I’m happy to announce that my Nebula Award-nominated short story “The Sounds of Old Earth” will be translated into Polish by Piotr Zawada [ETA: or another translator] for a future issue of Smokopolitan magazine.
My Nebula Award-nominated story “The Sounds of Old Earth” (originally published in Lightspeed Magazine) was reprinted in the 2015 Nebula Award Showcase, edited by Greg Bear, and is recently reviewed by Pop Matters, who has this to say:
The category nominees also uniformly impress, but the standout among them is surely Matthew Kressel’s ‘The Sounds of Old Earth’, the story of an old man on a largely evacuated and denuded Earth awaiting its destruction by space-based laser in order to use the resultant raw materials for a gigantic piece of space engineering. The sense of resignation has extraordinary resonance in today’s world, in which the destruction of people’s homes through flooding and natural disaster is becoming worryingly commonplace, and the image of the Earth being sliced into pieces like a hard-boiled egg is one that will stay in the memory. This was Kressel’s first Nebula nomination but, one feels, almost certainly not his last.
They also have praise for works by Rachel Swirsky, Ken Liu, Ann Leckie, and more. You can read the full review here.
The Chicago Tribune reviews the 2015 Nebula Awards Showcase, edited by Greg Bear, which contains the Nebula winners and finalists from 2014, and has nice things to say about some of the stories, including works by Rachel Swirsky and Kenneth Schneyer. The anthology includes my story “The Sounds of Old Earth,” and they say:
There are strong examples of more traditional science fiction and fantasy from Aliette de Bodard, Matthew Kressel, and Christopher Barzak, but the main sense we come away with is that the line between genre and literary fiction is increasingly arbitrary.
You can read the full review here.
Over at Fantasy Scroll Magazine, Iulian Ionescu interviews me in their December issue. I give my life story in three paragraphs, wax philosophical about character creation, and give (gasp!) advice to aspiring writers. Not for the faint of heart! Here’s a brief excerpt:
Here’s one question many writers dread, but I ask it anyway: what is your advice for young writers today?
The sooner you can develop a thick skin, the better off you will be. The writing life is full of rejection and heartbreak. You can spend five years working on your epic novel only to have it sit in a drawer because no one wants to buy it. You can have your favorite story rejected twenty times by all your favorite markets. You can have your beloved author or review site pan your work. Etc., etc. You have to learn not to care about this too much. It’s really hard, because we’re social creatures and primed to seek approval from others. I still struggle with this. But at the end of the day you have to just acknowledge the hurt and put your derrière back in the chairière and do the old clackety-clack.
You can read the full interview here.
It’s hard to believe, but this year marks my tenth anniversary of first attending Readercon. I first attended back in 2005 at the insistence of then Altered Fluid member Lauren McLaughlin. Back then, my only experience at cons was a few Star Trek and fan conventions I attended in my teens. I was immediately struck with how many amazing authors were in the same room with me during the Meet the Prose party, the main gathering on the first night. I knew not a soul, but the ever gregarious Ajit George knew some folks from his Clarion West class, introduced me to a ton of people, and soon I was playing Mafia with the likes of Holly Black, Kelly Link, Samuel Delany, Ellen Kushner, Paul Tremblay, and so many other luminaries. Many of those people I met at that first con I’m still friends with today. So, thank you, Lauren and Ajit, for opening up a world to me.
Right now I’m slogging through that post-con haze of exhaustion, mainly my own fault, for staying up too late drinking while talking with old friends and making new ones. In 2005 I knew no one, had published only two stories, and had just put out the third issue of a little ‘zine called Sybil’s Garage I’d started with folks from the Altered Fluid writers group.
And now here I am in 2015, where at Readercon I read an excerpt from my forthcoming and first novel, King of Shards, was on two panels in the giant “F” room (one on immersive fiction and the other on making a career in writing and publishing). Sybil’s Garage, though I’m no longer publishing the ‘zine, is still praised in the halls of Readercon as a little treasure. I was nominated for a World Fantasy Award for my editing work on it, and Paper Cities, edited by Ekaterina Sedia, which I’d published, went on to win the World Fantasy Award. I’ve published almost thirty stories, have had my stories translated into Czech, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish, and my stories have been nominated for a Nebula Award twice. I say this not to boast, but because I think it’s important as artists to remind ourselves from time to time of our accomplishments. In this field, as I imagine in other artistic endeavors, it can often seem as if there is always a new goal to strive for, that one success is never enough, that we must always keep moving. I think that’s wonderful, to a degree. Like sharks, artists must move forward or die. And yet we can often forget to look back and remember where we’ve come from.
