D.A. Xiaolin Spires

I write mostly speculative fiction and poetry — while driving jeepney spacecrafts — and dodging solar flares and other calamities of everyday life like deadlines. Strapped in and buckled up, let’s hope this space pen doesn’t wander too far from my zeroG-elongated fingers.

Will keep you posted on my scrawls!

Join me on my creative path on Patreon.

A variant of my bio, for those who prefer third person: 

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 or is forthcoming in publications such as Clarkesworld, Analog, Strange Horizons, Nature, Terraform, Uncanny, Fireside, Galaxy’s Edge, StarShipSofaAndromeda Spaceways (Year’s Best Issue), Diabolical Plots, Factor Four, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Grievous AngelToasted CakePantheon, Outlook Springs, ROBOT DINOSAURS, Shoreline of InfinityLONTAR, Mithila Review, Reckoning, Issues in Earth Science, Liminality, Star*Line, Polu Texni, Argot, Eye to the Telescope, Liquid Imagination, Gathering Storm Magazine, Little Blue Marble, Story Seed Vault, and anthologies of the strange and beautiful: Deep SignalRide the Star Wind, Sharp and Sugar Tooth, Broad KnowledgeFuture Visions and Battling in All Her Finery. Select stories can be read in German, Spanish, Vietnamese, Estonian, French and Japanese translation. She can be found on Twitter: @spireswriter and on her website:

Recommended on Rich Horton’s list for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2018.

Praise for works:
On “The Iridescent Lake” (Clarkesworld #165):

“[V]ery much enjoyed it. Felt very lived-in, well-thought-out, and real. Gave me a lot to think about.”

– Jeff B.

“It’s a nicely paced and rendered piece, with solid world building and full characters, and I definitely recommend checking it out! A great read!”

– Charles Payseur, QSR

On “Coffee Boom: Decoctions, Micronized” (Clarkesworld #162):

“A fresh and quirky concept, well-realized.”

– Gary Tognetti

“I personally love how the piece combines its elements and delivers a fun, triumphantly flavorful reading experience.”

– Charles Payseur, QSR

“A fun caper to “acquire” the best coffee grinder in a future where (almost) all coffee (and food) is artificial!”

– Elizabeth C.

“I LOVE coffee, so this was brilliant.”

– Art K.

“Fun, delightful story even if you don’t drink coffee!”

– Sam Tomaino

“…this is a wonderful story. I hope you get to read it while drinking your favourite cup of coffee.”

– Jennifer Shelby

“Such a great heist story, in pursuit of a high-tech high quality coffee! I loved this.”

– Cameron Van Sant

On “Caihong Juji” (ROBOT DINOSAURS!):

“The Rainbow Dinosaur! yes! I love this new story.”

– K.C. Mead-Brewer

On “Nutrition Facts” (Uncanny #31):

“Such a lovely story. I adore @spireswriter’s poetic style, and her love of food and family is always so apparent. This story really shines.”

– Elizabeth Rubio

On “Antarctica” (Clarkesworld #158):

“It’s a bracing read full of cold and resilience, and it makes for a great story!”

– Charles Payseur, QSR

“The author creates a compelling portrait of Antarctica, in a clear, vivid style.”

– Victoria Silverwolf, QSR

On “Onyx Woods and the Grains of Deception” (Clarkesworld #155):

“…it’s definitely a piece to spend some time with, and a fine read!”

– Charles Payseur, QSR

“This inventive story by D.A. Xiaolin Spires, tells of a land exploited and the peasants who do the exploiting at the behest of those more powerful.”
(Selected as “Must-Read Speculative Short Fiction” for the month.)

– Alex Brown,

“So good!”

– Katherine Karch

“Very talented author. Read this!”

– Alex, Kasma SF

“Killer story about a world where you just need a good ally and a tasty scalp. @spireswriter is so good.”

– John Wiswell

“This story is beautiful.”

– Pamela Deering

On “But, Still, I Smile” (Clarkesworld #150):

“She’s becoming one of my favorite authors more and more these days. Another great story!”

– Kevin

“Interesting story. I love how the narrator is so antagonistic and flawed.”

– Cathy

“Dengwen’s psychology and actions are completely central to the story, and there’s a lot of complexity here.”
(Listed as a recommended story in Karen Burnham’s May review column in Locus Magazine)

– Karen Burnham

“Great ending!”

