Cover Photo: Joe Shlabotnik
Joe Shlabotnik

The Novelist

Someone has moved into the house across the way. I watch him.

Watchlist, our anthology of surveillance-themed short stories, is out now. To mark the publication of the book, we asked a few of its contributors to perform their own real-life act of surveillanceand to write about what they saw.


For the first year we lived in our West Philadelphia apartment, the house closest to ours was empty. The intervening lot was a dark space—no grass but mulch and obscure greenery tangled over dirt. During the day, it was a playground for squirrels and neighborhood cats, the latter of which terrorized the former. One of them, Earl Grey, was king. Sitting on the porch in warm weather, we could hear him muscling through the growth, searching, releasing the occasional unearthly, roiling yowl as he did what kings did: confront and conquer.

Is my posture that bad

Don’t StarveJohn OliverJudge JudyThe X-Files

Watchlist: 32 Stories by Persons of Interest is available now from Catapult Books. 

Carmen Maria Machado’s debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press. She is a fiction writer, critic, and essayist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, The Paris Review, AGNI, NPR, LA Review of Books, Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Nebula and Shirley Jackson Award, and received the 2015-2016 Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, and lives in Philadelphia with her partner.