“57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides” Wins the Shirley Jackson Award!!

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Last weekend was ReaderCon, the annual conference dedicated to “imaginative” literature, which includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, and everything in between. Essentially it’s an opportunity to spend four days having wonderful conversations with wonderful people who like lots of the same things you do. Meaning it’s amazing. Except for the fact that it’s in a horrible hotel in the middle of nowhere where they charge you for wifi and there are no restaurants within walking distance and rrrrrrrrrrr it just generally sucks but that’s the subject of another blog post. ReaderCon is also where they give out the Shirley Jackson Awards, and I was nominated in the short fiction category for “57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides.”

I won.

This was my second ReaderCon. When I went last year I was in a pretty miserable state of mind. I had one pro sale under my belt, but it hadn’t been published yet, and anyway the story was super weird and super gay and I didn’t think people would like it. I spent the whole con in a haze of inferiority complex and hunger (literal hunger… then, as now, the hotel restaurant sported a grand total of ONE vegetarian item… and it wasn’t worth the paper it was fashioned out of). I had lots of wonderful friends at the con, including my Clarion and Altered Fluid families, but it’s hard not to feel like a nobody when surrounded by so many amazing writers—some of whom I’d been reading my whole adult life. On top of all that,  I had a novel out on submission, racking up rejections.

This year felt better. It wasn’t just the nomination, although that did put a spring in my step (but also fill me with a lot of anxiety). I’d had a good year, with awesome sales to awesome places, some of which got highly spoken of in excellent places. One of them, “The Beasts We Want to Be,” got listed as an “Honorable Mention” in two separate “Best of the Year” anthologies, and will be included in the star-studded forthcoming collection Best of Electric Velocipede.

Also, this year I had a lot more friends. We did a lot of fun stuff. Room parties, pool parties. We even had a SHHHHHHHHHHHHH FORBIDDEN CLANDESTINE MIDNIGHT SPEAKEASY READING, MC’d by Marco Palmieri, in which I got to share a stage with great writers Greg Bechtel, Brooke Bolander, Ruby Katigbak, Valya Lupescu, Stephen H. Segal, Brian Staveley, and Shveta Thankar, It was tons of fun, in front of a packed house, and my story got a lot of love in the real world and on Twitter. Someone also said my nipples looked cute. Thanks, air conditioning!

So the award was icing on the cake of what a wonderful con it was.

Community organizer that I am, I spent much of the con begging people to come to the ceremony. Halfway through I realized that had been a terrible idea, because if I lost then they’d know I was a loser. By then it was too late, and I couldn’t stop inviting people.

By the morning of the ceremony, my nervousness had gotten so pronounced that I half-hoped I wouldn’t win, so I wouldn’t have to get up and give a speech. Luckily, my category was first, which meant I didn’t have to sit there smiling politely while trying not to puke while other people got their awards.

Here is a photo of me and fellow nervous nominee Maria Dahvana Headley, before the ceremony started.

Here is a photo of me and fellow nervous nominee Maria Dahvana Headley, before the ceremony started.

Possibly the best part was hearing the whoop that went up, when my story won. A bunch of the people in that room were happy for me. And then to stand between Kit Reed and Andrea Hairston, two writers I admire the hell out of, and accept my award, felt phenomenal.

Here is a video of my acceptance speech. I mostly kept my shit together on stage (you can’t see my legs shaking…. trust me when I say they were), but as soon as I sat down I started tearing up.

My thank-yous are on the video, but let me put them in print (padded with a tiny bit more eloquence now that I’m not stammering up on stage):

“57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides” is the bastard love child of Ken Liu’s “The Man Who Ended History” and Carmen Maria Machado’s “Inventory,” two stories that showed me how a wacky formal conceit can help you reach a profound emotional truth. This was my audition story for the New York City-based writer’s group Altered Fluid, and they obviously made the story awesome, otherwise I wouldn’t be standing here today. Alaya Dawn Johnson and K. Tempest Bradford made especially crucial critique points that grasped where I was going with the story and really helped me get there. Lashawn Wanak fished it out of the slushpile at Lightspeed/Nightmare, and John Joseph Adams made the crazy call to publish it, and Wendy Wagner polished down the rough edges and made it shine. I want to thank the Shirley Jackson Award jury, who are all people I hugely admire, although obviously their taste in short stories is a little questionable, and my fellow nominees are all people I’m honored to be listed alongside – especially Maria Dahvana Headley, one of the best writers in the game these days. The Clarion class of 2012 is my everything in life, especially my roommates Lisa Bolekaja and Ruby Katigbak, who traveled really far to be here this weekend with me. Most of all I want to thank my family, my mom and dad and my sister Sarah and my husband Juancy, without whom living and writing wouldn’t be worth the trouble.

