DP FICTION #49A: “Heaven For Everyone” by Aimee Ogden

The summer that God came to Whartonville, I ended up trapped on the drugstore roof with only half a peanut butter sandwich and a seraph to keep me company.

The sandwich part is true! Hell, all of it is true. I’d eaten the rest of my lunch on the bus, before God’s approach hit the news. I can always buy more lunch in the hospital cafeteria. When the cafeteria and the rest of the city aren’t under three feet of water, at least. I know it was bad, and people died, but I’m still glad we got a flood instead of the plague of locusts that just hit Fargo. Two months later and you still can’t step outside without a crunch, is what I hear.

Anyway the seraph must have flown up before the rain really started coming down, and I managed to climb up onto the street light and from there to the roof. So there we were together in the middle of the storm. “I thought He didn’t do this shit anymore,” I said to the seraph. They shrugged, or at least I thought they did. It’s hard to read body language on someone who’s seven feet tall with six wings and a dozen mouths, but I’ve had practice lately. You know they can’t really speak for themselves? Sure, they talk, but everything they say is an echo from the Almighty’s own lips. Or at bare minimum from one or another of His prophets. So body language turns out to be kind of important. “There was a covenant or whatever.”

I pushed away from the ledge. I still had my umbrella at that point, I think, though with the way the rain was blowing I probably wasn’t any dryer for it. You’ve seen pictures of the flooding? They don’t do the wind justice. “I guess you probably can’t just fly us up and out of here, either.” The seraph’s burning wings were too drenched to do more than smolder. They shook their head, and a hospital ID card rattled around their neck. I knew we had a few angels working in the morgue. They liked to stay out of sight, and everyone else liked it that way too.

“Damn,” I said, because I didn’t have anything else to say. When we said we wanted heaven for everyone, you know, this wasn’t what we had in mind. We unlocked the doors and flung them wide open, but heaven didn’t let us in. Heaven came to us. “The storm’s getting worse.”

“YOU HAVE BEEN CAST DOWN, YOU THAT ONCE LAID LOW THE NATIONS,” said the seraph, and my teeth rattled in my skull. That voice had been created to level mountains and humble the mighty. I wasn’t that mighty and it didn’t make me feel humble, just headachey. I told the seraph not to rub it in and that I was pretty well aware by that point just how low I’d been cast, and they looked down at their bare leathery feet. And then I wasn’t so sure just who they’d meant.

That was when I heard the screaming. A little break in the wind, maybe. No, don’t call it the eye of the storm. What was at the center of that squall had a lot more than just one eye. But I’ll get to that. Just sit tight.

The screaming was a woman down on the street. Well, not on the street itself. The street was a riverbed by then. She’d grabbed a door somewhere, one of those interior jobs with the cork core to make it float. Might’ve been okay on a lazy river or something, but a trip down Almond Street meant real whitewater rafting.

The seraph leaned down next to me to get a view of her. They shook their head, and the long silver chains of their hair scraped against their guttering wings. “THOU SHALT NOT KILL.”

“You’re the angel,” I told them. “Do something.” But I don’t need to tell you how that rankled. I didn’t go to medical school for a million years because I like just standing around and watching people die. Did you know that most of the hospital staff were Paradisists? I don’t know the exact numbers, but upwards of eighty percent for sure. You see that many people die, you see that many people live badly, you’re going to want change. Well, we got it. First, do no harm, we said, but it turns out you can’t crack your way into heaven without screwing things up something serious.

Where was I? Oh, the woman. So the current was sweeping her down the street right in front of the drugstore and I thought, you know what? I’m already wet. So I grabbed the downspout and slid down and probably would have about broken both my ankles if there hadn’t been three feet of water to slow my fall. I’m tall but three feet of water is tall too, and it knocked me right over, and my first thought was, well, this lady and I are going to die together.

