Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Author
Tangent Online reviews “The Last Novelist”

Tangent Online reviews my story “The Last Novelist” and says,

Matthew Kressel writes a hauntingly sweet and tragic story in “The Last Novelist (or A Dead Lizard in the Yard).” Reuth, the last novelist in the universe, is dying and comes to the distant planet of Ardabaab to finish his novel. He befriends a local girl who is intrigued by the foreign art skill he demonstrates, and she becomes his apprentice. The story revolves around the relationship of these two characters, exploring the passion and the often unappreciated talent of an artist. The speculative elements remain in the background, allowing this to be a quiet and subtle character study. I found it to be one of those great tales that knows just when to be verbose, and knows just when to step back and let the characters shine.

They also review stories by Theodora Goss, A.C. Wise, Julianna Baggot and Max Gladstone. You can read all the reviews here.


Quick Sip Reviews on “The Last Novelist”

Quick Sip Reviews has some nice things to say about my story “The Last Novelist” now up at Tor.com.

This is a story of longing and of looking back. Of decline—in health, in life. And of finding something at the end of life that is unexpected but wonderful….It’s an inspiring and elegant story and a great read!

They also review plenty of others, including Theodora Goss, Alyssa Wong, Bo Bolander, Catherynne Valente, Maria Dahvana Headley, and more. 

Read the full review here.


“The Last Novelist” in French

The ink is dry so I can announce some good news: the French-language magazine Bifrost will be publishing a translation of my story “The Last Novelist (or a Dead Lizard in the Yard)” in a forthcoming issue. This will be my first translation into French, and my fifth language overall (not including English). I’ll post more when I know which issue.


“The Last Novelist” Is Out Today

Today is the release date my of science fiction short story “The Last Novelist,” which you can read right now at Tor.com. Here’s the synopsis:

“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.

My wife and I were on vacation last year in Barbados, and we were both powering through Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. The book’s subject matter made me ponder the transience of things, how we take so much for granted. It struck me too that the activity we call “reading for pleasure” might have a finite lifetime in human history. What would happen, for example, if we could get stories fed directly into our brains? Would we have need for the literature of words anymore if we could experience stories first-hand? “The Last Novelist” describes such a potential future, many centuries from now, when books are to the people of the future like clay tablets with cuneiform, odd and obsolete.

While on that same vacation, there was a small dead lizard in the back-yard porch being eaten by ants. At first I was disgusted by its leather carcass, and I pushed it off to the side with my shoe. But day after day, I watched the ants work, and by the third day I was severely impressed by how thoroughly they had dissected the animal, how efficient nature was. Nothing dead is every really gone, it’s just changed.

Anyway, that’s how the dead lizard made it into the story. 😉

The story’s cover art is by the amazing Scott Bakal.

You can read “The Last Novelist” here, or if you prefer an ebook, you can get one at this link. I’m very curious to know what you think of the story. Feedback is always welcome!


“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.

 


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!


“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.