Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Author
Lunacon Schedule

I’ll be attending Lunacon in Tarrytown, NY on April 8-9th. I’ll be on the following panels/readings:

“Writing the empathic character”, Hudson Writing Sat 1:00 PM 
If you’re enclosed in the bubble of your own life, can you imagine the lives of others?” How do you write an empathetic human or alien? Is it ethical to force empathy? What is the opposite of an empathic character?

“Writing Social Change in SF” Hudson Writing Sat 2:00 PM 
This panel explores how speculative fiction can present the social, environmental and political challenges of our society. What is the best way to discuss these challenges without alienating readers? Is it our responsibility as artists to incorporate these issues in our work, whether overtly or covertly? How can we avoid prejudices and stereotypes in our work?

Are You Lost In the World Like Me? Grand Ballroom A Media Sat 5:00 PM 
After a showing of “Are You Lost in the World Like Me” of Animation by Steve Cutts (music by Moby and the Pacific Void Choir), we discuss today’s cyberpunk-like dystopia and where we are headed in the future. Moby says “These systems are failing.”

Reading: Matthew Kressel Dutchess Reading Sun 11:00 AM 
Reading: Matthew Kressel (of Altered Fluid writer’s group)


“The Last Novelist” in French

The ink is dry so I can announce some good news: the French-language magazine Bifrost will be publishing a translation of my story “The Last Novelist (or a Dead Lizard in the Yard)” in a forthcoming issue. This will be my first translation into French, and my fifth language overall (not including English). I’ll post more when I know which issue.


Mad Hatters and March Hares

If you attended the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading back in November with John Langan and yours truly, you might remember the story I read called “In Memory of a Summer’s Day.” That story will appear in an Alice in Wonderland-themed anthology edited by Ellen Datlow. The anthology includes stories by Seanan McGuire, Catherynne M. Valente, Genevieve Valentine, Kaaron Warren, Jeffrey Ford, Richard Bowes, Jane Yolan, Andy Duncan, and lots more. The full table of contents is below, but first I wanted to talk a little bit about the origin of my story.

When Ellen asked me to send her an Alice-themed story, I first had to go back and reread the books to re-familiarize myself with the material. But I kind of already knew what I had in mind. I envisioned a kind of haggard, jaded tour-guide who leads a group of clueless tourists, Disney-style, through Wonderland’s oddities. But unbeknownst to the tourists, Wonderland is crumbling. And it’s not the whimsical, fantastical realm everyone’s been led to believe, but something far more sinister. I got my idea from an exhibit I visited with some friends in Manhattan at the Morgan Library & Museum called “Alice: 150 Years of Wonderland.” What struck me was, well, how pervy Lewis Caroll was. His obsession with the real Alice (Ms. Alice Pleasance Liddell), penning love letters to her, taking photographs of her in her underwear, when she was many years his junior and not even close to consensual age, just came off as vile. And here were were, a century and a half later, so enamored with the tale and all its variants, ignoring its uncomfortable source. It seemed to me that its very seed was corrupt. This idea led me to my story, “In Memory of a Summer’s Day.” 

Mad Hatters and March Hares, edited by Ellen Datlow, comes out December 5, 2017. Details follow:

Here is what you can expect from Mad Hatters and March Hares: “An all original anthology of stories inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. ‘Alice’ has been read, enjoyed, and savored by generations of children and adults since its publication. It’s hallucinogenic, weird, imaginative and full of wordplay, mathematical puzzles, and political and social satire.”

Mad Hatters and March Hares will features stories that are inspired by the strange events and characters that appear in Wonderland.

Table of Contents

  • “A Comfort, One Way” by Genevieve Valentine
  • “Alis” by Stephen Graham Jones
  • “All the King’s Men” by Jeffrey Ford
  • “Conjoined” by Jane Yolen
  • “Eating the Alice Cake” by Kaaron Warren
  • “Gentle Alice” by Kris Dikeman
  • “In Memory of a Summer’s Day” by Matthew Kressel
  • “Lily-White & The Thief of Lesser Night” by C.S.E. Cooney
  • “Mercury” by Priya Sharma
  • “Moon, Memory, Muchness” by Katherine Vaz
  • “My Own Invention” by Delia Sherman
  • “Run, Rabbit” by Angela Slatter
  • “Run, Rabbit, Run” by Jane Yolen
  • “Sentence Like a Saturday”  by Seanan McGuire
  • “Some Kind of Wonderland” by Richard Bowes
  • “The Flame After the Candle” by Catherynne M. Valente
  • “The Queen of Hats” by Ysabeau Wilce
  • “Worrity, Worrity” by Andy Duncan

The anthology features a cover by the legendary Dave McKean, whose Folio Society edition of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods recently went on sale.

