Semi-sequel to The Thing, using John Carpenter’s gnarly monster to tell a story of AIDS, gay liberation, police brutality, & passing. Included in THE YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION, V.34 (edited by Gardner Dozois), and THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY OF THE YEAR VOL.11 (edited by Jonathan Strahan). and YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY, 2017 Ed. (edited by Rich Horton), and BEST SCIENCE FICTION OF THE YEAR – VOL. 2 (edited by Neil Clarke).
“When MacReady is not MacReady, or when MacReady is simply not, he never remembers it after. The gaps in his memory are not mistakes, not accidents. The thing that wears his clothes, his body, his cowboy hat, it doesn’t want him to know it is there. So the moment when the supply ship crewman walked in and found formerly-frozen MacReady sitting up—and watched MacReady’s face split down the middle, saw a writhing nest of spaghetti tentacles explode in his direction, screamed as they enveloped him and swiftly started digesting—all of that is gone from MacReady’s mind.”
“The story is a tangle of metaphors that knot perfectly together. …joins others of Miller’s, such as last year’s ‘‘The Heat of Us’’, as a startling and intelligent engagement with queer history through a science fictional lens.” – Locus
“As is typical of Miller’s work, “Things With Beards” delivers a satisfying emotional punch, and serves as an excellent example of contemporary fiction in conversation with a SFF classic.” – Apex Magazine
“It’s fucking amazing; Where my own “The Things” played with biology and the missionary impulse, Miller’s riffs off the same source material to more overtly political ends, and does it masterfully… TWB can’t seem to go for a single paragraph without making some new, visceral, political observation/metaphor, without ever once getting preachy (which is why I usually steer clear of this sort of story). Not to mention the prose rocks.” – Peter Watts, author of “The Things” (Hugo/Locus/Theodore Sturgeon Award Nominee; Shirley Jackson Award winner; BSFA award finalist)
Also available in audio format, read by the phenomenal Kate Baker!