The Good Kind of Anxiety

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

I’m beyond excited that my story “57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides” has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award in the Short Story category!


Excited…. and anxious. Extremely anxious…
Shirley Jackson was one of the very first writers I read who opened my eyes to the true depth of what genre fiction can accomplish - when I graduated from the Stephen King/Dean Koontz school of horror into the idea that complex human characters are more bizarre than any space alien, and human emotions are more frightening than any monster. Things that go bump in the night are scary, but human loneliness is scarier.

Oh yeah, and Joyce Carol Oates is up for the award as well. In a different category, luckily. Although the competition in my category is pretty steep too, with amazing work from two of the best folks working, Maria Dahvana Headley and Maureen McHugh, and stories from new-to-me writers Livia Llewellyn, Paul Park, and Robert Shearman.

The awards will be given out this weekend, at Readercon. Sunday morning at 11. In the meantime, I’m a tangled ball of nerves and sleeplessness. In a good way! I’m fine if one of these other excellent writers wins, but being a nominee is itself very exciting. Which is its own source of stress, especially when its 2AM and I can’t sleep because my mind won’t stop racing, but this can definitely be filed under VERY VERY VERY GOOD PROBLEMS TO HAVE.

If you’re going to be at Readercon, please consider coming to the awards ceremony to cheer me on/pray for me/offer a crying shoulder if I don’t win…

In Which I Talk About Myself: The My Writing Process Blog Tour!!

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

I was invited to participate in the “My Writing Process Blog Tour” by Carmen Maria Machado, who was invited by Sofia Samatar (@SofiaSamatar), who was invited by Daniel José Older (@djolder). I in turn tagged my astonishingly-talented brother-by-another-mother David Edison, who will follow me shortly…

1) What are you working on?
Right now I’m juggling several short stories in various states of unfinishedness (a story is never finished until it’s published), as well as doing a merciless edit of my YA SFF novel “Stealing Normal,” which is causing me profound anxiety and self-doubt. Which may be a good thing? It hurts, so that probably means it’s good for me.

2) How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?
I don’t know if there’s anything that makes my work completely unique - there’s so much astonishing stuff happening now in science fiction and fantasy, with so many great writers doing things I hugely admire. The way Ted Chiang tears your heart out with such beautiful, real human relationships (and oh yeah there’s a shit ton of rigorous science and knowledge to ground it), the way Ken Liu engages history. Karen Joy Fowler, Kelly Link, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Saladin Ahmed, Paolo Bacigalupi, and a hundred other terrific writers excite me. I think what makes my work ‘my work’ is my own particular set of fascinations, the subjects I am drawn to - things like privilege and oppression and resistance and history; things like how our relationships with other people are impacted by the society we live in. As a community organizer, as someone who believes that people have more power when they work together, I often find myself creating magic systems or tech that depend upon collaboration, or become stronger the more people are connected - it’s why Octavia Butler’s “Mind of My Mind” is probably my favorite SF novel. Some people use SFF to imagine better worlds, and that’s super valuable, but for me it’s more about using the genre toolkit as a lens on what’s wrong (and what’s wonderful) (but mostly wrong) with the world we have.

3) Why do you write what you do?
Christ, I don’t know. Because life is full of horror and suffering and loss and sadness, and fiction can help us make sense of it? Because we’re all going to die? Because when I was in elementary school I was bad at sports and had no friends and so I lied to people about having seen horror movies I wasn’t in fact allowed to see, and then kids wanted to talk to me so I would narrate the plots of these movies, which of course were totally made up, or based only on the poster, or the description on the back of the box at the video store, so telling elaborate lies about monsters and bloodshed became a social survival mechanism? Also I love James Baldwin on the subject: “Most of us, no matter what we say, are walking in the dark, whistling in the dark. Nobody knows what is going to happen to him from one moment to the next, or how one will bear it. This is irreducible. And it’s true of everybody. Now, it is true that the nature of society is to create, among its citizens, an illusion of safety; but it is also absolutely true that the safety is always necessarily an illusion. Artists are here to disturb the peace.”

