Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Author
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.


How To Run a (Successful) Reading Series

Over at Tor.com, they’ve posted my piece on “How to Run a (Successful) Reading Series.”

So you want to run a reading series, do you? That’s fantastic news! The more places authors have to showcase their work, the better. But while running a reading series may seem like a cakewalk to the casual outside observer, there are many things you must consider to make sure your series is successful.

I’ve been co-hosting the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series in Manhattan alongside Ellen Datlow for over eight years (the series itself has been running since the late 90s), and in that time I’ve learned many things about how to run a successful reading series, some of which I’ll share with you here.

You can read the full piece here.


“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)     

Podcast and Essay

kgbbarOver at Fran Wilde’s Cooking the Books, Ellen Datlow and I share inside secrets about the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series, the esoteric art of anthology editing, and the black divination of novel writing. Fran has a Patreon to support the podcast, and if you donate she’ll send you some of our outtakes! Why would you want to hear those outtakes? Well, because Ellen doesn’t want you to!

Also, this week I’ll be writing a series of essays for the Jewish Book Council. In “The Shortening of the Way” I speak about about Dune, the Baal Shem Tov, the Kwisatz Haderach, and genre shibboleths. 

Give a listen! Give a read! And leave a comment, so I know there are people out there who are interested in this stuff.


Speculate Podcast with Ellen Datlow

Speculate! PodcastLast week I participated in the Speculate Podcast, episode 144, hosted by Gregory A. Wilson and Bradley P. Beaulieu, and I was joined by Ellen Datlow, who I co-host Fantastic Fiction at KGB with. We speak about the origin of the series, what it takes to run a successful one, and what some of the benefits to the community are. We also speak about our respective projects: Ellen on her anthologies, and I speak of my debut novel King of Shards. Here’s the intro:

Welcome to Episode 144 of Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans.  In this episode we talk about reading series and short stories with the legendary editor Ellen Datlow and author/editor Matthew Kressel, who co-host the KGB Fantastic Fiction series in New York City, looking at how each of our guests got involved in hosting KGB, how reading series have changed over the years, and what the live experience offers which other more canned or isolated experiences don’t.  We also talk about the process of constructing an anthology, and the difference between short and long fiction from a writing perspective.  We really enjoyed this conversation with two very interesting and active people in the genre, and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

You can listen to the podcast here.