Then this huge splash, practically a tsunami, right next to me. The seraph took a cannonball right off the roof. Lucky they didn’t land on me or this story would be a lot shorter and also you’d have to hear it from my wandering soul. Assuming I’m heavenbound in the first place. That might be a big assumption for any Paradisist, I don’t know. They came down between me and the lady on the door and I was glad for that, I was halfway to the suburbs by then but at least I didn’t take the plunge for nothing, I got off the roof to save her and if my swan dive didn’t accomplish anything besides getting that seraph in gear, that’s okay.

I was underwater more than I was above, but I saw them grab her. They put her up on their shoulders like a kid riding piggyback. And then the last thing I saw before I went under again was them spreading their wings wide. And when I say wide—have you ever seen a seraph in flight? Their wingspan half filled the street. Diverted some of the water around the corner, onto Pierson Avenue—my apartment’s down that way, but that was the last thing on my mind at the moment, let me tell you. Not enough to stop the water, but enough to slow it down. I got my feet under me again, and I got to the seraph. “Now what?” I asked, because it was still raining too hard for their wings to light up. Not that a takeoff in gale winds probably would have been a great idea.

Well, that seraph picked me up like a rag doll and set me on top of the roof across the street, just a single story, and lifted the woman up right next to me. Then they started climbing up too, but lord, were they heavy. They tried stepping on the windowsill and ripped it clean out of the façade. We tried to heave them up, the two of us together, but like I said: heavy. And just then, guess who decided to come cruising around the corner? Yes, the Almighty Himself, a thousand blazing eyes and a hundred tongues professing His very own glory. You could see the rain sloughing off Him, rivers of the stuff. Literal rivers. I didn’t know then that January Lake had already burst its banks. That’s what happens when a man-made lake meets a heaven-made catastrophe. But still: could’ve been a plague of locusts.

After all of it, there’s still a part of me that wants to take a swing at the big guy. A stupid caveman gut reaction. You can’t punch a cloud, even one chock full of eyeballs. But you can want to punch it, and boy do I.

Anyway Almond Street had become Almond River at that point, really, and all we had was to hang on to the seraph like their life depended on it. Maybe it did. We hung on, together, just the three of us alone in the world for all we knew. That seraph held on so tight they broke my wrist, can you believe that? Still hurts when a storm’s coming. But we held on. That was all that mattered just then. And eventually the storm died down, and the river dried up, and the seraph lifted us down from the roof like the infants we were.

The woman looked around. “It’s still raining,” she said. “I thought it would have stopped by now. I mean—He’s gone, isn’t He?”

But I ignored her. Not at my best form just then. “It’s not fair,” I said, which was a damned stupid thing to say, because fair was never the point, was it? The idea of heaven for everyone wasn’t fair, it was just right. It was just … just.

The seraph spat a giant loogie onto the wet street. “RENDER UNTO CAESAR,” they said, and jerked a pair of wings in the general direction of where God had gone.

“You’re mad at the big man?” My wrist hurt like hell, but I remember the thing that bothered me most was that my shoes each weighed about a thousand pounds. Never occurred to me to just kick them off. “We’re the ones who pulled you down here into the mucky-muck.”

“We” was more literal than the seraph might guess. Or maybe they did know? It’s not like I’ve ever made a big secret of it. Doctors are supposed to help people, aren’t they? But they weren’t looking at me. Their stare drifted along the street, where the marble façade had come off the old theater and the windows had blown out of Martinelli’s. There were a dozen bodies left behind where the river had been.

I wondered then, what it was like in heaven before we brought the walls down. Which way the anger blew when He’d promised He wouldn’t turn it earthward again. Well, we wanted heaven for everyone. Maybe we just weren’t clear enough on the details of what heaven was supposed to look like, or who exactly counted as everyone.

The storm had passed, but there was still wreckage to clean up. Some of it human. “We’ll make things right,” I said. As right as they can be, after all this. “We’ve done harder work than this,” I said.