4) How does your writing process work?
At any given moment I have approximately one gajillion ideas bouncing around in my head - characters, situations, titles, speculative elements, weird shit that really happened, news stories, YouTube videos, etc. I tend to let that stuff percolate for a while, encouraging story ideas to bounce off each other, adding stuff to a spreadsheet (YES I HAVE A SPREADSHEET OF STORY IDEAS DON’T JUDGE ME). Usually a story doesn’t really start rolling for me until a couple separate ideas come together (”what if that boy trying to find his vanished best friend were a survivor of that Soviet human experimentation you read about?”) and then I can start to put flesh on the bones. Reading helps, and watching television and movies - seeing new exciting ways to tell stories, or noting tropes or tricks that have an emotional impact on me, often provides the “ah-ha!” moment that can solve a writing puzzle I’ve been stumped by. As for when I write - early mornings, weekends, wherever I can steal an hour or two. Heavily impacted by my day job demands and whatever mountain of television shows my husband and I are currently digging ourselves out from under.

I’m “Recommended Reading” in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014!

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

I bought the new edition of Rich Horton’s consistently-excellent “Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy” anthology because (1) it’s consistently excellent, and (2) it had a story by my hero/ine Alaya Dawn Johnson that I hadn’t read before. So imagine my surprise when I finished the story and dried my tears and browsed through the “Recommended Reading” at the back of the book, and found my story “The Beasts We Want To Be,” from the final issue of Electric Velocipede!

Now, of course it would have been awesome to have my story ACTUALLY be in the anthology, but this recommended reading list is some pretty exquisite company to be in! Especially considering that two of the very best stories I read all year - Ted Chiang’s “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling,” and Vylar Kaftan’s “The Weight of the Sunrise” - are also there. Other phenomenal writers that I’m honored to be listed alongside include Charlie Jane Anders, Indrapramit Das, Aliette de Bodard, Jeffrey Ford, Theodora Goss, Maria Dhavana Headley, Matthew Kressel, Ken Liu, Sofia Samatar, Ken Schneyer, Michael Swanwick, Rachel Swirsky, Genevieve Valentine, and Carrie Vaughn.

In two weeks, it will be two years since I went away to the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Workshop in San Diego. To find myself listed in a best-of anthology alongside TWO of my Clarion teachers (Jeff and Ted) is the kind of bizarre wonderful surprise that almost kinda sorta soothes the lifelong-sadness-burn of returning to the real world when Clarion ends.

A new Clarion class is about to embark on the same adventure. I can’t wait to see their names in the best-of anthologies of years to come!

#SSS: Short Story Saturdays!!

Friday, March 28th, 2014

My resolution for 2014 was to read more short stories. And I’ve mostly been able to stick to it, because (1) apps like Pocket make it easy to save and organize and carry around all the excellent free short fiction that gets published on the web every week, (2) short stories are more suitable for treadmill reading than novels, and (3) unlike other resolutions (eating healthy, learning a language, being a good person etc), reading short stories is really really fun.

But when you read good writing, you wanna talk about it. And let’s face it, social media conversations don’t exactly blossom over short-form spec-fic the way they do over HuffPo articles and the latest celebrity shenanigans.

So when Daniel Jose Elder mentioned on Twitter that he’s “been pondering how to generate more buzz/conversation around short stories on social media..” that sounded like exactly the sort of thing I’d been thinking about. And of course the answer to any question on Twitter is: make a hashtag.

So Daniel, Lisa Bolekaja, and I came up with Short Story Saturday: #SSS. And then we started twatting at our writer friends and heroes, trying to build some buzz about it. And some awesome people got excited, and started retweeting us. And everybody knows it’s an ironclad law of the internet that once Cory Doctorow retweets something, it’s officially a thing.

And now we need you!! Let’s talk short stories, this Saturday.

Have you read a decent short story in the past week? Tell us all about it on Twitter, using hashtag #SSS to celebrate Short Story Saturday!

Vote for me, for the Locus Award!

