Convention Weekend: Heliosphere

heliosphere_logo_wptheme5This weekend is Heliosphere, the second iteration of the new convention in Tarrytown (Westchester), New York. As always, I’ll be spending a lot of time in the dealers’ room (at the Fantastic Books table — the room is open Friday, 4-10pm; Saturday, 11am-6pm; and Sunday, 11am-3pm), but I’ll also be on three panels:

Friday, 5pm in Ballroom 4: “Solicited Advice: Editors Share Their Thoughts” with Bjorn Haessler, Mike McPhail, Alex Shvartsman, and Michael A. Ventrella.

Saturday, 11:30am in Ballroom 4: “Dealing with Rejection as a New (or Even Old) Writer)” with Keith R.A. DeCandido, John Grant, April Grey, Barbara Krasnoff, and Mark Oshiro.

Sunday, 12:30pm in Ballroom 2: “The Making of an Alternate History World” with Teel James Glenn, Carol Gyzander, and Elektra Hammond.

Hope to see some of you there!

Asimov’s likes Up The Rainbow

casper rainbow thumbnailPeter Heck’s “On Books” column (in the March/April 2018 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction) review Up the Rainbow: the Complete Short Fiction of Susan Casper. The review says, in part, “…the stories deliver a powerful kick; Casper had the ability to bring the stuff of dreams and nightmares vividly into contact with everyday life.… If you’re a lover of short fiction, this is one that belongs on your must-read list.… Michael Swanwick and Andy Duncan add perceptive appreciations. When reading the anthology, don’t skip these as they offer a deeper insight into both her personality and her art.”

Index and links for episode 2 of New York State of Mensa

I’m the guest on episode 2 of “New York State of Mensa,” the podcast of Greater New York Mensa, hosted by Sara London and Carmen Alexander. In the episode, we talk about science fiction, and I realized that I throw around a lot of names and titles, so I thought it’d be nice to actually list them here for those who might be interested.

Note, I wasn’t intentionally slighting anyone or any work by not mentioning them: this was an unprepared conversation, so those I mention were the names that came to mind first. And specifically, in the discussion of Mensans who write science fiction, I apologize for not being able to come up with names in the moment. Also, I’m happy to add more to this list when I remember them (or when you contact me and say “Hey, fool, you forgot to mention me!”).

Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine —
Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine —
Isaac Asimov —
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley —
Rauschenberg museum— I misspoke. It’s actually The Rosenbach,
John Campbell, Astounding/Analog
Hugo Gernsback, Amazing
Arkwright by Allen Steele —
Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt —
The Red Carnival by Susan Casper —
Up the Rainbow by Susan Casper —
Gardner Dozois —
Robert Heinlein —
Arthur Clarke —
Spider Robinson —
Lois McMaster Bujold —
Robert Sawyer —
Geoffrey Landis, “A Walk in the Sun” —
The Martian by Andy Weir —
Shariann Lewitt —
Susan Shwartz —
White Wing by “Gordon Kendall (will be re-released by Fantastic Books this spring, as by Shariann Lewitt and Susan Shwartz)
Harry Potter phenomenon —
Carren Strock —
China Mieville —

Other Mensans who write science fiction, but whose names I couldn’t come up with in the discussion, include:
Arlan Andrews —
Fran Cartier —

In addition, Sara mentioned several titles, including:
Black Mirror
Le Morte d’Arthur’Arthur
“I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison —,_and_I_Must_Scream
“Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch” by Philip K. Dick —
Esperanza Rising
“Living It Is the Best Revenge” by Ian Randal Strock (I’ve posted an electronic version of the story; see the bottom of this page for links) —

And Carmen mentioned:
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan —
Sarah J. Maas —
Mphasis (the newsletter of Greater New York Mensa) —
Mensa Bulletin (the monthly magazine of American Mensa) —
Dr. Who

Library Journal likes The Red Carnival

Fantastic Books is publishing Susan Casper’s The Red Carnival next week (ISBN 978-1-5154-1033-1). Library Journal‘s review of the book is just out (in their February 15th issue). After describing the plot, their Verdict is “At times dark and unsettling, this previously unpublished novel by the late Casper (who died in 2017) holds the same wonderful prose and love of the uncanny as her published short fiction.” Woo hoo!

A couple of recent, interesting links

In lieu of writing something interesting, I present several recent articles that caught my eye:

Why You Should Surround Yourself With More Books Than You’ll Ever Have Time to Read

New York State of Mensa: Greater New York Mensa’s first podcast. The hosts are wonderful, bubbly, and real. They make the reader want to meet and get to know them. (And I can’t fault the fact that they mentioned me no fewer than four times ). Actually, my only quibble is with Sara’s pronunciation of the organization’s name: I always pronounce Mensa with an “s”, but she uses a “z” sound for that fourth letter.

