“Subduction” Podcast on StarShipSofa!




The guys at StarShipSofa have put together a wonderful podcast of my F&SF novelette “Subduction”! Many thanks to Assistant Editor Jeremy Szal for expediting production, and to Editor/Producer Tony Smith for his flattering words about the story and my writing group, Altered Fluid.

When the story came out in print this summer, Lois Tilton in Locus Online called it “inspired” and said “the prose makes it a joy to read.” I was prepared to be very picky about the narration, but Mark Kilfoil does a great job with it.

The link to the podcast is here.  “Subduction” begins at the 21:00 mark.

For some more color on the story, an interview I did with F&SF editor C. C. Finlay when it was first published is here.


New Old Stuff, And A Nice Review

Space Opera

Hooray!  This is the package containing my contributor’s copies of Space Opera, edited by Rich Horton.  It’s an anthology of reprints by some great authors, and it also includes my story “The Muse of Empires Lost.”

I’ve been looking forward to this delivery for a  long time. The original plan for this book started years ago, and then got back-burnered.  The lineup of stories must have changed when it was resurrected, because several of them were published more recently.

On the cover my name appears with its more common spelling (“…And More”) but I can’t say I mind,  considering the company.  I’m flattered as all get out to be included in this collection — and that Horton kept me in it despite the other changes — and I can’t wait to start reading.

Here’s the table of contents:

“The Knight of Chains, the Deuce of Stars” by Yoon Ha Lee (Lightspeed, August 2013)
“The Wreck of the Godspeed” by James Patrick Kelly (Between Worlds, August 2004)
“Saving Tiamaat” by Gwyneth Jones (The New Space Opera, June 2007)
“Six Lights off Green Scar” by Gareth L. Powell (The Last Reef, August 2008)
“Glory” by Greg Egan (The New Space Opera, June 2007)
“The Mote Dancer and the Firelife” by Chris Willrich (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, #90, March 2012)
“On Rickety Thistlewaite” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, January-February 2010)
“War Without End” by Una McCormack (Conflicts, April 2010)
“Finisterra” by David Moles (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, December 2007)
“Seven Years from Home” by Naomi Novik (Warriors, March 2010)
“Plotters and Shooters” by Kage Baker (Fast Forward 1, Feb 2007)
“The Muse of Empires Lost” by Paul Berger (Twenty Epics, August 2006)
“Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette (Fast Ships, Black Sails, 2008)
“Lehr, Rex” by Jay Lake (Forbidden Planets, Nov 2006)
“Cracklegrackle” by Justina Robson (The New Space Opera 2, July 2009)
“Hideaway” by Alastair Reynolds (Interzone #157, July 2000)
“Isabel of the Fall” by Ian R. MacLeod (Interzone #169, 2001)
“Precious Mental” novella by Robert Reed (Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2013)
“The Two Sisters in Exile” by Aliette de Bodard (Solaris Rising 1.5)
“Lode Stars” by Lavie Tidhar (The Immersion Book of SF, Sept 2010)
“Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew (Clarkesworld, December 2013)
“The Tear” novella by Ian McDonald (Galactic Empires, Feb 2008)

Space Opera is available here.


Other News –


Patrick Mahon at SFcrowsnest just reviewed the current issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, guest edited by C.C. Finlay and containing my story “Subduction.”  He concludes Finlay did “a fine job … pulling together uniformly high quality stories that kept me entertained throughout.”

In his review of “Subduction,” he writes:

This is an excellent story, full of telling details and subtle character interactions. Despite having no memory, Oliver comes across as a strong person but the real star of the story is Moira, who is tough, independent and the unacknowledged saviour of her island and everyone on it.

In case I still need to remind anyone, a free Kindle download of “Subduction” will be available through the end of August here.

“Subduction” Interview

C.C. Finlay has posted an interview promoting my F&SF story “Subduction” on the Fantasy & Science Fiction blog.   It has a comic!

And remember, there’s a free Kindle version of the story available here.   Fantasy & Science Fiction, Free Exclusive Digest

That’s Subduction

I spotted the July/August issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction featuring my story “Subduction” in my local Barnes & Noble this morning.  There it is, tucked between Tin House and Rosebud.

F&SF at B&N


And in a cool bit of synchronicity, today’s xkcd comic was called “Subduction Licence.”



So in case you were wondering, that’s subduction.



Subduction on the Kindle, for Free!

The Kindle digest version of the July/August Fantasy & Science Fiction is up on Amazon now. It’s free. And it features my story Subduction.

You can get it here.  Choose “Buy Now With 1-Click” and it will show up in your Kindle reader, or in the Kindle app you have on any other device.

Get it soon, because it will disappear off Amazon at the end of August!

Spiders. Alive.

I’m just going to say this, and if you can’t deal with it, tough.  The American Museum of Natural History, where I have been an educator and tour guide for the last thirteen years, will open an exhibition of live spiders and other arachnids on July 4.  It’s called Spiders Alive! And I am one of the presenters who will be handling tarantulas and scorpions to give demonstrations to the visitors.

A year ago, if you had told me I would be doing this, I would not have believed you.

These arachnids are very alien in how they perceive the world and move through it, but the more time I spend with them, the more they make sense to me, and the more sympathetic they become.

Here are a few of my new co-workers:

That last one is the weirdest creature you’ve never heard of before, called a vinegaroon.   It’s kind of goofy and charming, and walks like it’s made of clockwork.   It has pincers, but it doesn’t use them in self-defense.   The worst it will do, if it’s really stressed, is spray concentrated acetic acid, which is the active component in vinegar.

