New publication: Diamonds in the Rough in Galaxy’s Edge

May 2, 2018

My latest short story is out in the current issue of Galaxy’s Edge magazine, which means it will remain free to read online for the next two months. After that you will need to purchase an issue in order to access the story.

“Diamonds in the Rough” is the tale of alien contact set in the chaotic days of post-Soviet Union Russia circa early 1990s.

In other news, submissions are now closed for UFO7. We received 790 stories and are reading through the last of them over the next couple of days. After that I’ll be re-reading the second look pile and making final decisions. As is the case each year, there’s already more good material than we can use, so it’ll be a matter of balancing the TOC. I’ll post updates on Twitter so those still in convention know the status of the subs.

Also, I recently sold a pair of reprints to new anthologist Eric Fomley, who’s seeking to promote flash- and micro-fiction (goals I find to be quite worthy!) Timeshift will be an anthology of time-travel and time-dilation flash fiction forthcoming later this year (and featuring some excellent writers that I’m aware of!) but first up is Drabbledark: an anthology of dark drabbles. A drabble is a story that’s exactly 100 words. This project is currently on Kickstarter and has a modest funding goal, so take a look at it here. That’s a whole lot of tiny stories for only three bucks.

 

ETA: Oh hey, this totally snuck up on me, but the new issue of Intergalactic Medicine Show is also out! It includes my humorous flash tale, “Customer Service Support Ticket at All-American Wizardry Supply and Custom Floor Mat Emporium” in print and audio, however you have be a subscriber to access it currently.

 

#SFWAPro

Advertisements

Edmund Schubert Withdraws From the Hugo Award Consideration

April 27, 2015

the-golem-of-deneb-seven

Edmund Schubert, a long-time editor-in-chief of InterGalactic Medicine Show announced today that he is withdrawing from consideration for the Best Editor – Short Form Hugo Award. In addition, he has created a sampler of stories which he would have used as his Hugo sampler and (with authors’ permission) made them available for everyone to read free of charge.

You can read the sampler (including my story, “The Golem of Deneb Seven” here.

With his kind permission, I’m re-posting his withdrawal letter.

###

My name is Edmund R. Schubert, and I am announcing my withdrawal from the Hugo category of Best Editor (Short Form). My withdrawal comes with complications, but if you’ll bear with me, I’ll do my best to explain.

I am withdrawing because:

  1. I believe that while the Sad Puppies’ stated goal of bringing attention to under-recognized work may have been well-intentioned, their tactics were seriously flawed. While I find it challenging that some people won’t read IGMS because they disagree with the publisher’s perceived politics (which have nothing whatsoever to do with what goes into the magazine), I can’t in good conscience complain about the deck being stacked against me, and then feel good about being nominated for an award when the deck gets stacked in my favor. That would make me a hypocrite. The Sad Puppies slate looks too much to me like a stacked deck, and I can’t be part of that and still maintain my integrity.
  2. Vox Day/Theodore Beale/Rabid Puppies. Good grief. While I firmly believe that free speech is only truly free if everyone is allowed to speak their mind, I believe equally strongly that defending people’s right to free speech comes with responsibilities: in this case, the responsibility to call out unproductive, mean-spirited, inflammatory, and downright hateful speech. I believe that far too many of Vox’s words fall into those categories—and a stand has to be made against it.
  3. Ping pong. (Yes, really.) A ping pong ball only ever gets used by people who need something to hit as a way to score points, and I am through being treated like a political ping pong ball—by all sorts of people across the entire spectrum. Done.

Regrettably this situation is complicated by the fact that when I came to this decision, the WorldCon organizers told me the ballot was ‘frozen.’ This is a pity, because in addition to wanting ‘out’ of the ping pong match, I would very much have liked to see someone else who had earned it on their own (without the benefit of a slate) get on the ballot in my place. But the ballots had already been sent off to the printers. Unfortunately this may reduce my actions to a symbolic gesture, but I can’t let that prevent me from following my conscience.

So it seems that the best I can do at this stage is ask everyone with a Hugo ballot to pretend I’m not there. Ignore my name, because if they call my name at the award ceremony, I won’t accept the chrome rocketship. My name may be on that ballot, but it’s not there the way I’d have preferred.

I will not, however, advocate for an across-the-board No Award vote. That penalizes people who are innocent, for the sake of making a political point. Vox Day chose to put himself and his publishing company, Castalia House, in the crosshairs, which makes him fair game—but not everybody, not unilaterally. I can’t support that.