Here’s the Perfect Thing to Say When Someone is Rude

Amazon discount notifications: Science Fiction for the Throne (list $14.99; available for $6.73: Ranking the First Ladies (list $32.99; available for $19.95:

Gardner Dozois and Sheila Williams Named SFWA Solstice Award Recipients: Sheila hired me as the editorial assistant at Asimov’s when she was Managing Editor and Gardner was editor. They’re wonderful, and wonderfully deserving, people.

Lock of George Washington’s Hair Discovered at Union College

Quick Visit to Philadelphia

Back from a whirlwind trip to Philadelphia for an even briefer visit home before heading up to New England.

I had a great time! Thank you, Philadelphia Science Fiction Society (, for being a wonderful audience: attentive, interested, and enthusiastic, you made me feel very welcome. And thank you especially Lee and Diane Weinstein for setting it up and chauffering me about. Also, to my author Tom Purdom for being in the audience so I had an example to point to. Dinner before the meeting was very nice, and hanging out talking afterwards was just what I needed: after a turn on stage, it takes me a while to calm down, and it’s a lot more fun in a group. There was also an unexpected blast from the past: someone brought a copy of the December 1986 issue of Games magazine, which was my second paid writing appearance (my first was in the March 1985 issue).

For those of who weren’t there, it was my first free-form talk. Normally, when I’m giving a lecture or solo presentation, I have a specific topic (the Presidents, how to get published, etc.). But Friday’s talk was just me, talking about my career on both sides of the editorial desk, people I’ve met, writing and publishing in general.… I enjoyed it, and I think (hope) my audience did, too.

Today, since I was in Philadelphia, I spent some time playing tourist. I visited Benjamin Franklin’s grave, walked past the Philadelphia Mint, visited the National Constitution Center (had a very nice talk with the sales staff in the gift shop; apparently they used to have my books available, and will hopefully be reordering them), visited the Liberty Bell, walked past Independence Hall, and saw the portrait exhibit in the Second Bank of the United States. Then, it being after noon, I went to the Rosenbach Museum, which I’d never heard of. Darrell Schweitzer gave me a pass to see the Frankenstein and Dracula exhibit, which is just now wrapping up (manuscript pages from Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and others). I was also in time for the tour of the building (the wonderful docent Martha was incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining), and I saw the Of Two Minds exhibit (about artistic collaborative teams, including Herbert and Lou Hoover!), which is just opening. The Rosenbach is named for the two brothers who were rare book dealers in the early 1900s, and I’m glad to have learned of its existence. Recommended.

I took 62 photos, but I don’t have time to go through and edit them now. Instead, I posted a few on my Twitter feed while I was there. I may post more sometime later.

Science Fiction Nominations Season

Hey, science fiction award nominators: nomination season is apparently once again upon us.

Nebula Awards (limited to members of SFWA) nomination period closes February 15: see

Hugo Award nominations are now open (they close March 16): see

The Locus Award poll and survey is now open (closes April 15): see

There are many other awards out there, I’m only point out three of the largest general sf awards. And the reason I’m pointing them out is that Fantastic Books published several books and stories that are eligible for your consideration.


  • Time On My Hands by Daniel M. Kimmel
  • The Biggest Bounty by Brian Koscienski and Chris Pisano


  • Science Fiction for the Throne edited by Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial


  • Up the Rainbow by Susan Casper, edited by Gardner Dozois
  • Non-Parallel Universes by Bud Sparhawk
  • The Doppler Effect and Other Stories by Allen Steele


  • “The Doppler Effect” by Allen Steele (first published in the collection The Doppler Effect)


  • “The Blessed Damosel” by Susan Casper (first published in the collection Up the Rainbow)

Short Stories (all first published in the anthology Science Fiction for the Throne)

  • “The Good Girl” by Brendan DuBois
  • “Space Opera” by Daniel M. Kimmel
  • “Ten Things I Know About Jesus” by Steven Popkes
  • “The Thunder of Sound” by H. Paul Shuch
  • “In the Speed of Time” by Douglas Van Belle

Cover Art:

  • The Biggest Bounty by Koa Beam
  • Science Fiction for the Throne by Alvin Helms
  • Up the Rainbow by Ron Miller


I, and our authors, editors, and artists, thank you for your consideration and support.

And on a personal note, I was the author of three short stories published in 2017. I’m pushing the works I published, but if you’re interested in those I wrote, they were:

  • “The Ant and the Grasshoppers” (published in Daily Science Fiction, November 16, 2017)
  • “Godding About and Sleeping Around: Zeus’ Conversation with Tantalus” (published in the anthology TV Gods: Summer Programming!)
  • “The Necessary Enemy” (published in the anthology If We Had Known)

PSFS Monthly Speaker

Have I mentioned that I’m going to be the monthly speaker for the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society? The event will be Friday, February 9, 2018, at The Rotunda (4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA), starting about 7:30 or 8pm, and it’s open to the public (see their web page for details). Hope to see some of you there!

And, since I’ll be staying in Philadelphia over night, I’ll be looking for fascinating ways to spend Saturday, if you’ve got any ideas.