Here’s a video of what the exhibition will be about.

The Less Common Spelling of My Name

The critics have started to post reviews of the July/August issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which includes my story Subduction.  The first one we heard from was Lois Tilton in Locus Online — she gave my story a “Recommended,” and wrote:

Excellent adult fiction…an inspired notion, and the prose makes it a joy to read.

Lois Tilton said that.

Also, my author’s copies of the issue just arrived.  Here’s what it looks like:

When I first saw that cover, I took a quick peek and was immediately  jealous of all the folks whose names appeared on it.  Fellow Altered Fluid member Alaya Dawn Johnson is listed there, but she certainly deserves it because her work has been getting a lot of attention lately.  Then a few minutes later I took another look, and this time I noticed, way up at the very top, my name, along with the title of the story.  Usually when I’m mentioned on a cover, my name is spelled “…And Others” and it appears towards the bottom.  I almost didn’t recognize it this time.

Subduction will be the story included in the promotional digest of this issue, which means it will be available for free as a Kindle e-book download during July and August.

Now I can say it: Sale, to F&SF!

The embargo is over and I’m free to announce this: My story “Subduction” has been bought by The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, to appear in the issue guest-edited by C.C. Finlay (July/August)!

This is a particular thrill for me because I recall reading F&SF as far back as middle school, and it was my first real exposure to short-form speculative fiction.  As a kid, when I imagined being a writer, I pictured that it would involve this magazine.

(Coincidentally, Gordon Van Gelder, the magazine’s editor and publisher, has strong ties to the American Museum of Natural History as well — his father, Richard Van Gelder, was the chairman of the Mammalogy department, and was responsible for designing the famous blue whale exhibit in the Millstein Hall of Ocean Life.)

It looks like it’s going to be a wonderful issue.  Fellow Altered Fluid member Alaya Dawn Johnson also has a great story in it.

The stories in this issue will be:

  • William Alexander, “The Only Known Law”
  • Charlie Jane Anders, “Palm Strike’s Last Case”
  • Paul M. Berger, “Subduction”
  • Haddayr Copley-Woods, “Belly”
  • Sarina Dorie, “The Day of the Nuptial Flight”
  • Annalee Flower Horne, “Seven Things Cadet Blanchard Learned From the Trade Summit Incident”
  • Cat Hellisen, “The Girls Who Go Below”
  • Alaya Dawn Johnson, “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i”
  • Sandra McDonald, “End of the World Community College”
  • David Erik Nelson, “The Traveling Salesman Solution”
  • Dinesh Rao, “The Aerophone”
  • Ian Tregillis, “Testimony of Samuel Frobisher Regarding Events Upon His Majesty’s Ship Confidence, 14-22 June, 1818, With Diagrams”


Here’s the link to C.C. Finlay’s announcement.

751 people submitted stories for this issue during his two week reading period.  Here’s his blog entry about his decision process, with a heavy dose of rejectomancy.

Catching Up

Holy cow, has it really been this long since I last posted here?  Here are a couple of items to bring the news about my writing more or less up to date:

Last July my story “Good Deaths” appeared in the anthology Zombies: Shambling through the Ages.  “Good Deaths” is two parts Japanese ghost story and one part zombie tale, and it explains a real life historical event —  in the late 1500′s an assassination attempt was made on the life of warlord Oda Nobunaga, and when the assassin was caught, Nobunaga ordered an extraordinarily slow and gruesome method of execution that makes perfect sense in a zombie collection.  I had a lot of fun applying the Japan trivia I’ve been accumulating over the years to this tale.

Product Details

Prime Books recently contacted me for permission to reprint my squidpunk far-future SF story “The Muse of Empires Lost” in Space Opera, edited by Rich Horton.  It’s coming out in April and it looks like it will be a great anthology.

I’m a member of  SFWA now!

This is because I just made my final qualifying professional sale, and it’s to a great market that I’ve wanted to be involved with since I first started writing.  The story is “Subduction,” and it involves plate tectonics and the Pacific Northwest and some big elemental beasts, and draws on all sorts of things I’ve picked up during my training to be a tour guide at the American Museum of Natural History.   The editor has asked me to keep the details quiet for the time being so they can handle the buzz properly, but it will be published this summer and I’ll be able to discuss it publicly some time before then.   And they were remarkably good about getting me paid right away.

More about Meshie

Two years ago I posted this anecdote about the stuffed chimpanzee in this photo.  To recap, during the 1930′s, a curator in the American Museum of Natural History adopted the chimp on a trip to Africa, named her Meshie, and attempted to raise her as part of his human family for years, treating her like (or better than) one of his own children.  The experiment went badly for everyone involved — the children were terrified of the chimp; Meshie was sent to a zoo; and she eventually ended up as a museum exhibit.

I posted that story just because I thought it was fascinating, and because it might make an interesting blog entry.  However, I keep underestimating the Web’s ability to connect people.  I just got an email from Harry Raven, the son who had had to share his home with Meshie, now in his mid-80s.  He wrote:

I came upon your site whilst (love that word) Googling for directions to the Meshie exhibit at the AMNH.  …  [A friend]  just read Joyce Wadler’s NY Times story and is eager to see my father’s pet.  I was afraid of my father, and I came to be afraid of Meshie as she matured. Working with Joyce to help create her story brought closure for me of a very troubling four years in our family history.

Ah, the Internet.  Never know where it will take you.

Harry Raven
(The Wadler NYT article he mentions is here.)
Harry’s right — you never know where the Internet will take you.