Capclave 2015 Schedule and UFO4 Launch Party

October 8, 2015

I had three boxes of UFO4 books ship directly to the hotel so we’d have them in time for Capclave! My first time holding one of those babies will be tomorrow. You can be among the very first to get your hands on it as well as receive two free e-books: Funny Science Fiction and H. G. Wells: Secret Agent. That’s right, free. I will give those two e-books to everyone who attends the launch party.

The launch party will take place at Capclave, in the Gaighersburg Hilton Hotel Suite 1209 this Saturday 5pm-7pm. Authors Fran Wilde, Lawrence B. Schoen and Andrew Kaye will be on hand to read from their works published in UFO and Funny Science Fiction volumes. Copy editor Elektra Hammond and I will talk about the editorial side of things at UFO and, of course, answer any questions folks might have. And there will be books!

I’m doing readings, signings, MCing an award ceremony and otherwise planning to have a great time at Capclave. Here’s where you can find me this weekend:

Friday 5:00 pm: Crowdfunding & Alternative Funding for Writers (Ends at: 5:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists:Bill Campbell, Neil Clarke, Barbara Krasnoff, Alex Shvartsman (M)
Traditionally, publishers gave authors an advance on royalties in exchange for the completed manuscript. Today, some writers are receiving alternate revenue streams including crowdfunding of anthologies and novels in advance by the public, serialization in which the author releases a chapter (or story) as long as readers continue to fund it, and electronic self-publishing. What methods have you used and what works? What new methods do you see in the future? How will this change the creation of books?
Friday 7:00 pm: Translating Speculative Fiction (Ends at: 7:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists:Neil Clarke, Jim Freund (M), Shahid Mahmud, Alex Shvartsman
Many non-English countries get much of their science fiction in translation. And English readers are finally being given access to more Chinese, Japanese and other non-English works. Why is this happening now? What are some of the special challenges with translating genre works? How do translators cope with invented words and concepts? What about different storytelling methods and literary techniques?
Saturday 1:00 pm: Reading – Alex Shvartsman (Ends at: 1:25 pm) Frederick
Author:Alex Shvartsman
Saturday 4:00 pm: Non-Western Influences In Fantasy (Ends at: 4:55 pm) Salon B/C
Panelists:Day Al-Mohamed, Ann Chatham, Alex Shvartsman, Michael Swanwick (M)
Traditionally, most fantasy has been based on Western folklore, usually with a medieval-inspired setting. However, alternative settings and concepts are becoming more common with writers mining Asian, African, Native American, and Middle Eastern sources. What writers do this most effectively? How do you decide what traditions/concepts to adopt and how do research/use them? Is it cultural appropriation when writers incorporate themes from other traditions, and how do you so appropriately?
Saturday 5:00 pm: Book Launch – Alex Shvartsman (Ends at: 6:55 pm) Suite 1209
Author:Alex Shvartsman
Unidentified Funny Objects 4
Saturday 9:00 pm: WSFA Small Press Awards (Ends at: 9:55 pm) Salon A
Presenter:Alex Shvartsman
The WSFA Small Press Award winner will be announced. The Guest of Honor Gifts will also be presented.
Saturday 10:00 pm: Fiction With A Laugh Track (Ends at: 10:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists:Brenda W. Clough, Andrew Fox (M), Larry Hodges, Alex Shvartsman
What are the tips and tricks in writing humorous SF and fantasy? What can an author do to avoid the obvious pitfalls, and spot the not-so-obvious ones? How do you maintain a reputation for writing humorous SF or fantasy, and what is the benefit of doing so?
Sunday 11:00 am: Is the Anthology Dead? (Ends at: 11:55 am) Bethesda
Panelists:Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Bill Campbell (M), Bernie Mojzes, Alex Shvartsman
DAW used to put out an anthology a month, now they seem much less common. What happened? Did the themes get too esoteric or were too many stories mediocre? Why are they more common among small press and Kickstarter books? Have online magazines taken their place?
Sunday 12:00 pm: What To Do After The Rejection Letter (Ends at: 12:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists:Sunny Moraine, Alex Shvartsman, Allen Wold (M)
You’ve written the best thing ever. But the editor sent it back rejected. Now what?

Gernsback Writing Contest and Other News

September 30, 2015



This is shaping up to be a rather spectacular week in terms of announcements, so here are a few more:

My story “How Gaia and the Guardian Saved the World” is one of the finalists in the Gernsback Writing Contest. It will be published on the Amazing Stories website and then collected as part of their anthology, release dates to be determined. The contest was judged via blind reading (aka judges did not know who were the authors of each story) and those are always especially satisfying to do well in as the story is only judged on its own merit. Congratulations to my fellow finalists, and especially to the winners.



