Short Fiction Reads: “The Shape of My Name”: by Nino Cipri

> illustration Richie Pope

A nice little piece about identity and time travel.

The year 2076 smells like antiseptic gauze and the lavender diffuser that Dara set up in my room. It has the bitter aftertaste of pills: probiotics and microphages and PPMOs. It feels like the itch of healing, the ache that’s settled on my pubic bone. It has the sound of a new name that’s fresh and yet familiar on my lips.

The future feels lighter than the past. I think I know why you chose it over me, Mama.

My bedroom has changed in the hundred-plus years that have passed since I slept there as a child. The floorboards have been carpeted over, torn up, replaced. The walls are thick with new layers of paint. The windows have been upgraded, the closet expanded. The oak tree that stood outside my window is gone, felled by a storm twenty years ago, I’m told. But the house still stands, and our family still lives here, with all our attendant ghosts. You and I are haunting each other, I think.

The Shape of My Name @

Link Roundup: Depressing Edition

Necrokitty Comic Sans | Hannah Chutzpah

Dear pet crematorium
I never knew my cat could speak English
If I’d known she understood me
I’d’ve called her nicer things
Than Munchkin, Fuzzbutt and Bastardface

Lady Gaga Opens Up About Her Rape — The Cut

“I didn’t tell anyone for I think seven years,” Gaga said. “I didn’t know how to think about it. I didn’t know how to accept it. I didn’t know how not to blame myself, or think it was my fault. It was something that really changed my life. It changed who I was completely. It changed my body.”

Depression Is Teaming Up With HIV to Kill Black Gay Men. Can We Stop It? |

Craigwell sees becoming HIV-positive as an expression of black gay male depression: “The stigma, the discrimination, and the homophobia from the community causes an individual to descend into depression where he no longer cares about himself and he contracts HIV as a passive form of suicide.”

‘He’s Not Done Killing Her’: Why So Many Trans Women Were Murdered in 2015

“Killing is an act of power,” she explained. “[It is] a way of reasserting domination, even a way of saying, ‘I am the one who decides who lives and dies.’ So killing establishes the killer as sovereign in the moment that he kills, and that is the most toxic form that masculinity can take.”

Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology, Edited by Sfé R. Monster


I donated money to the kickstarter for this project. It’s a nice volume covering a range of sexual identity and ethnicity. As with any anthology, not every story worked for me. But a fair number of them did. My one complaint is that more stories could have used a title or splash page. I think some stories would have benefited from being shown in color, although the budget might not have allowed that.

I’m just highlighting some of my favorite stories below. The rest are still worth reading.

Gabby Reed and Rachel Dukes, “Luminosity”

A short story about human-powered spaceflight. It left me wanting a few pages more to flesh out the story.

Comic art of knight riding a fantastic creature.

Niki Smith, “Islet”

A magical soldier living in exile on a salt-water islet prepares to leave her family on a quest. Smith manages to build the world, the conflict, and characters in the brief space of the story.

Comic art of a woman receiving a tattoo having a discussion about going on a journey.

Reed Black, “Of Families & Other Magical Objects”

I’m a sucker for a good classic fairy tale changeling abduction. This story provides a nice bit of whimsy in a modern cartoon style.

Comic art of two male parents fighting off magic bugs.

Janeka Stotts and Christine Goureau, “A Royal Affair”

Space pirates and gender-bending royalty. Wonderful art on this caper.

Comic art of a regent meeting a pirate.

Ted Adrien Closson, “The Graves of Wolves”

An apocalyptic story within a story. The art highlights the strangeness of the world described.

Comic art of a man telling his alien son about the war.

Shing Yin Khor, “Duty and Honor”

Polyamory, the pressures of the professional closet, and mars. I wish this one was in color.

Comic art of three people discussing a polyamorous romantic relationship.

Jon Cairns, “Type O Supergiant”

Post-human cyborg men explore the universe with entire stars folded into the spacetime of their ships.

Comic art of a male cyborg interfaced to a starship computer

Kori Michelle Handwerker, “Mourning Tea”

This is another one I would like to see in color. A short and sweet ghost story.

Comic art showing an agender person serving an owl spirit as a customer at a tea shop.

Trans and Bi Link roundup

Cleaning out my queue:

Kate Bornstein

A lot of people think the Pope is against transgender – he’s not. He’s against postmodern gender theory specifically because it would break down the natural order of men and women. And he’s right! That’s exactly what it’s doing. But now we have to take responsibility for, OK wait a minute. If gender is a binary and that binary is false, might other binaries be as false and we go – oh what about transgender and cisgender as a binary? What about queer and straight as a binary? OK, how about this one, what about democratic and republican as a binary? We are, as a socially progressive people, becoming more compassionate. And in order to articulate that compassion, it becomes necessary to break down what was before a monotholic idea into its more component parts.

Queer Icon Kate Bornstein Reflects On Queer And Trans Identity In 2015

Yoko Ono

“I think he had a desire to, but I think he was too inhibited,” says Ono.

“No, not inhibited. He said, ‘I don’t mind if there’s an incredibly attractive guy.’ It’s very difficult: They would have to be not just physically attractive, but mentally very advanced too. And you can’t find people like that.”

Yoko Ono discusses John Lennon’s sexuality

Buzzfeed Video: “I’m bisexual…”

Other Links

Three Comics after Savannah Pride

Cartoon with lines 'you don't have to like my gender identity. But if you don't respect it you don't respect me.'
Source: Justin Hubbell

Went to local pride for the first time. It was a bit like this. Took it on myself to give away all the church’s macarons so they didn’t have three dozen sugar-almond bombs for coffee hour this morning. Kindly read the full comic by Justin Hubbell.

The gender playbook was worth reading.

Cartoon: 'They are trans, a fact we hide until we can't  anymore.' Below image: I paint my nails violet before I go to pride today.'
Source: chaos life

Another great comic, “hide” at chaos life. Read the full comic, this is just a preview.

xkcd cartoon about languages
source: xkcd

xkcd summarizes how I feel about language-checking. “I assume you’re giving me tips on how you interpret words because you want me to feel less alone. If so, then thank you. That means a lot. But if you’re just running my sentences past some mental checklist so you can show off how well you know it, then I could care less.”