Hugo Eligible

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Shimmer published five issues last year, so here’s what we have for your consideration when it comes to Hugos, Nebulas, and Academ– Er.

Shimmer 19

Shimmer #19

Original Short Stories:


  • Sandro Castelli
  • Kurt Huggins
  • Zelda Devon

Editors (short form):

  • E. Catherine Tobler
  • Ann VanderMeer

And indeed, Shimmer Magazine is eligible in the Semiprozine category.

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Shimmer #23: Editorial

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The Half Dark Promise, by Sandro Castelli

The Half Dark Promise, by Sandro Castelli

People often ask me, “what makes a story Shimmery,” and it’s not always easily answered — sometimes, you don’t know a story is Shimmery until you hit the end, and you realize there is a change inside you.

Sometimes, it’s more easily answered, as the shimmer is distinct from the point of entry. A confident voice that knows where it’s going from the first line, even if I, as a reader, don’t know. The immediate delivery of an image that is unusual, arresting; an image that makes you pause and want to see more. The stories in Shimmer #23 accomplish both things for me as editor and reader both.

Something moves in the half dark two gas lamps ahead of me.

Gas lamps! Something? In the half dark? I’m already intrigued, even if we don’t yet know what the something is. Does our narrator know? Indeed she knows, and will show us everything soon.

Child’s mistress was out when the scentless woman entered the shop and laid a strip of severed cloth upon the counter.

A scentless woman, a severed cloth. A character named Child? Where is this going? There are a few things to unpack, beautiful threads that foreshadow much to come.

When I think oil rig, I think big metal Viking onslaught in the night.

Immediate hook — pounding metal music exploding through a winter night. Hammer of the gods! Ships to new lands! You are on that ship, holding on.

Things used to be pure inside me.

How Shimmery is that opening line? So Shimmery. Seven words that convey a huge image, a big idea the story will unpack piece by piece. What things, why are they no longer pure, what changed?

Something inside you may change as you read this quartet of stories. My thanks to Sarah Pinsker and Madison Bell for their help in proofing the Haitian Creole herein.


Read or Buy Shimmer #23


EliseShimmer #23: Editorial

2014: In Review

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Holy badgers, Shimmer had an amazing year! It kinda looked like this:

300_Shimmer18cover300_shimmer19cover   300_Shimmer20cover

300_Shimmer-21-Cover  300_Shimmer-22-Cover

Shimmer went digital this year, and published twenty-eight stories! Of those, twenty-four authors were new to Shimmer, and of those, I believe three authors made their debuts with us. Ann VanderMeer guest edited issue #18 for us; when we went digital with issue #19, we welcomed Robert N. Lee as our creative director. Laura Blackwell joined us as a copy editor, while Sandro Castelli remained as art director.

Overwhelmingly, Shimmer was well received. Lois Tilton of Locus Magazine recommended “A Whisper in the Weld,” “Cantor’s Dragon,” and “The Earth and Everything Under,” and readers seemed to love…everything? What a delight to see stories from Seth Dickinson, Vajra Chandrasekera, Kelly Sandoval, and Alix E. Harrow blow up in social media circles.

Early estimates say that Shimmer badgers wrangled 4500 submissions over the course of 2014. And who are those Shimmer badgers anyhow? A huge shout out to them, because we couldn’t do anything without their paws: Sophie Wereley, Joy Marchand, Nicola Belte, Pam Wallace, and Stacey Janssen. Keffy Kehrli, Cory Skerry, and Gra Linnaea also saw us through 2014, some more dragon than badger.

We are looking ahead to 2015, and whatever it may bring — so far, January 1st brings a kick-ass issue filled with four more new-to-Shimmer authors. Want to be one of those? We reopen to submissions on January 12th.





Elise2014: In Review

Best Horror, 2013

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Issue 16

Issue 16

Yesterday, Ellen Datlow posted her long list of Honorable Mentions for her 2013 Best Horror of the Year, and six Shimmer stories are among the mentions:

From Issue #16:

The Revelation of Morgan Stern, by Christie Yant
The Binding of Memories, by Cate Gardner
Word and Flesh, by Dennis Ginoza
The Life and Death of Bob, by William Jablonsky

From Issue #17:

Out They Come, by Alex Dally MacFarlane
Love in the Time of Vivisection, by Sunny Moraine

And Shimmer badgers?

Our Nicola Belte got a mention, with her story, “B,” from The Journal of Unlikely Entomology #5!

