Jason's writings

Podcast of "We Eat The Hearts That Come For You"

The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine has released an audio version of my story "We Eat The Hearts That Come For You." Here's the story's teaser:

Brother Marrow has taken a monastic vow to live within the real world, and avoid opening his neural connection to the virtual, but one day something forces its way into his connection, and at the same time in the village below someone is killed…

Originally published in Jennifer Brozek's anthology Bless Your Mechanical Heart, "We Eat The Hearts..." has been called "a compelling story about love, loss, obsession, and perception."

Many thanks to Big and Rish, who have created a number of excellent audio versions of my stories in the past. And special thanks to Justin Charles for producing the story.

The story is available on streaming services, the Dunesteef website, and their YouTube channel.

"Nine Lattices of Sargasso" in Asimov's Science Fiction

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My science fiction novelette "Nine Lattices of Sargasso" is now available in the November/December 2017 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction. The novelette tells of a future where dreams and memories can be shared among people and the unintended consequences which result.

This is Asimov's final 40th Anniversary issue and includes a personal essay about my life-long connection with the magazine. Spoiler: I've been reading Asimov's for a long time. 

The issue is also a star-studded one, featuring fiction by Connie Willis, Greg Egan, Rick Wilber, Nick Wolven, Jack McDevitt, James Patrick Kelly, Michael Cassutt, Emily Taylor, Tom Purdom, James Gunn, Joel Richards, and Norman Spinrad.

Many thanks to Sheila Williams for accepting and publishing my story alongside so many of the authors I grew up reading in Asimov's.

The issue is currently available in bookstores. You can also purchase the e-book issue for Amazon's Kindle, the Nook, Google Play, and other platforms.

Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2017 Edition

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The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2017, edited by Rich Horton, is now available and includes my novelette "Blood Grains Speak Through Memories."  The novelette originally appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies and was a finalist for the Nebula Award.

And in a total "wow!" moment, Horton says in the book's introduction that I am "one of the most original and adventurous writers of strange sf for the past decade." Let me repeat: WOW!

Many thanks to Horton for the kind words and for selecting my story. The anthology is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores. 

Below is the anthology's table of contents.

  • “Seven Ways of Looking at the Sun-Worshippers of Yul-Katan” by Maggie Clark, Analog
  • “All that Robot Shit” by Rich Larson, Asimov’s
  • “Project Empathy” by Dominica Phetteplace, Asimov’s
  • “Lazy Dog Out” by Suzanne Palmer, Asimov’s
  • “The Visitor from Taured” by Ian R. MacLeod, Asimov’s
  • “Openness” by Alexander Weinstein, Beloit Fiction Journal
  • “In Skander, for a Boy” by Chaz Brenchley, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • “Laws of Night and Silk” by Seth Dickinson, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • “Blood Grains Speak Through Memories” by Jason Sanford, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • “Rager in Space” by Charlie Jane Anders, Bridging Infinity
  • “Ozymandias” by Karin Lowachee, Bridging Infinity
  • “The Bridge of Dreams” by Gregory Feeley, Clarkesworld
  • “Everyone from Themis Sends Letters Home” by Genevieve Valentine, Clarkesworld
  • “Things with Beards” by Sam J. Miller, Clarkesworld
  • “Innumerable Glimmering Lights” by Rich Larson, Clockwork Phoenix 5
  • “Between Nine and Eleven” by Adam Roberts, Crises and Conflicts
  • “Red of Tooth and Cog” by Cat Rambo, F&SF
  • “The Vanishing Kind” by Lavie Tidhar, F&SF
  • “A Fine Balance” by Charlotte Ashley, F&SF
  • “Empty Planets” by Rahul Kanakia, Interzone
  • “Fifty Shades of Grays” by Steven Barnes, Lightspeed
  • “I’ve Come to Marry the Princess” by Helena Bell, Lightspeed
  • “RedKing” by Craig deLancey, Lightspeed
  • “A Non-Hero’s Guide to The Road of Monsters” by A.T. Greenblatt,
  • Mothershipship Zeta
  • “Dress Rehearsal” by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Now We Are Ten
  • “The Plague Givers” by Kameron Hurley, Patreon
  • “Gorse Daughter, Sparrow Son” by Alena Indigo Anne Sullivan, Strange Horizons
  • “The Magical Properties of Unicorn Ivory” by Carlos Hernandez, The
  • Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria
  • “Something Happened Here, But We’re Not Quite Sure What It Was” by
  • Paul McAuley, Tor.com
  • “That Game We Played During the War” by Carrie Vaughn, Tor.com

Translation of "Toppers" is featured story in XB-1

A translation of my story "Toppers" is featured in the August 2017 edition of the Czech SF magazine XB-1. The story, originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction, looks at the passage of time as seen through one person's time-scattered life.

