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24 MORE HOURS to submit to Interfictions for the issue I’m guest-editing!

I’m guest-co-fiction-editing two issues of Interfictions Online, the amazing magazine of genre-bending and genre-breaking and genre-ignoring prose and poetry and art and more. AS IF THAT WASN’T EXCITING ENOUGH, my co-editor is my Clarion sister and Nebula competition fellow-nominee and all-around idol Carmen Maria Machado!

But the submission window is closing fast. AS IN, YOU’VE GOT 24 MORE HOURS to send us – as Carmen put it – “your weird, your beautiful, your impossible-to-categorize.”

SUBMIT. 

For real. 

Source Article from http://samjmiller.com/24-more-hours-to-submit-to-interfictions-for-the-issue-im-guest-editing/

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The Mystical Cows

We had just arrived in sleepy Kandersteg the night after a long journey from crowded Vernazza. After the baking Mediterranean Italian sun, the cool mountain air of Swizterland was welcome and refreshing. Our hotel, built in the late 19th century, sat across from a racing brook (which the Swiss call bachs) along a gently winding street that was sparsely filled with Swiss-style hotels, chalets, and farmhouses. We were here for a hiking tour, and since the group wasn’t set to arrive until that evening, we decided to venture out on our own that morning. The woman at our hotel’s reception desk told us we could walk up to Oeschinensee, a lake some 5100 feet above sea level. “It’s an easy walk,” she said.

What I later came to understand, is that a Swiss person’s “easy” is what I might call “strenuous.” And when a Swiss person says, “That hike was interesting,” what they really mean is that on said hike they feared for their life. (We did not fear for our life this day. That came later.)

View from our hotel balcony

View from our hotel balcony

We found the trailhead not far from the hotel. Swiss trails are marked well with yellow signs and red and white trail “blazes” or painted markers. At first the trail led up a paved road. Easy, we thought. But soon the trail diverted us onto a gravel and dirt path alongside a river. We looked up, between breaks in the clouds, to see a waterfall streaming down the tremendous mountainside. Are we going up there? we wondered. Even higher, on the uppermost peaks, were snow, ice, and glaciers.

Looking down at Kandersteg from the trail to Oeschinensee

Looking down at Kandersteg from the trail to Oeschinensee

The path swerved back toward the mountain, and it was up over rock and root, stone and shrub, switching back here and there. We passed other hikers, who said, “Bonjour,” and “Buona sera,” and “Guten Tag,” and “Grüezi,” as the fog grew thicker and the air colder. Soon we had to don our rain jackets and sweaters, which felt strange, since we had just come from the hot climate of the Italian Ligurian coast. Up we went, climbing higher and higher, past dormant ski lifts and wide pastures, and through thick alpine forest, for about two hours, until the fog was so thick we could barely see ten feet in front of us. But we kept going, troupers that we were.

In the thick fog

In the thick fog

Soon, we began to hear a faint jangling, like those of wind chimes in a breeze. We seemed to reach a plateau, a grassy pasture scattered with stone. Suddenly, we were surrounded by cows. Dozens of them, grazing in this strange, misty pasture, their bells jangling from their necks, with no one else around. Just yesterday we were sweating on a beach, and now we are here, on a foggy mountain surrounded by cows. The moment was surreal, and we both paused, mesmerized by the sound. The cows, wagging their frayed tails, seemed unconcerned by our presence, almost as if we weren’t even there.

Cows in the mist

Cows in the mist

It was a supremely mystical moment. The air smelled of manure and cow and rain and grass, was cool and wet, and all was quiet except for the sound of the bells ringing. You can listen for yourself.

Eventually, we broke ourselves free of the entrancing and mystical sound of the cows to make our way to Lake Oeschinen. The fog hung low and thick over the water, like a blanketing shroud. A few people hung around the lake, but it was too cold to swim.

