Funny Science Fiction Update #2

June 29, 2015
Funny Science Fiction

Funny Science Fiction

I’ve read a LOT of funny science fiction stories so far, and have a good number in my “maybe” pile, but this is an update on the stories that have made it into the book already:

“Observation Post” by Mike Resnick (Beyond the Sun, Fairwood Press, 2013)

“Flying on My Hatred of My Neighbor’s Dog” by Shaenon Garrity (Drabblecast, 2013)

“Whaliens” by Lavie Tidhar (Analog, 2014)

“Half a Conversation, Overheard Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug” by Oliver Buckram (F&SF, 2013)

“Wikihistory” by Desmond Warzel (Abyss & Apex, 2007)

“See Dangerous Earth-Possibles!” by Tina Connolly (Lightspeed Women Destroy Science Fiction, 2014)

“Kulturkampf” by Anatoly Belilovsky (Immersion Book of Steampunk, Immersion Press, 2011)

“HARK! Listen to the Animals” by Ken Liu and Lisa Tang Liu (Galaxy’s Edge, 2014)

“Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs” by Leonard Richardson (Strange Horizons, 2009)

“Miss Darcy’s First Intergalactic Ballet Class” by Dantzel Cherry (Galaxy’s Edge, 2015)

“Pidgin” by Lawrence M. Schoen (Aliens and A.I., Eggplant Literary Productions, 2005)

“Nothing, Ventured” by James Beamon (AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, 2013)

“Troublesolver” by Tim Pratt (Subterranean Press, 2009)


If you plan on sending a suggestion, please do so in the next day or two at the latest. I hope to finalize the TOC in the next week.


Funny Science Fiction update

June 10, 2015
Funny Science Fiction

Funny Science Fiction

Thank you for sending your suggestions, recommendations, and your own stories for Funny Science Fiction. Please keep sending more! The anthology is coming along nicely, and I figured I would update the list of stories that are already contracted to be included, so far:

“Observation Post” by Mike Resnick (Beyond the Sun, Fairwood Press, 2013)

“Flying on My Hatred of My Neighbor’s Dog” by Shaenon Garrity (Drabblecast, 2013)

“Whaliens” by Lavie Tidhar (Analog, 2014)

“Half a Conversation, Overheard Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug” by Oliver Buckram (F&SF, 2013)

“Wikihistory” by Desmond Warzel (Abyss & Apex, 2007)

“See Dangerous Earth-Possibles!” by Tina Connolly (Lightspeed Women Destroy Science Fiction, 2014)

“Kulturkampf” by Anatoly Belilovsky (Immersion Book of Steampunk, Immersion Press, 2011)

“HARK! Listen to the Animals” by Ken Liu and Lisa Tang Liu (Galaxy’s Edge, 2014)


I will continue reading through at least the end of this month, so please send me more stuff!








UFO4 Cover Reveal, Submission Guidelines, Headliners

February 13, 2015

At long last, here’s the info about UFO4:

image description

The cover is by Tomasz Marosnki (the same artist who drew the UFO3 cover.)

Unlike the previous volumes, UFO4 will be themed. The theme of this anthology is: dark humor.

As with previous UFO volumes, this book will feature 2 reprints and all-original material for the rest. The headliners are attached to the project are listed below:

George R.R. Martin – “The Monkey Treatment” reprint

Neil Gaiman – “We Can Get Them For You Wholesale” reprint

Esther Friesner – “The Match Game”

Piers Anthony – “Hello Hotel”

Other headliners that have agreed to write original stories for this volume include:

Mike Resnick – Gini Koch – Tim Pratt – Jody Lynn Nye – Karen Haber

Submission guidelines are now posted. We’ve raised our pay rate to $0.07 per word for original fiction.

There will be a Kickstarter campaign launched sometime in early March. As with previous volumes, the book will be published regardless of the crowdfunding campaign’s success. However, a successful campaign will allow us to purchase more stories, include interior illustrations and otherwise maintain and improve the annual series.

Some of the notable changes from previous volumes:

* Themed volume (see above)

* Maximum story length is 5000 words.

* One submission per author.

Hope to see many great stories from all of you!



Nebula Award Ballot Is Up

November 15, 2014

SFWA members received an e-mail this morning notifying them that the Nebula nomination ballot is now available, which signals the beginning of the 2015 award season.

