D.A. Xiaolin Spires steps into portals and reappears in sites such as Hawai’i, NY, various parts of Asia and elsewhere, with her keyboard appendage attached. Her work appears in publications such as Clarkesworld, Analog, Nature, Terraform, Fireside, Star*Line, Liquid Imagination, and anthologies such as Make Shift, Ride the Star Wind, Sharp and Sugar Tooth, Deep Signal, and Battling in All Her Finery. Select stories can be read in German, Spanish, Vietnamese, Estonian, French and Japanese translation.

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D.A. Xiaolin Spires has the following works available at Clarkesworld:


FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 196 – January 2023

When I had been chosen to have a child, I was apprehensive more than ecstatic. All the other “lottery winners” seemed to be joyous. On the holoscreens, I saw them cry happy tears. I tried to mimic that but could not. I tried to smile like I had won a bag of chocolates. I wish […]

Xiaolongbao: Soup Dumplings

FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 180 – September 2021

The sky swelled with vermilion. Each step that I took toward the rosy jade grove, the redder and denser it got. It looked like the sky soaked itself into my mom’s old lipstick. I stood paralyzed for a moment by the thought of her lips, moving in her signature hushed way, reading to me, about […]

Mamaborg's Milk and the Brilliance of Gems

FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 174 – March 2021

Luqiong jumps past the fence and she ducks under one of the ferrying carts of the communications warehouse. She taps on the pylo plating of the cart, making sure it’s thick enough. Her database analyzes the sound of the tap and accepts that it is. She sighs a relief. The drones following her can’t track […]

Last Wishes

FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 169 – October 2020

The urn looked like it weighed a million pounds, but when I picked it up from the bottom, it was as light as a feather. These artisans were full of trickery and skill like that. I’m guessing that’s why my mom chose it. “Be careful, Jinying,” Dr. Lee-way, the head artisan, said. The hologram designer […]

The Iridescent Lake

FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 165 – June 2020

I skate around the iridescent lake, bobbing my head along to the eerie laser noises the ice makes, when it gives way to pressure. The colossal plasticine walls shoot up before me and I shield my eyes from the rays of sun poking through the microlattice ceiling net. I count ten visitors already today, and […]

Coffee Boom: Decoctions, Micronized

FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 162 – March 2020

It’s just a small bean, really. Just a tiny pinky nail-sized small bit of organic matter, roasted then crushed, soaked, and drained. Don’t throw away the baby with the bathwater, but in this case, really, do. Chuck it out, totally discard the baby, but keep the bathwater and drink it all up. Pour it into […]


FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 158 – November 2019

I set my laser to a thinner edge as I cleared the excess around the general parallelogram shape of the form before me, a structure filled with tiny nodes. White shards flew around me, hitting my face and sticking to my skin, as my laser danced across the piece. I wiped the shards off with […]

Onyx Woods and the Grains of Deception

FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 155 – August 2019

“The king certainly likes fire,” said Cohl. We could see the smoke rise from beyond, from another forest. I pulled off my gloves and rubbed my back. Once we relaxed like this, I could feel all my muscles ache. Cohl took a bite of the lump in his hand and spit it out. “What is […]

But, Still, I Smile

FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 150 – March 2019

When my baby flowed away from me, I thought of it as coursing away through a river, far and far away, and perhaps journeying through the great Silver River (the Milky Way) and towards some other exoplanet unseen and unknown. I thought it might be carried away by that great band of light, so faint […]


FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 147 – December 2018

It’s the first day of December which means out goes all those pesky oranges—no more pumpkin pies, gobbling turkeys, and angular pilgrim hats. Instead, the world around Chunfei shifts to snow, piles of it on the ground and reindeer that soar across the azure skies, free of clouds. Rows of candy canes line her view. […]

Waves of Influence

FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 144 – September 2018

“You sent this good for nothing wimp to me?” Her pointed finger inched upwards in the air until it settled on my face. Meixiu pulled back her finger and formed her other hand into a cup, tracing her right finger along the inside of the palm of her left hand. She lowered her voice, whispering […]


FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 141 – June 2018

Chenguang hikes up her sleeves before vaulting over the pile of fuzzy moss and greets Lukas with a nod. The chloropolyurethane fabric flaps in the slight breeze and the double suns beat down onto her arms. Lukas fishes in his bag next to his tent for a bottle of sunsoak and releases the spray, running […]

Prasetyo Plastics

FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 134 – November 2017

Ali Prasetyo mixed the plastic resin, before pouring the viscous liquid into the silicone mold. The colors swirled, like eddies at the edge of Mas River, just as he intended. He let it sit, fumbling with the prototype of the plastic toy in his hand. He felt the smoothness of the curves. It felt buoyant […]

Twisted Knots

FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 131 – August 2017

Lilian attached yet another mobius strip to her underwater diorama. Undulating in blue, they crisscrossed in gossamer nets across the shoebox, a miniature biosphere where sharks and fish roamed. Yet, these waves, as Lilian pronounced them to be, seemed more alive than the animals that hung in them, thought her mother Shulin. No one expected […]
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