After We Won and Before It Went to Hell (full text)

Fantasy/thinly-veiled fan-fiction, 2,000 words. The empire is smashed. The Dark Lord is dead. The rebellion has won. Now, the leader of the rebellion, who only just learned that the Dark Lord was her father, must lead the reconstruction, and reckon with the eldritch power she inherited.

Shadows wheeled and whirled across walls and shelves, thrown by breeze-bothered candles. Her brother Lucerin would see omens in the interplay of shadow and light, but Alie Okarna, her quill poised over paper, found only annoyance. She scrawled her signature, large and bold, at the bottom of an order that could starve thousands. It would also pressure the former imperial capital to end an economy propped up by slavery.

Those enslaved will starve first.

Peace is only war under different terms. The stakes are no smaller. Remember why you fought.

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“The Air Will Catch Us”

I’m thrilled to announce that my 1,000-word science fiction story, “The Air Will Catch Us,” is published in Reckoning issue 7! A grandparent reckons with environmental changes nobody had foreseen, where–as Pennywise the Clown promised–everyone floats.

Link to story:

Please enjoy “The Air Will Catch Us” in Reckoning issue 7.

The story will be available to read online for free on March 19, 2023. Watch this space.

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Marvel’s Big Bad in the Multiverse Saga

Disclaimer: this is pure speculation on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). My track record of correct predictions is pretty bad. Like the protagonist in Foucault’s Pendulum, I often find myself “clinging stubbornly to an elegant but false hypothesis.” But this is how I have fun.

Fans of the MCU already know that Phase Four was the beginning of a story arc that’s being called “The Multiverse Saga.” We know Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will officially introduce Kang the Conqueror, the multiversal villain hinted at in Loki season 1. But what if Kang isn’t the ultimate multiversal threat?

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Something Unspecifically Seasonal This Way Comes

Matthew Schmitz in The American Conservative wrote that “Pumpkin Spice Loneliness” is eclipsing more traditional autumnal holidays. He is right. As Ray Bradbury would have warned us, beware Mr. Autumn Man and his Autumn Gang, who have come to make your season anodyne, ungrounded, and unattached.

Beware the pumpkin spice people.

For some, autumn comes early–even before Labor Day, and stays late where Friendsgiving replaces the family with the found-family, and then instead of December and Christ’s birth, our country, and the reassuring (if unreal) past we used to know, Pumpkin Spice Lattes come again, with no winter, spring, or revivifying summer. For these beings, autumnal vibes are ever the normal season, the only weather, with nothing beyond.

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“Don’t Make Me Come Down There”

I’m thrilled to announce that my 2,100-word short story “Don’t Make Me Come Down There” is published in Translunar Travelers Lounge! It features the Hindu trinity of deities, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, who (try to) work like an Agile software team to iteratively perfect the universe. But Vishnu keeps going off-process with all his avatar hot-fixes.

Link to the story:

Please enjoy “Don’t Make Me Come Down There” in Translunar Travelers Lounge issue 7.

Hooray! This story got a blurb in Locus Magazine!


Author’s Notes

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I loved Ms. Marvel. Now give me The Marvels!

SPOILERS for Season One of Ms. Marvel on Disney+

Ms. Marvel on Disney+ reached its season finale and ended on a high note, both for the characters and the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For me, the main charm of the show was how it felt like Marvel’s answer to Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, another quirky, comedic, coming-of-age show featuring a South Asian-American teen and her family. Iman Vellani perfectly embodied the Kamala Khan of the comic books. Most importantly, she played a kid: uncertain, determined, funny, awkward, vulnerable, and loyal. She is easy to root for, in much the same way as a high school Peter Parker is easy to root for. And her family, friends, and community were similarly charming: likeable, quirky characters who have their own goals and arcs, making Kamala’s world feel alive and fleshed-out. For this Indian-American viewer, it felt beautifully authentic, for the most part.

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“Act One, Scene Five”

I’m thrilled to announce that my 900-word flash fiction “Act One, Scene Five” has been published in Brilliant Flash Fiction WHEREIN the only Korean-American kid in school gets into character to rehearse Romeo’s first kiss with Juliet.

Please enjoy “Act One, Scene Five” in Brilliant Flash Fiction. (It’s a ways down the page of the June 2022 issue, alongside other tiny stories you’ll want to read!)

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“Epilogue”

I’m thrilled to announce that my 4,100-word cozy fantasy story “Epilogue” appears in the inaugural issue of Wyngraf Magazine! It features eldritch wine, delicious leftovers, reminiscence, glimmers of magic, and long-overdue kissing.

Link:

Please enjoy “Epilogue” in Wyngraf Magazine Issue 1.


Author’s Notes

Have you ever been so immersed in an epic fantasy world that you never wanted the story to end? Because ending meant a return to the ordinary world, without magic, without purpose written in prophecy, without thrilling possibility? What if the characters in that epic fantasy felt the same way?

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