Lunacon 2016 Program

March 17, 2016




I’ll be at Lunacon this weekend. Here’s where you can find me:


4pm – The Opening Page – Westchester Ballroom D6


9am – Magazines and Other Outlets – Westchester Ballroom D4

11am – Currency of the Future – William Odelle

2pm – Fanzines on the Internet – Westchester Ballroom D4

3pm – Writers of the Weird Reading – Bartell


12pm Touching the Face of the Cosmos – Westchester Ballroom D5


See complete list of Lunacon panels here.



Albacon 2016 Schedule

March 3, 2016

I’ll be in Albany this weekend, attending Albacon. Here’s where you can find me:


1pm – The Ways to Publish panel (Troy)

3pm – What Editors Want panel (Troy)

6pm – Best SF TV of 2015 panel (Troy)


1pm – Why Doesn’t Darth Vader Slip on a Banana Peel? panel (Troy)

3pm – Autographing session (Lobby)

4pm – Reading (Room 101)



Philcon 2015 Schedule

November 19, 2015

Today, I reached level 40.

That sounds way cooler than just saying “I turned forty years old,” you know. I celebrated with family and good friends. The best line of the evening, and I am not making this up, was “This is not a rabbi. It’s R2D2.” No context for you.

What better way to continue the celebration into the weekend than to attend a science fiction convention? I’ll be at Philcon starting tomorrow, and here’s where you can find me:

Fri 7:00 PM in Autograph Table (1 hour)

[Panelists: Joseph Berenato (mod), Alex Shvartsman]

Sat 1:00 PM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)

[Panelists: Alex Shvartsman (mod), Dr. H. Paul Shuch, David Walton,
Alexis Gilliland, Jon McGoran]

We now know modern humans have Neanderthal DNA. New planets are
being discovered almost on a daily basis. Technology is allowing us
to print organs. What recent discoveries are you putting into your
stories? And where will SF go now that the future is here

Sat 5:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)

[Panelists: Fran Wilde (mod), Dena Heilik, Joseph Berenato, Alex

Not every amazing book is a best-seller. Whether it’s an unsung
classic or a recent author, come talk about the fiction you’ve found
that, strangely, nobody else seems to be talking about

Sun 11:00 AM in Crystal Ballroom Three (1 hour)

[Panelists: Sally Wiener Grotta (mod), Russ Colchamiro, Joseph
Berenato, Ian Randal Strock, Alex Shvartsman]

How is it moving away from the conventional New York publishing
scene? There are so many alternatives today (Crowd-sourcing, small
presses, independent publishers and non-print electronics) Will the
big publishers be left in the lurch

Sun 1:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Three (1 hour)

[Panelists: Neil Clarke (mod), Alex Shvartsman, Barbara A. Barnett,
Hildy Silverman, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Robert E. Waters]

So you have a finally finished a story. What are the main markets?
Who do you want to avoid.



Various Updates and a chance to win a copy of Mission: Tomorrow!

November 11, 2015

Wow it has been a while since I updated the blog. Sorry about that! I’ve been incredibly busy traveling and working, but I’m catching up now. So, what happened in recent weeks? Let’s see:

  • I did not win the Canopus award. It went to Ken Liu’s “The Waves” as I predicted it would. He 100% deserves it. “The Waves” is my second-favorite Ken Liu story (after “The Paper Menagerie”) and I was kind of surprised not to see it on the major award ballots last year. Before the Canopus was even announced I asked Ken to include this story in Humanity 2.0, an anthology I’m editing for Arc Manor which will be published next year, and he agreed. I can’t wait to share it with readers who may not be familiar with it yet!
  • I loved the 100 Year Starship Symposium. It was an opportunity to meet with some incredibly smart people from NASA, SETI, and private space companies and listen to presentations on a wide array of subjects which I will be sure to use in future stories. The hotel which hosted the symposium also hosted the New York Jets that weekend, as they prepared to play the Raiders. The huge hotel lobby with clusters of rocket scientists and clusters of huge athletes was an amusing dissonance to observe, to say the least.

    And the scientists know how to have fun too — the Halloween party was a hoot!

    With Dr. Mae Jamison at the 100 Year Starship Symposium Halloween party.

    With Dr. Mae Jamison at the 100 Year Starship Symposium Halloween party.


  • A few short days after returning from Santa Clara, CA I drove to Saratoga Springs, NY to attend the World Fantasy Convention. It was great fun catching up with so many friends. Here’s a photo of an impromptu lunch which grew from 3 people to this in a matter of hours after we first planned it (this happens all the time at cons!)