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

My short story “The Beasts We Want To Be,” published in the final issue of Electric Velocipede, is on the ballot for the 43rd annual Locus Awards. Please check out my story, and vote for it if you like it! Deadline for voting is April 15th. Anyone can vote, but votes from Locus subscribers count double.

Some awesome people had some awesome things to say about it -

Gardner Dozois wrote of “The Beasts We Want to Be”:

Electric Velocipede 26 and 27 each … contained one of the best stories of the year…. The best story in Electric Velocipede 27, the magazine’s final issue, is “The Beasts We Want to Be” by new writer Sam J. Miller, a dark, brutal story of the kind of men produced by harrowing conditioning sessions with Skinner Boxes and electroshock therapy in an alternate Russia just after the Communist Revolution and how those men struggle to reconcile what they have become with what they once were.

Locus included it in their 2013 Recommended Reading List.

The ChiZine blog called it “heartbreaking,” and “a searing critique of society’s uncompromising expectation of a specific kind of masculinity,” and that while the protagonist “learns about beauty, love and the dangers of the Pavlov Boxes… in the end none of these messages have half the strength of the genuine grief at lost friendship that seeps off the page.”

Rich Horton wrote:

“The Beasts We Want to Be” by new writer Sam J. Miller [is] a strong SF horror story set in an alternate post-Revolution Russia told by a “Broken” soldier who has been conditioned in a “Pavlov’s Box” to serve the goals of the Revolution as he commandeers the artwork of an aristocratic family, then finds himself drawn to save a woman of that family from reconditioning, and then to save a painting of her husband.  Very dark stuff.

In her 2013 year in review for Locus, Lois Tilton called it “a strongly realistic piece of human loss.”

The online ballot is here; once again, the deadline is April 15th. Please check out my story, and vote for it if you like it! And then read tons of the other stuff on there. Everything on that list that I’ve read has been phenomenal, including stuff by friends and heroes like Ted Chiang, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Matthew Kressel, Jeffrey Ford, Karen Joy Fowler, Amahl El-Mohtar, Ken Liu, Aliette De Bodard, Indrapramit Das, James Patrick Kelly, Charlie Jane Anders, Christopher Barzak, Catherynne Valente, Kenneth Schneyer, Genevieve Valentine, and so many more.

I’ll be Part of the Lost & Found Show’s “Video Games” Edition!

Monday, March 10th, 2014

This Wednesday I’ll be reading at the Lost & Found Show’s Video Games Edition, at Le Poisson Rouge on Bleecker Street in New York City.

I have a well-documented obsession with old-school Nintendo games, so  I was excited to be asked to participate. And I love how the line-up of writers includes folks from lots of different artistic backgrounds.

The Facebook event is here; see below for all the details!

The Lost & Found Show’s “Video Games” Edition – Wednesday March 12th!

Featuring:

Peter Olson (Marvel, UCB, Spike TV)
Sam J. Miller (The Rumpus, Minnesota Review)
Matt London (Tor.com, Fantasy Magazine)
Anna Roisman (MTV, Huffington Post, College Humor)

Musical Guest:

The Royal Bees

Special Trivia Sponsored by:

Games For Change

Hosted by Daniel Guzman

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
(Doors 7:00PM) 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM

The Gallery at Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker St
(between Sullivan St. and Thompson St)
New York, NY 10012

Nearest Trains:
W 4th St (A, B, C, D, E, F, M)
8 St – NYU (N, R)
Bleecker St (6)
Broadway-Lafayette (B, D, F, M)

21+
FREE

Each month, we bring together authors, bloggers, comedians, and performers to share fiction and nonfiction stories involving a theme object that could be found in a lost and found box. We’ve featured burlesque stars, magicians, Moth Grand Slam winners, actors, someone’s mom, and a ukulele player.

For a list of upcoming theme objects, or to submit a story for consideration, visit:
lostfoundshow.com
Twitter: @lostfoundshow
Facebook.com/lostfoundshow

Book Reviews, by Me.

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

I’m excited to share that I’ve joined the crew of the phenomenal YA book review site Guys Lit Wire!!

My first review went live last week - check out my thoughts on the astonishingly beautiful Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

If you’re not familiar with GLW, do check it out. There’s nothing chauvinistic about its focus on teen boy readers - it’s really about recognizing that it’s very difficult to get teen boys excited about books, and that they often connect to books very differently from young women readers.

