Shout-out from Spider Robinson

Spider RobinsonThis is just too cool not to share. In the fall, I contributed free books to help with a GoFundMe campaign that Amazing Stories was running to help them relaunch as a paying fiction magazine.

I'd had one of my first big pro story sales to Amazing when I started writing ("State of Disorder"), and I wrote a column for them when they resurrected as a web presence a few years back. So I have a fond spot for Amazing and was only too happy to help out.

When the campaign ended, the new fiction editor, Ira Nayman, sent me the list of the people who had claimed my offered books, asking me to autograph and personalize the copies (which he kindly shipped to the winners). I was blown away to find that my collection, Impossibilia, had been claimed by none other than Spider Robinson.

Yeah, that Spider Robinson. Winner of the John W. Campbell, Nebula, Robert A. Heinlein, and multiple Hugo awards... and basic science fiction legend.

I signed his copy and included a note saying I'd been a fan of his for years and was thrilled he'd selected one of my books. And there I thought it would end.

A few weeks later, I received an email from Spider, saying how much he was enjoying the stories. Nothing is better than hearing from readers but to get that feedback from a writer you admire is about as good as it gets. He was kind enough to provide the following, which I now proudly display on my website:

"The man is Sturgeon good. Zelazny good. I don’t give those up easy. I’m not certain the man is a Martian—I haven’t yet grokked the fullness—but his name is Smith."

And if I have to tell you who Sturgeon and Zelazny are, or explain the Martian and grok reference, you're probably on the wrong website.

"A Bird in the Hand" on StarShipSofa podcast

A Bird in the Hand ebook coverThe podcast science fiction site, StarShipSofa, recently featured my shapeshifter story "A Bird in the Hand" on their monthly podcast of narrated short fiction. This is the second of my short stories in the Heroka universe, and the first to feature Lilith Hoyl as the protagonist. Lilith appears again in the short story, "Dream Flight."

In "A Bird in the Hand," Lilith awakes to find herself a prisoner in a top-secret government laboratory. To win her freedom, all she needs to do is prove she’s human.

“A very interesting turnaround story, in which our expectations are upended at the last minute. ...a good read, and sadly, far too relevant to our own present world.” —The Billion Light-Year Bookshelf

“...great fun to read” —Dreams and Speculations

“...has a woman fed chemicals to prove whether she’s human or a shape-shifter ... well worth reading.” —SF Crowsnest Reviews

The story is narrated by Nikolle Doolin, and I am really thrilled with the excellent job Nikolle did on the reading. You can listen to it for free here.

If you like the story, it's included in my collection, Chimerascope, and is also available as a stand-alone ebook.

Two More Appearances in the Re-Imagined Series

Re-Quest anthology cover

Re-Terrify anthology coverI wrote in my October newsletter of how I'd sold three reprints to the new Re-Imagined anthology series, edited by Kelly A. Harmon and Vonnie Winslow Crist. The series features reprints of previously published stories, many of which are award winners or finalists (like my stories) or from big name authors (like Robert E. Howard and Nancy Springer).

Each anthology is for a different genre. I wrote earlier that my space exploration story, "Symphony," appeared in the SF-themed Re-Launch, the first in the series.

This month, my Japan martial arts / love story / fantasy, "The Red Bird," appears in the fantasy-themed Re-Quest. "The Red Bird" first appeared in the Canadian magazine, On Spec, and was a finalist for the Aurora Award. Check out the awesome cover at the right. Very cool to see my name listed below the great Robert E. Howard of Conan fame.

And also this month, my supernatural horror story (which inspired an indie short film), "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down," appears in the horror-themed Re-Terrify. "By Her Hand" first appeared in The Third Alternative magazine in the UK and was later selected for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #13.

All of these anthologies are available at major retailers:




I hope you'll check them out and support the series.

"Scream Angel" to be published in China

My Aurora Award-winning novelette, "Scream Angel," will be translated and reprinted in the new Chinese professional speculative fiction magazine, Future Affairs Administration.

This will be the third time I've been published in China, and it's always a thrill to have my work available in such a huge market.

I'll be on the Panic Room Podcast on Jan 3

I will be on the Panic Room podcast on BlogTalk Radio tomorrow (January 3) at 10:30pm EST (9:30pm CST). You can listen here. Hope you'll tune in!

"Out of the Light" in New Anthology

Crazy Town anthology coverMy urban fantasy story "Out of the Light" is included in Crazy Town, a new anthology from Rogue Blades Entertainment. If you've been a subscriber to my monthly newsletter for a while, you would've had a chance to download a free ebook version of "Out of the Light" back in June.

From the editor: "Crazy Town is an anthology of hardboiled tales – crime and suspense tales; gritty, grimy, sexy, and bloody film-noir type tales with a fantastic twist. Think of the kind of stories that you would expect in Black Mask or True Detective, but with just enough speculative elements to steer toward Weird Tales or Twilight Zone territory."

Crazy Town is edited by Jason M. Waltz, considered one of the best editors in the adventure fantasy business. I'm thrilled to have one of my favourite stories included in one of Jason's anthos. If this type of fantasy appeals to you, you can pre-order Crazy Town here.

And another three for three

ReLaunch coverI seem to be doing these things in threes lately, because, similar to a triple for consecutive appearances in Black Infinity (see previous blog entry), I will have three stories in the new Re-Imagined reprint anthology series, edited by Kelly A. Harmon and Vonnie Winslow Grist.

My first-contact story, "Symphony," recently appeared in Re-Launch, an SF anthology (in case the name and cool spacey cover to the right didn't give that away). I will also have stories in the sister reprint anthologies: Re-Quest (fantasy) and Re-Terrify (horror). More to come on those when they appear.

