Rachel Swirsky, author photo

Check Out “Innocent Bird” in Lightspeed

I’m really excited to be in Lightspeed again with my new short story, “Innocent Bird!”

It began with Shoko finding feathers in her bed. It was her third year of high school. She’d just turned seventeen.

She was falling in love, and her wings were coming in.

I wrote the first draft of this story as part of the Codex message board contest Weekend Warrior. The prompt was to “Write a story inspired by your favorite video game. Stay away from anything copyrighted, but use the sounds, activities, or setting for inspiration.”

At the time, I was playing a rhythm game based on a Japanese anime, Love Live, about girls in a musical performance club. 

During rough times in my life, I’ve often found myself inclined to media about friendships. Love Live is a very gentle universe where conflicts are low stakes and kindness wins out. 

My story isn’t like that–but I loosely used it as a point of departure for creating a contemporary fantasy world. I’ve written a couple of other stories in this setting, about the girls coming to terms with magical abilities as part of their adolescence. I’m not sure how they all fit together as a whole yet. I greatly admire Isabel Yap’s “Hurricane Heels” which is a multi-part novella, written in a literary style but following the characters in an imaginary magical girl anime. I want to avoid putting together something that’s too close to hers in structure, but it’s definitely an inspiration for me when I’m thinking about how to put the two conflicting genres in tension–and harmony–with each other.

I also went to another of my common inspirations for this story–reversing a common storytelling element. In this case, I wondered about reversing the themes that resonate in selkie stories.

I hope you enjoy this story! I talk about it more in my spotlight over at Lightspeed. My many thanks to Akemi Marshall for her advice and expertise. 

At first, there were not so many feathers, but soon there were more and more. She’d assumed they’d be white; in drawings, most people with wings had feathers like swans or doves. Hers were like a sparrow’s: tones of warm brown like her skin in summer, speckled with olive-black like her hair and eyes.

Day by day, Shoko’s feeling of incipience rose. She wanted to kiss Ichika. She wanted to hold her close. Love fluttered inside her as her wings soon would in the air.

She was desperate to stop it.

Lightspeed July 2021 Issue 134, dragon with rider

Mirrored from Rachel Swirsky.

Rachel Swirsky, author photo

MileHiCon Guest of Honor

I’ll be attending MileHiCon October 1-3, 2021 as guest of honor!


It’s exciting to attend a convention in person after more than a year of staying home. I’ve heard so many good things about this one!


I’ve had several new pieces come out, and a few which are forthcoming, so it’ll be exciting to talk to fans and peers! What pieces would you like me to read? (I’m also happy to read old ones, of course!) Additionally, I get an hour to do just about anything! Let me know if there’s something you’d be excited to hear me talk about.


I’ll post an update once the schedule has been released and what I’ll be doing throughout the convention. As always, it’s an honor to be selected!


milehicon53 banner, rocketship in left corner, october 1-2-3 2021 and additional information in right corner


Mirrored from Rachel Swirsky.

Rachel Swirsky, author photo

How the World Became Quiet Review at the Rutland Herald

Randal Smathers reviews of my collection, How the World Became Quiet, at Rutland Herald!

I rarely read short fiction except in anthologies, especially by unfamiliar authors. So I’m not sure why I picked this one up, but I’m glad I did. A really fine collection of short stories … a mix of fantasy & sci-fi elements. Lots of the stories are dreamlike. These are not your grandpa’s stories about rocket ships and ray guns. Definitely worth a read.

Read more reviews of collections by authors such as Maria Dahvana Headley.

Mirrored from Rachel Swirsky.

Rachel Swirsky, author photo

The Dragonet Prophecy graphic novel won a 2021 Young Readers’ Choice Award!

I am super excited to announce that the graphic novel adaptation The Dragonet Prophecy, with artwork by Mike Holmes, has won the 2021 Young Readers’ Choice Awards (YRCA)!

Barry Deutsch and I adapted the graphic novel from The Dragonet Prophecy, book 1 of the Wings of Fire series, written by Tui T. Sutherland. The novel is the first in a fifteen-book series.

