “Reasons I Hate my Big Sister” by Gwendolyn Kiste was on the long list for the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction. The story is quite good but somehow got eliminated from the final list of nominees. For weeks the anthology was my bedtime reading, and I hopped and skipped all over it, appreciating every single story for the quality of the writing even if the theme or resolution didn’t totally grab me.


  • “The Carnival Arrives in Darkness” by Michael Griffin–very unique approach to the subject matter. More sweet than weird.
  • “The Inveterate Establishment of Daddano & Co.” by Eric J. Guignard–interesting narrator with a great voice.
  • “Nearness” by Ralph Robert Moore–the most intimately horrifying story in the whole anthology.
  • “No Abiding Place on Earth” by Matthew M. Bartlett–most frightening creatures and great description.
  • “Pause for Laughter” by José Cruz–truly an existential tale of a future. Touching in a weird way, which is hard to fathom, considering it’s told by a machete-wielding clown.

This is an anthology you should not ignore. I liked it so much I’m going to ask Muller if he’ll do a little Q&A here. And I’m going to get Nightscript I soon.  Nightscript III will be out in October.

Read more in spanish here:  Continue reading

Nebula nominee–“A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wild Flowers” by Alyssa Wong / Nominado al Premio Nébula – “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wild Flowers” de Alyssa Wong

Note: This is review number five of the six short stories nominated for the Nebula Award in 2017. You will find the full list of nominees here, and the other reviews this year in the most recent posts. 

“A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wild Flowers” by Alyssa Wong is about two tragic sisters with great love for one another despite their differences. They have the power to bend space and time. When one of the sisters dies, the other feels compelled to try, try and try again to change the circumstances leading to her sister’s death.

The depictions of the sisters feels true, if not extremely deep. There are some sweet descriptions of their closeness as young girls and the pain of separation when they’re older. Sibling relationships are subtle and powerful in their own right, and the notion that the balance of the universe might depend on the harmony of two sisters is an attractive idea. The story’s strongest feature is the emotional frenzy surrounding the main character’s emotions. Continue reading

Measuring the influence of languages / Midiendo la influencia de las lenguas

Amazing visualizations of the use and influence of languages around the world are available from The Global Language Network, a project by the MIT Media Lab Macro Connections group in collaboration with Aix-Marseille Université, Northeastern MoBS, and Harvard University. In an effort to find a quantitative way to define the global influence of languages, the researchers compared the networks expressed in book translations into and out of languages, the language editions of Wikipedia, and languages used on Twitter. They also validated the findings against measures of the number of famous persons born in the countries associated with a particular language. I myself am a little uncertain whether the fame of persons is a dependent or independent variable here, but there is definitely a positive correlation. See researcher Cesar Hidalgo explain it below.

Project results show that the most influential languages, based on their connectivity to other languages, are English, Spanish, German, French, and to a lesser degree, Russian, Portuguese, and Chinese. What was fascinating was that some languages, such as Hindi and Arabic, which are spoken by hundreds of millions of people, are not as influential due to their rather introverted usage. In other words, although the languages are robust in particular countries and even regions, they are less prominent online and perhaps more telling–there are far fewer books translated into those languages and far fewer books originally written in those languages that are translated into other languages, than the highly connected languages or even the languages of some small countries like the Netherlands.

Continue reading

Update on translations available on this site

I am happy to announce that the first two parts of “The Return on Investment” are available in Spanish as well as English on the Free Stories page. I’ve found a lovely person in Colombia to provide these translations, Daniela Toulemonde, who is also a writer. You can learn more about Daniela on the Collaborators page.

Also, I wanted to let you know that I have been trying to figure out how best to share translations on this site and, even though I have found no truly graceful way to make that happen, I’ve decided to simply focus on getting all my stories into my four focus languages–English, Hindi, Spanish and Mandarin–for now.  I will also try to translate posts into these four languages, but I won’t be able to do that regularly for a while. There’s more about why I’m including translations on this site here.

If you are a speaker/writer/reader of one of these non-English focus languages, please comment or send me a message. It is important that we writers encourage each other to reach out to readers in other languages, and, as a reader, I try to read translations regularly, too. Translation, however, especially literary translation, takes time and skill, so I’d like to know if others find the effort worthwhile.


EspanolMe complace anunciar que las dos primeras partes de “Rendimiento de la Inversión” están disponibles tanto en español como en inglés en la página de Historias Gratis. He encontrado a una persona grandiosa en Colombia para hacer estas traducciones, Daniela Toulemonde, quien también es escritora. Puedes conocer más sobre Daniela en la página de Colaboradores.

Además, quiero que sepan que he estado intentando encontrar la mejor forma de compartir las traducciones en esta página y, aunque no he encontrado una manera elegante de hacerlo, he decidido simplemente enfocarme en tener todos mis cuentos en mis cuatro lenguas prioritarias ­–inglés, hindi, español y mandarín– por ahora. También intentaré traducir entradas a estas cuatro lenguas, pero no aún podré hacerlo regularmente por un tiempo. Puedes leer más sobre las razones por cuales que estoy incluyendo traducciones en este sitio aquí.

Si eres un hablante/escritor/lector de alguna de estas lenguas prioritarias, aparte del inglés, por favor comenta o envíame un mensaje. Es importante que como escritores nos incitemos unos a otros a comunicarnos con lectores en otras lenguas. Como lectora, también intento leer traducciones regularmente. Sin embargo, la traducción requiere de tiempo y habilidad, así que me gustaría saber si otros ven el valor en ella.