I’m a fan of anything that helps teachers/parents/librarians/whoever put great books in the hands of the young men in their lives. Especially gay and trans boys who are particularly hungry for books that reflect their own experiences. I remember how much it meant to Teenage Me, catching a glimpse of myself in a book. With all the exciting and diverse protagonists populating YA fiction these days - and all the great tools for hyping young people to books and giving them space to talk about them - it’s exciting to be part of that work.

Blogging Brilliant Stories: “Karina Who Kissed Spacetime,” by Indrapramit Das, and “The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere,” by John Chu

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

First of all, I owe this blog post to Brit Mandelo, whose recent Tor.com Short Fiction Spotlight hit my RSS reader with perfect timing, considering that my New Year’s Resolution was to READ MORE SHORT STORIES!! Which comes with a corollary commitment: to TALK about the stories I read, especially when they’re amazing, and to do that on my blog as a way to shout out awesome shit as well as force myself to put into words what works for me in great stories, which often make sense on an emotional level but not always on a verbal one. I tore right into Brit’s suggestions, and my life was much enriched.

So, borrowing Brit’s thunder, I’ll do two stories here, instead of my usual one, and hope that’ll kickstart my “Blogging Brilliant Stories” for 2014.

In 2012 I read and loved Indrapramit Das’s “Weep For Day,” in Asimov’s, so my eye is always out for more stuff from him (also, he’s a Clarion West grad, so we are telepathically linked through the Greater Clarion Collective Hive Mind). When Brit hyped Karina Who Kissed Spacetime (originally in Apex) I checked it out right away. It’s a beautifully imaged, richly felt flash of feeling and scene, capturing the adolescent head-rush joy-agony of first love so marvelously that it almost feels like the speculative element (the protagonist’s first love is capable of shattering the spacetime continuum and sending him dancing through time) might just as well be an expression of a young person’s euphoric hyperbolic way of seeing the world and experiencing emotion. That’s what I think great spec-fic should do: use ridiculous lies to dramatize and underscore something fundamentally true about the human condition; in this case, the worldbending intensity of teen love.

John Chu’s “The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere” is a near-perfect SFF story, using a totally fresh and wacky SF conceit (one day the laws of physics change and ice-cold water falls on you from nowhere when you tell a lie; also, attempts to game the system and equivocate may result in permanent insanity) to explore and illuminate the relationship between two boyfriends as one of them grapples with whether & how to come out to his parents. Phenomenal set-up of both the “magic” system and the characters; I was totally crushed out on the boyfriend. Then we travel home for the holidays, as the main character resolves to finally tell his parents what’s up. There’s a level on which its protagonist’s family drama, struggling to come out to his parents even as his sister is constantly blocking them from being alone with them, becomes a little comedy-of-errors, but I’m not sure that’s a demerit. I think it speaks to the strength of the story that it can so robustly deploy all the complex ramifications of a new and exciting speculative concept and then move on to use it to explore some fascinatingly real interpersonal dynamics. So even if the family nuance elements didn’t always work for me personally as well as the relationship between the narrator and his boyfriend, they do work. I suspect that, as someone who is IN an intercultural gay marriage, those moments of family tension and terror and magic and wonderfulness might in fact have worked too well for me.

A final note on “The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere” - sometimes you see the ending coming, and it ruins the story. BUT sometimes you hope the story will end a certain way, and when it does it’s a wonderful thing. That’s what happened with this one. I won’t spoil it, but there was a point 3/4 of the way through where I thought “ooooooh it would be so awesome if THIS THING happened,” and THAT THING happened, really nicely.

So, here’s to excellent stories, and reading more of them in 2014, and talking about them, and blogging about them. And oh yeah writing them too maybe.

“The Beasts We Want to Be,” in Electric Velocipede #27

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

The final issue of Electric Velocipede is out now. While I’m really sad this phenomenal journal is gone, I am really proud to have my story “The Beasts We Want to Be” included alongside tons of terrific work in this issue.  And it’s available for free on their website!

I wrote this one at Clarion 2012 - it’s about Soviet human experimentation, brotherly love, bloody revenge, and a maybe-magical painting. It was reviewed in Locus Magazine, who named it a “Recommended” story (and said “…The heart of it is this: How can ordinary people be brought to do acts of routine brutality? Or that there is something human in the worst of us?…”). Locus also cited it in their year-end best short fiction post.

Electric Velocipede also did a short interview with me, which they ran on their Facebook page, and which I’m pasting in here for folks who aren’t on Facebook.

1. What inspired you to write this story?
I firmly believe that the universe sends me important messages via the shuffle function on my MP3 player. The germ of this story sprouted when the National’s song “Abel” came on while I was out for a run, and for years I’ve wanted to capture in fiction the relationship that song describes. It’s about two men, friends, one of whom makes the other want to be a better person. Really it’s about the function our friends serve in our lives, and what happens to us when they disappear. And I find friendships between straight men fascinatingly fraught and complex in general. At the time I was attending the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop, and learning so much from my teachers and classmates about the limitless palette that speculative fiction gives us to explore the human experience in the most ridiculous marvelous ways. So of course I immediately thought: post-Revolution/Civil-War-era Soviet Russia, monstrous human experimentation, magical painting, deceit, betrayal, love, revenge, death. Like you do. And then Ted Chiang read it and asked me like one question that turned my whole world on end and helped me turn the story into something way more awesome than anything I could have done on my own.

2. What’s your favorite thing about it?
I think the Pavlov Boxes are neat. I’ve always found Soviet history to be pretty fricking SFF, but I’m aware that FOR SOME REASON other people don’t get quite so excited about the subject. So if I captured that in a way other people can get into, I’m pleased.

3. What is your favorite color?
I love them all. You’d have to be more specific. For clothing I love dark greys, reds, blues. For food I love greens and reds. For nature I love a nice autumn palette.

Electric Velocipede: Issue 27 Release Party - and Memorial Service

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

After twelve years of publishing crucial fiction and poetry from some of the most exciting names in science fiction & fantasy, the seminal magazine Electric Velocipede will cease publication upon the release of its 27th issue.

Join NYC-based fans for an event that’s equal parts release party and memorial service, with current and past contributors to the journal reading and reminiscing and rhapsodizing and eulogizing. Also, there will be candy.

Friday, February 28th, at 7PM

Bluestockings Books (172 Allen Street, on the Lower East Side - F/V to 2nd Avenue),

Hosted by Issue #27 contributors Nancy Hightower & Sam J. Miller

Did we mention candy?

With readings and remembrances from the following EV contributors:

Richard Bowes has published six novels, four short story collections and seventy stories. He has won two World Fantasy Awards, an International Horror Guild and a Million Writer Award. 2013 was a busy year: Lethe Press published a new Bowes novel Dust Devil on a Quiet Street and republished his 1999 Lambda Award Winning Minions of the Moon. Also out this year is an illustrated book of modern fairy tales, The Queen, the Cambion and Seven Others from Aqueduct and If Angels Fight a career spanning story collection from Fairwood.


Nancy Hightower’s short fiction and poetry has been published in Strange Horizons, Word Riot, storySouth, Gargoyle, Electric Velocipede, Prick of the Spindle, and Bourbon Penn, among others. Her debut novel Elementarí Rising came out with Pink Narcissus Press in 2013.


Robert J. Howe has published short fiction in Electric Velocipede, Salon.com, Intergalactic Medicine Show, the magazines AnalogBlack GatePulphouse, and Weird Tales; the anthologies Happily Ever After and Newer York, and elsewhere. Howe is the editor, with John Ordover, of the anthology Coney Island Wonder Stories.Howe is a graduate of the journalism program at Brooklyn College, and the Clarion Writer’s Workshop at Michigan State University. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York, and works in higher education communications.

Brooklyn born and bred (with the accent to prove it), Barbara Krasnoff has sold over 25 short stories to a variety of publications. Her work can be found in the anthologies Memories and Visions, Such A Pretty Face, Descended From Darkness, Clockwork Phoenix 2, Broken Time, Subversion, Fat Girl in a Strange Land, and Menial. Her work has also appeared in Amazing Stories, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Descant, Weird Tales, Sybil’s Garage, Escape Velocity, Behind the Wainscot, Doorways, Apex, Electric Velocipede, Space and Time, Crossed Genres, Atomic Avarice and Cosmos.  Most recently, her story “The History of Soul 2065″ appeared in Clockwork Phoenix 4,  ”Under the Bay Court Tree” will be in an upcoming issue of Space and Time, and “Symbiosis” will be in Crossed Genres in early 2014. Barbara is also the author of a YA non-fiction book, Robots: Reel to Real, and is currently Sr. Reviews Editor for tech publication Computerworld. She is a member of the NYC writers group Tabula Rasa, and lives in (you guessed it) Brooklyn, NY, with her partner Jim Freund.

