Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

Short stories

My short story collection, At the Mouth of the River of Bees is available from Small Beer Press. I’ve written a lot since then, so here, have some short fiction!

An Attempt at Exhausting My Deck (Us in Flux, 2020)

In 1974, Georges Perec spent three days observing the Place Saint-Sulpice from… [read]

The Apartment Dweller’s Stavebook (DIAGRAM, 2020)

You are probably not actually that important, but if it comforts you to imagine that you are the center of this story, sure…. [read]

Noah’s Raven (Lightspeed, 2020)

Ten months after the ark first floated, and forty days after its keel snagged on a drowned mountain peak, Noah released a raven to look for land. Her name was ungraspable by humans, but might be translated as Bessary… [read or listen]

Roll the Dice (with Holly Elander) (7×7, 2019)

–You walk through the doors…. [read]

The Apartment Dweller’s Alphabetical Dream Book (Conjunctions, 2019)

An abalone shell in a dream… [read]

The Privilege of the Happy Ending (Clarkesworld, 2018)

“This is a story that ends as all stories do, eventually, in deaths…” [read or listen]

Tool-Using Mimics (Clarkesworld, 2018)

“The simplest explanation: Here is a picture. It is a girl, six? Seven? The 1930s, to guess by the pattern on the smocked dress she is wearing, the background of the dark studio. She is smiling and holding her hands above her head. She has short chestnut curls…” [read or listen]

Coyote Invents the Land of the Dead (Clarkesworld, 2016)

“She was there, that is Dee, and her three sisters, who were Tierce, Chena, and Wren, Dee being a coyote or rather Coyote, and her sisters not unlike in their Being, though only a falcon, a dog, and a wren. So there they stood on the cliff, making their minds how to get down to the night beach, a deep steep dark bitch slither it was, though manageable Dee hoped…” [read or listen]

The Apartment Dweller’s Bestiary (Clarkesworld, 2015)

“You’re showing your boyfriend what to put in a smoothie and you open a cupboard because he told you that he had toasted coconut somewhere and you figure sure, coconut, why not; and that’s where his aincolo is: squatting in the yellow serving bowl his mom gave him last year for Christmas. That’s cool. You have lots of friends with aincolos. They get in everywhere. But he was so weird about it, picked up the bowl with the aincolo hunched down now, nothing visible but two eyes in a cloud of cream-colored fur, and took it out to the living room and hid it somewhere. Why? Why…” [read or listen]

Story Kit (Eclipse 4, 2011; Lightspeed, 2020)

Six story types, from Damon Knight:

  1. The story of resolution. The protagonist has a problem and solves it, or doesn’t.
  2. The story of explanation.
  3. The trick ending.
  4. A decision is made. Whether it is acted upon is irrelevant.
  5. The protagonist solves a puzzle.
  6. The story of revelation. Something hidden is revealed to the protagonist, or to the reader. [read]

Ponies (tor.com, 2010)

“The invitation card has a Western theme. Along its margins, cartoon girls in cowboy hats chase a herd of wild Ponies. The Ponies are no taller than the girls, bright as butterflies, fat, with short round-tipped unicorn horns and small fluffy wings. At the bottom of the card, newly caught Ponies mill about in a corral…” [read or listen]

Names for Water (Starship Sofa, 2010)

Hala is running for class when her cell phone rings. She slows to take it from her pocket, glances at the screen: unknown caller. It rings again. She does not pick up calls when she doesn’t know who it is, but this time she hits talk, not sure what’s different except…[listen]

The Cat who Walked a Thousand Miles (tor.com, 2009)

“At a time now past, a cat was born. This was not so long after the first cats came to Japan, so they were rare and mostly lived near the capital city…” [read or listen]

Spar (Clarkesworld, 2009)

“In the tiny lifeboat, she and the alien fuck endlessly, relentlessly…” [read or listen]

26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss (Asimov’s, 2008)

“Aimee’s big trick is that she makes 26 monkeys vanish onstage…” [read] or [listen]

Dia Chjerman’s tale: The Delmoni Atrocity (2001)

“We tell these tales, we who lived on the Ship. We do this so that our home planets and our time on the Ship will not be forgotten — so that we will not be forgotten. To the men of the Ship, our planets were once disobedient fiefs, then nonrenewable resources. Our grandmothers and mothers were objects to fight over, breeding stock. But we have always been more than this…” [read]

The Snow Wife (2001)

“In Fisher’s village the snow falls until it buries everything. After certain storms, the villagers must climb into the rafters and out through the open eaves onto the roofs of their great dark houses to see the sun again. Tunnels are dug from house to house, but this is hard work, and they collapse sometimes in snowstorms. In a village of a hundred people, in winters such as these, your neighbors may keep you sane, or they may drive you mad. The balance is delicate…” [read more]