Short Stories, etc



Lightspeed Magazine, September 2014

“We Are the Cloud”

Nominee for the Nebula Award for Novelette, and the Theodore Sturgeon Award 

Reprinted in “Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy” 2015

“Miller has a nearly unparalleled knack for writing heart-wrenching characters and painful personal attachments.” –Charlotte Ashley, Apex Magazine.

Sketch35121315-1“I loved this story unabashedly: Sauro’s voice and vulnerability, the generosity of his character, and the integrity of his engagement with the unflinching awfulness of the premise are tremendously effective. It’s a heart-breaking, harrowing piece, made all the more so by that near-future vision’s many intersections with the present: in his Author Spotlight, Miller expands on the realities of foster kids’ prospects and the gross systemic injustices they face. It’s also a desperately elegant story, combining a careful structure with a depth and intensity of emotion that puts me in mind of ivy bursting from a brick wall; the very controlled, deliberate punctuation of Sauro’s present with moments from his past is a mixing of mechanical and organic reminiscent of the cloud-ports themselves.” – Amal El-Mohtar

“A story of the sort that gets the Sad and Rabid Puppies foaming.” – Happiness is Free SF

“A darkly cynical piece that doesn’t sugar-coat its circumstances.” – Locus

Lightspeed, August 2015

Ghosts of Home”

wpid-sketch61131949-2-1.jpg“The best story in the August Lightspeed comes from Sam J Miller, who has repeatedly impressed with his first several stories, and who shows a lot of range. “Ghosts of Home” is about the housing crisis of 2008 and its effects on people like the main character Agnes and her mother, but it’s set in a version of our world where household spirits are real.” – Rich Horton, in Locus

“The main thing I love about this story is that it empathizes with a type of person who doesn’t often get empathy. We often hear about those mysterious people out there who vote against their own interests or support politicians, policies, and official actions that harm them personally or harm their community. Writing such people off is easy. Understanding how it is they got to that place isn’t, and that’s one of the things Miller tackles here. Highly recommended.” – K. Tempest Bradford, in io9

This story also got a nice review from Tangent. 

Interview with me about this story is here.

Audio version of the story is here.

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 106, July 2015

When Your Child Strays From God”


“… an evangelical Christian pastor’s wife dealing with the sinful rebelliousness of her teenage son… a really cool made up drug that sounds absolutely transformative and I want to try it (along with a few close friends… very close)… Miller excels at blending cool speculative ideas with characters and situations very much grounded in our world.” – i09 Newstand

“It’s kind of unnerving how well the story explores the intricacies of the woman’s relationship with her son, the woman’s own self-image and outlook on life. It would have been easy to make her something of a monster. Or, I guess, it does make her something of a monster, but a very human one, one that is easily recognizable… It’s an amazing story, people, and you need to go out and read it now. Go, go and read and I will find a tissue and probably something to drink. Because damn.” – Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews

“The story hooks us with its humor and then moves into vulnerable territory in order to make its point… moving and lovely.” – Tangent 

Also available in audio format, read by the amazing Kate Baker! 

Asimov's, September 2015


rodin-statue__b“Father and son story in a near future when the Arctic melting and the rise of the oceans has led to a flood of refugees; North Americans are generally unwelcome, and Dom is relatively fortunate to have found a place on a floating city and grunt work on iceboats. The only good thing in his life has been the son whom he can only see when he gets back from three-month work shifts on the boats, but now, looking at Thede, he sees a stranger who seems to hate him… This scenario is the most science-fictional in the issue, realistically depicting likely consequences of global climate change.” – Locus

“Dom is desperate to change his son’s opinion. And to accomplish this he … does something which will haunt me for years to come. When I finished this story I wanted to scream. I wanted to punish Miller for writing something which so gut my emotions. I wanted to hug him for creating a story so beautifully captivating and so perfectly devastating to read. “Calved” by Sam. J. Miller is one of the year’s best stories and will likely be on my Hugo and Nebula Award short list. Seek this story out and read it.” – Jason Sanford

“The fourth really strong story from Miller I’ve read in the last 12 months or so. It’s his first for Asimov’s, and I would imagine/hope the first of many. As with his other stories he creates really believable, complex, and flawed characters, in a gritty, near future setting.” – Best SF

Uncanny Magazine #2, January 2015

The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History” 

“…puts a supernatural twist on the Stonewall Riots, an important event in the gay rights movement… the story does an excellent job of capturing a moment in time, the injustice of the police, the desperation of men and women trying to find a place to be… a call for change that can easily be brought forward from the past and unpacked in the present.” – Tangent

“The Beasts We Want to Be”

in Electric Velocipede #27, December 2013

Finalist for the Locus Award, 2014.

Soviet human experimentation, brotherly love, bloody revenge, and a maybe-magical painting.

Reviewed in Locus Magazine, who named it a “Recommended” story!! “…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?…” Later also cited in their year-end best short fiction post.