The seraph raised one wing. Sheets of rain slashed off the edges of their brass feathers, but I ducked underneath, and the woman—Karen, did I say that yet? Her name was Karen—anyway, she did too. They closed their wings around us and we huddled together until the last of the Almighty’s wrath had passed. Shared that PB&J, too, even if it was a little soggy, and before the rescue teams came through I gave the seraph my number in case they wanted to check out my lab. Maybe get out of morgue work. As for the Almighty, I think He headed north out of Whartonville, but I forget if that’s the summer He hit Winnipeg or Regina.

© 2018 by Aimee Ogden

Aimee Ogden is a former software tester and science teacher; now, she writes stories about sad astronauts and angry princesses. If she went to Hogwarts, she would be a Ravenclaw, and her patronus would be She-Hulk punching a nazi in the face. Her work has also appeared in Shimmer, Apex, and Analog.

If you enjoyed the story you might also want to visit our Support Page, read Aimee’s previous story “When One Door Shuts”, or read the other story offerings.

The Best of Glittership

written by David Steffen

GlitterShip is a science fiction and fantasy podcast devoted to publishing audio versions of LGBTQ stories from authors of all backgrounds.  Glittership was originally funded by a Kickstarter campaign in 2015, which blew past its base goal and reached several stretch goals beyond that increased the frequency of episodes as well as funding original episodes to be mixed in with the reprints.

Glittership is published, edited, and produced by Keffy R.M. Kehrli.  If you follow Diabolical Plots and you recognize Keffy’s name, he’s also a writer whose stories have featured multiple times on previous Best Of podcast lists right here.

Glittership features short story authors you are probably already familiar with, and others that might be entirely new to you.  Every story has major characters that are unambiguously within the umbrella of LGBTQ, but that’s not necessarily the focus of the plot of every story (though it might be sometimes).  I’ve really enjoyed the podcast largely because I think that having a podcast with a broad range of story topics and types that include characters from this range of demographics can help normalize stories about these demographics, so that they feel less and less like the “other” and just become accepted as more stories that might be rip-roaring adventures or introspective literary stories or any number of other stories, not just defined by that single characteristic.  Keffy has done a great job picking a variety of types of stories to show the variety of stories that can be called LGBTQ stories, and I am happy to help spread the word.

While Keffy generally doesn’t get into a lot of current politics in the episode commentary, it’s also worth checking out the intro to this episode which aired shortly after the US presidential election in 2016 about why he has decided to keep making the podcast.

This list covers the entire history of Glittership thus far since the first episode went live in April 2015.  49 episodes have been published to date, including a few multiple-story episodes, for a total of 55 stories.  The latest issue has just started.  Each issue is first available as an ebook for purchase, and then all of the stories are published on the podcast over the following several months, so if you want to read ahead, you can take advantage of that.

Every short story that is eligible for Hugo nominations this year which were first published by Glittership are marked with an asterisk (*), novelettes are marked with a double-asterisk.

The List

1.  “Sooner Than Gold” by Cory Skerry
A thief is enslaved by an enchantment to run errands for an unknown master.  They finally get the chance to know to meet their enslaver.

2.  “Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon” by Ken Liu
Legends tell of the daughter of the Emperor of Heaven and her lover separated by the River of Heaven who are reunited for one night a year.  The protagonists of the story are chosen to be lifted up by birds to heaven to meet the legendary lovers.

3.  “The Little Dream” by Robin M. Eames*
Sylvia’s superpowers of a minor variety are nice enough on the days that they work, which are also the days when her body is more cooperative.

4.  “The End of the World in Five Dates” by Claire Humphrey
When you can see the end of the world coming… why take care of yourself?

5.  “The Pond” by Aimee Ogden*
Messages from a lost child appear to his mother on the ice of the pond where he died.

6.  “Into the Nth Dimension” by David D. Levine
The nefarious Dr. Diabolus’s newest invention transports the superhero of our story into the “real” world.

Honorable Mentions

“For She is the Stars and the Sun Revolves Around Her” by Agatha Tan

“And the Blood of Dead Gods Will Mark the Score” by Gary Kloster

“How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps” by A. Merc Rustad




DP FICTION #33A: “When One Door Shuts” by Aimee Ogden

The whole family wants to know when Mia is going to walk through the door, but no one has asked her about it. No one will.

