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Rachel Swirsky, author photo
I've been busy reading books for the Norton Award so I didn't put aside the time to do as all the other writerettes do and post a few pieces of mine that were published in the previous year.

Fields of Gold
A novelette, originally published in Johnathan Strahan's ECLIPSE 4
Out from Nightshade Press

When Dennis died, he found himself in another place. Dead people came at him with party hats and presents. Noise makers bleated. Confetti fell. It felt like the most natural thing in the world.

His family was there. Celebrities were there. People Dennis had never seen before in his life were there. Dennis danced under a disco ball with Cleopatra and great-grandma Flora and some dark-haired chick and cousin Joe and Alexander the Great. When he went to the buffet table for a tiny cocktail wiener in pink sauce, Dennis saw Napoleon trying to grope his Aunt Phyllis. She smacked him in the tri-corner hat with her clutch bag.

Napoleon and Shakespeare and Cleopatra looked just like Dennis had expected them to. Henry VIII and Socrates and Jesus, too. Cleopatra wore a long linen dress with a jeweled collar, a live asp coiled around her wrist like a bracelet. Socrates sipped from a glass of hemlock. Jesus bobbed his head up and down like a windshield ornament as he ladled out the punch. Read more.


The Taste of Promises
A novelette, originally published in Jonathan Strahan's LIFE ON MARS
Out from Viking

They approached the settlement at dusk. Tiro switched the skipper to silent mode, grateful he wouldn’t have to spend another night strapped in, using just enough fuel to stay warm and breathing.

A message from Tiro’s little brother, Eo, scrolled across his visor. Are we there yet?

Tiro rolled his eyes at Eo’s impatience. Just about, he sub-vocalized, watching his suit’s internal processor translate the words into text.

Is it someplace good? asked Eo.

I think so. Be quiet and let me check it out.

It was a big settlement. Three vast domes rose above the landscape like glass hills. Semi-permanent structures clustered around them, warehouses and vehicle storage buildings constructed from frozen dirt. Light illuminated the footpaths, creating a faintly glowing labyrinth between buildings. Read more.


Diving after the Moon
Short story, originally published in Clarkesworld Magazine

When Norbu was a child, his mother Jamyang told him an old Tibetan story about an industrious but foolish troop of monkeys that lived in a forest near a well. One dusty night, a monkey elder woke thirsty. He crept away from his sleeping mate and went to the well for a drink. Inside, he saw a reflection of the moon.

“The moon has fallen into our well!” he hollered.

His ruckus woke the other monkeys. They all agreed that it would be a terrible thing to live in a moonless world. They joined hands and formed a chain to climb into the well and rescue the moon.

As the monkeys dove in, the moon’s reflection broke, leaving blank dark waters. The shamed monkeys climbed out again: shivering, wet, and empty-handed. The real moon chuckled above them, safe in the sky. Read more.


Some of my other fiction that came out in 2011 includes:

"Death and the All-Night Donut Shop" in Unstuck Magazine

"A Practical Guide to Loving the Dead" in the New Haven Review

"Extremes" in Nature Magazine

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