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A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers | Alyssa Wong | Macmillan

A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers | Alyssa Wong | Macmillan:

My new story for Tor.com goes live in two and a half weeks! Buuut you can preorder your own ebook copy right here! <3 Do it do it do itttttt~

Source Article from http://crashwong.net/post/139197997468

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Pop Matters on “The Sounds of Old Earth”

Nebula Award Showcase 2015My Nebula Award-nominated story “The Sounds of Old Earth” (originally published in Lightspeed Magazine) was reprinted in the 2015 Nebula Award Showcase, edited by Greg Bear, and is recently reviewed by Pop Matters, who has this to say:

The category nominees also uniformly impress, but the standout among them is surely Matthew Kressel’s ‘The Sounds of Old Earth’, the story of an old man on a largely evacuated and denuded Earth awaiting its destruction by space-based laser in order to use the resultant raw materials for a gigantic piece of space engineering. The sense of resignation has extraordinary resonance in today’s world, in which the destruction of people’s homes through flooding and natural disaster is becoming worryingly commonplace, and the image of the Earth being sliced into pieces like a hard-boiled egg is one that will stay in the memory. This was Kressel’s first Nebula nomination but, one feels, almost certainly not his last.

They also have praise for works by Rachel Swirsky, Ken Liu, Ann Leckie, and more. You can read the full review here.

Source Article from http://www.matthewkressel.net/2016/02/11/pop-matters-on-the-sounds-of-old-earth/

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Back to Basics

Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson

I’ve been reading Shirley Jackson’s short fiction. I had read her novels The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle (the latter being one of my favorite novels of understated horror), and I’ve enjoyed both books immensely. And I had read her famous short story “The Lottery” of course many times. What I noticed in her fiction, especially in her short work, is a deceptive simplicity. Her prose style is plain. Occasionally this plain style rises to unusually great heights, but for the most part, her sentences are not doing loop-d’-loops and verbal pyrotechnics. Reading her work on a superficial level, one might think her stories are bland. But under the surface of her stories oftentimes reveal the horrific elements of basic life. A woman who cannot find the man who promised to marry her no matter where she looks. Another woman (almost all of her stories feature female protagonists) who gets a call from a neighbor that her family dog has been “at the chickens” and must be put down. Most of her short works are not even what we might consider stories, at least those of us who write genre fiction. There is no middle, beginning, or end. Instead, we are given a brief window into someone’s life. Usually it’s in suburbia (I believe a lot of modern fiction, especially TV shows, which focus on the sinister aspects of suburbia owe their origin to Jackson’s work). And here’s the thing that Shirley Jackson excels at: mood. She is adept and conveying to the reader a particular emotion. I learned this especially well in The Haunting of Hill House. I found she was a master at this in We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Not all of her short stories worked for me, but the ones that did showed me that there are techniques a writer can use to evoke mood. You don’t need fancy prose. You don’t need 10,000 words or even 3,000. You don’t even need a plot. Mostly what I notice is that characters, usually women, are placed in rapidly deteriorating situations and no one else sees this as a problem. These women are isolated, alone, left to wonder if their interpretation of events is paranoia (or “hysteria” to use the old misogynistic term). Jackson is connecting the reader to what it was like to be a woman in mid-20th century American suburbia, to have your sense of self repeatedly negated by your “peers” and your community. You are not a person, you are an object. This is the understated horror: you are not worthy of having an opinion; nothing you do matters.

I’m studying her work because I can see in her many short stories (and some of them are really short) an author experimenting in ways to convey mood to the reader. I have written some fantastic stories and I have written some clunkers, and what I’ve found is that I often begin with what I think is a simple premise which turns up being much more complex than I envisioned. What I initially think will be a 3,000 word story ends up ballooning into 8 or 9,000 words. Then I pare it down again, losing some of the depth I hoped to convey. Well, I think that no matter how far you go, or how far you’ve come, there is always room to learn. And I hope that by studying Shirley Jackson’s works I can further refine my own storytelling techniques.

So what about you? Do you study authors’ works to see how they’ve crafted something?

Source Article from http://www.matthewkressel.net/2016/02/08/back-to-basics/

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30-Second Sci-Fi Book Review on “The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”

Here’s 30-Second Sci-Fi Book Review giving my Nebula-nominated story “The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye” their “highest recommendation.” In case you want to watch, the review of my story starts at 3:24. (I love that they use the Chinese cover art for my story.) 