Today also marks my first appearance at the storied StarShipSofa podcast. Episode 404 (insert every conceivable Error 404 – Not Found joke here) and it features an interview Jeremy Szal conducted with me as well as the narration of two of my stories: “Price of Allegiance” and “Doubt.” There was also supposed to be a flash piece, “Ravages of Time” but it was accidentally left out (hey, there’s the perfect spot for the Not Found joke!) and will be included in the next week’s episode. You can listen to episode 404 here.



Think I’m done? I’ve only just began to brag! “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” has been adapted into a short play by Matt Haynes and will be performed at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland at noon this Saturday by the Pulp Stage. If you plan on attending the festival, check it out here. Matt has made some very interesting changes to the original story (with my approval and blessing!) to adapt it to their format, and my favorite narrator Tina Connolly is going to be reading one of the parts so I am sure it will be great fun.

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Finally, the first review of Unidentified Funny Objects 4 has been published at Tangent Online and it is really positive — the sort of kind words any editor loves to hear. Check it out here.

The printer is shipping out UFO4 books on Friday and they should arrive in about a week. I’m also getting about 100 copies UPS’ed over so that I can host a launch event at Capclave next weekend!  I will post more details about this event soon, but there will be readings, and giveaways, and every single person who attends will get two free e-books, so mark your calendars for 5-7pm on Saturday, October 10!

I will also participate on several program items at Capclave and will be the presenter at the WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction this year.

Okay. Now I’m done bragging. At least for today.



Announcing the Humanity 2.0 Anthology

September 29, 2015


I’m happy to announce that I will be editing Humanity 2.0, to be published by Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick in 2016.

This anthology will collect stories that examine how achieving interstellar flight changes humanity itself. Will we choose to upload our minds into a singularity? Enhance ourselves with alien DNA? Will our bodies remain the same, but our culture and societal norms change considerably to accommodate for effects of time dilation, or become subsumed by the more advanced alien societies? What will it mean to be human in such a future? I’d like to feature stories with engaging plot and characters, but where mankind itself is, in a way, a character.

The anthology will feature a 50/50 split between reprints solicited from some very exciting headliners, and original fiction from invited authors.

The cover design is by the very talented Holly Heisey. We’ll add in headliner names once the table of contents is finalized.


2015 Canopus Award Finalist!

September 23, 2015


I’m thrilled and proud to announce that I’m one of the finalists for the inaugural Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Writing!

This award is presented by 100 Year Starship, a project founded by Mae Jemison and jointly funded by NASA and DARPA. They’re looking to facilitate the creation of an interstellar starship within the next hundred years. How cool is that? 100YSS hosts an annual public symposium, and as part of the upcoming one in Silicon Valley they will announce the winners of this award in several categories.

The story of mine that is recognized by them is “The Race for Arcadia,” which is part of Mission: Tomorrow, a Baen anthology edited by Bryan Thomas-Schmidt, out this fall. It is a story of the rekindled space race, this time between the US, Russia, and India, as each nation strives to become the first to land a manned spacecraft on Arcadia, or as we know it now, Kepler 452b. (Incidentally, this will likely be the first professionally published story to mention this recently discovered Earth-lke exoplanet by name!)


The complete press release from 100YSS follows:




The Authors and Works in Categories of Previously Published and Original Fiction and Nonfiction for the 2015 Awards Released


HOUSTON, September 23, 2015 — 100 Year Starshipâ (100YSSâ) today announced the finalists in the inaugural Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Writing.  The Canopus Award is  an annual writing prize recognizing the finest fiction and non-fiction works that contribute to the excitement, knowledge, and understanding of interstellar space exploration and travel.

Winners will be announced and honored on Friday, October 30, 2015 during the 100 Year Starship 2015 Public Symposium held at the Santa Clara Marriott, in Santa Clara, California  October 29-November 1, 2015.

The finalists (listed in no particular order) in the four award categories are listed below.

In the category of “Previously Published Long-Form Fiction” (40,000 words or more):

·       Slow Bullets  by Alastair Reynolds

·       Other Systems by Elizabeth Guizzetti

·       The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper

·       InterstellarNet: Enigma by Edward M. Lerner

·       Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

·       Coming Home by Jack McDevitt

In the category of “Previously Published Short-Form Fiction” (between 1,000 and 40,000 words):

·       “Race for Arcadia” by Alex Shvartsman

·       “Stars that Make Dark Heaven Light” by Sharon Roest

·       “Homesick” by Debbie Urbanski

·       “Twenty Lights to the Land of Snow” by Michael Bishop

·       “Planet Lion” by Catherine M. Valente

·       “The Waves” by Ken Liu

·       “Dreamboat” by Robin Wyatt Dunn

In the category of “Original Fiction” (1,000-5,000 words):

·       “Landfall” by Jon F. Zeigler

·       “Project Fermi” by Michael Turgeon

·       “Everett’s Awakening” by Yelcho

·       “Groundwork” by G. M. Nair

·       “His Holiness John XXIV about Father Angelo Baymasecchi’s Diary” by   Óscar Garrido González