– Amber

On “Marshmallows” (Clarkesworld #147):

“…I love that because of how real it seems, because it speaks to privilege and power, and how addictive it is… A great read!”

– Charles Payseur, QSR


– Synchronicity Of The Heart

“Awesome story!”

– J.T. Hamilton

“This was such a great read. Big cyberpunk vibe that I really enjoyed… I loved this story!”

– Jonothan Pickering

“Much like marshmallows, this story is wonderful.”

– Gretchen Tessmer

“Good ending to this one.”

– Sam Tomaino

“I’m an absolute sucker for interesting tech in science fiction – so naturally I quite enjoyed reading ‘Marshmallows’…”

– Matthew Bailey

“Marshmallows is a great example of stellar worldbuilding and is a dark, delicious, holiday-themed science fiction short. If you need a quick read or listen while you digest that pot roast and fruit cake, check it out!”

– Tipsy Nerds Book Club Podcast

“Delightfully dark story!”

– Courtney, Tipsy Nerds Book Club Podcast

“Augmented reality with Christmasy overlays…”
(Named to the Diabolical Plots’ Best of Clarkesworld 2018 list)

– David Steffen

On “Waves of Influence” (Clarkesworld #144):

“…it shows the very complex nature of fame and power… it’s a wrenching and heartbreaking story and a great read!”

– Charles Payseur, QSR

“I love the world-building in this and the story is so emotive and poignant.”

– Monica Christine Woehlert Barraclough

“Waves of Influence @clarkesworld looks into possible social media futures, and beauty and poverty and influence.”

– Derek Künsken

“The author creates an intriguing future world of advanced social media and digital manipulation of appearances.”

– Victoria Silverwolf

On “Vault” (Clarkesworld #141):

“I can say that had it been printed media, I would have devoured it in order to absorb its magic…#goodstuff.”

– Evan Marcroft

“[T]he Spires story is a fun sci-fi adventure… This story gives a great view of a world that is both alien and human. That has been deeply touched by humanity’s damaging hand and yet retains something inhuman in it… And I love how Chenguang approaches it, how she traverses it, in bursts and spins, but being drawn toward something… It’s a fascinating read and a fine story!”
(Praise from both his Patreon blog preview and his review on QSR.)

– Charles Payseur, QSR & Patreon

“It’s a well-paced story with some very imaginative ideas and an instantly likeable, proactive hero… Spires’ story offers a fresh approach to the old-fashioned exploration and problem-solving sci-fi – the kind that is usually right up my alley.”

– Gary Tognetti

“I enjoyed the fantastically imaginative “Vault”… It’s one of those comfy sci-fi stories that feels familiar and yet different all at once.”

– Holly Lyn Walrath

“Intriguing story of exploration…”

– Andrew Liptak

On “Prasetyo Plastics” (Clarkesworld #134):

“…is wonderfully terrifying and you should read it.”

– Osahon Ize-Iyamu

“Spire’s prose is very beautiful and ripe for reflection… The story is well-paced and fascinating with a twist on the singularity that is thoughtful and terrifying.”

Rebecca DeVendra

“…it challenges us to question what life can look like and what role humanity can and should play in creating, protecting, or fighting against new life that might emerge thanks to our own mistakes, oversights, and abuses… it is [a story] full of interesting ideas, and for that it’s certainly worth checking out.”

Charles Payseur, QSR


Gardner Dozois

“Imaginative and chilling tale.”

Sam Tomaino

“A thought provoking short with clear parallels to today’s environmental struggles, ‘Prasetyo’ is a fantastic story for anyone looking to read the latest in environmentally conscious sci-fi.”

Mauricio Rezende

“Loving it.”

– reader in Pakistan

“Ooh, I love this story. I love stories that challenge the scientific community and go back to that one line that was uttered by Dr. Malcolm in Jurassic Park which was: ‘They spent all the time figuring out if they could, they never stopped to think if they should.’ I might be paraphrasing there, but it’s something that we really need to focus on and I’m not for hyper-regulation of the sciences. In fact, I think opening up our creative barriers is what allows us to expand as a species. But, we have to be careful about what we do. And I think this story is an excellent example of that.”