Source Article from http://www.matthewkressel.net/2016/01/26/30-second-sci-fi-book-review-on-the-meeker-and-the-all-seeing-eye/

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2015 Awards Eligibility Post: NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS

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My full recap of 2015 (and sneak preview of work I’ve got coming out in 2016!) can be found here. But since award nomination season is in full swing, I wanted to make a specific post focusing on short fiction for awards eligibility.

This year is my second and final year of eligibility for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer! Check out my bibliography if you’d like to see the fiction, nonfiction, and poetry I’ve written over the past two years. Probably the most notable is my 2014 short story, “The Fisher Queen,” which was nominated last year for the Nebula Award, Shirley Jackson Award, and World Fantasy Award.

As for this year, my story, “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” (October, Nightmare Magazine’s Queers Destroy Horror! Special Issue, ed. Wendy Wagner), is my single piece of eligible 2015 short fiction. It’s a story about predators stalking predators, dealing with ugly familial legacies, and eating love in all the wrong places. It’s only January, but “Hungry Daughters” has already been longlisted for both the 2015 BSFA Award and the 2015 Bram Stoker Award, and picked up for Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Vol. 10. 

I’m thrilled and honored that so many folks have read “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” and enjoyed it. Take a look, if you’d like! ✧

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Source Article from http://crashwong.net/post/138065608753

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Update 1: Personal Essay: "Buzzword" by Alyssa Wong · PEOPLE OF COLO(U)R DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION!

Update 1: Personal Essay: “Buzzword” by Alyssa Wong · PEOPLE OF COLO(U)R DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION!:

The Kickstarter for People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction, a collection that highlights the work of racial & ethnic minority creators working in SFF, is up! My essay is the first on the docket. It’s about personhood, dealing with racist trolls, and choosing to push past the intimidation and hatred in order to keep speaking up.

If this speaks to you, please consider backing the Kickstarter. Stretch goals include POC Destroy Horror & POC Destroy Fantasy!

Source Article from http://crashwong.net/post/137571510333

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“Demon in Aisle 6” is a Finalist for the Sippy Awards

Sippy_Face4My story “Demon in Aisle 6” (published in Nightmare Magazine) was a finalist for the Sippy Awards. The winner going to “When Your Child Strays From God” by Sam J. Miller. Of my story, they say:

Suicide and tragic queer love are perhaps easy triggers for getting people to feel deeply. But this story isn’t cheap or obvious, treats the subject matter with the respect and weight it deserves and delivers a devastating look at guilt and privilege and community and how all these things can shape a person, can shape shame and shape violence and shape hatred. It is the most outwardly violent and tragic of the stories on this list (perhaps because it appeared in a spec horror pub), but it is also a story that lodges in the brain and brought a great many tears to my eyes.

(thanks to Jeffrey Ford for pointing me to the link). 

Source Article from http://www.matthewkressel.net/2016/01/18/demon-in-aisle-6-is-a-finalist-for-the-sippy-awards/

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Life in Fiction 2015: Highlights as a Reader and a Writer

Writing-wise, I had a pretty good 2015. The rest of my life was a miserable mess, but I did all right with my writing. In fact, the best thing ever in my life (selling my novel!) happened 24 hours before the worst thing ever in my life (my father’s passing).

So, yeah. A shitty year, but also an awesome one. Here are my stories that came out in 2015, and the stories that I loved that were written by other people, all of which I think you should think about if you’re in an award-nominating kind of mood, or just looking for something awesome to read.

Calved” in Asimov’s

Probably the story I’m proudest of, from the past year. It was selected for inclusion in three “Best of the Year” anthologies. Gardner Dozois said in Locus ““The best story here is new writer Sam J. Miller’s emotionally-grueling Calved… the twist ending… arrives with the slow inexorableness of a Greek tragedy and strikes with brutal force. Grim stuff,  but compelling.” And the magnificent Jason Sanford “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.” You can read “Calved” for free over at my website.

Ghosts of Home,” in Lightspeed

“The best story in the August Lightspeed comes from Sam J Miller, who has repeatedly impressed with his first several stories, and who shows a lot of range. “Ghosts of Home” is about the housing crisis of 2008 and its effects on people like the main character Agnes and her mother, but it’s set in a version of our world where household spirits are real.” – Rich Horton, in Locus

When Your Child Strays From God” in Clarkesworld

“… an evangelical Christian pastor’s wife dealing with the sinful rebelliousness of her teenage son… a really cool made up drug that sounds absolutely transformative and I want to try it (along with a few close friends… very close)… Miller excels at blending cool speculative ideas with characters and situations very much grounded in our world.” – i09 Newstand

