Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer
“The Last Novelist (or a Dead Lizard in the Yard)”
The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 3
More
“The Marsh of Camarina”
Shades Within Us
More
“Love Engine Optimization”
The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2018 Edition
More
“The History Within Us”
Future Science Fiction Digest - Issue 0
More
“The Sounds of Old Earth”
Smokopolitan nr 10
More
“In Memory of a Summer’s Day”
Mad Hatters and March Hares
More
“Will You Meet Me There, Out Beyond the Bend?”
Nightmare Magazine 63
More
“The Last Novelist (or a Dead Lizard in the Yard)”
Bifrost
More
“Love Engine Optimization”
Lightspeed Magazine 85
More
“The Last Novelist (or a Dead Lizard in the Yard)”
Tor.com
More
“The Singularity is in Your Hair”
Cyber World
More
“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”
Nebula Awards Showcase 2016
More
“The Garden Beyond Her Infinite Skies”
XB-1
More
“The Sounds of Old Earth”
Nebula Awards Showcase 2015
More
“Demon in Aisle 6”
Nightmare Magazine 38
More
“The Problem of Meat”
Grendelsong
More
“The Sounds of Old Earth”
科幻世界 (Science Fiction World)
More
“The Garden Beyond Her Infinite Skies”
Clarkesworld Magazine
More
“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”
World Chinese SF Association
More
“Cameron Rhyder’s Legs”
Clarkesworld Magazine #98
More
“The History Within Us”
XB-1 Issue 11/2014
More
“The Sounds of Old Earth”
Космопорт (Kosmoport)
More
“The Sounds of Old Earth”
XB-1 Issue 8/2014
More
“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”
Clarkesworld Magazine #92
More
“Pheth’s Aviary”
Beneath Ceaseless Skies - Issue 133
More
“The Last Probe”
Launch Pad
More
“The History Within Us”
Clarkesworld Year Four
More
“The Sounds of Old Earth”
Lightspeed Magazine and io9.com
More
“The Great Game at the End of the World”
After
More
“The Suffering Gallery”
The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year Three
More
“The Hands That Feed”
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk
More
“The Bricks of Gelecek”
Naked City
More
“The Hands That Feed”
Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories
More
“The History Within Us”
The People of the Book
More
“The Suffering Gallery”
Beneath Ceaseless Skies - Issue 57
More
“The History Within Us”
Clarkesworld Magazine #42
More
“The Girl in the Basement”
Apex Magazine, Vol 3, Issue 3
More
“The Spaces Between Things”
Electric Velocipede 17/18
More
“The Girl in the Basement”
Hatter Bones
More
“Saving Diego”
Interzone #221
More
“The Sembla”
A Field Guide to Surreal Botany
More
“The Writing’s on the Wall”
Farrago's Wainscot #5
More
“Marie and the Mathematicians”
Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #26
More
“The Thing in the Refrigerator That Could Stop Time”
Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest
More
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2018 Edition

If you’ve ever felt that too much of your personal, private data has made its way out into the net, then have I got a story for you. My story “Love Engine Optimization” appears in Rich Horton’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2018 Edition. Lots of great stuff in this volume, including stories from Rich Larson, Charlie Jane Anders, Michael Swanwick, Kameron Hurley, Sofia Samatar, Linda Nagata, and many others. Check it out here.

The full table of contents:

“Time Travel is Only for the Poor” by S. L. Huang (Analog)
“Emergency Protocol” by Lettie Prell (Analog)
“Persephone of the Crows” by Karen Joy Fowler (Asimov’s)
“Cupido” by Rich Larson (Asimov’s)
“Winter Timeshare” by Ray Nayler (Asimov’s)
“Soulmates.com”, by Will McIntosh (Asimov’s)
“Red Bark and Ambergris” by Kate Marshall (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
“Whatever Knight Comes” by Ryan Row (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
“Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue” by Charlie Jane Anders (Boston Review)
“The Significance of Significance” by Robert Reed (Clarkesworld)
“The Secret Life of Bots” by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld)
“The Tale of the Alcubierre Horse” by Kathleen Ann Goonan (Extrasolar)
“Marley and Marley” by J. R. Dawson (F&SF)
“The Hermit of Houston” by Samuel R. Delany (F&SF)
“Rings” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (F&SF)
“Starlight Express” by Michael Swanwick (F&SF)
“The Sacrifice of the Hanged Monkey” by Minsoo Kang (Fantastic)
“ZeroS” by Peter Watts (Infinity Wars)
“Ugo” by Giovanni de Feo (Lightspeed)
“Love Engine Optimization” by Matthew Kressel (Lightspeed)
“This is for You” by Bruce McAllister (Lightspeed)
“One Hour, Every Seven Years” by Alice Sola Kim (McSweeney’s)
“Montreal, 2014” by Madeline Ray (Mothership Zeta)
“Sidewalks” by Maureen McHugh (Omni)
“Shoggoths in Traffic” by Tobias S. Buckell (Patreon)
“The Fisherman and the Pig” by Kameron Hurley (Patreon)
“Utopia LOL?” by Jamie Wahls (Strange Horizons)
“An Account of the Land of Witches” by Sofia Samatar (Tender)
“Extracurricular Activities” by Yoon Ha Lee (Tor.com)
“The Martian Obelisk” by Linda Nagata (Tor.com)
“Hexagrammaton” by Hanus Seiner (Tor.com)
“Though She Be But Little” by C. S. E. Cooney (Uncanny)
“And Then There Were (N – One)” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny)
“Fandom for Robots” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny)

