Author Archive

Applying lessons from science fiction to fantasy

There’s a well-known science fiction trope that if, after years of faithful service, you are led away to a happy existence on the Pleasure Planet and are never heard from again, the secret truth is that Something Awful has actually happened to you (examples: Soylent Green, Logan’s Run).

This leads me to conclude that…


Anthology The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, including my “Letter to the Editor,” comes out Feb. 19. Story excerpts and free reads are available here. Also, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #108, next week’s issue featuring my “Liaisons Galantes,” is now available to subscribers and ebook buyers from Weightless Books and

Newsy update

Here’s a bunch of miscellaneous news, some of which I’ve been meaning to post for weeks…

  • At the upcoming World Fantasy Convention in Toronto, I will be moderating a panel called “They Call Me the Wanderer” at noon on Friday in York B&C. Also on the panel: Rajan Khanna, Stefon Mears, Robert V. S. Redick, and Patrick Rothfuss. Assuming that Hurricane Sandy aka Frankenstorm does not prevent us from arriving in time…
  • My story “Wavefronts of History and Memory” was accepted at Analog by new editor Trevor Quachri.
  • My story “The White Raven’s Feather,” originally published in Daily Science Fiction, will be reprinted in e-anthology Spells: Ten Tales of Magic, coming soon to Kindle.
  • My story “Moonlight on the Carpet,” originally published in Aeon Speculative Fiction,, will appear on Tina Connolly’s Toasted Cake podcast.
  • I appeared on the Roundtable Podcast twice in September, first in an interview and then in a workshop in which the hosts and I helped a writer workshop a story idea. I had lots of fun doing it, and I hope you enjoy listening to them!

Brains. Feh.

Kate woke up this morning and asked “why don’t we ever have dreams in which everything goes right? Mine were full of lost luggage and mutant goats.” And I had an insight I’m surprised I never had before.

Your brain did not evolve to make you happy. Brains evolved for the purpose of improving the organism’s chances to stay alive long enough to reproduce. This means that your brain’s job is worry, fear, and angst — the emotions that keep you away from stuff that might kill you. The positive emotions that drive you toward helpful stuff (e.g. food and sex) are less immediately vital to survival and therefore easily overridden by the negative ones.

No wonder we’re so miserable most of the time.