The front door of Mia’s parents’ house is painted emerald green on the outside, off-white on the inside, with a knob contrived to look like real brass. No one has opened it for six months. Mia hates that door, has hated it for its full half-year of disuse. Ever since the front door of every house on the street became a portal into death.

Or a portal to somewhere else, at least. But it’s the dead who walk through from the other side. The Garcias’ stillborn little boy was the first one to come back, crawling through their open door as a fat, cheerful one-year-old. George Bojanek, who died of a heart attack three years ago in May and who was buried in the military cemetery at Fort Custer, strolled through one day. None of them have anything to say about where they’ve been and how they came back, certainly not the one-year-old and not old George and no one in between.

The doors are a mystery, but the trick of operating them is not. All it takes is someone opening the door from the inside of the house and walking out. And disappearing forever. Dead, Mia supposes. A cosmic tit-for-tat. But no one knows where George Bojanek’s elderly mother-in-law is now, and the Garcia baby certainly can’t tell what happened to his mother’s little niece.

The doors are almost all anyone can talk about these days, though their voices drop when Mia walks into the room. Yes, the doors are inscrutable, but to Mia they’re also infuriating. She visits her parents’ home as infrequently as she can, preferring to keep to her own apartment in her own town, where the doors are just doors and the only expectations hung on her are that she will arrive at work on time and get things done while she’s there.

But whenever she parks on the too-familiar street for a visit, she has to walk around and enter the house through the garage. When the postal carrier rings the bell to announce a package, it means finding shoes and making the tedious trip around. And each time Mia finds her mother standing in the doorway of Allison’s room, pretending to close the door as if she hasn’t been standing there staring into the darkness for hours, she has to pretend she didn’t see as she walks past to the bathroom.

It’s Allison’s room now, and it always will be. Once, it was Mia and Allison’s. For fifteen years, it was. Mia has had the privilege of having her own room, elsewhere. A series of rooms. A dormitory, a studio apartment. Briefly, a roomy space in Lee and Amanda’s attic. White walls, blue, gray. Her scenery has changed; Allison’s has stagnated in three static shades of pastel green with white geometric-patterned curtains, ones that fifteen-year-olds must have considered the very height of style. Softball and Science Olympiad trophies still line the bookshelves. No dust. That much at least is different from how it was when it was still Mia’s room too.

Mia goes into the room sometimes, when she thinks her mother isn’t looking. She’s not certain it would start a fight, but she’s not certain it wouldn’t. She has as much right to be here as anyone. It was her room too, once. And it’s not as if Allison is here to object. She sits on the bed, rumples the spread. Thumbs through the copy of 1984 on the nightstand. Allison liked to say it was her favorite book, though Mia was certain she never actually read it. She flips to the first page and reads: the clocks were striking 13. She slams it shut and throws it back into its place. It slides to a rest against the white plastic base of the bedside lamp.

Sometimes, often, Clayton is downstairs, playing video games with Mia’s younger brother Brandon. Like Allison’s bedroom, Clayton is a relic left untouched in the wake of her passing. If Allison were still here, Clayton certainly wouldn’t be. She would have outgrown him, like she would have outgrown those atrocious curtains. Someone should have outgrown Clayton, because he doesn’t seem to be aware that he ought to have outgrown himself at some point in the last eight years. At least he’s of more utility than the sepulcher of a bedroom. Brandon likes him, anyway, and he’s nice to the kid. And if Mia’s parents aren’t going to discuss the fact that Clayton was the one driving the car that night, then Mia certainly won’t broach the subject herself. Mia was the one who didn’t insist Allison wear a seatbelt. She was seventeen minutes older, and thus, her sister’s keeper. Nothing to keep anymore, except a silent green room and an old boyfriend with male pattern baldness.

There are pictures of both of the twins in the house—all three children, with baby Brandon making his debut during Mia and Allison’s second-grade year. It’s a polite fiction, the window dressing on the household’s grief. No one has ever come to the library in Rochester where Mia now runs the children’s section. But every year, the whole family makes a pilgrimage to Ann Arbor to visit Allison’s first-choice college and med school.

