2018 Awards Eligibility Post

‘Tis that time of year…where writers howl into the void, unleashing the chaos of their hearts, offering up their stories for the abyss to judge, and the abyss wails back at them. It is…



The Nebula Awards have opened for nominations (and this year, both Active and Associate members can vote!) and soon the other major genre field awards, such as the Hugos and others, will join in the barrage.

Therefore, with the gauntlet thrown down, I accept the challenge and present for your consideration all the eligible stories I have had published in 2018!


Stories in a larger font are ones I would especially appreciate your consideration on if you are nominating for various awards this year.

Novelettes (7,501-17,500 words)

I Sing Against the Silent Sun by A. Merc Rustad and Ada Hoffmann — published in Lightspeed Magazine, June 2018.
8,800 words | Science Fiction

In the Principality there rule the Seven Suns. Armored gods, they marched through the universe eons ago, wreathed in subjected angels, and left footprints of conquest on galaxies. They dragged beneath them the corpse-heat from a billion burning worlds.

The sixth Sun, the Gray Sun, is a god of silence. There is no voice, no mercy, no music within the Gray Sun.

Beneath the Gray Sun there is only emptiness.

It’s the last day of autumn, and Jiteh’s twin brother is dead.

He sits on the edge of his cot, thorns popping like seedlings from between his knuckles and poking through his sweaty scalp in a blood-slicked crown. “I’m scared,” he whispers.

Short Stories (1,000-7,500 words)

The Frequency of Compassion by A. Merc Rustad — published in Disabled People Destry SF! Uncanny Magazine, September/October 2018. 5,000 words | Science Fiction

Kaityn Falk loves the dark phase of the moon. It’s quiet. Soothing. Insulated in their spacesuit, comm dimmed, Kaityn sits in the rover and watches the sky. Here on Io 7, a newly discovered satellite in retrograde orbit around a dwarf planet the size of Pluto, they are the only living human in several thousand lightyears. They are here to establish research beacons for star-charting, a risky job for how isolated it is—and Kaityn hasn’t loved anything this much in their life. The exhilaration of travel, the calmness of deep space, the possibility of an ever-unfolding universe.

  • Mr. Try Again by A. Merc Rustad — published in Nightmare Magazine, March 2018. 4,400 words | Horror

Six-year-old Violet Wellington was the only child to come out of the swamp. The boys were gone forever. She sat on the side of a muddied dirt road, digging her nails raw against the gravel; her jeans and pink t-shirt were damp but clean. She had a scrape over her left eyebrow and her hair smelled of mildew. Unharmed, otherwise.

  • If We Die Unjustified by A. Merc Rustad — published in Uncanny Magazine, May/June 2018. 4,000 words | Fantasy/Horror

It doesn’t feel right, feeding on the dead. That’s how you get hauntings. But a dog’s got to eat. Bryony told him to go find food and Sallow keeps obeying, even if she’s not here now.

It’s gray and raining the morning he meets Angelcorpse. 

It’s Sallow’s last day alive.

By Claw, By Hand, By Silent Speech by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and A. Merc Rustad — published in Uncanny Magazine, July/August 2018.   4,400 words | Science Fiction

When I decided to study paleontology in college and graduate school, it was because the world of bones is silent. It was because the words that a dinosaur speaks are words that can be interpreted by brushes and metal picks, by observing curvature and decomposition, by noticing whether a skeleton was found in a tar pit or under a sand dune. Sound was never a requirement to interact with my academic interests.

  • The Words of Our Enemies, The Words of Our Hearts by A. Merc Rustad — published in Sword and Sonnet (ed. by Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones and E. Catherine Tobler), September 2018.  5,300 words | Fantasy

You foolish child, Yarchuse thought, clenching aer jaw against a spurt of panic. The forest would never relent, just as the queen would never cease her war. Yarchuse was weary and yet ae would serve until death or an end found aer.

“He left before dawn,” Yarchuse said, exhaling slow. “He would have reached the forest by now.”

  • it me, ur smol by A. Merc Rustad—self-published, March 2018. 1,200 words | Science Fiction

The artificial neural network was born on a Monday. A defined set of parameters quarantined its identity and purpose: it would study—from aggregated data—the names of energy drinks, and generate new ideas based on the information.

Flash Fiction (1,000 words or less)

Now Watch My Rising by A. Merc Rustad — published in Fireside, May 2018. 1,000 words | Fantasy

“Your purpose is to eat the sun,” says Prophecy, “at the end of all things.”

“And until then?” Wolf asks, sitting patiently among the roots of the forest while dwarves forge unbreakable chains. Wolf does not want their limbs bound or their jaws muzzled, but Prophecy has told them this is also their purpose. “What do I do?”

Whew! And that has been my 2018. Thank you for your consideration of my work, and if you read, I hope you enjoy the stories!

Meanwhile, I will now be like Kronk, hiding in plain sight…and yes, I’m totally doing my own theme music.




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