Fiction and other works published in other venues, and written by Rajiv Moté. A few of my stories show up on my GoodReads author page. The anthologies I’m in show up on my Amazon author page. I also have stories I didn’t sell, which I’m putting up to read in Unsold Tales. I am a member of the Codex Writers and an associate member of SFWA.
“First I Was Afraid, I Was Petrified” in The Devil Who Loves Me anthology by Grendel Press
Mythological Smut/Dark Romance, 5,000 words, Publication June 23, 2023. ““Hold, Stheno,” said the mother. “I see an opportunity.” Again, something dragged across the sand toward me. The hissing grew louder, as if I was surrounded by serpents. I felt a prick through my corselet at the base of my throat, sharp as the tip of a dagger. It dragged down, parting the tattered layers of linen until my ruined garment hung open.” [Coming June 23, 2023]
“Stag In Winter” in Cosmic Horror Monthly
Short horror fiction, 1,100 words, Publication 1H 2023. “With effortless grace he leaped through the forest over snow-covered roots and brambles. His long, lean muscles flexed beneath the buckhide that fit like skin. His hide-wrapped feet were callous-hard and immune to the cold. Breath steamed from his nostrils. The weight of his antlered crown didn’t hinder him at all. The hunters donned their wolfskins. Hefting their spears and bows, they loped after him…” [Coming 1H 2023]
“The Air Will Catch Us” in Reckoning 7
Flash science fiction, 1,000 words, January 8 (ebook)/March 19 2023 (free online)/July 2023 (print). “The playground is close, but I grew up not trusting the world. It changed faster than I could change with it. I’ve watched apocalyptic predictions come true, down to the air getting hotter, wetter, and thicker every year. Stranger changes too, that no one predicted, overwrote the science I learned in school. It’s literally a different world than the one I grew up in.” [Commentary]
Fantasy, 2,100 words, August 2022. “For the god Brahma the Creator, the act of Creation was never a one-and-done affair. He understood that when releasing an unpredictable element like humanity in a newly designed world, it would take some cycles to work out the kinks. That was why Brahma believed in an iterative process: four Yugas to chart the inception, progress, decline, and collapse of the world under humanity, an honest post-mortem, followed by a new version of Creation, with an updated design informed by hard data.” [Commentary]
Flash fiction, 1,000 words, June 2022. “The high school auditorium is Verona, the stage is Capulet manor, and I’m a Korean-American Romeo, dragged to this party by my friends to get over unrequited love. Today we’re rehearsing Act One, Scene Five. Romeo and Juliet’s first kiss.” [Commentary]
Flash science fiction, 950 words, June 2022. “God is dying, the priest wails from the steeple at the center of New Jerusalem. The signal, on its way to Heaven, floods the communications bands of the first-generation robots. The issue was anticipated. God came to do exactly this: ‘I want to die on Mars, just not on impact.'” [Commentary]
“Epilogue” in Wyngraf 1
Short fantasy fiction, 4,100 words, May 2022. “It had been twenty years since light, beauty, and bounty returned to the world. Even now, it dazzled him. Magic had returned, for those who understood. Too many didn’t. He knew what it had cost, and never took it for granted. Whether out of reverence or guilt, he made it a ritual to stop and bear witness.” [Commentary]
Flash science fiction, 500 words, September 2020. “When the octopuses first came to the city, they learned by manipulating slides, levers, and knobs. They embraced it down to their self-edited RNA, growing strong enough to open doors against the water’s press, sprouting tentacles at the tips of their arms to better manipulate the tools they found. Their brains grew, as did their numbers. The ubiquity of walls gave the octopuses a strong territorial sense, but they became social for defense against a parade of invaders.” [Commentary]
“Local Hero” in Dream of Shadows issue 2
Short fantasy fiction, 1,200 words, June 2020. “Across the gallery from Garga stood Sheketh’s massive statue of Borag the Liberator, down on one knee, muscles coiled with power, his massive arms holding up his great shield to the sky as if to blot out the sun. Borag the Rebel, who defied the Dark Lord and shepherded the Halflings to the very Mountain of Fire, destroying the tyrant’s power and freeing the Black Land. Borag the Defiant, who lifted the Halflings on his shield to their rescue, even as a molten river consumed him, leaving only his shield to tell the story.” [Commentary] [Full text for free!]
“Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear?” (Reprint) in Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 5
Short dark fantasy fiction, 3,500 words, May 2020. “Before the arch was the Gatekeeper, tall and sinister in his feathered cloak and tufted helm. He allowed some of those who approached to pass. Others, he punished horrifically, their remains strewn across the courtyard to crawl and knit themselves together. Jaan remembered that, but trying to discern a pattern was like grasping at smoke.” [Commentary] [Full text for free!]
Satire, 400 words. “MYTH: “The President stood in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shot [somebody].” FACT: It was East 57th Street, the President was on the sidewalk, and there were multiple targets.” [Commentary]
“The Old Ones, Great and Small” in Diabolical Plots Year 5
Short weird fiction, 2,800 words. “School’s out, and everybody wants to see the Great Old Ones in their new, “natural” habitats: the line into the Miskatonic Zoo doubles back and winds out the gates.” [Commentary]
“L’Appel du Vide” in Metaphorosis 39
Short fabulist fiction, 3,900 words. “Isaac rode the wind, banking between buildings and circling landmarks laid out below him. At this height, the noise of the city was drowned out by the rush of air past his ears. Nobody could touch him here. Nobody could reach him. City blocks become patterns of multicolored geometry.” “The Call of the Void” is a phenomenon where a person standing at a precipice has the unreasonable, outrageous urge to step out into the abyss. [Commentary]
“Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear?” in Honey and Sulfur
Short dark fantasy fiction, 3,500 words. “All eyes drew skyward. The black, jumbled shapes of wings, beaks, and talons burst through the sooty clouds in utter silence. There were birds and there were Birds, and these were the latter. Insufficiently tormented souls eventually drew Birds. They were living voids, bird-shaped holes in the universe, and they inspired primeval horror beyond all torture when they appeared.” [Commentary] [Full text for free!]
“Matchstick Reveries” in Truancy 5
Short fantasy fiction, 2,700 words. The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth. The X-Men meets “The Little Match Girl” in the Retributive Social Justice Phoenix Saga. [Commentary]
Flash fiction, 100 words. “He has the edge now. He spreads himself out in his seat, reclaiming space. The inside-waistband holster presses into his gut, damp where it touches skin.”
“Remember the Ifrit” in Cast of Wonders 242
Flash science fiction, 500 words. The video just doesn’t capture it. Do you remember that time we took a skyboat through the candy-colored clouds of Hyperion and saw a live Ifrit? [Commentary]
“Old Customs” in Unlikely Story 12.5
Fabulist fiction, 2,000 words. Sometimes the brightest festivals can be born from darkness. Now it’s a huge celebration of color and music, attracting tourists from all over the world, but looking back through the generations reveals painful origins. [Commentary]
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: Origins of the Wheel of Time” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 2,600 words, November 2022. How did Rand light his pipe? The answer may lie in the grand “conspiracy theory” underlying The Wheel of Time, as described in scholar Michael Livingston’s Origins of the Wheel of Time.
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: Back to the Garden” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 950 words, September 2022. For some, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth has become “conservative mythology” that puts the Golden Age in our distant past. In Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, if we can learn from the past, the best is still to come.
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: Cults of Personality” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 1,900 words, July 2022. If Robert Jordan’s depiction of the political landscape of the apocalypse in The Wheel of Time seems prophetic, it’s because he was a student of history.
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: The Quiet Parts” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 4,200 words, May 2022. Cozy Fantasy is a subgenre that’s gaining popularity in our troubled times. But quiet, cozy scenes have long been a cherished pleasure in epic fantasy. Here are some favorites from The Wheel of Time.
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: Homecoming” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 950 words, March 2022. For J.R.R. Tolkien, “home” is the beginning, end, and the stakes. But Robert Jordan agrees with Thomas Wolfe: you can never go home again.
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: A Turning of the Wheel” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 1,300 words, November 2021. The Amazon Prime Video adaptation of The Wheel of Time is an interpretation, not a translation of the books. And that’s exciting. SPOILERS for the book and the show trailers.
