Speculative Fiction Author
Interview in Outer Places

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Mahon of Outer Places and the interview gone up live on their website. I talk about the Singularity, data privacy, technological ethics, and my long and short fiction.

You can check out the interview here.


“Great Game” up at Hex Publishers & “The Last Novelist” Presale


My story, “The Great Game at the End of the World” is up now at Hex Publishers. After a bizarre apocalypse that shatters Russell’s neighborhood into floating chunks of property and unleashes horrid creatures into the world, he must protect his sister Jenna at all costs, even if that means giving up everything he loves. Here’s the intro paragraph:

The Creepy playing second base is a hell of a fielder, but his arm’s for shit, so they can forget about the double-play. My sister Jenna swings a doughnutted bat in the on-deck circle, chewing strawberry gum we found in the drawer of a wrecked house, her Mets cap turned around backwards, her yellow hair flowing in the constant breeze. Seeing her like this makes me happy. She shouts at the Ken up at bat, “You’d better hit the goddamned ball, loser!” Mom wouldn’t ever let that language fly. Jenna’s only ten. But I let it slide. Lately, I let everything slide.

The Creepies’ pitcher looks like a seven-foot tall furless cat with giant yellow eyes that glow no matter what angle you look at them, and rows and rows of toothpick teeth longer than my fingers. But her arm’s the real killer. She’s struck out four batters already, and it’s only the third inning. (These Creepies learn fast.) Bottom of the third inning, actually, and the last. Three innings was all we could coax from these creatures who seem to be more interested in the strange stars spinning wildly above the field than the game. Its Jenna, me, the Kens and Barbies vs. the Creepies, and we’re down, 1-0.

You can read the full story here.

Also, my story “The Last Novelist,” which will appear at Tor.com on March 15, 2017, is now available for pre-order. Here’s the jacket copy:

“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.

You can purchase your early copy here.

 


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?


Cover Art for “The Last Novelist”

Tor.com recently posted the cover art by Scott Bakal for my upcoming story “The Last Novelist,” and all I can say is, Wow. The colors are just so striking and stunning. I love the giant fish in the background, which actually features in the story, but you’ll have to read the story when it comes out in March to get the context!


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.


Publishers Weekly Praises Cyber World

cover_cyber-worldPublishers Weekly calls Cyber World “outstanding” and they mention a few stories, including my “The Singularity is in Your Hair,” plus stories from E. Lily Yu, Paul Graham Raven, and Madeline Ashby. Happy to see the book getting this much-deserved attention, as it contains a number of excellent stories, really well chosen by editors Josh Viola and Jason Heller. For those interested, there will be a book release party at the Lovecraft Bar in NYC in November, details forthcoming.

“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

You can read the full review here.