Kate Baker (podcast narration commentary)

On “Twisted Knots” (Clarkesworld #131):

“Twisted Knots” was excellent and should be one of the year’s best stories.”


“The premise is interesting and striking and the story is full of a weight that brings the reader down through its layers to a place where they can examine art and space and movement and family. It’s a lovely and beautiful story, and you should definitely check it out!”

Charles Payseur, QSR

“I thought it was nicely told, with a lot to like about [protagonist] Lilian.”

Chuck Rothman

“worthwhile work”

Gardner Dozois

“…[A] wonderful story… grand ideas, poignant moments and prose that performs mind-bending acrobatics.”

Dafydd McKimm

“I think as artists whether it be writers, or puppeteers, or any sort of creative mind, I think our whole drive to create comes from imbuing work with life that wasn’t there. And I think what this story is ultimately trying to tell us is that we drive from our experiences in our life and we put everything that we are, everything that we’ve experienced and everything that we want to be into these works of art. And I think that’s why for some of us who listen or who read stories, depending on what is happening, we identify because we can relate on some level.”

Kate Baker (podcast narration commentary)

On “A Wispy Chastening” (Reckoning 2):

“Told with gorgeous prose and infused with dreams and magic, this is a story about how our lives affect the natural world we’re a part of… A magic slice of prose that weaves a spell of its own.”
(Recommended in Maria Haskins’ “extra awesome short stories” monthly roundup.)

Maria Haskins

“Dreams and ducks and a devilish Sheperd. So good!”

Renee Christopher

On “Five Tangibles and One” (Terraform):

“What I love about this piece is the way that it frames the love that Sam306 feels… the story is fun and moves with a fluid grace… A fantastic read!”
(Also recommended in Charles Payseur’s “X Marks the Story” column at the Book Smugglers.)

Charles Payseur, QSR

“A touching, insightful tale… This is a perfect example of how small, creative details in world building can make a story click into the deeper consciousness of readers.”

Jason Sanford

On “Path to Infinity” (Kasma SF):

“Sunday night SF short story reading… Featuring mosquito-based robot diseases and the disintegration of mopping skills. Loved this story.”

Glenn Chenevre

On “Bubblegum Botress” (Grievous Angel):

“I love everything about this story!”

– Gabriel Smithwilson

On “DNA exchange” (Nature: Futures):

“Awesome story!”

Steph P. Bianchini

On “Before the Burst” (Fireside Magazine):

“It’s a story that leaves a tragic aftertaste, bitter and desolate. But it also feels true, and it makes for a great read!”

– Charles Payseur, QSR


– Gary Tognetti

On “Suvu and Swashbuckling Love” (Andromeda Spaceways #69):

“There are many allusions to knitting in ‘Suvu and Swashbuckling Love’, which is fitting, since it presents as something knitted with great care and attention to detail.”

– Kris Ashton

On “Thin-skinned” (Chronicles– Monthly Challenge Story):

“A strong sense of future shock is created in this story by propelling the reader directly into a tomorrow which only superficially resembles today. By showing us technology different from anything we know through the eyes of one who is used to it, the author offers the reader a true sense of wonder.”

Victoria Silverwolf

On “Toy ‘Story Time’ in Toy Land” (Chronicles– Monthly Challenge Story):

“Reminds us that every good toy story has a good moral at the end of it and that’s why everyone looks forward to ‘Toy Story time, In Toy Land.'”


“…it’s terrific. Well done!”

– Cat’s Cradle

On “Manure Magnet” (Chronicles– Monthly Challenge Story):

“An unexpected aspect of future technology comes to life in this comic encounter.”

Victoria Silverwolf

On “nakajiru” (Mithila Review– poetry):

“…[I]t’s a bit of a haunting and yearning piece that is very much worth spending some time with!”

Charles Payseur, QSR

On “pacemaker” (Eye to the Telescope– poetry):

“I just love ‘pacemaker’… Much of the enjoyment of ‘pacemaker,’ for me, lies in the whimsical wording the contrasts… Recommended for anyone currently hankering for a quick read to put a little pep in their step.”
(Praise from specpotpourri’s “Recommended Reading: Rhysling-Eligible Poetry of 2018” and Twitter)

Brittany Hause

How to pronounce Xiaolin:

[Like the word SHOUT minus the “T”] + [The word LEAN]

or for an audio reference, click here.

Publications where my works appear: