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.


Mailing List

If you wish to keep up to date with my fiction, you can now subscribe to my mailing list here. While there is Twitter and Facebook and G+ and my blog, all of those have an aura of the impersonal. They seem to me a bit more like shouting into a crowded room and hoping a few people turn away from everyone else’s shouts for a moment to listen. An email list seems more personal to me. People subscribe because they want to

I plan to keep this list pretty low-frequency. I’ll send out updates only when I have something tangible: a new story out, a new book contract, and maybe once or twice I year I’ll send a free gift to subscribers like a novel or story excerpt. Sometimes the internet can be so very large and impersonal, so consider this my way of having a bit more intimate relationship with fans of my writing. Please fill out the form if you’re interested:

 


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.


“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.


Queens Book Festival and Writer’s Digest Conference

In August I’ll be appearing at the Queens Book Festival and the Writer’s Digest Conference. Hope you can come by to watch the panels, get your book signed, or just to say hi!

Queens Book FestivalQueens Book Festival

Sunday, August 7th, Marquee Stage, 11:00 A.M.
The umbrella genre of speculative fiction, including science fiction and fantasy, has gained a broader popularity over the last decade and has opened the door for authors of various backgrounds to write their own stories more reflective of their worlds. In this panel, authors will discuss their visions for the future of speculative fiction, and how broadening the scope of the genre and engaging with various communities better enriches on the world. Moderated by Jennifer Marie Brissett, with panelists Elizabeth Crowens, Carlos Hernandez, Matthew Kressel, and Steve W Vera.

WDvert_color_400x400Writer’s Digest Conference

Saturday, August 13, Mass Autographing Session, 6:30 – 8:00 P.M.
I’ll be here signing books. I’ll also have copies of King of Shards on hand.

Sunday, August 14th, 10:15 – 11:15 A.M., The Art (and Science) of Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Writing speculative fiction requires a level of imaginative thinking unmatched by other genres. And yet, it’s not simply a matter of wild creativity. The people, places, environments, political systems, flora and fauna must all adhere to an internal logic, being both fantastic, yet believable at the same time. In this panel, we’ll examine what special considerations are required when writing superior fantastic fiction and how to address those considerations properly, without limiting the power, impact, or pace of your story. (Panelists Elizabeth Bear, Debbie Dadey and Matthew Kressel).

 

 


Bible as Fantasy Literature Panel from Arisia 2016

Thanks to Noah Beit-Aharon, the video of our “Bible as Fantasy Literature Panel” from Arisia 2016 is now available for your viewing pleasure. This was a lot of fun so I’m happy it’s now online.

Here’s the description:

“What can we gain from viewing the Bible as fantasy literature, rife with active gods, prophecies, and larger-than-life heroes, and complete with centuries of fanfic from Dante to Milton and onward? How is the Bible treated in fantasy?”

It was a great discussion, so I’m glad it’s now available for rewatching.


Don’t Forget to Breathe

I put this video from Alexi Murdoch at the top of my post because this is what I want to remind myself and anyone who is on the creative path. I read a blog post from Stephanie Grossman yesterday in which she said she often felt overwhelmed when she entered a bookstore. There are just too many books. Which ones to read? When do we read? What about our job, our families? When do we have time to create?

Today we are inundated with information. Everywhere we look, information assaults us. The difficulty is not in finding new information, but discerning what we should pay attention to and what we should ignore. As we all know, more often than not we ignore the more important things and pay attention to trivialities. How often have we wandered down that internet click-hole when we should have been reading, writing, simply breathing? Too often, for me.

Sometimes I find it necessary to pause. I restrict my social media access. I do not read the news, which is full of tragedies large and small. I avoid television and over-sensitization. For certain creative types, like myself, we are more sensitive to overstimulation. Artists pay attention to the world more intensely than most, typically. We are observers, noticing details others often miss. This results in better art. How can you create if you don’t understand the universe you dwell in? We observe the world and let it penetrate us. And these sensations undergo a psychic alchemy inside our bodies, where they eventually emerge as art. The problem is that when we take in too much, when we oversaturate our senses, for those of us who are already steeped in sensation, this results in burn out.

The solution is taking a break.

Julia Cameron talks about this in The Artist’s Way, and I think she is absolutely correct. Pausing, as an artist, may feel like a betrayal. Don’t we have A,B,C, D and Z to do? Life is short and YOLO and hurry the fuck up because everyone else is rushing, rushing, rushing, and if we don’t get it done then…then….then…

Seriously. Breathe. Pause. Take a moment. Take a few days, if you have to. It’s okay. Life will be there when you return.