Should you wish to consider any of my writing for your ballot, I had a total of 16 short stories published in 2014 (so far. There *may* be another flash piece forthcoming at DSF, but I don’t know if it will be this year or the next. No other longer stories are due out before 2015). Choosing among these is a little bit like choosing among ones’ children, but if absolutely pressed, I’d ask you to consider “Icarus Falls” as I feel it packs the most emotional punch. Here are a few of my own “top picks” for 2014:

Icarus Falls” – Daily Science Fiction

The fist astronaut to travel beyond our solar system tries to reconnect with her estranged daughter as she is losing her memories.

The Golem of Deneb Seven” – InterGalactic Medicine Show

A Jewish family immigrates to another planet to escape civil war on Earth, but the war catches up to them and they find themselves caught in the middle of the conflict.

Fate and Other Variables” – Galaxy’s Edge

A computer hacker and a kabbalist team up to break into the metaphysical Book of Fate and rewrite their futures.

High-Tech Fairies and the Pandora Perplexity” – InterGalactic Medicine Show

A sequel to “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma.” A Pandora’s box shows up at the Pawn Shop while two factions of the Fae covet technology that would allow electronics to work in their realm.

“Doubt” – Galaxy’s Edge

A cybernetically-enhanced assassin who can’t feel pain faces off against his greatest adversary.

The complete list of my other stories is posted on my Bibliography page.



My Top 5 2013 Blog Posts

December 31, 2013

I’ve been moderately good about updating the blog this year — lots of publication and story sale news, but also an occasional interesting post about other things. As the year winds down, I went over my blog posts of 2013 and picked out my favorites. That is, the five favorite entries that I wrote, not the 5 best I read on the Internet


#5: It Came from the Slush Pile

I was posting regular slush updates during the UFO2 reading period, and at some point came up with the following bit of wisdom:  “This doesn’t mean that you can’t sell us a zombie reality TV story about a road trip in space. But it won’t be easy.” I suppose I shouldn’t have been at all surprised to find a flash story that used all those tropes in my inbox shortly thereafter! I couldn’t include it in UFO2, but I offered the author, Rachel Winchester, an opportunity to publish it on my blog (and paid her for it. You all know how I feel about 4-the-luv markets by now).

#4: Getting Short Fiction Published

I’m kind of cheating here. This was linked from my blog, but actually posted at SF Signal. They interviewed me about all sorts of submission-related things, including what kind of bribes I accept (for the record: coffee, chocolate, and flattery.) The interview came out really well and is easily one of my favorite blog posts this year. I would also like to give a shout-out to SF Signal, who don’t only provide an amazing service to the SF/F community, but have been incredibly generous and helpful to me as a publisher, in promoting UFO books.

#3: Hijacking the Space Marines

There was an outcry earlier this year about Games Workshop bullying indie author M.C.A. Hogarth over the use of the term “space marine.” They claimed ownership of it as part of their miniatures game, despite the term enjoying a healthy and consistent usage in a variety of science fiction stories that predate their company. Fortunately mine was but one voice of many, M.C.A.’s books were restored on Amazon, and GW hasn’t taken any action against her, to my knowledge.

#2: How I Spent My WorldCon: An Illustrated Report

A lengthy post about what it was like to attend my very first WorldCon, and to go on stage to pick up Ken Liu’s Hugo. With pictures!

#1: 5 Practical Tips on Writing Humor

Once again, I leave my own blog to find my favorite article of 2013. I wrote this as a guest-post for the Dark Cargo blog, and was very pleased with the result. There are precious few articles that deal with humor writing in any sort of practical way (since it is even more difficult to try and teach someone to be funny than it is to teach someone to be a good writer), but I hope that my advice will be of some use to those interested in writing humorous SF/F in particular.

The COFFEE Anthology Launches, Seeks Submissions & Funding

June 23, 2013


UFO Publishing launches COFFEE: Caffeinated Tales of the Fantastic.

We’re seeking to collect 40-50,000 words of fiction where coffee or tea is an integral part of the plot in some way. For the moment we’re considering reprint stories, but will be able to purchase some original fiction if the anthology is fully funded via Kickstarter.

The Kickstarter campaign launched tonight to help fund this anthology. We’re offering great rewards such as copies of the three released and upcoming UFO Publishing titles (UFO, UFO2, and COFFEE), posters of Maggie McFee’s “Boom” artwork (pictured below), and other cool items.

