In September we had our first reading period in which I was acting as the Fiction Editor instead of Brian J. White. We were open to flash and short story submissions of up to 4,000 words. We received 1,022 submissions and accepted 26, an acceptance rate of about 2.5 percent. This is likely a lot higher than our acceptance rate will be in future reading periods, but for various reasons, I went a little wild this time.
For the third time, we asked submitters to take a quick, anonymous, 100% voluntary survey in which we asked people’s race and ethnicity. Here are the results of the first and second surveys for reference.
Of the 1,022 submitters, 841 responded to the survey, or about 82 percent, a lower response rate than the 86% we’ve seen before, but it’s still enough to see some overall trends in who is submitting to Fireside.
Here are the results of the survey:
- Black: 43 (5.1%—down from 8.0% in our April period and 7.6% in our March period)
- Hispanic/Latinx: 46 (5.5%—up from 4.4% in April, but still lower than the 6.1% in March)
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 53 (6.3%—down from 7.3% in April and 6.8% in March)
- First Peoples/Native American/Native Canadian: 14 (1.7%—down from 2.6% in April and slightly down from 2.9% in March)
- White: 682 (81.1%—up from 77.4% in April and 79.7% in March)
We also had a few fill in responses from people who identified as mixed, Jewish, Indian, and minority language speakers within their geographical area. As usual, a few people also gave responses that weren’t relevant to the survey.
And now! Here are the stories we bought from September:
Those We Feed, by Layla Al-Bedawi
Layla Al-Bedawi is a writer, poet, language teacher, and bookbinder (among other things). English is her third language, but she’s been dreaming in it for years. Born in Germany, she now lives in Houston, TX, where she co-founded Fuente Collective, an organization that champions experimentation, collaboration, and hybridity in writing an other arts. Her work is published or forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Liminal Stories, Mithila Review, Bayou Magazine, Juked, and elsewhere. Find her at laylaalbedawi.com and @frauleinlayla.
Rules for Communing with the Spirits, by Christopher R. Alonso
Christopher R. Alonso was born in Miami to a Cuban family. He is a student of fiction at the Northeast Ohio MFA program, the current fiction editor at Jenny Magazine, and has contributed to the Miami Rail. He enjoys dancing flamenco and playing the piano. Find him on Twitter @ChrisRAlonso.
The Day After the Red Warlock of Skull Top Mountain Turned Everyone in Beane County into Pigs, by Susan Jane Bigelow
Susan Jane Bigelow is a librarian, political columnist, and writer from Connecticut. Her Extrahumans series is published by Book Smugglers Publishing, and she is the author of numerous works of short fiction. She has way too many cats.
By the Mother’s Trunk, by Lisa M. Bradley
A Tejana living in Iowa, Lisa M. Bradley writes about boundaries and those who defy them in works ranging from haiku to novels. Recently her work has appeared in Uncanny, PodCastle, and Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation. Her first collection is The Haunted Girl (Aqueduct Press). Her first novel, Exile, is forthcoming from Rosarium. As @cafenowhere, she tweets about writing, resistance, art, animals, Latinx issues, immigration, and disability.
A Promise of Flight, by Lee S. Bruce
Lee S. Bruce is just a girl who dreamt of growing up to be an astronaut … or a Stormtrooper. After passing the slightly less rigorous standards of the 501st Legion, she turned her attention to a different goal; non-fictional space exploration. In 2015, she began working with NASA on the James Webb Space Telescope in hopes of finding real galaxies, far, far away.
Lee spends her spare time reading books and comics, playing video games and binge watching Bob’s Burgers. She lives in Long Beach, CA, near her two daughters and 6 month old granddaughter. In an attempt to be the favorite grandparent, Lee is learning to play the Moana soundtrack on guitar.
Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked, by Christa Carmen
Christa Carmen’s work has been featured in a myriad of anthologies, ezines, and podcasts, including DarkFuse Magazine, Comet Press’ Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 2, Third Flatiron’s Strange Beasties, and Tales to Terrify. She has work forthcoming from Unnerving Magazine and Alban Lake Publishing, and lives in Westerly, RI with her husband and a beagle who rivals her in stubbornness.
To This You Cling with Jagged Nails, by Beth Cato
Nebula-nominated Beth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger duology and the new Blood of Earth Trilogy from Harper Voyager. Her newest novel is Call of Fire. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.
Beast of Breath, by Gillian Daniels
Gillian Daniels writes, works, and haunts the streets of Boston. After attending the 2011 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop, her poetry and short fiction have appeared in Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, among many others. She currently reviews for The New England Theatre Geek. She can be found at your house party, petting your cat.
The Finger, by April Grant
April lives near Boston, and writes stories, poems, and songs. She has published poetry in Strange Horizons and Mythic Delirium, and in the anthology The Moment of Change (2012). Her other interests include traditional music, contra dancing, biking, container gardening, and appreciating actors from classic horror movies.
Two Years Dead, by Kathryn Kania
Kathryn Kania is a writer and librarian living in New England. When not thinking about mythological beings, storytelling, or food, Kathryn enjoys swing dancing and walking amongst trees.
A Legal Alien, by Maya Kanwal
Maya Kanwal’s short prose appears in Juxtaprose, Quarterly West, The Nervous Breakdown, The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review 2015 Nonfiction Anthology, Crab Fat Magazine and other journals. In November 2016, Maya Kanwal’s creative nonfiction essay, “Pruned Branches,” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Maya has a middle grade novel forthcoming. She can be can be found on twitter @mayakanwal.
Dust to Dust, by Mary Robinette Kowal
Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of historical fantasy novels: Ghost Talkers, and The Glamourist Histories series. She is also a three time Hugo Award winner. Her short fiction appears in Uncanny, Tor.com, and Asimov’s. Mary, a professional puppeteer, lives in Chicago. Visit her online at maryrobinettekowal.com.
Object Oriented, by Arkady Martine
Arkady Martine is a speculative fiction writer and, as Dr. AnnaLinden Weller, a historian of the Byzantine Empire and an apprentice city planner. Under both names she writes about border politics, rhetoric, propaganda, and the edges of the world. Arkady grew up in New York City and, after some time in Turkey, Canada, and Sweden, lives in Baltimore with her wife, the author Vivian Shaw. Find her online at arkadymartine.net or on Twitter as @ArkadyMartine.
So It Was Foretold, by Mimi Mondal
Mimi Mondal is a Dalit writer of speculative fiction and social-justice nonfiction. Her first anthology, Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler was published in 2017 from Twelfth Planet Press. She is also the Poetry and Reprints Editor of Uncanny Magazine. Mimi writes from New York, tweets from @Miminality, and always enjoys the company of monsters.
How I got Published, by Dominica Phetteplace
Dominica Phetteplace is a math tutor who writes literary and science fiction. Her work has appeared in Analog, Asimov’s, Clarkesworld and F&SF. She has won a Pushcart Prize, a Rona Jaffe Award, a Barbara Deming Award and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, I-Park and Marble House Project.
50 Ways to Leave Your Fairy Lover, by Aimee Picchil
Aimee Picchi is a journalist and SFF writer who lives in Vermont’s biggest city, which is actually very small. Her stories have appeared in publications including Intergalactic Medicine Show, Flash Fiction Online and Daily Science Fiction. She’s a graduate of the Viable Paradise workshop. Aimee is a former classical musician, and is a graduate of Juilliard Pre-College and the Eastman School of Music, where she played the viola. She enjoys a good viola joke, but warns you she’s heard them all.
A Cure for Ghosts, by Eden Royce
Eden Royce is the recipient of the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Diverse Worlds grant and a regular contributor to Graveyard Shift Sisters. Her fiction has appeared in FIYAH Literary Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction and on PodCastle. She is the author of the short story collection, Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror. You can find her work on www.edenroyce.com and her tweets @edenroyce.
Mirrors in the Valley, by Kendra Sims
Kendra Sims pursues a PhD in Epidemiology, in order to craft data-driven narratives. When the realities of research don’t satisfy her musings on race, mental health, and disability, she turns to fiction. Cross her palm with a cup of tea, and she just might read your Tarot cards.
Before the Burst, by D.A. Xiaolin Spires
D.A. Xiaolin Spires counts stars and sand, residing currently in Hawaiʻi. You can find her embarking on olfactorial odysseys as she inhales plumeria blossoms, poke and poi. Her work appears or is forthcoming in various publications such as Clarkesworld, Analog, Grievous Angel, Retro Future, LONTAR, Star*line, ETTT, Gathering Storm Magazine, and Story Seed Vault; as well as anthologies of the strange and delightful, such as Sharp & Sugar Tooth, Broad Knowledge and Ride the Star Wind. She can be found on her website or on Twitter: @spireswriter
The Paladin Protocol, by Sydnee Thompson
Sydnee Thompson is an editor and writer based in metro Detroit whose fiction has been published by Fiyah Lit Magazine, Seven Scribes, and Brown Sugar Griots; their nonfiction credits include Black Girl Dangerous and Hour Detroit. They spend more time sleeping than anything else, but when they do write, Sydnee likes to make their characters miserable and blow things up, because why not. Find them on Twitter @SydMT and at their website, shadesofsydnee.com.
knick knack, knick knack, by Holly Lyn Walrath
Holly Lyn Walrath is a writer of poetry and short fiction. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Crab Fat Magazine, Mithila Review, Luna Station Quarterly, and elsewhere. She is a freelance editor and volunteer with Writespace literary center in Houston, Texas. Find her on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath or at www.hlwalrath.com
One For Sorrow, Two For Joy, by LaShawn M. Wanak
LaShawn M. Wanak lives in Madison, WI with her husband and son. Her short fiction and essays can be found in Strange Horizons, Podcastle and Uncanny Magazine. She reviews books for Lightspeed Magazine and is a graduate of the 2011 class of Viable Paradise. Writing stories keeps her sane. Also, pie. Visit her at her website: The Cafe in the Woods.
The Scenarist, by Stu West
Stu West was recently imported to Canada from his native Scotland, where he spent several years studying creative writing at the University of Glasgow. His previous credits include writing liner note essays for the UK music industry and contributing several scripts to the Trailer Park of Terror comics anthology series. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and their two cats and can be found on Twitter at @stuwest.
A Rabbit Egg for Flora, by Caroline M. Yoachim
Caroline M. Yoachim lives in Seattle and loves cold cloudy weather. She is the author of dozens of short stories, appearing in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, and Lightspeed, among other places. Her debut short story collection, Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World & Other Stories, came out with Fairwood Press in August 2016. For more about Caroline, check out her website at carolineyoachim.com.
Cast Off Tight, by Hal Y. Zhang
Hal Y. Zhang can be found primarily indoors, out of direct sunlight.