On her birthday—their birthday, Allison can keep their childhood bedroom but not this, not the entire day—there is no party planned, no bright-colored envelope waiting in the mailbox at Mia’s apartment. She bakes her own birthday cake using a box of Betty Crocker mix, as she’s done the past seven years. She adds extra butter to the store-bought frosting to make it taste more like the stuff her mother used to make. No candles. They seem like a waste. She leaves the finished product on her kitchen counter, untasted, before she heads over to her parents’ house for a silent, miserable Saturday afternoon. She’ll go out with her coworkers next weekend: Tobin, who runs the circulation desk, has a birthday at the end of the month, so they’ll split the difference. It’s oddly reassuring to share a birthday again.

She lets herself in the side door using her key. She’s had the same one since she and Allison were old enough to come home from school alone. Her key ring has changed, but the locks have stayed the same. Most things have stayed the same in this house. Mia wonders what will happen when Brandon graduates and goes to college.

Her footsteps are light on the peeling linoleum of the mud-room. She leaves her shoes under the bench, where no one will trip on them. Where no one will wonder what kind of shoes Allison would have been wearing today.

The grade door closes silently behind her, and she ghosts through the house in her stocking feet. She peruses the contents of the fridge, peels back the lid on a container of cold spaghetti, thinks better of it. Her mother might have plans for lunch already. In the basement, Brandon and Clayton shout at their football player avatars on the big-screen TV. There was a time when Scott, her own high school boyfriend, was just as much a fixture in the house as Clayton is now. She hasn’t spoken to Scott since graduation. What is he doing today? She can’t imagine him playing video games with a teenager. In fact, she doesn’t want to imagine him at all. Too hard to think of a life that’s not chained in orbit around that single day. She drifts upstairs instead.

The door to her mother’s room is cracked open. Not far: just far enough for Mia to catch a glimpse inside as she comes up the stairs. She can see her mother, facedown on the floor. Shoulders twitching in great silent sobs. Fingers twisted into the rug.

Eight years. Eight years of this. Mia remembers a class trip when she and Allison were nine, to a petting farm on the other side of the freeway. One of the chickens was missing feathers, open sores mottling its head and sides. While the girls stared, another hen strolled over and lit into the wounded bird’s neck with its beak. “Why did it do that?” Mia asked, and the farmer shrugged: “They just can’t let it alone.”

A break in the smothered sobs. Mia’s mother looks up from the cradle of her arms. Her fingers slacken on the much-abused rug. Her stained eyes meet Mia’s. A flicker of recognition, of contact. And Mia wonders: was this an accidental intrusion on her mother’s private pain? Or was the whole scene staged for Mia’s benefit? Is this just another pitstop on the nearly decade-long guilt trip Mia has embarked on?

And does it matter?

Even in nothing but socks, Mia’s heels bang on the wooden stairs. She likes the sound. For so long, she has tried to be a silent presence in this house, neither seen nor heard. An unassuming hitchhiker on the long road to nowhere. It feels good to make noise. She is here. Let them remember that.

Someone calls after her—Brandon?—but too late. Her hand closes on the doorknob; her wrist twists. She looks back over her shoulder. Brandon’s face, too pale, just behind her mother’s shoulder. Just behind him, Dad, close-mouthed and frowning. Her mother’s arm is outstretched, but as Mia turns, it falls back down to her side.

No turning back now. That would be a cruelty to all of them.

Mia closes her eyes. Time to go.

The front door opens, and Mia steps through.

And into the foyer of her parents’ house.

For a moment, disorientation shakes her. This isn’t right: she should be gone. But everyone is still standing there, silent and staring, just as she left them.

But no, this is not the same smothering sameness Mia has acclimated to. This is not her family’s house, not exactly, not entirely. Not the same family she left behind when she walked through the door. Her mother’s arms are still by her sides, but they come up now, and Dad grabs onto the wall for support. Brandon sits down on the stairs. “Mia,” her mother breathes, and when she tries to say it again, her voice shatters.