Fog over Oeschinensee

Fog over Oeschinensee

Eventually, we headed back down, passing the mystical cows, the wet and gnarled tree roots and dripping pines, back to the hotel to meet our hiking group. It was our first day in Swizterland, we hadn’t even gone on our first full hike yet, and already we had found magic. The next day, we would hike up to the same lake, where the clouds would parted to reveal the sun. Imagine our surprise, when we climbed up higher than we had the day before, looked down to the valley below, and saw this:

Oeschinensee in full sun

The fog had burned away by the next day’s morning sun, and the full glory of the mountains were revealed. And this was but one of dozens of such vistas we would have on our hikes across the mountains of Switzerland. The journey had just begun.

More to come soon…

Source Article from http://www.matthewkressel.net/2015/08/28/the-mystical-cows/

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More eloquent people than I have written analyses of the…

More eloquent people than I have written analyses of the Sad/Rabid Puppies’ attempts to game the Hugo Awards this year. A number of venues, including the Wall Street Journal, i09, & Wired have covered the results of the 2015 Hugo Awards. But amidst all the shenanigans & slates, I’m so honored to have made the long list for the John W. Campbell Award with so many deserving folk who already inspire me & challenge me to grow, like Carmen Maria Machado, Usman Tanveer Malik, Isabel YapSam J. Miller, JY Yang, Django Wexler, & many more. And of course, huge congrats to Wesley Chu for taking the tiara this year; may your reign be fruitful!

Source Article from http://crashwong.net/post/127482145743

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Book Review: ZER0ES by Chuck Wendig

000000Chuck Wendig’s new novel, Zer0es, is more cyber and more thrilling than most cyber thrillers I’ve read. From the very first page, it’s evident that Wendig is either secretly a world-class hacker in his own right, or he’s done so much research that he has become not only comfortable, but fluent in the technical and paranoia-fueled online world that hackers inhabit. Either way, he’s definitely on the NSA’s watchlist — but this book should be on their reading list as well, as Zer0es is an entertaining and timely addition to the subgenre.

The novel focuses on five hackers recruited by the U.S. government, given the opportunity to avoid conviction, jail time, and exposure by committing their services to a top-secret program. Being hackers, they don’t just blindly follow orders, and soon they’re asking questions and digging much deeper than anyone ever expected them to, and coming up with shocking and frightening answers.

With the fantastic TV series Leverage named as one of the novel’s touchstones, it’s not too surprising that each of the hacker main characters has a specific role to play: social engineer, cyber criminal, hacktivist, internet troll, cipherpunk. Their situations and backgrounds may remind some readers of recent news headlines; Chance Dalton’s situation clearly recalls the Steubenville High School rape case, while Aleena Kattan’s political agenda is inspired by Anonymous’ involvement in the Arab Spring. But just as Leverage‘s Parker is more than a thief, Wendig fleshes out his characters beyond their stereotypes, often subverting your expectations of who they really are, what motivates them, and what they’ll do next. By the end of the novel, you become invested in and care for even the most unlikable characters, which is both satisfying and unfortunate in a book with a startlingly high body count.

Striking a balance between not-so-riveting computer time and real world action is challenging in stories like this, but Wendig handles it deftly, and the novel is incredibly fast-paced. A big revelation, twist, or cliffhanger seems to hit readers every few pages. I am not often moved to swear at books or authors while reading, especially when I’m having so much fun, but many a chapter ended with me muttering, “Jesus Christ, Chuck.” This book is bloody and gruesome and too compelling to put down. You just have to wait for your pulse to slow, shake your head, and keep turning the pages.

The book also isn’t burdened by techsposition, a tendency to include too much computer jargon and explaining every scintillating facet of their technological exploits. But there’s enough for non-technical readers to follow along, and plenty for those who know a bit more. A lot of the hacking in the book is more than realistic — it’s actually real in the world today, and if Wendig’s representation of how easy it is to hack your social network accounts or even your car doesn’t creep you out sufficiently, you’d better start Googling. So much of the technology in the first half of the book is so accurate, by the time Wendig starts pulling out the slightly less believable black boxes, most readers will be happy to accept them as well-earned creative license and move on.

However, that same contemporary, convincing portrayal of computers and hacking may also work against the book as the plot progresses and takes a decidedly science fictional turn that strains credibility. Despite the shift in tone and shaken expectations, I was happy to ride it out to the end. Perhaps more disturbing is the possibility that Wendig is right about this secret government program too, since everything else is right on the mark. If he soon disappears under mysterious circumstances, we’ll have our answer.

