2015 IGMS Reader Poll

March 27, 2015


I’ve been sitting on this news for about a week, and now that the latest issue of InterGalactic Medicine Show is out, I can finally brag. The following are the results of the IGMS Reader Poll this year:

1st place – “The Sound of Distant Thunder” by Mike Barretta
2nd place – “The Golem of Deneb Seven” by Alex Shvartsman
3rd place (tie) – “Until We Find Better Magic” by H.G. Parry
3rd place (tie) – “High-Tech Fairies and the Pandora Perplexity” by Alex Shvartsman

Last year, “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” came in 2nd in the poll, and I’m very excited to see an even better result this time around. I was told that I am the first author in the history of the poll to place two stories in the top 3!

The illustration for “High-Tech Fairies” by Andres Mossa won first place in the Interior Art category of the contest.

I’d say this is a good week :)



Reddit AMA

March 25, 2015
Harvard Campus

Harvard campus


I’m back after my trip to Boston, which was awesome. Vericon was held on Harvard campus and most attendees were students. They were a pleasure to talk to, bright, driven and inquisitive. It’s as if Harvard strives to select the best and the brightest, or something! I got to hang out with old friends, meet new ones, participate in panels, read from my work, and listen to some very intelligent ideas presented by other panelists.

Ken Liu was the guest of honor at this event and he delivered a brilliant lecture on fiction translation. The caption on the screen behind Ken reads “Traduttore traditore,” an Italian pun meaning “To translate is to betray.” I really hope Ken writes the lecture down because I think the community would benefit greatly from his wisdom. He made me reevaluate some of my memories of living in the former USSR and our perception of Western culture and literature.

Ken Translation Speech

Ken Liu delivers the Guest of Honor speech at Vericon

I’m getting back into the swing of things now, and today I will be spending a chunk of my day answering questions on Reddit. This is my first time doing an AMA, so if you’re a Redditor (or even if you aren’t) come hang out in that thread and ask a question or two. I could use some friendly faces! :)

Click here to visit the AMA thread.



My 2015 Vericon Schedule

March 19, 2015

vericonThis weekend I’ll be attending Vericon — Harvard University’s annual science fiction convention.  This is a small affair with only a dozen or so guests and a handful of panels, but their other guests are top notch: this year’s roster includes Patrick and Teresa Nielsen-Hayden, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jo Walton, Will McIntosh and a plethora of other fine authors and editors. Ken Liu is the guest of honor (and also happens to be an alum).

I’m very excited to re-visit Boston, to visit Harvard for the first time, and to get to speak, participate on panels, and even do a reading there. I will stick around all weekend long, but these are the panels/functions I’m currently scheduled for, so come by and hear me (and people much smarter than me) speak, should you be so inclined:


7pm – Editing and Translating Genre Fiction (KL, AL, AS, PNH)  – Sever Hall 113

8pm – Diversity, Intersectionality, and Variety (DJO, KL, MRK, AS, JW) – Sever Hall 113


7pm – Alex Shvartsman Reading – Sever Hall 102

8pm – Milk & Cookies – Story Reading & Snacks – Lowell Lecture Hall Basement


11am – The Joys and Perils of Writing Short (MRK, KL, WM, GG, PNH, AS) – Sever Hall 111



Lots of cool news (with pictures)

March 17, 2015


Twelfth Planet Press announced the Honorable Mention list for the 2013 Year’s Best Young Adult Speculative Fiction. I’m very honored to have my story “Things We Leave Behind” included on this list! Ken Liu’s story from UFO2, “The MSG Golem” has made the list as well.

You can read Things We Leave Behind at Daily Science Fiction, where it was originally published. You can also listen to the story podcasted at Cast of Wonders, and narrated by me!




The May 16 issue of Crain’s New York Business Journal ran a profile on me in my capacity as owner and operator of Kings Games. All I have is this thumbnail for now, but I’m expecting some copies in the mail and am looking forward to reading the article.




These are the contributor copies of Informator Gdanskiego Klubu Fantastyki, which has been publishing my Tales of the Elopus mini-stories translated into Polish, one per issue. You can also see the PDF issues online, here. (Click on the magazine cover at top right.)


Editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt shared the cover art of Mission: Tomorrow, his anthology forthcoming from Baen this November which includes my story “The Race for Arcadia.” This will be my second appearance in a Baen anthology, after this summer’s release of the latest Chicks in Chainmail volume.



The Hook: Death Marked by Leah Cypess

March 13, 2015


DeathMarked HC cThe Hook:

The mirror shattered into a hundred pieces, a sudden explosion followed by a cascade of jagged shards. Ileni whirled, throwing her hands up in front of her face, but nothing hit her: no sharp pieces of glass, no sting of cut flesh. After a moment, she lowered her arms and crossed them over her chest.

The broken fragments of glass hovered in the air, glimmering with rainbow colors. Then they faded back into the mirror, smoothing into a shiny, unbroken oval.

“Impressive,” Ileni said. She had no idea who she was talking to, but it wasn’t difficult to sound unafraid. After six weeks in the Assassins’ Caves and three days as a prisoner of imperial sorcerers, false courage was second nature to her. “But since I’m the only one here, it seems a waste of effort.”