Mia takes an uncertain step forward, looks back at the door she came through. “No!” her mother cries, and Mia turns just in time to be crushed in those strange, familiar arms. Brandon wraps around them both, his threadbare teenage pride tossed aside for the moment, and both he and their mother are weeping, and Mia doesn’t understand why until Scott comes up the stairs.

She hasn’t seen him for five years, not since senior year, when they parted ways to different colleges and different lives. She’s never considered what her life would have looked like if she’d hung on to her high school sweetheart. Having Clayton around was always enough of a souvenir of those days. “I thought I heard … ” He looks as if he’s seen a ghost, and of course, he has. “She did it,” he says, and that word, she, hangs over Mia like a cold shadow.

All Mia’s mother can say is how much she’s missed Mia, and she tucks the hair behind Mia’s ear: an uncertain, familiar gesture. They want to show Mia the house, and she lets them. They emphasize the sameness, the house as museum or mausoleum, but she already sees it: every untouched crack in the linoleum, all the foot-worn carpeting.

Somewhere during the tour, Brandon ducks out. He returns with a birthday cake from the corner store, a packet of multicolored candles, and a lighter. While Dad is digging in the farthest reaches of the freezer for a theoretical carton of Moose Tracks ice cream, Mia excuses herself to the restroom.

There are no bathrooms on the first floor, and given the choice of basement or second story, Mia moves upward. There are pictures on the walls in the staircase, as she’s used to seeing. Just like she’s used to, the family history depicted there screeches to an abrupt halt: smiling pictures of the twins, baby Brandon, suddenly stop in the girls’ junior year of high school. The final picture on the wall is as familiar as a reflection, and just as strange: a high school graduation photo. But of course, the face under the tasseled black hat is Allison’s, not Mia’s.

The bathroom is at the end of the hall, but she stops first at the only closed door. It opens at her push, and she leans into the doorjamb as she looks inside. No sports trophies here, only hand-made picture books and a third-place ribbon from a high school poetry contest. On the bureau, a dog-eared copy of The Fountainhead. Mia grimaces, turns her face into the doorjamb. The walls are green and the curtains are patterned in geometric black-and-white. She wonders if she will have to sleep here tonight. She looks over the bookshelves: there is no copy of 1984, not that she can see.

She closes the door quietly, but she wants to slam it.

Mia uses the bathroom, splashes water on her face. When she comes down the stairs, the family is waiting for her, with Scott in anxious orbit. They sing “Happy Birthday” to her. She eats cake and freezer-burned ice cream. No one asks her what has happened to Allison, and she does not tell them.

© 2017 by Aimee Ogden


phhfhrs4gkAimee Ogden is definitely not six angry badgers in a trenchcoat. She enjoys baking, reading comics, weightlifting, and digging cozy burrows. Her work has also appeared in ShimmerApex, and Escape Pod. You can keep up with her on Twitter or at her website.





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Announcing the Diabolical Plots Year Four Fiction Lineup!

written by David Steffen

Diabolical Plots was open for submissions once again for the month of July, to solicit stories to buy for the fourth year of fiction publication.  1003 submissions came in from 720 different writers, of which 25 stories were accepted.  Now that all of the contracts are in hand I am very pleased to share with you the lineup, which will start as soon as the Year Three stories have wrapped up in March.

This year I think the overall submissions were more on-target to my peculiar tastes than ever.  Emphasis on the weird, with a lot of great stories that involve religion without preaching or demonizing it.  I am very excited to share these excellent stories with the world.

Since I accepted 25 stories instead of 24, there is one month that will have three stories (which I’d like to see as a regular thing if the recurring funding is there for it).