I’ll remember Readercon 2005 as the place where a new life path began for me. So it’s a little sad for me to hear that Readercon will be changing hotels. The Burlington Marriott was never a perfect hotel by far, but some of my warmest memories formed there. The changing of the hotels is bittersweet, like the end of an era. But 2016 marks a new decade of writing for me, and I’m eagerly looking forward to all the adventures that this will bring. New hotel, new memories.
From the very beginning, Readercon has always been one of the friendliest cons. From veteran to newbie, you will never find an attitude of exclusion or elitism. Warmth arises from all people, all corners. Everyone recognizes that we are all on this adventure together because we simply love what we do, and the people who do it. Many of those who make Readercon possible exist behind the scenes, doing hard work for little reward. So I wish to thank them more than anyone, because without them there would be no con. Right now I’m desperately missing all the people and conversation. It’s almost as if my air supply has been cut off. But I feel better when I think about all the things 2016 and beyond will bring. I hope to see you all there.
My story “The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye” is up for a Nebula Award, and I’ll be attending the Nebula Awards Weekend from June 4-7th, in Chicago. I’m looking forward to connecting with folks. And even if you are not attending the con, but you are in Chicago, remember that there is a mass autograph session on Friday, June 5th from 8-9:30pm which is free and open to the public. I’ll be there, so come and say hi!
I’ll be on two panels, schedule below. See you there!
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of speaking to Kenneth Schneyer’s Science Fiction Lit class at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. His students had read my Nebula-nominated story “The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye” for class and had discussed it prior to my visit. I spoke a bit about my path into writing and some of the adventures I’d had along the way, like my early class with Alice K. Turner, the formation of Sybil’s Garage, how I ended up publishing Paper Cities, which went on to win the World Fantasy Award. I spoke about how I became the co-host of Fantastic Fiction at KGB and how I became a member of Altered Fluid.
The students were great and very engaged, and they asked a lot of interesting questions. Here are a couple of shots of me speaking to the class.
Christine and I stayed at the Christopher Dodge House, and old Bed and Breakfast just northwest of downtown. I chose our room because it had this little writing nook (and readers of this blog know how much I love finding great writing spots), where I worked on a new story in the mornings while the windows beaded with rain and I looked out at Providence’s many-gabled roofs across the street.
Here’s a photo of me outside the B&B right before we headed over to the university.
We spent the rest of the long weekend exploring Providence, which we’d never visited before. The first day we wandered down Benefit street with no particular plan. The sky was bleak and gray, and the air held a sharp chill. A thick fog hung over the streets, dropping beads of moisture on everything. It was the perfect weather to explore Providence’s old buildings and graveyards, places where both Poe and Lovecraft once haunted.
So Chris and I began walking up this hill, and the crows were circling overhead, hundreds of them (seriously) cackling madly, and it was getting late in the day and there was no one around, and both of us started to get a little creeped out. And of course my reaction was, “Let’s get closer and check it out.” These pics are the result of that. I should have taken a video, just so you could hear the crows, but if you look carefully, you can see them in the photos. Perhaps you can imagine them cackling as we walked under this cold spring sky.
We walked around a bit more and I took some photos of the interesting buildings along the street.
The next day was quite a bit sunnier and warmer, and we explored Providence a bit more. I’m glad we did, because I got to visit the Athenaeum, an old public library where Poe supposedly met his wife. It was mostly filled with RISD students, but the library still had this air of mystery and antiquity to it. I imagined I might find some ancient tome here that could unlock the gates to bizarre dimensions beyond human ken. Or something.
Overall, Providence was a lovely city and I’d visit again in a heartbeat. I’ve heard the winters are hellacious, but part of me wishes to find a cozy writing nook somewhere in one of those old colonials, or perhaps inside the Athenaeum, and spend one winter hibernating and writing, writing and hibernating, until I emerge in the spring, much thinner, long of beard, and with a completed manuscript.