 


New Story in Tales to Terrify

My horror / dark-fantasy story “The Words That Maketh Murder” * has been released as a podcast over at Tales to Terrify, narrated by Maurine McLean. The podcast also includes the story “Real People” by T. R. North. 

Kimmy, a former software developer for government black ops weapons projects, moves into a Queens, New York neighborhood and begins hearing strange voices coming from the old train yard behind her apartment. Parts of my story are true, and I’ll leave it to the listener to decide which!

Listen here.  

* Yes, it’s a PJ Harvey reference!


Podcast Interview & Romanian Translation

Photo by Scott Edelman

Scott Edelman has released Episode 70 of Eating the Fantastic, in which he grills interviews me at Pittsburgh’s famous Pork & Beans restaurant. I talk with him about my journey toward writing, what the Altered Fluid writing group has taught me, why I ended up writing science fiction, how I ended up co-host of the Fantastic Fiction at KGB series, and many other things. I’ve done lots of interviews, and I have to say that Scott’s questions were among the most researched and thorough I’ve encountered.

Give it a listen here.

The other news is that my Nebula-nominated story “The Last Novelist (or a Dead Lizard in the Yard)” has been translated into Romanian by Alexandru Maniu and appears in this month’s Helion SF online magazine. For my Romanian-speaking friends, the link is here.

 

 


My Readercon Schedule

I’ll be attending Readercon July 12-15 in Quincy, MA. I’ll be on one panel, and I’ll be doing a reading. Most likely I’ll be reading from the novel-in-progress. Here’s my schedule:

Futures That Feel like Home
Location: Blue Hills
Fri 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM 
Description Our panelists will discuss the fictional futures they find most appealing and would be happy to live in (maybe with some caveats). Does the work that depicts these futures provide a path or hints as to how humans might get there? What makes these futures worth rooting for and aspiring to?

Reading: Matthew Kressel
Location: Salon A
Sat 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM 

Hope to see you there!


Shades Within Us

My story “The Marsh of Camarina” will appear in the Canadian anthology Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders,  edited by Lucas K. Law and Susan Forest. Proceeds from the anthology will benefit the Mood Disorders Association and Alex Community Food Centre. Here’s a description of the book from the book jacket:

Migration. A transformation of time, place, and being . . .

WHO ARE THE SHADES WITHIN US?

We are called drifters, nomads. We are expatriates, evacuees, and pilgrims. We are colonists, aliens, explorers; strangers, visitors–intruders, conquerors–exiles, asylum seekers, and . . . outsiders.

An American father shields his son from Irish discrimination. A Chinese foreign student wrestles to safeguard her family at the expense of her soul. A college graduate is displaced by technology. A Nigerian high school student chooses between revenge and redemption. A bureaucrat parses the mystery of Taiwanese time travelers. A defeated alien struggles to assimilate into human culture. A Czechoslovakian actress confronts the German WWII invasion. A child crosses an invisible border wall. And many more.

Stories that transcend borders, generations, and cultures. Each is a glimpse into our human need in face of change: to hold fast to home, to tradition, to family; and yet to reach out, to strive for a better life.

If you didn’t guess from the above description, my story is the one where “A college graduate is displaced by technology.” Graduating from a top school with a degree in computer science, she discovers that AIs have taken all the programming jobs, and so, with no other options, she heads up to an experimental community in Canada where she must decide what to do with her life.

Links to preorder the anthology are here.


Health and Happiness for Writers: The Writer’s Spine

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post titled “Health and Happiness for Writers: The Writer’s Ego“, which was a continuation of the discussion from a panel at the 2018 Nebula Award Conference in Pittsburgh. In my post I discussed some of the emotional issues writers might encounter in their career. In this post, I want to talk a little bit about the physical side of things. Specifically, the writer’s spine and the travails we put it through, often unconsciously.

There is the old cliche that a suffering artist is a better artist. That’s horseshit. Artists do their best work when they are healthy and happy.

If you read my blog, you may have encountered my post “When I Was Suffering, I Made Less Art,” which is about my journey through the U.S. Healthcare system with no health insurance and a herniated disc in my neck that was so painful it made it near impossible to do anything productive. The post went viral after John Scalzi retweeted a link to it, because I think it resonated with people, and also because of the Republican attempts (which continue today) to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

There is the old cliche that a suffering artist is a better artist. That’s horseshit. Artists do their best work when they are healthy and happy.

So after the panel in Pittsburgh, this young guy comes up to me and, before he even speaks, I know by his body language what he’s going to say: he has terrible pain in his neck. You could see it in his face, his barely contained grimace, his reddened, squinting eyes. My first thought was, I see you’re in pain, and I have been through the same thing. I want to help you.

We didn’t have a lot of time to talk, but I quickly outlined several things that worked for me not only to mitigate but to eliminate pain. I also quickly went over techniques I use to keep my body functioning optimally, so I can be as productive as possible.

Here is some of what I said:

  1. Begin with body awareness. How are you sitting? How are you writing? Are you slouched over a keyboard like an opening parenthesis? This is the worst posture ever, because you are putting all of the weight of your head onto your cervical spine (lower back and neck), and these vertebrae are the most common to get herniated.

    BAD posture. DO NOT sit like this!

    This should be your posture:

    And actually, having the midline of the monitor at eye level is probably better, since it prevents you from leaning forward to see what’s on the bottom of your screen.

  2. If you feel pain, stopIf I could shout this from the rooftops, I would: If you feel pain, stop. Do not work through pain. It doesn’t make you tough. It makes you stupid. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that you are doing it wrong. Got a tingle in your shoulder? Neck? Lower back? Stop. Reevaluate your posture. Take a break. Go get some water. Go for a walk. Working through pain is a quick way toward a more serious injury.

  3. Exercise your core. When you are young, your body forgives bad posture and infrequent exercise. But as we age, the places in our bodies where we have put the most stress will often flare up with an injury. This is because we have let our core muscles atrophy. Most people do not use the core muscles in their everyday lives. And because our core muscles are weak, our other muscles overcompensate. Your lower back or your neck take up the strain. One thing I’ve learned is that regular exercise of my core muscle groups reduces and often completely eliminates neck and lower back pain. This is because once you have strengthened those muscles, the rest of the body doesn’t need to work as hard to compensate. To strengthen my core, I use a combination of Iyengar Yoga (you can do this routine in about 10 minutes in the morning) and a rowing machine at the gym, with occasional free weights. 

  4. You are what you ingest. When I was in my 20s, I could throw back half a dozen beers and be fresh for work the next morning. Now, even two beers negatively affects my sleep cycle. Also, when I occasionally ingest (or inhale) other substances (use your imagination) I’ve found my energy level adversely affected the next day. The same is true for refined carbs. I love pizza and I could seriously eat a whole pie by myself. But afterward, and often the next day, I’m a sloth: sleepy, cranky, unmotivated. The bad things I put into my body have very real and immediate consequences in ways that they didn’t when I was in my 20s. This includes caffeine. My suggestion: avoid sugar, refined carbs, and excess caffeine. Minimize your intake of alcohol and drugs. Eat as many plants as you can stomach, because that’s still probably not enough. Have your blood tested to see if you are deficient in any vitamins (most of us are Vitamin D deficient), and take supplements if necessary.

  5. See a doctor, if you need to. Don’t be afraid to see a doctor. I know this one’s a mixed bag for many, since the quality and affordability of health insurance, at least in the U.S., is not ubiquitous. But if you can and have the opportunity, go see someone. Get a professional opinion. In fact, get multiple opinions. One orthopedist was ready to inject a steroid into my spine after a five-minute consult. I didn’t feel comfortable with that at all. I did visit a chiropractor who, through an adjustment, gave me the most relief I had had in many months, and that was wonderful. But another chiropractor, at the same practice, gave me no relief at all (I think because he was inexperienced), and so I left for another practice. My point is: get professional opinion(s), to make sure there is nothing more serious going on, but also use your judgment. If something doesn’t feel right for you, then don’t be afraid to walk away and seek help elsewhere.

  6. There is no shame in pain. This goes back to some of what I said in my earlier post about our emotions. During my most painful flare-up years ago, I was afraid to speak up and let people know how much I was suffering. Part of this was pride. I’m too young to be in this much pain. I can’t let anyone know I’m suffering, as that would make me vulnerable. Part of it was denial. If I ignore it, it will go away. Part of it was lack of health insurance. I have no other options, so I might as well just deal with this. A lot of this stems from societal expectations. Men, especially of my generation (Gen X), have been conditioned to avoid revealing vulnerability. We were taught that this is a sign of weakness, and weakness is bad. But — and this may seem counterintuitive — the strongest I’ve ever felt in my life was when I openly revealed my vulnerabilities and my pain to others. I have found that hiding my vulnerabilities only serves to amplify them, in the long run. My point: it’s okay to be in pain. There is no shame in it. In fact, millions of others have gone through what you are going through, and many of them can help.

And while I could go on, I already feel this post is getting rather long. And I think, depending on the feedback I get from this, I might do another post in this series. So I hope this was helpful to you. Let me know in the comments.