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: Teaser Trailer Analysis” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 1,900 words, September 2021. The teaser trailer for Amazon Prime’s adaptation of The Wheel of Time is full of hints about what has changed from the books. (SPOILERS for The Eye of the World.)
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: Out Of a Gleeman’s Tale” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 2,300 words, July 2021. The Wheel of Time is metafiction: story about stories, a story that’s aware it is a story. And that lets it takes the levers and gears of storytelling and expose them as elements of the fictional universe, turning the destiny of plot into a kind of dharma for its characters.
Nonfiction, 1,300 words, April 2021. Demandred–where he was and what he was up to–was one of the biggest, most consequential mysteries in The Wheel of Time. But somewhere between Lord of Chaos and Winter’s Heart, Robert Jordan changed the truth behind the mystery. In the deleted sequence “River of Souls,” Brandon Sanderson provides a look into the world-building to support the new revelation, and why it all couldn’t be included in A Memory of Light. (SPOILERS for all things Demandred.)
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: Wanda and the Wheel” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 1,700 words, March 2021. “Comparing WandaVision to The Wheel of Time suggests the ingredients for fandom-level engagement: Hang a lampshade on the mysteries, use each installment to recontextualize the previous, create a story world rich enough for scholarship, and pause between installments to invite fans into the storytelling. (SPOILERS for The Wheel of Time and very minor spoilers for WandaVision.)”
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: A Different Dance” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 1,600 words, January 2021. “Fantasy readers may think they know the steps to Rand’s and Egwene’s dance, but the Wheel weaves them a different fate, as the opposing forces that together weave the Pattern.”
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: The Dad Also Rises” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 1,200 words, November 2020. “Conventional genre wisdom says for that the son to rise, the father must fall. But The Wheel of Time has other plans. Rajiv Moté explores how Tam al’Thor was a dad with more to do than set his son on the path. He had an arc to complete that began long before he and his son saw a dark rider in the Westwood.”
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: The Chosen One’s Legacy” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 1,900 words, September 2020. “These days, it’s not enough for the Chosen One to defeat the Dark Lord and claim the throne. Our hero must leave the world a better place. Rajiv Moté explores how Rand al’Thor left a legacy for the Fourth Age in The Wheel of Time. “
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: Unaffiliated Evils” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 1,900 words, August 2020. “The Dark One is the source of evil in The Wheel of Time, and his army of monsters is formidable. Hulking man/beast soldiers, eyeless swordsmen, soul-sucking bat-men, unnoticeable assassins, evil hounds, Power-resistant gumbies, giant worms, and the giant insects they become. But the scariest monsters in the saga are creatures without a direct link to the Dark One, unaffiliated evils who haunt the corners of the Pattern, with nefarious purposes beyond the battle between the Dark One and the Dragon. Let’s look at five of them.”
“Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern: Prologues and Epilogues” on Dragonmount
Nonfiction, 1,000 words, August 2020. “I love prologues and epilogues. They let authors–and their readers–play at the edges of the story. They bridge the installments, expand the world, or just provide more emotional build-up and release. The early-release Wheel of Time prologues, beginning with ‘Snow’ from Winter’s Heart, were like trailers for long-awaited movies. The epilogues of comic books–and the post-credits scenes of the movies comic books inspire–suggest possibilities sometimes more exciting than the stories themselves. ‘The Grey Havens’ in The Lord of the Rings taught grade-school-age me the notion of beautiful melancholy.”
Lord of Chaos (Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time) Book and Chapter Summaries on Dragonmount
Nonfiction resource. Book and chapter summaries for the sixth book of Robert Jordan’s the Wheel of Time. Dragonmount has assembled summaries as a resource for new fans before the release of Amazon Prime’s television adaptation.
New Spring (Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time) Book and Chapter Summaries on Dragonmount
Nonfiction resource. Book and chapter summaries for the prequel book to Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. Dragonmount has assembled summaries as a resource for new fans before the release of Amazon Prime’s television adaptation.
“Artisanal Software: Fostering a Culture of Ownership” in Cars.com Tech Blog
Nonfiction, 1,200 words. If you want software developers to own their work, their workplace should be more like a craftsman’s workshop than an assembly line.