April 2018
“Giant Robot and the Infinite Sunset” by Derrick Boden
“Her February Face” by Christie Yant

May 2018
“The Efficacy of Tyromancy Over Reflective Scrying Methods in Divining Colleagues’ Coming Misfortunes, A Study by Cresivar Ibraxson, Associate Magus, Wintervale University” by Amanda Helms
“Graduation in the Time of Yog-Sothoth” by James Van Pelt

June 2018
“Tank!” by John Wiswell
“Withholding Judgment Day” by Ryan Dull

July 2018
“Crimson Hour” by Jesse Sprague
“Jesus and Dave” by Jennifer Lee Rossman

August 2018
“Medium Matters” by R.K. Duncan
“The Vegan Apocalypse: 50 Years Later” by Benjamin A. Friedman

September 2018
“Glass in Frozen Time” by M.K. Hutchins
“The Fisher in the Yellow Afternoon” by Michael Anthony Ashley

October 2018
“Pumpkin and Glass” by Sean R. Robinson
“Still Life With Grave Juice” by Jim Moss

November 2018
“The Memory Cookbook” by Aaron Fox-Lerner
“The Coal Remembers What It Was” by Paul R. Hardy

December 2018
“The Hammer’s Prayer” by Benjamin C. Kinney
“For the Last Time, It’s Not a Ray Gun” by Anaea Lay

January 2019
“The Divided Island” by Rhys Hughes
“The Man Whose Left Arm Was a Cat” by Jennifer Lee Rossman
“The Dictionary For Dreamers” by Cislyn Smith

February 2019
“Local Senior Celebrates Milestone” by Matthew Claxton
“How Rigel Gained a Rabbi (Briefly)” by Benjamin Blattberg

March 2019
“Heaven For Everyone” by Aimee Ogden
“The Last Death” by Sahara Frost

Announcing the Diabolical Plots Year Three Fiction Lineup!

written by David Steffen

Diabolical Plots was open for its yearly submission window for the month of July. During that time, 803 writers submitted 1070 stories.  This year, the maximum word count was raised from 2000 words to 3500 words, and this year instead of one story per month Diabolical Plots will publish two stories, for a total of 24 stories that will begin running in April 2017 which is when the Year Two stories have all been published.

Thank you to all the writers who submitted.  You made the final choices incredibly difficult, which is a very good problem for an editor to have.  If we had the resources to publish more right now, there would have been plenty of excellent stories to choose from.

OK, without further ado, here is the list of stories and authors and their publishing order!

April 2017

“O Stone, Be Not So” by José Pablo Iriarte

“The Long Pilgrimage of Sister Judith” by Paul Starkey

May 2017

“The Things You Should Have Been” by Andrea G. Stewart

“The Aunties Return the Ocean” by Chris Kuriata

June 2017

“The Existentialist Men” by Gwendolyn Clare

“Regarding the Robot Raccons Attached to the Hull of My Ship” by Rachael K Jones and Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

July 2017

“Monster of the Soup Cans” by Elizabeth Barron

“The Shadow Over His Mouth” by Aidan Doyle

August 2017

“For Now, Sideways” by A. Merc Rustad

“Typical Heroes” by Theo Kogod

September 2017

“Strung” by Xinyi Wang

“The Entropy of a Small Town” by Thomas K. Carpenter

October 2017

“Lightning Dance” by Tamlyn Dreaver

“Three Days of Unnamed Silence” by Daniel Ausema

November 2017

“When One Door Shuts” by Aimee Ogden

“Shoots and Ladders” by Charles Payseur

December 2017

“Hakim Vs. the Sweater Curse” by Rachael K. Jones

“The Leviathans Have Fled the Sea” by Jon Lasser

January 2018

“Six Hundred Universes of Jenny Zars” by Wendy Nikel

“Brooklyn Fantasia” by Marcy Arlin

February 2018

“9 Things Mainstream Media Got Wrong About the Ansaj Incident” by Willem Myra

“Artful Intelligence” by G.H. Finn

March 2018

“What Monsters Prowl Above the Waves” by Jo Miles

“Soft Clay” by Seth Chambers


ETA: Note that this list originally include “Smells Like Teen Demon” by Sunil Patel, which was removed from the lineup.  This list has been edited because it is the easiest way to reference which stories are in which year, and I didn’t want this to be a source of confusion.