January 2019 Story Sales

January 14, 2019

Although I haven’t been focusing on short fiction in recent months, 2019 is already off to a great start with two pro sales this week.

My translation of “The Slave” by Andrej Kokoulin will be published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. “The Slave” won the FantLab contest in Russia, where I was one of the judges. Some readers and participants took issue with the relatively minor amount of fantastical elements in this story (it’s a really good and disturbing mix of magical realism and psychological horror), but I insisted the story fell firmly within the bounds of genre, and the other judges agreed. I suppose nothing vindicates our decision like the English translation of it selling to the magazine whose title is literally F&SF.

My second sale is a science fiction flash story “Gifts of Prometheus” — a throwback to Golden Age sci-fi which also manages to critique golden age SF tropes in a roundabout way — which will appear in Nature Futures. This will be my 12th story published in this excellent magazine.

My short fiction sales are bound to slow down in coming months. I’m not writing a lot of short stories, and I don’t currently owe stories to any invitation anthologies — a position I find myself in for the first time in a few years. So if you’re editing a pro paying anthology, this may be a good time to reach out. 🙂 I continue to focus on editing Future SF and on my novels in the meantime.




Publication: “The Coffee Corps” in Release the Virgins anthology

January 4, 2019

I’m kicking off 2019 right with publication of what might be the most Shvartsman story ever. It has Lovecraftian humor, coffee, tech geekery, secret history, Dunkin’ Donuts fan fiction, and loads of snark. If you enjoy my humor stories, I highly recommend you don’t miss this one. It’s part of the Release the Virgins anthology, alongside fiction by David Gerrold, Allen Steele, Sharon Lee, Jody Lynn Nye, and many other excellent authors. (And no, it’s not as racy as the book title might suggest.)

Although this story introduces the Coffee Corps universe in which I’ve now written several stories, it is actually the second Coffee Corps story to be published and the third to be sold. So if you like it, be sure to also read:

“The Hunt for the Vigilant” in Oceans anthology, out now

“The Gilga-Mess” in Intergalactic Medicine Show, forthcoming this Spring.






Reviewing Collections and Anthologies – Guest Post by Andrea Johnson

December 27, 2018

Hi!  My name is Andrea Johnson, and I’ve been running the book review site Little Red Reviewer since 2010. I review books, interview authors, talk about books I’m excited about, and more!  My work has never existed outside of a computer screen.  Until now!  In January, I’ll be kickstarting The Best of Little Red Reviewer,  a print book of my best book reviews – science fiction, fantasy, weird fiction, novels, short stories, everything in between.  Can a book review blog exist outside of the internet?  Let’s find out!  In the meantime, you can learn more here.

Reviewing a novel is fairly straight forward right?  It’s pretty easy to talk about the characters, and the plot, and what your favorite scene was, and if you were satisfied with the ending, and if you thought it was a thrilling page turner, etc. Not too hard, right?

Ok, but how do you review an anthology? The art of the limitation of short stories is that there might not be a ton of characterization, there might not be a ton of world building, and what if the entire story is only one scene or one conversation? And even scarier, if you’re planning to review an anthology that contains twelve stories, does that mean you need to write twelve reviews?

The good news is that no, you do not have to write a review for every single story in the collection (but you can if you want to!). While the “rules” for reviewing an anthology or single author short story collection might be different, that doesn’t mean writing the review will be any harder.

I used to be afraid of anthologies. I felt like I just didn’t get it. I’d get themed anthologies out of the library, read a few stories, get bored, and never go back to it. I thought maybe anthologies just weren’t for me? Maybe I was just reading ones that didn’t do it for me. I was also under the impression that there was some requirement to read the stories in order. Yes, yes, I know editors spend hours (Days? Weeks?) trying to determine the best order for the Table of Contents.  The thing that got me over my mental mind block around anthologies? Skipping around the Table of Contents. Once I realized I could read my favorite authors first, or read the shortest stories first, or read the one with the silly title first, a whole new world of reading enjoyment opened up to me!

When I’m reading an anthology for review, I do my best to take notes on each story while reading. Once I’m done reading, it’s pretty easy to look at my handwritten notes page and see which stories I have a lot to say about. And it isn’t always my favorites that I want to talk about – sometimes it is a story that made me angry, or made me curious, or took a boring subject matter and make it interesting, or it was a story that I just plain didn’t understand. If you’re going to review an anthology, don’t just talk about your favorite stories. Talk about the ones you liked, the ones that made you think, the ones that make you google the author to learn more about them.  Use an anthology to grow your curiosity.

Many of today’s best authors write primarily short stories. If you’re only reading novels you might never find these folks. A few who come to mind right away include Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Ted Chiang, C.S.E. Cooney, Ken Liu, and Carlos Hernandez.

