Speculative Fiction Author
“In Memory of a Summer’s Day” sold to Mad Hatters and March Hares

So that cryptic message I left a few weeks back about a story sale? Here it is: I’m supremely happy to announce I’ve sold “In Memory of a Summer’s Day” (which some may have heard me read at KGB last month) has sold to Ellen Datlow for her forthcoming Alice in Wonderland-themed anthology called Mad Hatters and March Hares. My story is about a jaded guide who gives many daily tours of Wonderland, which people come from all over the world to visit. No word yet on when the book drops, but it seems now to be some time late in 2017.

Here’s the full table of contents:

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

Rocket Stack Rank on “The Singularity is in Your Hair”

Rocket Stack Rank reviews “The Singularity is in Your Hair,” my story in the Cyber World anthology edited by Jason Heller & Josh Viola, and they have nice things to say:

The little reminders of the narrator’s humanity scattered through the story (e.g. “Mom’s gotta change my diaper”) keep us aware of her terrible situation, and her bravery through it all is heartbreaking. Especially when we see how her one source of hope has evaporated… Clever use of VR and AI. — 4/5 stars.

You can read the full review (with spoilers) here.


A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats: Some Thoughts on the US Elections and Globalism

A narrative that has been emerging from the white, blue-collar demographic who supposedly voted Donald Trump into office is that globalism has destroyed their way of life. And for many of the poorest communities in the US, it has, primarily because the industrial manufacturing base that made this country thrive in the 1950s up through the late 80s has been devastated. The United States has shifted from a country that manufactures materials to a country that manufactures information. There is no way in hell a US company will pay the union wages to build an iPhone here in the US, when it can do so in Asia for a fraction of the cost. Donald Trump, despite all his hyperbolic campaign rhetoric, cannot perform a miracle and bring that manufacturing base back to the US, especially not if he deports all the illegals, the cheapest form of labor here (since they get paid far under minimum wage, but still get paid gobs more than sweat-shop workers in Asia.) In short, globalization won’t stop because some real-estate tycoon of questionable business skills wills it so.

When Donald Trump waves his magic wand, all jobs shipped overseas will return

When Donald Trump waves his magic wand, all jobs shipped overseas will return

With increased globalization comes increased multiculturalism, and with a more interconnected world, there will be more connected people. This is a no-brainer. Provincial, isolated communities (local as well as national) are now confronting, sometimes against their will, other groups/cultures/ideas of which they historically have had no contact. And why is it that the coastal cities, the ones where these supposed “Coastal Elites” dwell, have the most open policies and feelings toward multiculturalism? It’s because these cities have been multicultural for a long time

Strong anecdotal evidence we needn't all be assholes to one another

Strong anecdotal evidence we needn’t all be assholes to one another

Let me take you on a brief tour of my local grocery, called Valentino’s, in Ridgewood, Queens, New York. (Queens County, for the record, is the most diverse county in the United States.) An Orthodox Jew shops next to a Muslim woman in full burka, next to a Serbian woman buying fruit, next to a Polish man at the deli counter, while the two checkout clerks speak Spanish to each other. There are white, black, brown and other folks all shopping, all minding each other’s business. (The 1980s Benetton commercials have nothing on this place.) Besides a few people getting angry when someone cuts the lines (and oh, boy, are there lines), I’ve never heard someone speak a racist slur here. People just want to get their fresh produce and go home. And here’s why: no one really cares about anyone else as long as they have their own needs met

Many groups: white, black, gay, straight, women, men, etc., etc. are not having their needs met. And so we have: Trump, the supposed “stir shit up” candidate who promises to meet the needs of those groups angry enough to get him elected. It doesn’t matter that he won’t meet any of their needs; what matters is that the angry folks express their rage. Trump’s win is their catharsis. (The Left has been pissed too, but apparently not pissed enough to win the electoral college.)

The Right has been pissed for a long, long time, and the Left really had no idea how deep that rage went. You can thank Facebook’s filtering algorithm, MSNBC, and generational narcissism for keeping the Left blind to that sentiment.

The political movements on the Left: rights for LGBTQ people, Black Lives Matter, a woman’s right to choose, quality healthcare for all, have been framed by the Right as taking away their liberties. The Right has said to their constituents, “These crazy Lefties are stealing your fresh produce and leaving you with little or none for your families.” And those hearing these messages look up from their TVs and smartphones (all manufactured in Asia for slave wages) and see their shattered communities, ravaged by globalization, of jobs shipped overseas, never to return, of a collapse of the once-indomitable manufacturing base, they see terrorism and a world in a blitzkrieg of technological transition, they see a black president upon whom they project their most profound fears and hatreds, and they say, “Yes! Those Lefties with their neoliberalism and their policies of openness are destroying my world! There is no fresh produce left for me and my family, and it’s the Lefties fault!” 