"Symphony" first appeared in the Winnipeg-based Canadian literary magazine, Prairie Fire, in a special SF issue dedicated to former Winnipeg SF writer of the Golden Age of SF, A.E. van Vogt. The issue was run as a contest, with stories judged by Robert J. Sawyer. "Symphony" won second prize and was an Aurora Award finalist the next year.

You can purchase Re-Launch here.

Three for three in Black Infinity

Black Infinity 3 cover

My supernatural horror story, "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down," was recently reprinted in issue #3 of the UK anthology series Black Infinity.

"By Her Hand..." was my first horror story and was selected for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror when it came out. It also was made into a short indie film that won several awards when it toured festivals around the world.

This is my third appearance in Black Infinity, one story in each of their first three issues. My dystopian SF story "Going Harvey in the Big House" appeared in Black Infinity #1, and my urban fantasy tale "Out of the Light" was included in Black Infinity #2

I love the art design of their retro covers (see right), but the biggest thrill is to have my name appear on that cover along with some of the giants of the SF field, like John W. Campbell, Lester del Rey, Jack Williamson, Harry Harrison, and Philip K. Dick.

You can buy Black Infinity #3 here.

Aurora bundle spotlight: Resurrection Man

Resurrection ManMy final interview for the current (but ending TODAY at midnight!) Aurora Award ebook bundle at Storybundle is with Sean Stewart, author of Resurrection Man.

What is your favourite scene in the book, and why?

My favourite scene in Resurrection Man is easy - the opening. The whole idea started with a single thought as I was standing at a bus-stop in Vancouver: Wouldn't it be an incredible opening for a book if you started with the main character performing an autopsy ... on himself. ?!?

This was immediately followed, of course, by me thinking "That's stupid. That's impossible. What would that even mean?"

But my Writer's Spidey-Sense was going off like crazy, assuring me that this was a Really Good Idea; that if I lived to be 100, I was never going to come up with a better metaphor for, um, self-examination.

So I slowly had to build the whole world of the book back to get to that first scene: Dante in the boathouse with his sister Sarah and his step-brother Jet, nervously picking up a filleting knife and about to cut into his own dead body.

Did you know you were writing a series when you first began this book, or did the idea of a series grow from the telling of this book?

This might be the biggest mistake of my career. I totally thought of this as a stand-alone novel ... but in fact it laid the course for my next four books. Two of them, Mockingbirdand Perfect Circle, were stylistic children, as I explored the "magic in the real world" vibe at the heart of Resurrection Man.

Two others, The Night Watch and Galveston, which won the World Fantasy Award, were literally set in the same world as Resurrection Man, but years in the future, with different characters and locations. If I had it to do all over again, I would have written a multi-volume saga following the same characters through that historical timeline.

What is your favourite character or relationship in the book, and why?

I really had fun with Dante's step-brother, Jet. He is a grouchy, sardonic dude - one of those people who feels like they never quite fit in. He keeps a ball of rust for a pet, throwing in a staple or a piece of steal wool once a month or so, and a paperclip as a treat for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Jet is convinced that he is a changeling of some kind, a person without a soul.

Late in the book someone else tells him that souls aren't something you're born with - they silt up over time, like sandbars, based on who you are and what you have done. He finally gets the fact that everybody else thinks of him as just part of the family, and in his own grumpy way has no defense against the fact that his family loves him and cares about him.

I think everyone knows that person who is armored against insults, but hapless against affection; it was fun to show that dynamic between him and the rest of the family.

Can you give us a fun fact about the book?

This e-book edition is special, and better than the original published version, because my old friend and accomplished artist Marc Taro Holmes created a series of gorgeous illustrations just for the online version. I think they add a terrific mood and ambiance to the reading experience, like adding a score to a film. I hope other people like them as much as I do.


Thanks, Sean. Readers, this is absolutely your last chance to get this amazing deal on ten award winners and finalists for the best in Canadian speculative fiction. Go to Storybundle NOW to pick up this excellent collection of novels and anthologies. The bundle is over at midnight today.

Aurora bundle spotlight: Strange Bedfellows

Strange Bedfellows coverHere is the seventh in my interview series for the current Aurora Award ebook bundle available at Storybundle (but only for two more days!). Today, we talk to Hayden Trenholm, publisher of Bundoran Press and the editor for the anthology Strange Bedfellows.

What is your strongest memory from editing this anthology / assembling this collection?

Although I had previously edited an anthology for Bundoran Press, this was the first one I did after assuming ownership, and it was important to me to do something special. Politics and science fiction essentially define my life so putting them together was a natural.

What I remember best is the flood of really great stories we got from around the world from both well-established and novice writers. When it came to the final selection process, I had enough good stories to fill two anthologies, and it was an agonizing process to slowly weed them down to final selection.

As it was, I went more than 10000 words over my intended length, and to this day, there are several stories that didn’t make the final cut the I still think about and wish I could have included.

Is there something in these stories that you consider to be particularly Canadian or that Canadians would relate to or recognize in terms of sensibilities, world view, societal beliefs, etc.?

In the end, there were only two stories written by Canadians in the anthology (with 7 other nationalities represented), but I still think the anthology was quite Canadian in its values. There was wide representation of political views though nothing from the extreme left or right. There was a gender balance between men and women plus stories from writers who identify elsewise as well as diversity of race and religions.

In this sense the anthology strived toward inclusivity—just as Canada itself strives toward inclusivity and opportunity for all. Whether it succeeds is for the readers to judge.

What music would be the ideal listening soundtrack for readers for this book?

Obviously a collection of world music—maybe one of the ones put together for Real World Records by (politically driven) Peter Gabriel.


Thanks, Hayden. People, if you're a fan of speculative fiction and want to pick up ten award winners and finalists for a bargain price, grab this bundle now. And I mean now. There are only two days left before this deal is gone forever.


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