The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History” in Uncanny 

“…puts a supernatural twist on the Stonewall Riots, an important event in the gay rights movement… the story does an excellent job of capturing a moment in time, the injustice of the police, the desperation of men and women trying to find a place to be… a call for change that can easily be brought forward from the past and unpacked in the present.” – Tangent

To Die Dancing in Apex

“Clive has survived the country’s fall into a Revival, a conservative fascism where women are seen and not heard, where everyone works and toils, where the state has access into the minds of every citizen… It’s a heartbreaking story, one that builds tragedy over tragedy, failure over failure, and in the beauty of its prose and the humanity of its characters it whispers a warning. That there are things worth fighting for. That survival is not enough if it exists at the expense of others. Go read this story. Go now.” – Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews

wpid-sketch20113227-1.jpgI also read a ton of great stuff in the past year, so, if you’re in an award-nominating mood, here are some of the things I loved [I missed a ton of great stuff, I am sure, and I will be updating this post in the next couple weeks as I go through my notes and paper mags and email to ensure I’ve captured all the awesome stuff I loved]

Source Article from http://samjmiller.com/2015-highlights-reading-and-writing/

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2015 Highlights: Reading and Writing

Writing-wise, I had a pretty good 2015. The rest of my life was a miserable mess, but I did all right with my writing. In fact, the best thing ever in my life (selling my novel!) happened 24 hours before the worst thing ever in my life (my father’s passing).

So, yeah. A shitty year, but also an awesome one. Here are my stories that came out in 2015, and the stories that I loved that were written by other people, all of which I think you should think about if you’re in an award-nominating kind of mood, or just looking for something awesome to read.

Calved” in Asimov’s

Probably the story I’m proudest of, from the past year. It was selected for inclusion in three “Best of the Year” anthologies. Gardner Dozois said in Locus ““The best story here is new writer Sam J. Miller’s emotionally-grueling Calved… the twist ending… arrives with the slow inexorableness of a Greek tragedy and strikes with brutal force. Grim stuff,  but compelling.” And the magnificent Jason Sanford “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.” You can read “Calved” for free over at my website.

Ghosts of Home,” in Lightspeed

“The best story in the August Lightspeed comes from Sam J Miller, who has repeatedly impressed with his first several stories, and who shows a lot of range. “Ghosts of Home” is about the housing crisis of 2008 and its effects on people like the main character Agnes and her mother, but it’s set in a version of our world where household spirits are real.” – Rich Horton, in Locus

When Your Child Strays From God” in Clarkesworld

“… an evangelical Christian pastor’s wife dealing with the sinful rebelliousness of her teenage son… a really cool made up drug that sounds absolutely transformative and I want to try it (along with a few close friends… very close)… Miller excels at blending cool speculative ideas with characters and situations very much grounded in our world.” – i09 Newstand

The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History” in Uncanny 

“…puts a supernatural twist on the Stonewall Riots, an important event in the gay rights movement… the story does an excellent job of capturing a moment in time, the injustice of the police, the desperation of men and women trying to find a place to be… a call for change that can easily be brought forward from the past and unpacked in the present.” – Tangent

To Die Dancing in Apex

“Clive has survived the country’s fall into a Revival, a conservative fascism where women are seen and not heard, where everyone works and toils, where the state has access into the minds of every citizen… It’s a heartbreaking story, one that builds tragedy over tragedy, failure over failure, and in the beauty of its prose and the humanity of its characters it whispers a warning. That there are things worth fighting for. That survival is not enough if it exists at the expense of others. Go read this story. Go now.” – Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews

wpid-sketch20113227-1.jpgI also read a ton of great stuff in the past year, so, if you’re in an award-nominating mood, here are some of the things I loved [I missed a ton of great stuff, I am sure, and I will be updating this post in the next couple weeks as I go through my notes and paper mags and email to ensure I’ve captured all the awesome stuff I loved]

Source Article from http://samjmiller.com/2015-highlights-reading-and-writing/

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My Arisia Schedule

colorlogoI’ll be at Arisia this weekend. I’ve never been to the con before, so I’m excited! Here’s my schedule:

Reading – Saturday, 10am, Hale, Writing Track, with Matthew Kressel, Shira Lipkin, Lauren M. Roy, Julia Rios

Panel – Sunday, 11:30am, Marina 2, Literature Track, with Ken Schneyer (moderator), B.A. Chepaitis, Matthew Kressel, Susan Weiner, N.S. Dolkart, MJ Cunniff.

Hope to see you there!

Source Article from http://www.matthewkressel.net/2016/01/15/my-arisia-schedule/

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