On the flip side, some of your favorite novel writing authors also write short fiction, much of which you’ll never find in their novels. I’m talking people like George R. R. Martin, Catherynne Valente, Neal Asher, Peter Watts, and Yoon Ha Lee, just to name a few.

Not sure where to start with anthologies or short story collections?  Here are my favorites:

Bone Swans by C.S.E. Cooney

Beyond the Rift by Peter Watts

The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem

The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santaria by Carlos Hernandez

The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne Valente

Clockwork Phoenix Volume 5 edited by Mike Allen

If you’ve not had good luck with anthologies or short stories, you’re not alone. Sometimes it takes a while to find anthology editors that speak your language. And that’s ok!

Happy reading!

If you like what you read in this blog post, check out my blog, Little Red Reviewer and my twitter feed, where I’m @redhead5318.

Future SF issue 1 cover and TOC

December 7, 2018

I’ve been working on the first all-original issue of Future Science Fiction Digest over the past several months and I’m very proud to unveil the cover and TOC. This volume contains over 65,000 words of fiction and articles; there are several translations and stories written outside of the Anglosphere, as well as work by North American authors. It will be available in ebook and print format, which will be published on December 15. Our lead story will be available on the web that day, and the rest of the stories and articles released over the course of the following two months. Our lead story will also be available in podcast form.

“The Rule of Three” by Lawrence M. Schoen
“Sisimumu” by Walter Dinjos
“The Emperor of Death” by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
Profile: The Dyachenkos by Julia Meitov Hersey
“One Bad Unit” by Steve Kopka
A Vaccine for the Virus of Empire? by Phoebe Barton
“The Substance of Ideas” by Clelia Farris
“In All Possible Futures” by Dantzel Cherry
A Conversation with Javier Grillo Marxuach and Jose Molina by Joshua Sky
“Perfection” by Mike Resnick
“Wordfall” by Liang Ling

I’ll be sending out advance copies to reviewers this weekend; please reach out if you’re a reviewer and wish to be added to this list.

November 20, 2018


This story went live a couple of weeks ago, but I just noticed that I posted it onto the wrong portion of the site, thereby ensuring many of you wouldn’t see it. D’oh! If you haven’t checked out the story yet, please do so!

My new fantasy short story, which I describe as “The Fault in Our Stars” meets “Inception,” is available as of today in the inaugural issue of Constellary Tales. You can read the story here and be sure to check out the rest of the issue as well.


Philcon 2018 Schedule

November 15, 2018

I’ll be attending Philcon this weekend. Here’s where you can find me!

    • Fri 6:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Three—Creative Curses to Inflict on Your Characters (3083)

      Falling asleep for a hundred years is so passe. What are some fun, fresh, modern enchantments you can use to put your protagonists to the test?

Vikki Ciaffone (mod), Gordon Linzner, Nicholas MacDonald-Martell, Elektra Hammond, Alex Shvartsman

    • Sat 11:00 AM in Plaza II (Two)—Indie Pub 102: The Editing Process (3069)

      Beta-readers, developmental editors, copyeditors, proofreaders… What do I need, where do I find it, and how much will it cost?

Brenda W. Clough (mod), John Skylar, Ann Stolinsky, Alex Shvartsman, Ian Randal Strock, Michael Hanson

    • Sat 12:00 PM in Plaza II (Two)—Indie Pub 103: The Publishing Process (3070)

      From cover design to distribution options, where do you take your masterpiece?

Alex Shvartsman (mod), Aaron Rosenberg, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Paul Levinson, Ken Altabef, Tee Morris

    • Sat 5:00 PM in Plaza V (Five)—Crowdfunding for Fun and…What Do You Mean We LOST Money??? (3144)

      Just how does a “Kickstarter” work? Will Patreon’s recent changes impact your ability to attract and keep Patrons? Is it worth setting up a KoFi account?

Jazz Hiestand (mod), Philippa Ballantine, Alex Shvartsman, Alana Phelan, Glenn Hauman

    • Sat 8:00 PM in Plaza II (Two)—Meet the Editors! (3040)

      Magazine and small press editors discuss what goes into creating their publications, from the economics of staying viable in the electronic age to getting appropriate submissions.

Hildy Silverman (mod), Darrell Schweitzer, Joshua Palmatier, Alex Shvartsman, Neil Clarke, Ian Randal Strock



Contest win: “Icarus Falls”

November 12, 2018

Icarus with broken wings

Mythic Beast Studios runs a bi-annual contest for mythology-inspired short stories, and their most recent theme was “Icarus.” I’m very pleased to announce that my SF story “Icarus Falls” (which originally appeared in Daily Science Fiction) is the winner! It’s one of my best stories overall and if you haven’t read it yet, please check it out. It’s only 2200 words.