Here’s what I do want to do, though, to address where I think the Sad Puppies were off-target: I don’t think storming the gates of WorldCon was the right way to bring attention to worthy stories. Whether or not you take the Puppies at their word is beside the matter; it’s what they said they wanted, and I think bringing attention to under-represented work is an excellent idea.

So I want to expand the reading pool.

Of course, I always think more reading is a good thing. Reading is awesome. Reading—fiction, specifically—has been proven to make people more empathetic, and God knows we need as much empathy as we can possibly get these days. I also believe that when readers give new works by new authors an honest chance, they’ll find things they appreciate and enjoy.

In that spirit, I am taking the material that would have comprised my part of the Hugo Voters Packet and making it available to everyone, everywhere, for free, whether they have a WorldCon membership or not. Take it. Read it. Share it. It’s yours to do with as you will.

The only thing I ask is that whatever you do, do it honestly.

Don’t like some of these stories? That’s cool; at least I’ll know you don’t like them because you read them, not because you disagree with political ideologies that have nothing to do with the stories.

You do like them? Great; share them with a friend. Come and get some more.

But whatever you decide, decide it honestly, not to score a point.

And let me be clear about this: While I strongly disagree with the way Sad Puppies went about it… when the Puppies say they feel shut out because of their politics, it’s hard for me to not empathize because I’ve seen IGMS’s authors chastised for selling their story to us, simply because of people’s perceptions about the publisher’s personal views. I’ve also seen people refuse to read any of the stories published in IGMS for the same reason.

With regard to that, I want to repeat something I’ve said previously: while Orson Scott Card and I disagree on several social and political subjects, we respect each other and don’t let it get in the way of IGMS’s true goal: supporting writers and artists of all backgrounds and preferences. The truth is that Card is neither devil nor saint; he’s just a man who wants to support writers and artists—and he doesn’t let anything stand in the way of that.

As editor of IGMS, I can, and have, and will continue to be—with the full support of publisher Orson Scott Card—open to publishing stories by and about gay authors and gay characters, stories by and about female authors and female characters, stories by authors and about characters of any and every racial, political, or religious affiliation—as long as I feel like those authors 1) have a story to tell, not a point to score, and 2) tell that story well. And you know what? Orson is happy to have me do so. Because the raison d’etre of IGMS is to support writers and artists. Period.

IGMS—Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show—is open to everyone. All the way. Always has been, always will be. All I ask, all I have ever asked, is that people’s minds operate in the same fashion.

Consider this the beginning then of the larger reading campaign that should have been. To kick it off, I offer you this sampling from IGMS, which represents the essence of how I see the magazine—a reflection of the kind of stories I want to fill IGMS with, that will help make it the kind of magazine I want IGMS to be—and that I believe it can be if readers and writers alike will give it a fair chance.

If you have reading suggestions of your own, I heartily encourage you help me build and distribute a list.

(Yes, I know, there are already plenty of reading lists out there. But you will never convince me that there is such a thing as too much reading. Never.)

###

I, for one, am sad about Edmund’s decision. He was on my nominating ballot (and I had no association nor even knowledge of what was on the Puppy slates). I know of at least several other fans who nominated him as well. I hope to see him back on a future ballot sooner, rather than later.

#SFWAPro


2015 IGMS Reader Poll

March 27, 2015

hightechfairies

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 🙂

#SFWAPro

 


WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction

October 14, 2014

WSFAAward

I won! Eeeee!

OK, now that I got that out of my system, let’s try again:

This Saturday, at the award ceremony held at Capclave, I won the WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction. I won it for “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma,” which also makes this a win for Intergalactic Medicine Show, its editor Edmund Schubert and his staff, because they accepted and published this story!

Small Press means everybody but the major publishers. So while Tor.com may be out, it still includes top-notch markets like Clarkesworld and Lightspeed (both of which had stories represented this year). The stories the  board considers are also read blind, so the author’s name won’t sway them–which makes it more likely the award finalists would be selected on merit rather than popularity.

I was very excited to be nominated but didn’t seriously expect to win. I mean, humorous short stories don’t win award any more often than comedies win the Oscars.  I’m incredibly thrilled and very thankful to the WSFA members who proved me wrong and voted for my story.

I was already having a great time at Capclave, which is rapidly becoming my favorite convention. It is relatively small and laser-focused on fiction (it doesn’t really have an anime track or a costuming track or much gaming, things that go hand-in-hand with science fiction conventions at most cons). Instead, you get a very distilled group of fans and professionals who love genre fiction.  Not that fiction is the only subject of merit. This past weekend I got to talk psychology with Lawrence Schoen, geopolitical implications of the Russia/Ukraine conflict with Chuck Gannon, and whether it is sin or virtue that hypothetically makes a soul more attractive to Satan with Max Gladstone (true story!). There were many other conversations like this, and seeing old friends, and making new ones. But, you can imagine, how I was having even more fun, clutching at the award!