·       “The Disease of Time” by Joseph Schmidt

In the category of “Original Non-Fiction” (1,000-5,000 words):

·       “Why Interstellar Travel?” by Jeffrey Nosanov

·       “Finding Earth 2.0 from the Focus of the Solar Gravitational Lens” by Louis Friedman and Slava Turyshev

Judges for the Canopus Award  are: writer and 100YSS Creative and Editorial director Jason Batt; author and former Wall Street Journal reporter August Cole; Founder of International Speechwriting Associates Kathleen Colgan, Ph.D.; teacher at the University of Edinburgh in the School of Education and Leadership, Janet DeVigne; editor Jaym Gates, 100YSS Principal and former astronaut Mae Jemison, M.D., Chapman University creative writing student Alec Medén; Rutgers University Professor Ronke Olabisi. Ph.D.; faculty and advisor to the Singularity University David Orban, Georgia high school freshman Bailey Stanley, writer and anthropologist Juliette Wade, Ph.D.; Aeronautical and Astronautical engineer Paul Webber; journalist Sofia Webber; astrobiologist and creator of Yuri’s Night Loretta Whitesides; and Major General Ken Wisian.

For more information about award criteria, visit



A Shard Glows in Brooklyn at FarFetchedFables

September 17, 2015


I’ve been quiet again, but that’s because I’ve been super busy. There are cool things in the works and I will be popping up for air more often very soon to announce some of them. Meanwhile, the fine folks at FarFetchedFables have produced another wonderful recording of one of my stories. (They literally make me sound good!) This time it’s A Shard Glows in Brooklyn, a prequel to Requiem for a Druid which they had podcasted last year. There’s an interview with me after the story, too.





The Hook: Windswept by Adam Rakunas

September 1, 2015
The Hook:
I was sitting at my usual stool at Big Lily’s, talking with Odd Dupree about his troubles down at the plant, when something big and stupid came crashing through the front door. Vytai Bloombeck’s head swiveled like a pumpkin mounted on a sack of compost as he scanned the faces of the regulars. I tried to duck beneath the ironpalm bar, but it was too late — he had zeroed in on me. “Padma!” he shouted, moving toward me like a runaway cargo can, “I got something, make us both righteously wealthy, like Jesus would want.” He shoved Odd to the side as he plopped into two chairs. Odd’s eyes rolled back into his head from the smell. Bloombeck’s job was to fish blockages out of the city’s sewer mains, a Contract slot he’d kept since Time Immemorial because no one was stupid or desperate enough to take it from him.

“Not even Jesus wants you, Bloomie,” I said, wincing at the stabbing pain in my right eye. My pai was supposed to float text warning me that Bloombeck was within one hundred meters, but, thanks to the vagaries of my brain chemistry and the implant’s firmware, the damn thing always gave me an electric jab in the retina after he’d shown up. I’d complained to every tech I know, and they all shrugged their shoulders and gave me the Santee Anchorage Song-And-Dance about how We Don’t Have The Proper Tech, We Don’t Make Enough To Care About Your Problem, Just Wait For The Next Bloody Update. The Oh-God-It’s-Bloomie warning squatted between a migraine and my period on the pain scale, and the only treatment that worked was avoiding him. “You want to talk to me, you make an appointment.”

Adam Rakunas writes:

I started writing this book in a bar, so it made sense to start the book *in* a bar. Bars are places for forgetting, for resting, for *waiting*, and Padma Mehta, the heroine of Windswept, is waiting for a lot of things: to retire, to cinch the deal of her life, to get out of the rat race. In the meantime, she is sitting at her favorite spot in Big Lily’s, watching out the lanai as the city rolls away toward the ocean. This spot is important to her because it offers a mixture of security and respite; the instant she sits down in that stool, she has a little bit of control over the chaos that surrounds her.

Of course, it’s not perfect, or else someone like Vytai Bloombeck, the neighborhood con artist, wouldn’t be able to enter the bar and try his pitch on Padma. On Santee Anchorage, everyone has to hustle, and Padma’s no different. Her hustle is on a much grander scale than Bloombeck’s, but it still means she has to bribe, lie, and fight to get what she wants: an early pension and a sweet bonus if she recruits five hundred people to the Union. She won’t listen to Bloombeck now, but, when her plans collapse, she’ll have no choice.

Buy Windswept on Amazon.

About the author:

Adam Rakunas is the author of Windswept and its forthcoming sequel. He’s a stay-at-home dad, an amateur cellist, and a small-time political rabble-rouser. You can find him at or on Twitter @rakdaddy. He also wants you to know that Jessica Smith did the amazing cover art, and you can find her work at


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

Funny Science Fiction anthology is live

August 31, 2015


Funny Science Fiction anthology is now live on Amazon! Official release date is tomorrow, but the amount of time it takes for a book to go live varies a little, so you can go ahead and get it now, which will give you plenty of time to read it before UFO4 lands next month!




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