The Right has pulled off the greatest trick since Keyser Söze: they’ve convinced people the negative effects of globalism are the Left’s fault.

"It's the Left's fault!"

“It’s the Left’s fault!”

The Right has shifted all the blame onto the Left’s movements: Black Lives Matter has been reframed as an attack on law and civil society (which is why the Right’s response is either “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter.”) Rights for LGBTQ people have been reframed as an attack on marriage and traditional families (which have been collapsing long before gays got the right to marry, and trans people could use any bathroom they choose). Obamacare has been reframed as government interference into people’s lives. (Remember the “death panels” ?) The Right has shifted the blame away from the real cause of people’s suffering: namely that 50% of world’s wealth is concentrated in the top 1% of people, who are the ones making the decisions that benefit a tiny few and not the other 99%. But any attempt to discuss a fairer income distribution and taxing the super-rich is immediately shot down as “socialism” and evil. “You worked hard for your money, so don’t let the government take it away!” Never mind that those at the very top often do very little work at all.

Here’s the thing: none of the Left’s movements (Black Lives Matter, rights for LGBTQ people, healthcare, women’s rights, etc.) will actually harm people, but will do much to improve the quality of people’s lives. Happy, healthy people with their needs met will create communities with reduced crime, with stronger familial and community values, and better economies. It’s the Left’s job, therefore, to deconstruct the Right’s argument and redirect the blame for the devastation of the US’s industrial manufacturing base onto its real causes: the shift in the US from the manufacture of material to information; cheap labor in Asia and elsewhere; unavailability of a fair minimum wage; failure of job retraining programs, and a dozen other things having nothing to do with the Left’s progressive agenda. The Left must shift the blame away from multiculturalism, which is an effect and not a cause of globalization. It must show that diverse communities make stronger communities. The Left must realize that, along with its most popular and valid political movements, it must address the collapse of the US manufacturing base and all of the people that left behind from that. It must address the massive wealth inequality and how that hurt the poorest communities the most. And most of all, it must do this while still championing its progressive causes. The two are not mutually exclusive.

The Left must reframe the argument as: When marginalized, underprivileged, economically downtrodden groups improve their stations, everyone, not just those specific communities benefit. A rising tide lifts all boats. We’re all in this together. 

Which boat do you best identify with?

Which boat do you most identify with?

 


Reading tonight at KGB Bar with John Langan

I’ll be reading tonight, November 16th, at the KGB Bar with John Langan for the Fantastic Fiction reading series. I’ve been co-hosting with Ellen Datlow for eight years so I’m excited to finally have a chance to read there myself. Mercurio D. Rivera will be taking my place as co-host. I’ve also been a fan of John Langan’s fiction for a really long time, back since I started attending the series over a decade ago. Since then John continues to astound me with the work he produces, so I’m really looking forward to tonight, and I hope you can make it too.

Details:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 7pm at KGB Bar,
85 East 4th Street, New York.
(just off 2nd Ave, upstairs.)

More details can be found here.


Cyber World Launch Event at Lovecraft Bar, Nov 29, with E. Lily Yu, Matthew Kressel, Alyssa Wong, & Josh Viola

cover_cyber-worldCyber World: Tales of Humanity’s Tomorrow

An anthology of new cyberpunk, forward by Richard Kadrey

Where: Lovecraft Bar, 50 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009
When: November 29, 2016, at 7pm
Who: E. Lily Yu, Matthew Kressel, Alyssa Wong, Josh Viola

E. Lily Yu received the 2012 John W. Campbell Aware for Best New Writer. Her stories have been finalists for the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards and can be found in a variety of publications,from Clarkesword to McSweeny’s Quarterly. Recent works appear in F&SF and Uncanny.

Matthew Kressel is the author of the novels King of Shards and the forthcoming Queen of Static. His short fiction has been twice nominated for a Nebula Award and has or will appear in such publications as Lightspeed, Nightmare, Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, io9.com, Apex Magazine, Interzone, and the anthologies After, Naked City, The People of the Book. He co-hosts the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series with Ellen Datlow and is a member of the Altered Fluid writing group.

Alyssa Wong is a Nebula-, Shirley Jackson-, and World Fantasy Award-nominated author, shark afficionado, and a 2013 graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Tor.com, Uncanny Magazine, Lightspeed Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, and Black Static, among others. She is an MFA candidate at North Carolina State University and a member of the Manhattan-based writers group Altered Fluid.