Matthew Kressel’s fiction has appeared in Lightspeed, Clarkesworld Magazine, io9.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Interzone, Electric Velocipede, Apex Magazine, and the anthologies Launch Pad, Naked CityAfter,The People of the Book, and The Mammoth Book of Steampunk, as well as other markets. He published and edited the speculative fiction magazine Sybil’s Garage, and in 2010 was nominated for a World Fantasy Award in the category of Special Award Non-Professional for his work. He also published Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy, which won the World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology in 2009. He is the co-host of the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series in Manhattan alongside Ellen Datlow. And he is a long-time member of the Altered Fluid writing group. His website is www.matthewkressel.net.

Sam J. Miller is a writer and a community organizer. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Nightmare Magazine, Strange Horizons, Electric Velocipede, Shimmer, Daily Science Fiction, The Minnesota Review, The Rumpus, and many more. He is the co-editor of Horror After 9/11, a critical anthology published by the University of Texas Press and included in the “Brilliant/Lowbrow” quadrant of the famedNew York Magazine Approval Matrix. Visit him at www.samjmiller.com

Mercurio D. Rivera’s short fiction has appeared in a variety of venues, including Asimov’s Science Fiction, Interzone, Nature, Black Static, Solaris Rising 2, Year’s Best SF 17, Unplugged: The Web’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages. He has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award and is a winner of Interzone’s annual readers’ poll. His collection Across the Event Horizon has been called “weird and wonderful,” with “dizzying switchbacks,” “a revelation” with “twists followed by more twists heightening a powerful sense of alienation and menace.” He is a born and bred Bronxite who loves playing paddleball on weekends.

William Shunn began his professional software development career at WordPerfect in 1991, where he wrote 80×86 assembly language code and helped kill the DOS version of that venerable word processor. He still uses WordPerfect for most of his prose writing, which includes more than thirty works of short fiction. His stories have appeared everywhere from Asimov’s to Salon, and have been shortlisted for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Five of those stories appeared in Electric Velocipede, including one under the nom de plume Perry Slaughter. Spilt Milk Press also published his chapbook An Alternate History of the 21st Century in 2007.  For three years, Bill hosted Chicago’s eclectic monthly Tuesday Funk reading series.  He now lives in New York City again, with his wife Laura Chavoen and their soft-coated wheaten terrier Ella the Wonder Dog.

Jonathan Wood is an Englishman in New York.There’s a story in there involving falling in love and flunking out of med school, but in the end it all worked out all right, and, quite frankly, the medical community is far better off without him, so we won’t go into it here.Electric Velocipede published the first short story he ever had accepted.  More recently his debut novel, No Hero was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “a funny, dark, rip-roaring adventure with a lot of heart, highly recommended for urban fantasy and light science fiction readers alike,” and Barnes and Noble listed it has one of the 20 best paranormal fantasies of the past decade.

New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series STARRING ME

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

On Tuesday, January 7th, I’ll be sharing a bill with the marvelous Jennifer Marie Brissett at the New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series. Participating in this venerable, 23-year-old series is a huge honor for me, and I know it’ll make for a hell of a night.

Jenn and I appeared on the radio program Hour of the Wolf last year, promoting our respective readings, and we had a blast. Jenn posted a link to the full audio on her blog, if you wanna get a sample of how much fun you’ll have if you come to the NYRSF event on January 7th.

Huge thanks to host Jim Freund, for having us on.

I’m quivering with excitement. Hope you can make it.

Reading will take place at the SoHo Gallery for Digital Art
138 Sullivan Street
Doors open at 6:30 PM
Program begins at 7:00
Admission Free
$7 donation suggested

Here’s Jenn reading, on WBAI with me last year. Note the 7 words you can’t say, on the radio station wall behind her.

Upcoming Publications: Electric Velocipede, Daily Science Fiction

Monday, November 25th, 2013

I’m super-excited to announce that I’ve got two short stories coming out in the near future!