I love the mind-blowingly great cover art by Maurizio Manzieri. As an added bonus, I share a table of contents with one of my literary heroes, Michael Swanwick.

Laura Miller, or what happens when a literary critic loathes genre fiction but knows that's where the best stories are?

Maybe this kicking cartoon by Tom Gauld sums up what is going on here? Check out more of  Tom's cartoons on his website  (and buy his books).

Maybe this kicking cartoon by Tom Gauld sums up what is going on here? Check out more of Tom's cartoons on his website (and buy his books).

So Laura Miller, co-founder of Salon.com and one of the most famous literary critics of our day, jumped back into the genre pool with the essay "Dark Futures: What happens when literary novelists experiment with science fiction."

To summarize, in the essay Miller tracks all the "literary" authors who are now writing science fiction. According to Miller these authors are writing SF because it's so hard to write contemporary fiction with the world constantly changing. So why not write SF instead? She then name checks the authors doing so, including Emily St. John Mandel and her best-selling novel Station Eleven, which Miller notes the author doesn't even consider SF.

Why that author's disavowal? Oh, because as Miller says "Science fiction writers and readers have long resented incursions like these into their territory, especially when they come, as such novels often do, with a disavowal of the genre itself."

In case you can't tell, Miller's words are an irritating excuse for an essay, with the irritation building like a flea circus loose under a wool sweater until the reader breaks out in a never-ending rash. Only then does Miller close with a grasp at profundity by saying "What’s surprising is not that literary novelists are increasingly taking up science fiction’s tools, but that more of them didn’t try it sooner."

So. Much. Fail. In. One. Essay. And before you believe I'm biased because I'm one of those lowly SF authors who need step aside for my literary betters, check out the reaction of other authors to Miller's words:

Part of the problem with the essay, beyond Miller's actual condescending words, is that she overlooks the ability of SF authors to write at the level of the authors she's praising. She grudgingly gives William Gibson and Karen Joy Fowler minor props but ignores the stylistic and literary ability of SF masters like Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. Le Guin, Gene Wolfe, N. K. Jemisin, Connie Willis and so many others.

For what it's worth, Miller has long had a love-hate relationship with genre fiction. As detailed in Miller's book The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia, she loved C.S. Lewis's stories as a child, desiring “to be carried away by something greater than ourselves — a love affair, a group, a movement, a nation, a faith. Or even a book.” But Miller fell out of love with Narnia later in life when she realized the book's Christian "legends and ideals."

I suspect this attitude carries over for Miller into all things genre. She loves the scope and vision of genre works but can't get past the imaginary blinders which to her separate genre works from what she might call "serious writings." You can see this attitude in how she describes the SF community, where she says lovers of science fiction are "both aggrieved at being marginalized and really invested in being marginalized. So they don’t really want to be accepted. They want to be angry and self-righteous about not being accepted."

As SF author Jess Hyslop said in an online discussion with me, part of the problem with this essay and overall discussions of this topic is in the use of the term "literary," as in literary fiction, literary novelist, literary writing, and so on. As Jess wrote, "Wish we could all stop using 'literary' as a (non?)genre descriptor, & instead understand it as an adjective that can apply to any genre." So true. Perhaps a better term is "contemporary fiction" or "mainstream fiction." Such phrasing would then allow anyone to apply the term literary to any writings which reach deep into the human experience and psyche.

Look, the science fiction genre and other genres such as romance, fantasy, horror, and comics are incredibly open. All are welcome to read and write within these genres. But don't come into these genres, take the best parts of what we write, then disavow the genre and everyone in it.

If you do that, all you're showcasing is your own literary ignorance.