Both issues of Shimmer are available in our back issues if you missed out the first time around. Thanks, as always, to Ellen Datlow for the time and work she gives to this genre; what an amazing number of things she reads every year!

You can read the full listings on her site!

EliseBest Horror, 2013

Issue #22: Editorial

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Art by Sandro Castelli

This has been one of the most challenging years I’ve ever experienced, personally and professionally. 2014 has contained losses — some we expected and some we never saw coming. 2014 has contained reams of bad news dropped upon, oh look, reams of bad news.

I wonder: was the world always like this and we just never knew, but now we can’t not know, because we are constantly connected to a world larger than our neighborhoods; we are global now, “living in the future” we say, watching as events half the world away impact our daily lives.

We carry the world in our pockets — the news is always there, sought or not. No stumbling out to a newspaper box to get the headlines, they’re already stacked in your phone. The news is no longer a sound bite on television — you can watch in real time as life, terrible and glorious life, unfolds in streets across the world. And that world is huge and often terrible, and overwhelming.

Time and again, because of that, I come back to short fiction.

A short story allows me to narrow my focus and slow my breath — I did this as a kid in school, too, though only in looking back did I realize it for what it was. For a few precious pages, I don’t have to think about what is happening anywhere else; for half an hour, I can sink into a wholly new world — or a hidden aspect of our own — and vanish.

If you find yourself needing to pause and take a breath, I hope these four stories allow that. They explore loss and recovery in equal measure–all the thistles and dandelions growing up through Isa bloomed at once, out of season, in a riotous bouquet. These four stories close out an amazing Shimmer year, which means our printed annual is on the horizon. These four stories encompass a hope that we carry on the face of strange doings; that we keep taking the next step, even if we don’t know exactly where it leads.

As 2014 winds down, be excellent to each other, and remember to breathe.

E. Catherine Tobler
Senior Editor

Buy Issue #22 | Subscribe to Shimmer

E. Catherine Tobler’s fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Her first novel, Rings of Anubis, is now available. Follow her on Twitter @ECthetwit or her website, ecatherinetobler


EliseIssue #22: Editorial

Shimmer Scares

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If you take the badgers to the movies…

They’re going to want popcorn (with Hot Tamales, thank you)…



…the closer the blue planet Melancholia comes to earth on a collision course, the more the just-married sister falls apart, and her depressed sister regains her peace and equilibrium…the dread in the film builds as the characters take turns using a wire loop to measure the increasing diameter of the approaching planet. This isn’t a traditional horror film, but it scared the heck out of me…

…I watched Chuckie when I was a kid and didn’t watch a movie scarier than that Halloween movie with Bette Midler for YEARS.

The original Psycho with Anthony Perkins scared me so badly, for a long time after, I wouldn’t take a shower if I was in the house alone. Good thing we also had a bathtub, or I would have been scaring a lot of people myself.

But…bathtubs, tablecloths, eyeballs, Diabolique… NOPE…

But House…House is like…crack on fire…with flooding and glitter…

And then I watched The Ring and couldn’t watch anything even remotely scary for years…


The French film Martyrs is the first one I thought of. Totally brutal and disturbing and strangely beautiful. I want to watch it again, but I can’t quite work myself up to it…

…I thought about Martyrs, then thought that might be….way too much. It’s one of my That Was a Really Good Movie But I’ll Never See It Again movies…

Eyes Without a Face — also file under “strangely beautiful,” all those dogs in the kennel…

The Shining…or Alien, though I haven’t seen that for eleventy billion years…

(Home Alone, because tarantula –why would anyone agree to let it crawl on their FACE?)

…seeing Chuckie as a kid is enough to terrify anybody…

I will probably pick The Congo because I was too young when I saw that…

…did you want a horror movie? I can name an actual horror movie…

Oh, heck no–doesn’t have to be straight up horror. I mean, even Gravity is scary on some level, right?

Gravity scared the hell out of me…

…the 1989 Woman In Black done for British TV. It’s the only movie that’s ever made me yell and hide my eyes as an adult, watching it…

And I think I’ve hard deleted all the scary movies I’ve watched since then.
House of Leaves was pretty freaky tho…


EliseShimmer Scares

Shimmer #21: The Drinking Game, Part 2

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Shimmer-21-CoverIn my editorial for issue #21, I played around with the notion of drinks for the stories, being that Shimmer was twenty-one and legal to drink. And then I thought “hey, drinks for stories.” Thus, we present to you drinks for each of the stories in Shimmer #21!

Our drinking game concludes with drinks from Andrew Romine, and Brooke Bolander!