Although the prologue/epilogue of “Chapter 0″ fell flat for me, they’re short enough to simply ignore. Overall, Zer0es is a terrific success: an exciting, scary, and often funny novel that offers fresh insights into what it means and what it’s like to be a hacker. It now has a place among my favorite books featuring hacking, and it has certainly raised the bar for those that follow.

 

Zer0es by Chuck Wendig is out today from Harper Voyager. My review is based on the uncorrected advance reader’s edition.

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Source Article from http://ecmyers.net/2015/08/zer0es/

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My Dragon Con 2015 Schedule (Tentative)

logoI’m thrilled to be returning to Dragon Con in Atlanta again this year! I’ll be attending the con from Friday, Sept. 4 through Sunday, Sept. 6, and I look forward to seeing fellow fans and writers. If you’re looking for me on programming, my schedule is below. (Of course, it’s subject to change!) I hope that The Missing Volume will have copies of The Silence of Six, Fair Coin, and Quantum Coin for sale; I’ll update if I will have a formal signing, but you can also just catch me whenever you see me.

If anyone wants to meet up and you don’t already have my cell phone number to text me, the best way to reach me is probably through e-mail or Twitter, since I refuse to install the Facebook Messenger app on my phone. Phones aren’t all that reliable at the convention anyway, so it’s also a good idea to try to make plans ahead of time. 😉

Friday, September 4

Title: Animated To Live Action
Time: 7:00 pm Location: A708 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

Saturday, September 5

Title: Finding the Teen/Middle Grade Reader Within
Time: 1:00 pm Location: Embassy D-F – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: Systems of Magic in YA Worlds
Time: 2:30 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: YA Writing and Publishing
Time: 4:00 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

Sunday, September 6

Title: Diversity in YA Books
Time: 2:30 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

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Source Article from http://ecmyers.net/2015/08/dragoncon2015/

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“Calved” is out now from Asimov’s

My short story “Calved” is in the next issue of Asimov’s!

I’ve been submitting stories to Asimov’s off and on since I was 14 (I’m not too proud or vain to admit that that’s 22 years ago), so it’s overwhelmingly awesome to have finally gotten a story in such a great venue.

Over at Locus, Lois Tilton wrote:

“Father and son story in a near future when the Arctic melting and the rise of the oceans has led to a flood of refugees; North Americans are generally unwelcome, and Dom is relatively fortunate to have found a place on a floating city and grunt work on iceboats. The only good thing in his life has been the son whom he can only see when he gets back from three-month work shifts on the boats, but now, looking at Thede, he sees a stranger who seems to hate him… This scenario is the most science-fictional in the issue, realistically depicting likely consequences of global climate change.”

The awesome Jason Sanford wrote a really great review as well, saying in part:

“Dom is desperate to change his son’s opinion. And to accomplish this he … does something which will haunt me for years to come.

“When I finished this story I wanted to scream. I wanted to punish Miller for writing something which so gut my emotions. I wanted to hug him for creating a story so beautifully captivating and so perfectly devastating to read.

“Calved” by Sam. J. Miller is one of the year’s best stories and will likely be on my Hugo and Nebula Award short list. Seek this story out and read it.”

Asimov’s is sold in newsstands and bookstores everywhere. AIRPORTS, EVEN. You can also order a copy online, or get an excellent e-book edition for your digital reader. Check it out. It’s got a tiger on the cover. And my story inside. MY STORY INSIDE.

Source Article from http://samjmiller.com/calved-is-out-now-from-asimovs/

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Upcoming Stories and Projects

Four months into my sabbatical from the 9-to-5 grind, I’m pleased to announce two short story sales!

“Those Brighter Stars” will be appearing in a forthcoming issue of online magazine LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE.  This one is about two generations of mother-daughter relationships and humanity’s reaction to an approaching alien starship.  I’ve written numerous stories about First Contact, but this may be my favorite. 

