Speculative Fiction Author
“In Memory of a Summer’s Day”
Mad Hatters and March Hares
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“The Last Novelist (or A Dead Lizard in the Yard)”
Tor.com
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“Love Engine Optimization”
Lightspeed Magazine
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“The Great Game at the End of the World”
Hex Publications
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“One Spring in Cherryville”
Available in most ebook formats
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“The Garden Beyond Her Infinite Skies”
XB-1
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“The Singularity is in Your Hair”
Cyber World
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“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”
Almanah Anticipatia 2016
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“The Sounds of Old Earth”
科幻世界 (Science Fiction World)
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“The Problem of Meat”
Grendelsong
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“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”
Nebula Awards Showcase 2016
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“Demon in Aisle 6”
Nightmare Magazine
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“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”
World Chinese SF Association
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“The Thing in the Refrigerator That Could Stop Time”
Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest
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“Marie and the Mathematicians”
Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #26
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“The Writing’s on the Wall”
Farrago's Wainscot #5
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“The Sembla”
A Field Guide to Surreal Botany
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“The Girl in the Basement”
Hatter Bones
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“Saving Diego”
Interzone #221
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“The Spaces Between Things”
Electric Velocipede 17/18
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“The Girl in the Basement”
Apex Magazine, Vol 3, Issue 3
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“The Suffering Gallery”
Beneath Ceaseless Skies - Issue 57
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“The History Within Us”
Clarkesworld Magazine #42
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“The History Within Us”
The People of the Book
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“The Hands That Feed”
Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories
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“The Bricks of Gelecek”
Naked City
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“The Hands That Feed”
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk
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“The Suffering Gallery”
The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year Three
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“The Great Game at the End of the World”
After
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“The Sounds of Old Earth”
Lightspeed Magazine and io9.com
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“The History Within Us”
Clarkesworld Year Four
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“The Last Probe”
Launch Pad
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“Pheth’s Aviary”
Beneath Ceaseless Skies - Issue 133
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“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”
Clarkesworld Magazine #92
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“The Sounds of Old Earth”
XB-1 Issue 8/2014
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“The Sounds of Old Earth”
Космопорт (Kosmoport)
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“The History Within Us”
XB-1 Issue 11/2014
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“Cameron Rhyder’s Legs”
Clarkesworld Magazine #98
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“The Sounds of Old Earth”
Nebula Awards Showcase 2015
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“The Garden Beyond Her Infinite Skies”
Clarkesworld Magazine
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Optimism is Hard

A friend of mine posted on social media recently about the fact that if we don’t curb our CO2 emissions, the world in 2100 will be an ugly place to live. He quoted a CNN article which said:

If we surpass that mark, it has been estimated by scientists that life on our planet will change as we know it. Rising seas, mass extinctions, super droughts, increased wildfires, intense hurricanes, decreased crops and fresh water and the melting of the Arctic are expected.

The impact on human health would be profound. Rising temperatures and shifts in weather would lead to reduced air quality, food and water contamination, more infections carried by mosquitoes and ticks and stress on mental health, according to a recent report from the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health.

In response to this post, a commenter said: “This drives home the point that it’s about saving ourselves not the planet.”

I responded, “Well, that’s a profoundly lovely message to leave to the next generation.”

Look, optimism is hard. It’s much easier to be a cynic, because that means you bear no responsibility. “Hey, there’s nothing I can do, so why not have fun while I’m here? YOLO, and all that.” It’s much, much harder to say, “There are a lot of huge problems affecting the world now. A lot of them seem intractable. But unless we do something, nothing will change. Maybe I can’t change everything. But maybe I can do one small thing. It may amount to nothing. It might not make a difference. But it also just might. And if ten, a hundred, a thousand people do something small, then that’s not such a small thing anymore.”

Cynicism is lazy. It’s the moral equivalent of not taking out the garbage, letting the dishes fester in the sink. Optimism is work. It means we have to be vigilant of not just our thoughts, but our deeds. It means we have to use our minds to dream up new ways of doing things that might be better and be open to trying those things, even if they fail.

So here’s some advice. Don’t be a cynic. It’s ugly, like a pile of overflowing garbage in the trash can and festering dishes in the sink. Just because problems are hard shouldn’t mean we don’t do anything to address them.


My Readercon Schedule

I’ll be attending Readercon next weekend in Quincy, Massachusetts. Here’s my schedule. Three panels and a reading! Hope to see you there.

Friday July 14

12:00 PM    5    Writing Futuristic Fiction in 2017. Michael J. Deluca, Haris Durrani, Matt Kressel, Shariann Lewitt, Paul McAuley, Naomi Novik (leader).Speculative genre fiction has always had the ability to consider our future and shape it, so now that the present more sharply resembles the settings of some dystopian fictions, where do we as genre writers go next? Do we need to write more dystopian fiction to process our anxieties and warn against things getting worse, or do we need stories of hope, utopia, and resistance to get through a time that will be frightening and dangerous for many? Can editors and readers tell the difference between stories that were written before and after the election, and does it matter?

4:00 PM    B    Reading: Matt Kressel. Matt Kressel. Matt Kressel reads a new short story about AI, UBI, and job replacement.