Listed as “Recommended Reading” in Rich Horton’s “Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014,” and an “Honorable Mention” in Gardner Dozois’s “Year’s Best Science Fiction – Volume 31”

“Allosaurus Burgers,” in Shimmer #20, July 2014.

Highlighted by io9, who said “love the voice“!

wpid-sketch10593940-1.jpgWeaving a complex family life without succumbing to cliche or simplification, the story shows the characters in all their richness, and handles a pivotal moment in a child’s life with art and power.” – Tangent

An interview with me about this story is here.

University of Texas Press, 2011

Horror After 9/11: World of Fear, Cinema of Terror  


Critical anthology, co-edited by myself and the amazing Aviva Briefel.

The first major exploration of the horror film genre through the lens of 9/11 and the subsequent transformation of American and global society.

Reviewed in The New Republic, and featured in New York Magazine‘s Approval Matrix as “brilliant/lowbrow”!!

 “Alloy Point,” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies #163, December 2014. “Miller’s metallic world is enticing, with its monstrous law enforcement, mysterious City Fathers, strict case system, and emphasis on creation, but the thrust of this story (as is the often the case with Miller’s work) is personal.” – Apex.

 “Songs Like Freight Trains,” in Interzone #254, September 2014. Songs let you time-travel! Reviewed in Locus (“The prose is appropriately evocative, the premise compelling”). 
Sabi, Wabi, Aware, Yugen,” in Daily Science Fiction. December, 2013. Nanotech bad-assery, Westerners trying to adopt Zen aesthetics as a template for corporate dystopian survival. 
“The Luke Letters” in Upstreet #8, 2013. Cited in Best American Essays 2013 as an “Other Notable Essay.” 
 “The Country of Dead Voices,” in Icarus, Spring 2013. Reprinted in Best Gay Stories 2014 (edited by Steve Berman).

“Sex, Death, Facebook,” in The Rumpus. September 2009. Creative nonfiction about how sex and social networking sites help us process grief. “Fucking and dying—these two things everyone has in common, that no one wants to talk about.” 
Galactica Sitrep, June 2009

“The Heart of the Female Warrior: An Interview with Mary McDonnell”

I had the incredible honor of interviewing the actress who played President Laura Roslin on Battlestar Galactica, my favorite character from one of my two favorite shows ever, and I got to ask her about the show, the character, and so much more. And she even asked me what thought about the series finale!

“Artists really grapple, in general, with a sense of purpose and a sense of responsibility… my talent seems to spring to life more readily when it’s being asked to serve a story that tries to honestly reflect what we really are as humankind, and what we might be, and tries to take responsibility for some of the past, and stand squarely in it.”

 “Black as the Sea,” in Arts & Letters Issue #25, Spring 2011.

Told by a little Jewish boy during the Odessa Pogrom of 1905, a sort of meta-Isaak-Babel piece, if Babel was writing with a full knowledge of all the horrors that the Soviet 30s and 40s would bring.

 “Black Babe,” in Slice Magazine Issue #7 – Fall 2010. Noir-style short story set in 1948, about a sex worker who has evidence that Babe Ruth was Black, and the conspiracy of gangsters out to silence her before she can spread the word….

Operation Skunk,” in The Minnesota Review, Issue #70 – Summer 2008. The editors subsequently nominated this story for The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses XXXIV 
“Haunting Your House,” in Fiction International, Issue #41. Fall 2008. A gentrification ghost story. Subsequently republished in Best Gay Stories 2009 and in Cool Thing: Best New Gay Fiction from Young American Writers, edited by Blair Mastbaum and Will Fabro.

 “Burning Down Wal-Mart,” in Washington Square Issue #25 – Winter/Spring 2010. “I picture tomorrow morning’s newspaper photos, the burned-down husk of it, like a bombed-out aircraft hangar, like Hiroshima, like Wal-Mart came to the wrong town and fucked with the wrong boy.” 

“Men Kill Things,” in The L Magazine. Summer 2010. “What were we thinking, four years ago, when we signed a mortgage full of words we had never seen before?” 
“Haunting Our Homes: Nightmares of Gentrification,” in Alternet, October 2007. Essay about how the modern haunted house film is really about the anxieties caused by gentrification. “Again and again we see fictional families move into spaces from which others have been violently displaced, and the new arrivals suffer for that violence even if they themselves have done nothing wrong.”

“Sleeping is a Crime” Clamor Magazine, December 2004. Article about a civil disobedience action where I was arrested for sleeping in Central Park to protest the NYPD’s policies of arresting homeless people for engaging in life-sustaining activity (like sleep!) that is not against the law. Co-written with two homeless members of PTH who helped organize the action.

 Depression Halved Production Costs,” SMUT! Issue #5. Fall/Winter 2005. Reprinted in Best Gay Erotica 2006, Cleis Press.