“Unreeled” will be featured in an upcoming issue of ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION.  This one is noir-ish SF horror and explores how a marital relationship is affected by one partner’s absence during an exploratory mission into a black hole.  I revised this one too many times to count with the help of my writers’ group to create just the right tone, so I’m glad it found such a great home after all the work I put into it.

The Wergen Sequence:  I’m putting the final touches on a new Wergen story, just as I’m starting to write the grand finale in the Wergen Sequence.  This will allow me to tie together all 8 Wergen stories into one big, juicy novel about First Contact, space colonization, intergalactic war and unrequited love.  There’s an arc that cuts through all the tales, so putting them together should create a satisfying story tracking the ups and downs and final resolution in the relationship between humanity and the Wergens.

Miscellaneous Stories:  Two stories — one an intergalactic treasure hunt story, the other a return to the horrific near-future world of my World Fantasy Award-nominated Tu Sufrimiento Will Protect Us — are in the incubator.  First drafts are complete, with revisions in the works.

Back to work!

 

Source Article from http://mercuriorivera.com/2015/08/05/upcoming-stories-and-projects/

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Pterosaur Warriors of Post-Industrial America

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They haunt the spaces abandoned by the drift of global capitalism, high above the clouds, scanning the horizon for robber barons and bank executives,  striking without warning to wreak vengeance in the name of the disenfranchised and the abandoned and the impoverished.

 

latest

 original drawing, over original photograph.

Source Article from http://samjmiller.com/pterosaur-warriors-of-post-industrial-america/

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On the Cost of Being Out: What Being Part of QDSF/H/F Means to Me

Being open and out about being queer is costly. Some of us are lucky enough to have supportive family and friends. For some others, coming out has cost us our homes, our community, our health, our jobs, our lives. 

There are many practical reasons to choose not to talk about one’s sexuality or gender. But sometimes we don’t even get to choose. Being outed is a violent, jarring experience, our agency ripped from us, trust betrayed. It is cruel and damaging, forcing repercussions upon the person outed, and no amount of good intention behind it can minimize how harmful it is. 

I have a story forthcoming in Nightmare Magazine’s special issue, Queers Destroy Horror!, a collection of fiction by QUILTBAG-identified authors. That story, “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” is about the fear of being discovered, of having a secret that isolates you from the people you love. It’s about believing that you’ll always be alone, and that you deserve it because of whom—and what—you are. 

Visibility is costly, but I believe it’s important. The world needs to know that we exist. More than that, we need to know that we exist. That we deserve so much more than just being tolerated, and who we are is something that should be celebrated. Queers Destroy Horror! is the marriage of two things very important to me—dark, dark fiction and the celebration of identity. Stories written by my colleagues, comrades, siblings in queerness, who have chosen to very publicly declare that queerness by taking part in this project and sending their stories in for potential publication. 

So I just want to say to you—if you submitted a story to the Queers Destroy! special series, regardless of whether or not it was chosen for publication in these particular issues of Lightspeed or Nightmare, I am so, so grateful to you and proud of your bravery. Thank you for putting your work out there, and please continue to do so. The QDSF/H/F series is about honoring the truth of our and our works’ existence. IT’s about highlighting the contributions of an important demographic in SFF, past and present. It’s a celebration of what we love: damn good speculative fiction in its many evolutions. It is by us, for us, for everyone, opening up space and highlighting voices of marginalized people. It declares, This identity is not something that you should have to hide. There isn’t anything wrong with it. 

I couldn’t be more honored and proud to be part of that mission.

Source Article from http://crashwong.net/post/125594852251

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Readercon Recap

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I got caught up in other life things, so this is a bit belated. But I wanted to share this picture with y’all. <3

Readercon was lovely. The best part was definitely seeing all of the people I loved and missed, from my NYC friends to my Clarion 2013 family. Readercon was a good reminder of what it means to be in community in a good, healthy way: how we can support and inspire each other, and when shit hits the fan (as it did during a health crisis with one of my friends during the convention), we mobilize, organize, and have each other’s backs.

I got a cool rock, and the nomination makes me heart glowy. But better, I got to be there with and for people, for the first time in months. And that was wonderful.

Source Article from http://crashwong.net/post/125531237678

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