So much for Plan A. Plan B was more flexible. Okay, less well-formed.

27 June 2018

Today’s feature focuses on two stories of girls with special gifts living on the streets: Rati Mehrotra’s “Make Pretty,” in which an orphaned girl in a post-collapse Toronto makes art for the aliens she empathically connects with, and Nisi Shawl’s “Street Worm” (from which today’s title comes), in which a rebellious teenager who can see things others can’t lives on the street to escape her social worker parents, who think she’s crazy. Both stories are in Broad Knowledge. “Street Worm” was first published in Streets of Shadows, and also appeared in Street Magicks. (You can read its sequel, “Queen of Dirt,” at Apex Magazine.)


About the Authors

Born and raised in India, Rati Mehrotra makes her home in Toronto. Her first book, Markswoman, was published in January 2018 and the sequel is scheduled for March 2019. Her stories have been published in Apex Magazine, AE – The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Urban Fantasy Magazine, Podcastle, and many more. Find her at

Nisi Shawl is the author of the Belgian Congo steampunk novel Everfair, co-author of Writing the Other: A Practical Approach, and co-editor of Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler and Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany. Her story collection Filter House co-won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award in 2009 and was nominated for that year’s World Fantasy Award. She was Guest of Honor at WisCon 35 in 2011, and at the Science Fiction Research Association’s convention in 2013. She is a co-founder and Steering Committee member of the Carl Brandon Society, a nonprofit supporting the presence of people of color in the fantastic genres, and she also serves on the writing workshop Clarion West’s board of directors.

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I thought you understood about transformation. “The bees died because they know,” she said finally.


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