6:00 PM    C    The Catastrophe of Success. Alex Jablokow, Jim Kelly (leader), Matt Kressel, Paul Levinson, Eric Schaller. In a 1947 essay called “The Catastrophe of Success,” Tennessee Williams wrote, “We are like a man who has bought up a great amount of equipment for a camping trip… but who now, when all the preparations and the provisions are piled expertly together, is suddenly too timid to set out on the journey…. Our great technology is a God-given chance for adventure and for progress which we are afraid to attempt.” This is a very 1940s SFnal way of looking at technology and the world. We are in Williams’s future, with 70 years of perspective to add to his still-relevant observation. What has changed in the human relationship to technology since 1947, and what has stayed the same? How can present-day SF explore this tension between what technology allows us to do and the fear that holds us back?

Saturday July 15

12:00 PM    6    Is There a Law of Conservation of Utopia?. John Crowley, Michael J. Deluca, Karen Heuler, Matt Kressel, Kathryn Morrow (leader), Wes Rist. Readercon 27 included panels on utopias, dystopias, and apocalypses, and in all the panels the distribution of utopian experience was noted to be uneven: one person’s utopia is another person’s dystopia. Authors often create tension by showing the dystopian underpinnings of seemingly utopian cultures (as in The Hunger Games and The Time Machine). How could an author depict a true universal utopia where life is genuinely better for everyone while still writing a satisfying story? Or is there a law of conservation of utopia in fiction such that the amount of happiness in a fictional culture remains constant, and any utopia for some has to be a dystopia for others in order to drive the plot?

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.
 

Arisia Schedule

I’ll be at the Arisia convention in Boston this weekend. It’s a great convention, and I’m looking forward to it! Here’s my schedule. Hope to see you there!

Story Architecture: How to Plot Your Story
Marina 3, Writing, Sat 5:30 PM 
Deborah Kaminski (m), Michael Carr, Felicitas Ivey, Matthew Kressel, Suzanne Palmer
“A well-crafted story resembles a suspension bridge. How much backstory do you need at the beginning? How quick should you get to the inciting incident? What the heck is a midpoint? What milestones should you plot before you write a single word? And how do you get to your ‘all is lost’ moment without losing track of why the heck you started writing in the first place? Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, creating a roadmap will help your protagonist get to their destination.”

How to Self-Edit That Steaming Hot Pile of Crap
Adams, Writing, Sun 10:00 AM
Trisha Wooldridge (m), Jacqui B., Alexander Jablokov, Matthew Kressel, Ken Schneyer
“Have you ever gone back to edit your story, only to ask “Who wrote this $#!t?” Can you fix it? Where do you start? Our experts will teach you how to identify which elements you wish to save, how to spot plotting and pacing issues, why adverbs are so bad, and what tools are available to make self-editing easier. Bring a butcher knife…it’s time to conduct surgery on your baby…”

Is Optimism Just Nostalgia in Disguise?
Marina 2, Literature, Sun 11:30 AM
Andrea Hairston (m), MJ Cunniff, Matthew Kressel, Nalin Ratnayake, T.X. Watson
Description We are hearing, after a long sojourn in dystopia and postapocalypse, that optimistic SF is making a comeback. Is it really the case or is the optimism of yesterday just another type of nostalgia? When climate change, postantibiotic medicine, and resource depletion are major factors in our lives (topics that are not always as well addressed in optimistic SF), is there a way to temper our optimism and inspire those who might be able to face these problems?


“The Last Novelist (or A Dead Lizard in the Yard)” sold to Tor.com

Tor.comI’m supremely happy to announce that Ellen Datlow has bought my story “The Last Novelist (or A Dead Lizard in the Yard)” for Tor.com. I’ve been a fan of Tor.com and its regular fiction since its debut, and it’s awesome that my work will appear there. The story concerns a novelist from the far future in a world where few people read anymore, and instead have stories projected into their minds. The story will be published March 15, 2017.


On the Roots of Violence

You want to find the roots of violence in a culture? Look to the way some parents treat their children. In almost every case of a violent adult, you will find history of that person abused as a child: physically, sexually, emotionally, financially, spiritually. We look at the violent actions of adults and throw billions of dollars of tech and bombs at the problem, meanwhile we ignore the children, millions of them (including here in the USA), brought up in abusive environments, who have no way to express their pain and deep suffering — until they become adults. Then you’d better watch out, because they will surely make you suffer for the life they never had. If you want to stop the endless cycle of violence in the world, look no further than the children. Free them from the cycle of abuse, and I promise you the world will change with them.


Short Story Sale to Grendelsong

I’m happy to announce I’ve sold a new story to Grendelsong, the magazine edited by Paul Jessup. My story is called “The Problem of Meat,” and it’s about inter-dimensional creatures who eat our emotions. Grendelsong, back in the 00s was a cool little ‘zine that Paul Jessup put together, and some of the names people take for granted in the genre today had some of their first stories published there. Paul’s taking the ‘zine online, which I think is a better format these days for reaching the greatest audience, and my story will appear in the premiere (online) issue. I’m happy to take part!