Please help us by spreading the word of this campaign via social media, and pre-ordering copies for yourself and all the coffee addicts in your life!



"Boom" by M. McFee. Get a poster as one of the Kickstarter backer rewards!

“Boom” by M. McFee. Get a poster as one of the Kickstarter backer rewards!


Father’s Day Fiction

June 16, 2013


Happy father’s day to all the dads out there!

It occurs to me that I write a fair amount of fiction centered around a father-child relationship. Undoubtedly, being a father myself has much to do with that (that’s my son Josh in the photo above). I selected a few of my favorite father’s day stories which are posted online:

Nuclear Family at Kasma SF – Very short. Caution: this is not a festive story.

Things We Leave Behind – Daily SF – This story is dedicated to my own father and largely inspired by my experiences of emigrating from the former Soviet Union.

The Tinker Bell Problem – Buzzy – A humorous take on the subjects of faith and family.  Family ties aren’t exclusive to humans!

Enjoy, and please share links to your favorite father’s day stories in the comments!



From The Desk of Mr. McFetridge

January 20, 2012

The following is a comment left in the “Rejecting Faulkner” thread by G.D. McFetridge, the essayist whose actions I took issue with in that post, and my response. Enjoy:

G. D. McFetridge says:

January 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Alex (who?),

You’re hardly worth the effort, but I’m bored. First of all, you don’t know who I am, I’m published under more than one name. Your shallow attack reveals more about you than me. Are you a republican, or just a cohort of FJ’s? The selective way in which you drew from my essay excluded any chance of your rant being objective, a rant clearly meant to elevate your little ego at my expense. Good for you. But you’re way out of the loop. “Show Us, Mr. Faulkner” was first published over ten years ago; in its various evolutions it has now been published 10 or 11 times, including the UK, where, unlike any of your work, it got high praise from John Jenkins. It also won an academic literary award in 2006 for the year’s best creative nonfiction. The editor of the “Harvard Review” said: “Although we do not have a place for your work in the upcoming issue, we thought your nonfiction essay stood out from the rest of the crowd.” Arkansas Review (Janelle Collins wrote: I found your submission, “Show Us, Mr. Faulkner,” a fascinating read … It’s well written and witty. And a fine reminder that journals exist because of writers and that each submission deserves the resepct of a careful reading.” In closing I want to thank you for adding to my celebrity, because of course the second best thing is good press, the best thing is bad! Just ask Charlie Sheen. Go to Temple and talk to someone, you’ll feel better about yourself. Oh, and by the way, how many of your essays have been published ten times? Love ya, sweetie, say hi to your wife, GD


Thanks for stopping by and sharing more of your wisdom with my readers. Taking the time out of the busy writing schedule your alter egos and pseudonyms are having, and all that.

Clearly my shallow attack on your person has failed. In my inadequate attempt to warp and subvert the meaning of your essay I foolishly linked to your actual essay. My idol FJ (whoever that is) will be sorely disappointed in me.

I’m glad to hear that you’ve had more success in shopping around your essay than your fiction. Having it published 10 or 11 times in as many years must’ve been quite a feat. Especially in the UK. Personally, I was only published in the UK once and I humbly concede that getting paid in Pound Sterling is quite nice.

I should have known better than to express my disagreement with your assertions on my blog. I’m definitely outmatched. From a mere 1000 word “rant” you’ve been able to draw conclusions about my political affiliation, religious beliefs and state of mind. If I could jump to conclusions like that perhaps one day I’d be eligible for an academic literary award, too.

I was especially impressed with the rejection letters you quoted to prove that you wrote a good essay. It was easy to convince me since I, too, stated in my “rant” that your essay was well-written. I had no issues at all with the style or wit of your article.

My issue was with the fact that you put your name on other authors’ work.

My issue was with you wasting the time of editors and slush readers and then calling them out for a totally subjective and personal decision of rejecting the manuscripts you sent them, under false pretenses.

And my biggest issue was with your conclusion that the system is rigged and that you can’t (or at least aren’t likely to) get published based purely on the merit of your writing. I strongly disagree with this assertion, which is why I chose to discuss your essay on my blog.

You did not address any of these points in your reply, choosing instead to concentrate on “winning” the debate, Charlie Sheen style, the crux of your argument being that I’m a nobody, and how dare I speak out.

Oh, and I actually feel quite good about myself, thanks for asking.