New publication: “Golf to the Death” in Galaxy’s Edge

March 2, 2017


This story is what it sounds like. It’s about golf. With aliens. Played to the death. What’s not to like?

“Golf to the Death” takes place in the same universe as “The Dragon Ships of Tycho” and “The Sgovari Stratagem,” except neither of those stories are at all funny, whereas this one is humorous and should hopefully remind readers of the Retief yarns by Keith Laumer.

I’m also proud to tuckerize awesome writer Ferrett Steinmetz as one of the characters. Ferrett lamented that due to his unusual name he doesn’t get written into stories, so I rose to the challenge. 🙂

It’s free to read at the G.E. website for the next 60 days. After that – or at any point, really – you can purchase the issue!





Two New Stories, Free to Read

September 14, 2016

It’s been a busy month. I traveled to Worldcon in Kansas City where I had a wonderful time, followed it up with a family vacation to Costa Rica where I also had a wonderful time, except I came back with a bad ear infection in both ears. (Bright side: the infection didn’t kick in while we were on vacation, only after.) I’ve been on two antibiotics and it’s finally clearing up enough to where I can write and work. Let me tell you, those things aren’t fun.


Meantime, two of my brand-new stories have been published! “Dante’s Unfinished Business” was released on September 1 in Galaxy’s Edge magazine. It’s free to read for two months, and available via subscription/purchase thereafter. As I enjoy experimenting with all forms and styles of humor, it occurred to me that I’ve never written a pot humor story in the style of Cheech and Chong (well, sort of.) So I decided to try my hand at it, blatantly ignoring the fact that I’ve never actually smoked any pot. Making sure my references were authentic meant getting an entirely different set of beta readers in addition to the ones I normally use. But I’m told I mostly got the references right, so I hope you’ll enjoy the tale. I also wrote it after binge-watching two seasons of Rick and Morty and I think a lot of the humor in the story was also influenced by that. Plotwise, it’s a loose retelling of Dante’s Inferno, except Dante is a 21st century pothead and instead of Virgil he is shown around hell by the ghost of Bob Marley.

unrequitedThe second story was just published online today, and will be in this week’s issue of the journal of Nature. “A Perfect Medium for Unrequited Love” is about artificial intelligence, love, and embedding communications “in the most interesting of media.” I wrote a more detailed “the making of” for the Nature Futures blog and you can read it here. I enjoy writing about artificial intelligence. Another story that explores its themes is forthcoming from Amazing Stories in the coming months or weeks.



Islands in the Sargasso – Galaxy’s Edge magazine issue 15

June 30, 2015


The July issue of Galaxy’s Edge is now live, and you can read my novelette, “Islands in the Sargasso”, for free — but only for the next couple of months, until the September issue is released and then you’ll have to buy the issue. So, read now! It has alien invasion fleets, a galaxy-spanning conspiracy, and drug addiction.

I always love being published in Galaxy’s Edge — not only because it’s edited by Mike Resnick, whom I greatly admire, but also because I get to share the table of contents with all kinds of cool people. Just look at the above!

At 8000 words, “Islands in the Sargasso” will briefly become the longest piece of my fiction available — but only briefly. The H. G. Wells, Secret Agent novella is coming out very soon! In fact, July 2015 will have more new words written by me released into the world than any month prior. I’m super excited!







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.



New Publication: Fate and Other Variables in Galaxy’s Edge

November 1, 2014

One of my all-time favorite stories is now live!

“Fate and Other Variables” is a story of a hacker who teams up with a kabbalist to break into the metaphysical Book of Life and alter their futures. It’s a cyberpunk and ubran fantasy mashup, and you can read it for free at Galaxy’s Edge magazine by following this link — but only for the next three months. After that it will remain behind a paywall. (You can and should, of course, subscribe to get full access to this and other stories).

And here’s the illustration for “Fate” by Barry Munden, which will appear in Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories.




New Publication: Doubt in Galaxy’s Edge, plus bonus!

May 6, 2014


“Doubt” is a near-future SF story about the battle between two cybernetically enhanced assassins! It went live on May 1 and you can read it online for free. but only for the next two months. After that, the new issue of GE will be released and the story will only be available for purchase in the GE archives as an ebook or physical magazine.

Edited by Mike Resnick, GE features a mix of work from the SF masters and neo-pros. In this issue you can read stories by Bob Silverberg, Nancy Kress, David Brin, and others. They recently became available by subscription, so please consider supporting this worthy publication.

You can also support GE’s publisher by purchasing the Book Bale bundles. This month’s bundle features books from George RR Martin, Mike Resnick, and others!


And now for the bonus. Last year, I had a short story appear in the “Beyond the Sun” anthology from Fairwood Press. edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt. The e-book distribution for this anthology is handled by Baen, one of the largest publishers in SF-dom. But it wasn’t until today that I learned that mine and several other stories are available as teasers for the anthology and can be read online! So if you’d like to read a very grim space opera tale of seeking paradise, check out “The Far Side of the Wilderness” at Baen Books web site! It also links to several other stories available as teasers. I highly recommend Jamie Todd Rubin’s “Flipping the Switch.”



New Publication: Bedtime Story on Christmas Eve, 1,000,000 AD in Spark IV

January 17, 2014


My humorous flash “Bedtime Story on Christmas Eve, 1,000,000 AD” appears in the current volume of Spark: A Creative Anthology.

In addition to my humble story and the great cover art, this volume is packed to the gills with amazing speculative fiction, including stories from my friends and fellow Codexians  like Brad Torgersen, Alex Kane, Annie Bellet, Erica Satifka, Alexis Hunter, Anna Yeatts, and Michael Hodges. And, to put the icing on the cake, the foreword is by Kevin J. Anderson.

A large percentage of my stories are published in online zines and can be read for free. In this case, you’ll have to actually buy the book. But you can get a nice discount — 35% off, until January 31, if you use a coupon code SHVARTSMAN-FRIENDS.

So there. Don’t say I never gave you anything.

Seriously though, editor Brian Lewis has produced a really nice-looking book, and you would do well to support Spark by picking up a copy if you can spare a few bucks.

In other news, I’m thrilled to have made my third sale to Mike Resnick’s Galaxy’s Edge magazine. After a tough-but-necessary rewrite, Mike accepted “Fate and Other Variables” — a story of a hacker and a kabbalist teaming up to alter what’s written in the metaphysical Book of Fate. What can possibly go wrong?

I’m very excited to share this story with the world, but there is no release date yet. Should be sometime this year, but likely after another story of mine (“Doubt”) sees the light of day at GE.