When I got the nomination it took me about a week to come down. There’s no telling how long it will take now. That’s why I’m rambling incoherently in this blog post, instead of employing the level of snark you’re normally accustomed to. Seriously, I’m elated, and exhausted, and still a little sleep-deprived. But I wanted to post something before too long, and here it is.

I should also add that “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” can still be read for free at IGMS, so if you haven’t read it yet, check it out!

#SFWAPro

 


Two New Publications

October 1, 2014

fantasyscroll3

Two more of my stories are available to read as of the last 24 hours.

The Fiddle Game” is an urban fantasy/noir tale with some humor elements. You can read or listen to it at IGMS (but you’ll need a subscription).

The Perfect Book” is a lightly humorous SF flash, and it’s free to read in the third issue of Fantasy Scroll Magazine.

#SFWAPro

 


Read “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” for free at IGMS

September 9, 2014
Artwork by Andres Mossa

Artwork by Andres Mossa

What the title says. Edmund Schubert and his team very kindly set the story to a free read, as a way to celebrate its WSFA Small Press Award nomination. You can read it here.

This is also a good time to remind people that the sequel to this story, High-Tech Fairies and the Pandora Perplexity was also published at IGMS, early this year.  Both stories will be included in my short story collection next year. But you can also subscribe to IGMS and read it now.

#SFWAPro

 


An Overflowing Basket of Awesome

September 8, 2014

I’ve been so busy lately with getting the UFO3 print files ready, working on the short story collection, posting Kickstarter updates and other various things, I’ve been neglecting the blog. Again. Sorry about that. I know (or at least totally assume) that you missed me.

So, here is the run-down of extremely cool things that have been happening lately.

* The Kickstarter campaign for “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories” has funded, raising over 250% of the initial goal! There will be an e-book, an audio book, a paperback and a hardcover published in February, and a separate novella-length book released in August of 2015. Watch this space!

* My urban fantasy noir story “The Fiddle Game” has been accepted at InterGalactic Medicine Show and will appear really soon–in fact, later this month!

* Daily Science Fiction picked up two of my flash stories: “Letting Go” and “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” They also recently published their September table of contents, and one of my strongest-ever stories, “Icarus Falls” will appear later this month. I’ll be sure to post a link!

* I received permission from the Russian author Tatiana Ivanova to translate into English her hilarious novelette “Impress Me, Then We’ll Talk About the Money.” I’m almost done with the translation and hope to help it find a great home in the coming months.

* Speaking of translations, I managed to knock off two items off my writer bucket list simultaneously–my first commissioned story and my first Chinese translation. The difference between a solicited story and a commissioned story is that, with the latter, you get paid  when you turn in your work. A solicited story might still get rejected if the editor doesn’t like it. So, naturally, commissions are rare as they indicate a significant level of faith on the part of the editor. In this case, it’s for a super-cool contest in China. My story will be translated and published in Chinese first — the English version can be published sometime next year. I’ll write a separate blog post about this later this year because the contest it’s for is anonymous and I don’t want to give away any details about my entry.

* And as far as solicited stories go, I was invited to submit to a near-future space exploration anthology edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and published by Baen books. This morning Bryan announced the final TOC and my story “The Race for Arcadia” (about the rekindled space race between the US, Russia, and India, told from the perspective of the Russians) will appear in it alongside an all-star cast that includes such awesome writers as Mike Resnick, Bob Silverberg, Ben Bova, Jack McDevitt, and James Gunn, among others.

* On a regular day, making it into what might be the highest-profile TOC anthology of my career to date, would be the best writing-related news of the day. But not today. Today I got home from an extra-tough day at work to find a message of congratulations in my Twitter feed. Apparently, I’ve been nominated for the WSFA Small Press Award!

WSFA

WSFA is the Washington Science Fiction Association, the fine folks who run Capclave. My story “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” has firmly cemented its place as my most successful piece of writing thus far, by becoming one of eight short stories nominated for the award this year! Here’s the press release.

There’s some incredibly tough competition, but I’m super thrilled to be considered. This story was the finalist in the IGMS 2013 Reader Poll, and it was on Tangent Online’s 2013 Recommended Reading list, but this is the first time I’ve ever been nominated for an actual, honest-to-God writing award.  And I must say, I like it very much.

So that’s my basket of awesome. I promise to update the blog more often this month. Until then, if you need me, I will be floating somewhere in the vicinity of Cloud Nine.

#SFWAPro