Mad Hatters and March Hares will be released on December 5, 2017.


“The Last Novelist” Is Out Today

Today is the release date my of science fiction short story “The Last Novelist,” which you can read right now at Tor.com. Here’s the synopsis:

“The Last Novelist (or A Dead Lizard in the Yard)” by Matthew Kressel is a science fiction story about a dying writer who is trying to finish one final novel on the distant planet he settles on for his demise. His encounter with a young girl triggers a last burst of creativity.

My wife and I were on vacation last year in Barbados, and we were both powering through Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. The book’s subject matter made me ponder the transience of things, how we take so much for granted. It struck me too that the activity we call “reading for pleasure” might have a finite lifetime in human history. What would happen, for example, if we could get stories fed directly into our brains? Would we have need for the literature of words anymore if we could experience stories first-hand? “The Last Novelist” describes such a potential future, many centuries from now, when books are to the people of the future like clay tablets with cuneiform, odd and obsolete.

While on that same vacation, there was a small dead lizard in the back-yard porch being eaten by ants. At first I was disgusted by its leather carcass, and I pushed it off to the side with my shoe. But day after day, I watched the ants work, and by the third day I was severely impressed by how thoroughly they had dissected the animal, how efficient nature was. Nothing dead is every really gone, it’s just changed.

Anyway, that’s how the dead lizard made it into the story. 😉

The story’s cover art is by the amazing Scott Bakal.

You can read “The Last Novelist” here, or if you prefer an ebook, you can get one at this link. I’m very curious to know what you think of the story. Feedback is always welcome!


Let’s Go Green With Trucks and Buses First
 
It seems to me as I was walking through the afternoon miasma of New York City at peak-fume, breathing in lungful after lungful of exhaust carbon, soot, and heaven knows how many carcinogenic particulates, that beginning with electric buses and trucks would be a good first place to start.
 
It would sure be nice to walk outside in the afternoon sun and not breathe in poison. So here’s the thing. We have an option now that’s actually cheaper than our current poison. Electric buses are now cheaper than diesel.
 
Your daily poison actually costs you more than clean air.
 

The Left Needs a Clearer Message
 
Broadly, fascism comes to power in times of failing economies as a promised “solution” to economic ills. Today wealth is being increasingly hoarded in the hands of a privileged few. You can always count on some smarmy demagogue in times of economic struggle to name some scapegoat. Blacks, Jews, Muslims, Immigrants are the traditional targets. But these are always deflections, the wool pulled over your eyes of the real source of the problems, which is almost always the super rich and powerful making decisions to benefit them and not you.
 
But to reason this out requires higher-order thinking. Demagogues know they can count on about 20-40% of any population to fall for simple jingoisms and blanket statements. “Make America Great Again.” What the fuck does that even mean? 20-40% of people in any population can’t think it through, and no amount of factual evidence will persuade them to do so. It’s all “gut” feeling for them.
 
The Left’s job, therefore, if they wish to counter these fascist movements, is to come up with alternative statements that appeal to people who think only as deep as their “gut.” But we have to make sure these don’t inadvertently spread the alternate message. #NotMyPresident is a stupid meme, because it reinforces “My President.” #NoBorderWall is a stupid meme because it reinforces “Border Wall.” How about #GroperInChief and #PervertPresident for starts? And then some memes that address what the Left stands for: #HealthCareForAll, #FairLivingWage, #WeAreAllImmigrants.
 
The Left is failing because they haven’t got a clear message. They are so busy fighting the Right they unintentionally boost the Right’s messages over and over and over again. How would you explain the Left’s worldview to a 3rd grader? Go.
 
* ETA: Yes, I know this article is from last year, but I don’t think the demographic has changed all that much since then, and may have actually been strengthened by Trump’s victory in the U.S.
 

Mailing List

If you wish to keep up to date with my fiction, you can now subscribe to my mailing list here. While there is Twitter and Facebook and G+ and my blog, all of those have an aura of the impersonal. They seem to me a bit more like shouting into a crowded room and hoping a few people turn away from everyone else’s shouts for a moment to listen. An email list seems more personal to me. People subscribe because they want to

I plan to keep this list pretty low-frequency. I’ll send out updates only when I have something tangible: a new story out, a new book contract, and maybe once or twice I year I’ll send a free gift to subscribers like a novel or story excerpt. Sometimes the internet can be so very large and impersonal, so consider this my way of having a bit more intimate relationship with fans of my writing. Please fill out the form if you’re interested: