I figured I should add more content here, and it seems to be a most proper authorly thing to do to post a list of nice things people have said about my 2020 stories, which made only a small splash, but did manage to do better than I initially gloomily expected. I hope to submit short fiction again at some point, but right now I am far too bogged down with serious deadlines. But, nice to remind myself I’m an author, from time to time 🙂
When this story came out, I actually got a couple of emails and private messages by people who really liked it. I was quite gratified. The best review of it that I’ve read is by Maria Haskins. She says,
“Most of all, to me, this is a story about how we choose to live our lives, how we choose to use whatever powers we have, and how the paths we took (and did not take) can come back to haunt us many years later. Harris’s prose is exquisite, and the story has an earthy, sensual vibe that is marvellously seductive, just like Maria herself. “
This story also made it to Maria Haskin’s Recommended Reading List for 2020. Thanks, Maria!
I also really enjoyed Jeff Xilon’s review:
I really appreciated Paul Jessup’s review for Vernacular Books that understood so well what the story was doing.
“Sentient trees that whisper, giant fungal domiciles, sinister forests, and a festival king that dies when it changes hands in a most interesting and unique way. King here is not a gendered station, which is something I absolutely love, and the way it leads up to its ending is surprising and interesting and does so many unique things. The imagination on hand is dazzling, and I felt drunk with the language.“
The story is also listed on Paul’s Best of 2020 Short Story Roundup and on the 2020 Nebula Suggested Reading List, which was a HUGE surprise to me given how the story didn’t initially generate much buzz. I’m very thankful!
This story was reviewed in a few places because it was on Clarkesworld, but has received mostly lukewarm reviews. Still, it did get a teeny-tiny mention on Locus Magazine, so I’ll be content with that. I’ve been submitting this particular work since 2014 and it got rewritten so many times and got on so many second round lists. The good news about this is that it was also the first story that got me noticed by editors, some of whom encouraged me to submit other stuff that did get published. So, even though this story has not done very well (and there’s some really sad and painful backstory to it), it did actually launch my professional writing career. We’ll be content with that, dear story.
Anyway, in closing — when all’s said and done, I’m glad my heart story was the one that got onto the Nebula Suggested Reading List, though as with all of the other years since 2016 (my streak remains unbroken so far) when I’ve been on this list, I don’t expect anything to come of it! But just being listed makes the world a little less despairing.