Leah Cypess writes:

This is the sequel to Death Sworn, a novel in which a naive ex-sorceress is entombed in a cave full of assassins in training — and discovers that her entire life was built on a lie. In Death Marked, Ileni is determined to find the truth for herself. But the answers she is seeking lie in the Imperial Academy of Sorcery, a place where danger and temptation sit side by side. If her true purpose is discovered, she won’t escape alive. But once she discovers what the imperial sorcerers can offer her, she may not want to leave at all.

Except this place has its secrets, too.

The truth is never purely evil or purely good. And Ileni no longer knows whose side she is on.

Most of my critique partners expected me to start Death Marked right where Death Sworn ended. Instead, I jumped ahead 3 days so I could start with a bang (literally), and begin with Ileni situated exactly where her struggles and conflicts throughout the book would take place. She’s a prisoner in a strange new place, and discovering the secrets of this place will form the heart of the novel.

My decision made the beginning a bit less straightforward to write. I still had to explain what happened in those three days, not to mention what happened in the first book. This required me to violate the no-flashbacks-in-the-first-chapter rule, though fortunately that’s a rule I’ve never been that fond of. The trick was explaining the past in short bursts that wouldn’t slow down the forward action of the new story, while still making the sequence of events easy to understand. Beginnings are usually easy for me, but I reworked this one at least ten times. Maybe that’s typical for sequels — I guess I’ll find out when I find the fortitude to write another one!

Buy Death Marked on Amazon

About the author:

Leah Cypess is the author of several young adult fantasy novels published by HarperCollins. Her latest book, Death Marked, is the second in a duology about a sorceress forced to serve as magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins. She has also published several pieces of short fiction, including the Nebula-nominated “Nanny’s Day” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, March 2012). She lives in the D.C. area with her family. You can find out more about her at www.leahcypess.com, or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter (@LeahCypess).



If you’re an author with a book coming out soon and you wish to participate on The Hook, please read this.


RIP Terry Pratchett

March 12, 2015

This is not what I wanted to write about today.

Terry Pratchett, best known for his series of Discworld novels, was one of the most important voices in speculative humor.  His work had a profound influence on generations of writers, and brightened lives of millions of readers worldwide. I never personally met him or got an opportunity to work with him, and feel there is little I can say to add to the loud chorus of voices more eloquent and more relevant on this subject than my own, but I will say this: whether you are a long-time fan or are learning about him now, should you wish to honor his memory, the best way to do so is by reading (or re-reading) one of his books.

A few years ago I reached out to Mr. Pratchett to see if I might be able to acquire a reprint (or, who knows, even an original story!) for one of the UFO volumes. His agent got back to me and declined to sell me a reprint, because there would be a short story collection coming out soon and he wasn’t interested in shopping short story reprints around, at least not at the rates UFO could afford. And so I didn’t get to publish Terry, but although this collection took longer than expected, it is actually coming out in less than a week.

I’ll be picking up a copy of “A Blink of the Screen” and humbly suggest that you do so as well.


There is a number of much happier news I’d like to share as well:

* The Unidentified Funny Objects 4 Kickstarter campaign is going well. After three days, we have nearly 120 backers and are only a few hundred dollars away from 50% of the funding. There’s always a slow-down in the middle (offset by lots of activity in the first few and last few days of the campaign), but momentum counts, so if you plan on backing this book, please don’t wait for the last day!

* I accepted a flash story by Brent C. Smith titled “The Transformation of Prince Humphrey” for UFO4. I read an earlier version of this story in a contest we both participated in, and out of 200+ stories I read for that contest it was my favorite. So I reached out to him and, after a few rounds of edits, accepted the updated variant of the story for the book. Don’t worry though: there’s plenty of room for stories that will come in during the open submission period next month!

* Two of my own stories found new homes (well, the same home, actually.)  Mike Resnick accepted both for publication in Galaxy’s Edge.

“Islands in the Sargasso” is an 8000-word space opera novelette in the shared world setting regular readers of Galaxy’s Edge are already familiar with. I had the pleasure of advancing the setting by 200 years and allowing humans to finally escape the confines of our solar system — but you’ll have to read the story to learn the details.

“Dreidel of Dread: The Very Cthulhu Channukah” is one of the silliest humor flash pieces I’ve ever written. It makes fun of saccharine Christmas specials, uses copious amounts of Jewish humor, quotes both Einstein and The Ghostbusters film… and, of course, there’s Cthulhu!

Both stories should be appearing in GE later this year.



UFO4 Kickstarter Campaign is Now Live

March 9, 2015

Today I launched the Kickstarter campaign for Unidentified Funny Objects 4 - the 4th annual collection of humorous science fiction and fantasy. This will be our first themed volume, and will feature stories by George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Piers Anthony, Esther Friesner, Mike Resnick, Karen Haber, Jody Lynn Nye, Gini Koch, Karen Haber and Tim Pratt.

There will be a submission window in April so that newer authors have a chance at sharing the table of contents with these established pros. All authors will be paid at pro rates.

And, of course, there’s a gorgeous and funny cover, by Tomasz Maronski:

image description

Please check out the campaign page, and help me spread the word of it to others? #SFWAPro



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 197 other followers