    WFC 2015 Saratoga Springs

    WFC 2015 Saratoga Springs

  • My next trip will be to Philcon in a little over a week. I will post my schedule prior to the event.
  • Nature selected my story they published last month, “Staff Meeting As Seen By the Spam Filter” to be featured on their podcast. You can listen to it here.
  • Mission: Tomorrow, which includes my Canopus Award finalist story “The Race for Arcadia” was officially released earlier this month. You can read the first four stories (including mine!) in the sampler here. This anthology is excellent and has been highly praised at Locus.
    Read the first four stories from Mission: Tomorrow here. (Click the Next link at top right of each page to navigate).
  • You can also win an e-book copy of Mission: Tomorrow right here on my blog! Simply comment on this post between now and Wednesday, November 18. On November 19 (which also happens to be my birthday) I will randomly select one person to receive an e-book. If 10+ people comment, I will give away two copies instead.




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?

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



Worldcon 2015 photos

August 30, 2015

Coming up for air to report that I attended this year’s Worldcon, happily managed to mostly keep out of the controversies surrounding it, and had a great time hanging out with old friends and making new ones. I’m not very good at remembering to take pictures but, fortunately, I ended up in several taken by friends, enough to gather and post them here, mostly for my own records and ability to find them later.


With Bob Silverberg

With Bob Silverberg while at the Galaxy’s Edge/Phoenix Pick booth.


With Guest of Honor David Gerrold.

With Guest of Honor David Gerrold.


With Eric Flint

Watching Eric Flint sign books at the Phoenix Pick table.


Hanging out with Mike Resnick.

Hanging out with Mike Resnick.


Mike Resnick teaching me some of the finer points of novel plotting.

Mike Resnick teaching me some of the finer points of novel plotting.


With Toni Weisskopf, David Hartwell and Shahid Mahmoud.

With Toni Weisskopf, David Hartwell and Shahid Mahmoud.


And here are a few photos I managed to take (mostly during the Hugo ceremony):

Filled auditorium, view from the second row (aka the good seats!)

Filled auditorium, view from the second row (aka the good seats!)


Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta.


Hugos opening bit. Tananarive Due's fearlessly sports the redshirt Star Trek uniform.

Hugos opening bit. Tananarive Due’s fearlessly sports the redshirt Star Trek uniform.


David Gerrold and a dalek. Best line of the Hugos: "David, my eye is up here!"

David Gerrold and a dalek. Best line of the Hugos: “David, my eye is up here!”


Ken Liu delivering Liu Cixin's acceptance speech for "The Three-Body Problem."

Ken Liu delivering Liu Cixin’s acceptance speech for “The Three-Body Problem.”


Ken Liu and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

Ken Liu and Alvaro-Zinos Amaro.


Ron Friedman and Bob Silverberg.

Ron Friedman and Bob Silverberg.



Reading in West Hempstead, Long Island – Wed July 29

July 28, 2015

I will be participating in a multi-author reading on Long Island tomorrow. The details are here:

If Facebook isn’t your thing, the event will take place at the Creative Corner in West Hempstead, 482 Hempstead Avenue, starting at 7pm on Wednesday, July 29. I will have copies of H. G. Wells on hand (from which I will be reading) as well as my other books.

Other authors participating in this event include Anatoly Belilovsky, Bill Freedman, Michele Lang, and Chris DePhilippis.






My Readercon 2015 Schedule

July 8, 2015


I will be at Readercon over the course of the next four days. If you see me, don’t hesitate to say hello! Here’s my schedule:

Thursday July 09

8:00 PM    CR    The Games We Play. Erik Amundsen, Yoon Ha Lee, Alex Shvartsman, Romie Stott (leader), Gregory Wilson. Video games and tabletop games are an influential part of our imaginative lives. Are there times when you’re reading a book and feel the game mechanics too clearly beneath the prose? Or do you enjoy imagining what a character’s stats might look like? We’ll look at tie-in books (like R.A. Salvatore’s Chronicles of Drizzt and David Gaider’s Dragon Age prequels), book-based games (like The Black Cauldron, Lord of the Rings, and the Mists of Avalon–influenced Conquests of Camelot), and the pleasure of reading gaming sourcebooks.

Friday July 10

3:00 PM    E    Autographs. Alex Shvartsman, Allen Steele.
4:30 PM    ENV    Reading. Alex Shvartsman. Alex Shvartsman reads an excerpt from “H. G. Wells, Secret Agent”.

Saturday July 11

1:00 PM    F    Making SF/F Careers Viable. Sandra Kasturi, Matt Kressel, Bart Leib, A. J. Odasso, Alex Shvartsman (leader). Writing, editing anthologies or magazines, running small presses, creating artwork… these pursuits demand a great deal of investment, and returns are unreliable. Few people can spend weeks writing a story on spec, wait months for a contract and longer for a check, or absorb financial losses for years while trying to make a business profitable. Let’s talk frankly about how low pay rates on all fronts affect the demographics of professional SF/F, and what we can do to make SF/F careers more accessible to people with limited tangible and intangible resources.

UFO Publishing at BookCon 2015

May 29, 2015

UFO Publishing will have a booth at BookCon in NYC this weekend. I’ll be on hand to sign (and, of course, sell) books. And if you ask nicely, I might even show you the draft/preview of my next book’s cover.

So stop on by. We’ll be in booth # 3175.