Speculative Fiction Author
Honorable Mention in Year’s Best Science Fiction

The Year's Best Science Fiction 32nd Annual Collection

The venerable Mercurio D. Rivera informs me that my story “Cameron Rhyder’s Legs,” which appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine in November of 2014 has been given an Honorable Mention in Gardner Dozois’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction 32nd Annual Collection. Also honorably mentioned are the following stories from fellow Altered Fluidians. Go team!

Paul M. Berger – “Subduction” (F&SF)
Richard Bowes – “Sleepwalking Now and Then” (Tor.com)
Alaya Dawn Johnson – “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i” (F&SF)
Sam J. Miller – “Songs Like Freight Trains” (Interzone)
Mercurio D. Rivera –  “Atonement, Under the Blue-White Sun” (Paradox Anthology)
Alyssa Wong – “Santos de Sampaguias” (Strange Horizons)
 
Readercon 2015 Schedule

I’ll be attending Readercon from July 9-12, and I’ve just received my panel schedule. Readercon is one of my favorite conventions, and this year I’ll be doing a reading and will be participating in two panels. Otherwise, I’ll likely be near the bar!

Friday, July 11

11:30 AM    EM    Reading: Matthew Kressel.
Matthew Kressel. Matthew Kressel reads from his forthcoming novel, KING OF SHARDS.
 
4:00 PM    F    What Makes Fiction Immersive? 
Stacey Friedberg, Matthew Kressel, Barry Longyear, Sarah Smith (leader), Rachel Steiger-Meister. What is it about a work that makes you fall into it and not want to come out? What makes another time or place so attractive that you find yourself living there in odd moments? Rather than discussing this in terms of writing techniques, we’ll focus specifically on the reader’s experience of a work as immersive, exploring the intersection of escapism and reflection of the reader’s needs and desires.
 

Saturday, July 12

1:00 PM    F    Making SF/F Careers Viable.
Sandra Kasturi, Matthew 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.
 
Huffington Post on King of Shards

Are you looking for a good epic fantasy to read? The Huffington Post lists my forthcoming novel King of Shards as one of the “Debut Epic Fantasies to Look Out for in 2015.”

“In this prismatic tale of demons, righteous warriors, and multiple universes, Kressel plumbs the depths of Kabbalistic lore to create a unique fantasy cosmos. Daniel Fisher’s wedding day becomes a nightmare when he finds himself transported to a harsh desert world–and discovers his intended bride is a demon. It turns out Daniel is one of the Lamed Vav, the thirty-six righteous people who are destined to fight evil. To stop the ravages of the demon, Daniel must go on a terrifying journey and form unlikely alliances along the way in this engaging new epic fantasy.” 

They also have nice things to say about Ken Liu’s The Grace of Kings (out now)Fran Wilde’s Updraft (September), and Seth Dickinson’s The Traitor Baru Cormorant (September). And I should also mention Last Song Before Night (September), the debut novel of the article’s author, Ilana Tietelbaum. So, lots of exciting stuff to read!

My novel comes out October 13th, but you can pre-order it now.

Partial Payments

I'm only paying for this small piece.

I’m only paying for this small piece.

Consider the following scenarios:

1) I walk into a restaurant and order a steak, fries, coca cola, and dessert. I only take one bite of the steak and don’t touch anything else. I tell the waiter, “I’m only paying for the bite I’ve eaten.”

2) I buy a movie ticket for this summer’s best blockbuster. After a few minutes, I leave the theater, deciding that the movie is not to my liking. I visit the ticket desk and demand that they refund me for the unwatched part of the film.

3) I’m watching my favorite cable TV show in the evening. After 15 minutes, I fall asleep. I call up my cable company and demand that I get reimbursed for the 45 minutes of the show I didn’t watch.

All of these sound like absurd scenarios to me. And yet this is exactly the model that Amazon is proposing to roll out soon for people who self-publish through their market. And let’s be clear about this. This is a nasty, sinister model that devalues authors. Forget for a moment the arguments about the potential change this might bring about in creative works when authors feel they absolutely must hold the readers’ attention. This turns the author into nothing more than a battery.

Amazon wants to maximize readers turning pages, which is laudable. But when we tie an author’s profit to eyeballs per page we are saying that the book itself is a frangible object, a divisible entity, that it is not complete only as a whole, but can be broken down like an electrical supply or gasoline into salable units. Amazon is essentially saying that a book like Stephen King’s The Stand is not a complete object, but exists a series of pages that can be sold to you individually. 

No, it most certainly is not. And here is why:

Authors tell stories, not pages.

You pay for the labor of the author creating the entire work, even if you happen not to like some or even all of it, in the same way that you must fully pay for the steak dinner or the full movie price or the full cable TV bill because some person worked hard to make the entire creative object, and not just the small piece you enjoyed. And as such you need to pay that person for her time and effort, even if you only sample a little bit. That’s the deal. Anything else is quite simply theft.