My story “Sabi, Wabi, Aware, Yugen” will be published by Daily Science Fiction on December 6th. If you’re not already a subscriber to Daily Science Fiction, you should really consider doing so. A free excellent short story in your inbox EVERY DAY? Including mine???!? Go here to register, and if you do it before December 6th you’ll wake up to my story.

In addition, my story “The Beasts We Want to Be” will be included in Electric Velocipede #27. This is an incredible honor, the more so because it was recently announced that this will be the last issue of this important magazine. There’s no release date yet, but stay tuned to their website - and this one! - because Electric Velocipede is going to make a hell of an exit.

11 reasons why seeing Jurassic Park in 3D re-release was one of the best movie-theater experiences I’ve had in a long time.

Monday, April 8th, 2013

11. People my age who now have kids forgot just how scary the movie is, and brought their young kids, and some of those scenes had the whole theater screaming and crying.

10. People my age forgot just how scary the movie is, and THEY THEMSELVES might have screamed at a couple moments. And by “people my age” I of course mean “me.”

9. Dozens of teenagers whistling the theme music throughout the massive crowded 42nd Street multiplex.

8. Just like when I saw it at age 14, I got to the theater late and it was opening weekend and and I had to sit in the second row. AND IT WAS AWESOME.

7. When Lex said “I happen to be a vegetarian,” at least two people yelled “DIKE.”

6. B.D. Wong is so adorable.

5. As a grown-up, I’m much more able to tune out Jeff Goldblum’s obnoxiousness.

4. #MotherFuckingImax

3. Velociraptor/Tyrannosaurus rivalry. One is the reigning queen, the other is the fresh young ingenue upstart who thinks she’s bad, with her giant razor toe claw and ABILITY TO OPEN DOORS, tryna upstage a bitch, being all “I’M THE SCARIEST!”

2. The velociraptor/tyrannosaurus rivalry gettin settled in the most spectacular dinosaur-ex-machina OH-SHIT-NO-THEY-DI’INT climax EVER.

1. I sometimes forget, but it’s a truth universally acknowledged: TYRANNOSAURUSES ARE THE BEST MONSTERS EVER AND THEY’RE REAL.

Blogging Brilliant Stories: “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary,” by Ken Liu

Friday, February 15th, 2013

I read this story over the summer and fell utterly hopelessly in love, and I’ve been meaning to do a blog post rant about its awesomeness ever since.

The full text of the story is available online, here. Go. The story will convince you of its perfection far better than I could. I’ll wait.

This is a time travel story. It’s a story about the Japanese occupation of China in the 1930’s-40’s, and about the medical testing lab in Pingfang District, which many call the Asian Auschwitz, where thousands of Chinese were murdered in the course of unspeakably horrible “experiments.” And as the story says, “at the end of the War, General MacArthur, supreme commander of the Allied forces, granted all members of Unit 731 immunity from war crimes prosecution in order to get the data from their experiments and to keep the data away from the Soviet Union.” If for nothing more than its comprehensive capsule history of this ugly era, “The Man Who Ended History” is worth reading (… really, I gotta say, the authorities at Pingfang were light years ahead of the Nazis when it comes to dreaming up truly horrific things to do to the human body).

Of course no matter how awesome its speculative conceit is, or how important and weighty its subject matter, no story can truly live and breathe without great characters with complex relationships, and “The Man Who Ended History” has those. I loved the time I got to spend with Evan Wei and Akemi Kirino; I found Wei’s dilemma and its ultimate “resolution” very moving.

There’s also a ton of really detailed stuff exploring problems of continuity and consistency between the current governments of China and Japan, and their counterparts of the era of the Pingfang atrocities. I adore that shit, and this story does it so well.

But here’s the heart of why this story rises above “great” and becomes “brilliant,” in my book.

It’s my firm belief that science fiction/fantasy is the only language in which we can discuss human suffering at the staggering scope of genocide. Genocide is the stuff of nightmare; it’s a suspension of all the rules that human beings live by, and we can’t actually attempt to understand it by exploring a fictional world where those rules still apply.  Godzilla is the only way to get our heads around Hiroshima. Octavia Butler’s Kindred is the window through which we can watch American slavery.

That’s what “The Man Who Ended History” does, and does it in ways that convince us, whether or not we know anything at all about China-Japan relations in the present or the past, that the little-known atrocities at Pingfang are absolutely essential to understanding what it means to be human.