Josh Viola is an author, artist, and former video game developer (Pirates of the Caribbean, Smurfs, TARGET: Terror). In addition to creating a transmedia franchise around The Bane of Yoto, honored with more than a dozen awards, he is the author of Blackstar, a tie-in novel based on the discography of Celldweller. His debut horror anthology, Nightmares Unhinged, was a Denver Post number one bestseller. His short fiction has appeared in Nightmares Unhinged and The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Found anthology. He lives in Denver, Colorado, where he is chief editor and owner of Hex Publishers.

Some early reviews of Cyber World

“This is the upgrade: the new, real sound of diverse futures, mad and magnificent, the world on a wire. Essential.”
–Warren Ellis, author of Gun Machine and Transmetropolitan

 “This is old-school cyberpunk written by new-school talent–the caliber of writers found in this book is a dream-team of storytellers ready to hack into your skull and implant their tales into your brain-meats. Cyberpunk gives the cyberpunk genre a much-needed reboot.”
–Chuck Wendig, New York Times Bestselling Author of Star Wars: Aftermath and Zeroes

Edited by Hugo Award-winner Jason Heller, and Joshua Viola, and available November 8, 2016, the book stars foundational cyberpunk authors, and new voices in the genre. The table of contents features Isabel Yap, Nisi Shawl, Saladin Ahmed, Alyssa Wong, Paolo Bacigalupi, Minister Faust, Mario Acevedo, Warren Hammond, Cat Rambo, Matthew Kressel, Madeline Ashby, Paul Graham Raven, Chinelo Onwualu, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Angie Hodapp, Sarah Pinsker, Keith Ferrell, E. Lily Yu, Stephen Graham Jones, and Darin Bradley, with a forward by Richard Kadrey.

To find out more about this exciting new project, and the future of Hex Publishers, please visit the brand-new Hex website, http://hexpublishers.com. For more information, review requests, or interviews, please contact publicist Jaym Gates at jaym.gates@gmail.com.


Cyber World Release and Story Reviews

cover_cyber-worldCyber World, the anthology of cyberpunk stories edited by Jason Heller & Josh Viola is now on sale. The anthology contains my story “The Singularity is in Your Hair,” about a girl with a severe form of muscular dystrophy, which prevents her from moving in the real world, but she is adept at creating realistic VR experiences for select clients. Here are some reviews of the story:

“This outstanding collection is set in a near-future society with intriguing technological advances, but the social and cultural implications of these developments vary widely…Artificial intelligence features in several stories, creating virtual realities in Matthew Kressel’s “The Singularity Is in Your Hair”…a myriad of characters and styles highlights the variety of voices and ideas in current science fiction, and the authors gleefully expand the already-fluid definition of cyberpunk. The stories that focus on individual relationships highlight the most lasting and powerful effects of technological changes, showing them to be beneficial, destructive, and sometimes both at once.” —Publishers Weekly

“‘The Singularity is in Your Hair’ by Matthew Kressel — can I use the word ‘sweet’ about one of these? Probably not, but this tale about VR helping a person with a debilitating disease experience more than many people is very close to it.” — Irresponsible Reader

“‘The Singularity Is in Your Hair’ (Matthew Kressel) – A severely crippled 16-year-old freelance coder teams up with an AI in the virtual world to create premium synesthetic experiences. Kressel uses real technology such as hackable exploits and public key cryptography to craft a VR world with real brand names and is highly relatable. A powerful story that deals with technology’s deeper value and our rush to have it.” — Edge of Infinity

“Matthew Kressel’s ‘The Singularity Is in Your Hair’ functions the same way when it appears six stories into Cyber World. Cyberpunk, almost by definition, carries a dystopian sway in it swaggering journey along technology’s potential. Star Trek’s world of plenty, where you work only because you want to contribute, is not cyberpunk, no matter how many holodecks you install on the Enterprise. Cyberpunk is the pulpy noir of sci-fi, where tawdry escapism into the altered states of VR and pharmaceuticals have lured all or most of the world over to the wrong side of the tracks. So the flare of hope that appears in Kressel’s story is a refreshing reprieve from the gloom, even if it is a false hope that only darkens the shadows of despair in the stories that surround it.” — Fiction Unbound

The anthology also contains stories from Paolo Bacigalupi, E. Lily Yu, Sarah Pinsker, Saladin Ahmed, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Alyssa Wong, and many others. Get your copy here.


World Fantasy Convention & Story Sale

I’ll be attending the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, Ohio from October 27-30. I’ll be doing a reading at Friday at 3pm in Union D, in which I plan to read a new, unpublished story. I’ve been working hard on several work projects (most non-writer related) and so haven’t had much free time, so I’m really looking forward to catching up with folks over a beer there!

In other news, I sold a new story. But the editor has asked me to remain silent until s/he announces. However, I have to say I’m pretty freakin’ psyched with this new sale!

Anyway, see (some of you) soon in Ohio.