Drink of the Fisherman’s Wife (for “Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife”)
by Andrew Penn Romine

1.5 oz Mezcal
.5 oz Campari
.5 oz Punt e Mes
careful pinch of sea salt
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Stir all ingredients over ice and strain into a rocks glass. Express swath of orange peel over drink to release the oils, then drop peel into glass for garnish.

A.C. Wise’s wonderfully evocative “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife” conjured up intense imagery of the salty sea, the tang of smoke, and the passions of the blood. I like strong flavors, and I wanted to create a drink that honored these three visceral components of Wise’s story.

I chose mezcal for its smooth, resinous smokiness, and also because it pairs well with citrus. Campari is a favorite too, a strong, bitter citrus-flavored liqueur that adds bite to any drink. In this case, it also helps to give the cocktail a ruddy cast. Punt e Mes is a strongly flavored vermouth that balances the bitter components with a subtle sweetness.

Angostura bitters are a pretty standard way to round out any drink, but here I also added a small pinch of sea-salt to give an extra bite to the finish. A swath of orange peel is the perfect garnish, and the citrus helps brighten and clarify both the aroma and flavor.

I’d like to think both wife and husband would pass the interminable hours of longing between their waking dreams imbibing a few of these!




The Us-In-You (for “We Take the Long View”)
by Brooke Bolander

Between 1/2 and 3/4ths of an oz Laphroaig
1/2 oz Four Roses Single Batch Bourbon
1/2 oz Lapsang simple syrup  (a good recipe can be located here)
1/4 oz Root liqueur

Combine ingredients with ice in shaker. Shake for 10 seconds or until your hands are as cold as snow-covered branches. Strain over more ice, finish with a sprig of rosemary. Note the immediate burst of earth and peat from the scotch, the more subtle maple-sap flavour of the bourbon, and the distant pine smoke of the Lapsang. The sharp wintergreen sweetness of the Root liqueur rounds out the flavour profile. Drink one and you’ll feel the Forest’s love; two and you may experience some mild telepathy. Enjoy!

If you haven’t read Shimmer #21, get a copy and a drink and settle in!
Our bartenders:

Andrew Penn Romine lives in Los Angeles where he works in the visual effects and animation industry. A graduate of the 2010 Clarion West workshop, his fiction appears online at Lightspeed Magazine, Paizo and Crossed Genres as well as in the anthologies FungiWhat Fates Impose, By Faerie Light, Coins of Chaos, and Help Fund My Robot Army. You can find his full list of publications at the Bibliography link. He’s also contributed articles to Lightspeed/Fantasy Magazine and blogs at Inkpunks. He also blogs about cocktails as The Booze Nerd. You can also follow his day-to-day adventures on Twitter: @inkgorilla.

Brooke Bolander is a human in an ill-fitting person suit pretending to be a writer. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Nightmare, and many other fine publications. When not concocting potions for Shimmer, she enjoys kittens, long walks on the beach, and updating her website, You can reach her on Twitter at @BBolander, if so inclined.

E. Catherine Tobler likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, she’s not much into health food, but is into champagne.

EliseShimmer #21: The Drinking Game, Part 2

Shimmer #21: The Drinking Game

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In my editorial for issue #21, I played around with the notion of drinks for the stories, being that Shimmer was twenty-one and legal to drink. And then I thought “hey, drinks for stories.” Thus, we present to you drinks for each of the stories in Shimmer #21!

We begin with drinks for “Anna Saves Them All” and “Dharmas,” concocted by Molly Tanzer and Jessica Leonard.


Venom (for “Anna Saves Them All”)
by Molly Tanzer

Venom, by Molly Tanzer

Venom, by Molly Tanzer

Complex and seductive, bitter and floral, cloudy as a moral quandary, medicinal and yet pleasantly sweet, Venom is the pale mint green of louched Absinthe… but with so much more depth of flavor lurking beneath the surface.

Arak is a Levantine spirit, clear and anise flavored, similar to ouzo. It turns cloudy when mixed with water, so make sure to use lots of ice to produce the cloudy, milky quality that results from this mixture.

1 3/4 oz arak (or rakı, or ouzo–just NOT arrak, which is entirely different!)
3/4 oz Chartreuse
1/4 of a juicy lime
Dash orange bitters
Dash orange flower water

Shake everything together with lots of ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, add a long, serpentine twist of lime. Drink quickly, while cold.


The Bloody Hell (for “Dharmas”)
by Jessica Leonard

For this story, I feel like only a drink with some real heat will do.  For this, I give you The Bloody Hell.  There are different versions of the drink, most involve a variation on the Bloody Mary, but my favorite recipe is a little different.  This Bloody Hell gets its color from blood oranges.  When not in season they can be hard to find, but you can always juice and freeze them for the off-season.  The drink features bourbon and jalapeños for extra kick and spice. And if you garnish the glass with a jalapeño slice, hmm, doesn’t that remind of a snail shell?  For the beer I say add your favorite, but I’d stay away from certain seasonal flavors as they will overpower your cocktail.  A good bourbon barrel beer will work nicely.

2 oz blood orange juice
1 ½ oz bourbon
1 tbs agave
1 jalapeno, sliced
2 oz beer

In a shaker filled with ice add the blood orange juice, bourbon, agave, and jalapeno sliced. Shake well, pour through a strainer into a highball glass with ice.

Add beer, stir.

Join us next week for two more Shimmery cocktails, and if you haven’t already, grab your own copy of Shimmer #21!
Our Bartenders:

Molly Tanzer is the Sydney J. Bounds and Wonderland Book Award-nominated author of A Pretty Mouth (Lazy Fascist, 2012), Rumbullion, and Other Liminal Libations (Egaeus, 2013), the forthcoming Vermilion (Word Horde, 2015), and a second novel that will be out in 2015 — but she can’t say anything further about that yet, on pain of death. Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in, among many other places, The Book of Cthulhu (I and II), Strange Aeons, and The Book of the Dead. She lives in Boulder, CO with her husband and a very bad cat. When not writing, she enjoys mixing cocktails, experimenting with Korean cooking, and (as of recently) training for triathlons. She tweets @molly_the_tanz, and blogs — infrequently — at

Jessica Leonard is the author of stories about people and the things they do.  She also co-hosts the Books and Booze podcast, a weekly show featuring author interviews, good drinks, and great books. You can find Jessica’s writing at The Menacing Hedge, and Counterexample Poetics , as well as on Amazon. Books and Booze just wrapped up their 110th episode!  You can find all the past episodes at  You can also join the discussion on Facebook!  Join the group for updates on new episodes, guests, giveaways, promotions, and you opportunity to submit questions for your favorite authors.

E. Catherine Tobler likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, she’s not much into health food, but is into champagne.

EliseShimmer #21: The Drinking Game

Issue #21, Editorial

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Sandro Castelli

Shimmer is old enough to drink.

What do you suppose a Shimmer cocktail would look like?

Two parts darkness to one part starlight and one part desolation, served with the shard of a blade that pierced the hide of a manticore while crossing the wastes of Io during spring thaw?

One jigger of bittersweet, three jiggers of sour, with a sprig of Plutonian thyme served over glacier chips from an expedition to Europa’s poles in 1871?

Three drops of paper crushed with one drop of a ghost’s breath in a sieve of bones, served upside down with a candied lemon rind (from the orchards of Orthosie) on the edge of a dream just beginning?

Our cover story is served by Seth Dickinson, over dry ice; it carries a hint of the desert heat in its depths, the grit of sand, the tang of blood. A cold and alien presence slides down your spine with every sip; you cannot yet define it, but it knows you. All tastes explode across your tongue with desperate regret, eternal need.

Vajra Chandrasekera makes his Shimmer  debut with a concoction to move your tongue in still new and unfamiliar ways, around the rim of a glass that looks like a descent into Hell. This landscape will surprise you with a burst of fire, a hint of snail–snail, surely not, but yes, oh yes, see the way all spirals inward before moving out again? Infinity.

A. C. Wise returns to Shimmer’s pages with a brew of the sea and all the beasts therein; the earlier snail has hastened your appreciation for the sunlit salt water that now kisses your lips. A coil of seaweed slides by, enfolding a gleaming pearl inside its slick darkness a moment before the tide pulls all to its breast.

Our selections for this round close with Erica Satifka, a blend that is one part frosted Forest, one part turmoil, and two parts body-flesh. These words slide into you, become you, become us, and carry you deep into Forest boughs, where you-in-us suck snow from stardust-spiced needles.

We have some wonderful things coming in the next few weeks and hope you will join us.

E. Catherine Tobler
Senior Editor


Buy Shimmer #21! | Subscribe to Shimmer
E. Catherine Tobler’s fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and her first novel, Rings of Anubis, is now available. Follow her on Twitter @ECthetwit or her website, ecatherinetobler


EliseIssue #21, Editorial