Not every dragonet wants a destiny … Clay has grown up under the mountain, chosen along with four other dragonets to fulfill a mysterious prophecy and end the war between the dragon tribes of Pyrrhia. He’s The Dragonet Prophecy Graphic Novel Book Cover, five dragons in a red skynot so sure about the prophecy part, but Clay can’t imagine not living with the other dragonets; they’re his best friends. So when one of the dragonets is threatened, all five spring into action. Together, they will choose freedom over fate, leave the mountain, and fulfill their destiny — on their own terms. The New York Times bestselling Wings of Fire series takes flight in this first graphic novel edition, adapted by the author with art by Mike Holmes.
The Dragonet Prophecy graphic novel Amazon description

The YRCA is the longest-running North American youth book choice award voted on by children living in Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. The Dragonet Prophecy graphic novel won the Junior Division category, voted on by 4th-6th graders. Read more about the 2021 award and winners here.

Thank you to everyone who loves the original books and the graphic novel adaptation, to parents, teachers, and librarians who have helped get these books into the hands of children, and to the Pacific Northwest Library Association for making the YRCA possible.

Mirrored from Rachel Swirsky.

Rachel Swirsky, author photo

“Placed into Abyss” Review at Locus Magazine

Karen Burnham reviews “Placed into Abyss” at Locus Magazine!</p>
While normal family drama transpires in the background, Chris is tormented by memories of the abuse he suffered there, which he’s drawn into more deeply with every room he moves through. He will have to wrest control of time and space back to be able to escape. This story is so intense in terms of what Chris is experiencing that the science fictional moves Swirsky is making are almost subliminally in the background.</p>
Read more of her review — she looks at short fiction from Samovar, Tor, and Strange Horizons!

Mirrored from Rachel Swirsky.

Rachel Swirsky, author photo

Check Out “Thirteen of the Secrets in My Purse” in Uncanny Magazine

One: My lipstick.

The shade is Heart’s Blood.

Morbid, if you ask me.

I wanted to know if it was really the color of heart’s blood so I bought beef heart and tried dabbing my lips.

Close enough.

I emailed to congratulate the lipstick company on their realism. They did not respond.

Read more.

Some purses contain pens, stray receipts, and lip balm. This one’s more exciting. This light-hearted, urban fantasy follows a woman, whose purse is full of secrets with a quest to champion. “Thirteen of the Secrets in My Purse” was published in the May/June issue of Uncanny Magazine.

Mirrored from Rachel Swirsky.

Rachel Swirsky, author photo

Rachel Swirsky 2019 Award Eligibility Post

Check out my three new short stories from this year!

 

Oh! Abigail! Oh. It’s good—it’s so good to see you.

Mom. Hi.

I feel like I could reach out and touch your face. Your face! It’s so good to see your face.” 

In “Your Face”, a mother visits an artificial simulation of her dead daughter, trying to figure out how much of her is real. It was published in Clarkesworld Magazine in August, and is available in both audio and text format. 

 

You are floating. No, not floating—numb. No, not numb—nothing.

You are nothing? No. Wait.

 

You don’t know who you are, or what’s going on, but you know for sure you don’t want to be talking to the man onscreen who says he’s your father.  I wrote Compassionate Simulation” with my friend P.H. Lee. It was published in Uncanny Magazine’s July/August issue. (CN: abuse)

 

“The problem with my dachshund is that he pees.

Constantly. Unrelentingly. On rugs and furniture and laps.

He looks up at you with those large, dark eyes, and attempts to communicate innocence. I know better. He’s a malicious bladder loosener. He knows that he’s a tiny dog in an enormous, chaotic world.”

Global warming has taken its toll on Appalachia: a depressed economy, outbreaks of tropical fevers, and worse. Returning to her declining hometown, a college dropout has only one friend left–her dachshund. Who pees. A lot. “The Problem With My Dachshund” was published in the December 2019 issue of Guernica.

Mirrored from Rachel Swirsky.