Jason's writings

New story in Bless Your Mechanical Heart

Hungry for a new science fiction story from me? Then I suggest reading "We Eat the Hearts that Come for You," which can be found in the new themed anthology Bless Your Mechanical Heart.

The anthology, edited by Jennifer Brozek, mixes sentient robots and androids with the emotional repercussions of that sarcastic Southern USA phrase "bless your heart." In addition to my story, the anthology also features original fiction by Seanan McGuire, Fiona Patton, Lucy A. Snyder, Sarah Hans, Jody Lynn Nye, Minerva Zimmerman and many more.

I think "We Eat the Hearts that Come for You" is one of the most chilling stories I've ever written, so I hope people will check it out.

You can find the anthology on Amazon and in all the usual booksellers.

Recent Sci-Fi Strange essays on Medium.com

Wondering why I haven't posted many items on my blog? That's because I'm running a great Medium.com collection called Sci-Fi Strange. The collection is updated regularly with SF and pop-culture influenced articles by myself and others.

Recent essays I've posted include:

If you like what you're seeing, please go and follow the collection.

Free copies of my story "Monday's Monk" from Asimov's Science Fiction

Nominations are now being accepted for the Nebula Awards and will open shortly for the Hugos. Because I've been focusing on finishing a novel, I have only two stories eligible for award consideration this year. They are:

Monday's Monk

My 8,700 word novelette "Monday's Monk" was published in the March 2013 edition of Asimov's Science Fiction. The story was inspired by my experiences while serving with the U.S. Peace Corps in Thailand, where I had the opportunity to study and work with monks from several Buddhist monasteries, including Wat Pah Nanachat.

The novelette has been well received, with Locus Magazine's Lois Tilton both recommending it and naming this "harrowing account of an individual’s struggle to retain his integrity and religious principles under a genocidal regime" to her year's best list. (Update: Locus Magazine added the story to their 2013 Recommended Reading List, as did Tangent Online , which gave it a top possible score of 3 stars.)

Other reviews include John Sulyok in Tangent Online, who calls the story a "must read," and Sam Tomaino in SFRevu, who says "Monday's Monk" is a "great story."


My other story for consideration is my 7,900 word novelette "Paprika," which was published in issue 249 of the British magazine Interzone (Nov./Dec. 2013). As I mentioned in the author's note to the story, "Paprika" was inspired by the life of acclaimed anime director Satoshi Kon, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 46.

Over on Wizzley, my story is called "beautiful ... and a fitting tribute to anime director Satoshi Kon" while Matthew Dent says the story gets the "imagination firing on all neurones."

Because the story is in the current issue of Interzone, I am unable to post it online. If you don't have access to the issue and are a voter for the any of the major genre awards, contact me.

My Sci-Fi Strange pop culture and science fiction collection on Medium.com

Let's be blunt—all pop culture these days is pure science fiction. Between Twitter and iPhones and instant message videos of your grandpa's twerking, today's pop culture takes place on and around platforms which only a decade ago would have been pure science fiction.

I've long been fascinated by the intersection of science fiction ideas and pop culture. To explore this I've started a Medium.com collection called Sci-Fi Strange. The collection will be updated daily with SF and pop-culture influenced articles by myself and others.

If you're not familiar with Medium, check out this post. Slate's Matthew Yglesias also offers a great overview of the social media platform, calling it the "best writing tool around."

In addition to Medium being a great writing tool, I also think it's a damn good reading tool. If you have a Medium account, consider following my Sci-Fi Strange collection. I'll still be posting on this website, but depending on how the Sci-Fi Strange collection goes I'll probably be more active there.

Art for my upcoming Interzone novelette "Paprika"


My 13th story in the Britsh magazine Interzone will be published in their upcoming Nov./Dec. 2013 issue (number 249). The SF novelette, titled "Paprika," is set in the far future and involves an artificial construct designed to preserve copies of human lives.

Interzone editor Andy Cox sent me the art for the story and yet again I'm blown away by what they've created. Interzone has no equal for the honor of world's most beautiful SF/F magazine. The art is by Ben Baldwin, who has also created other artwork for my Interzone stories.

As always, if you want to read the story I suggest you subscribe.  Individual issues will also be available in stores beginning in December (for American readers, you'll likely have to wait until January to find copies in stores).

Gen Con Writer's Symposium

This weekend I'm appearing at the Gen Con Writer's Symposium in Indianapolis. This Symposium is part of Gen Con Indy, meaning the author panels are free for any Gen Con attendees. So come see tons of great authors, including Guest of Honor Mercedes Lackey along with Saladin Ahmed, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Maurice Broaddus, Jennifer Brozek, Jim C. Hines, Mary Robinette Kowal, Lucy A. Snyder, and many more.

For anyone interested, I'll have copies of my short story collection Never Never Stories there, along with both Million Writers Award anthologies.

Here's my schedule. Please note the Symposium rooms are rooms 243, 244, and 245 on the 2nd floor of the Indiana Convention Center.

Friday, August 16

  • 2 pm: Author's reading with me and Kelly Swails (Room 243)
  • 5 pm: Short fiction panel with Donald J. Bingle, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Saladin Ahmed (Room 245)

Saturday August 17

  • 11 am: Aliens panel with George Strayton, Chris Pierson, and Gary Kloster (Room 244)
  • 2 pm: Hard SF panel awith George Strayton, Wesley Chu, and James L. Sutter (Room 244)
  • 3 pm: Author's Avenue appearance alongside Brad Beaulieu, Gregory A. Wilson, and Jay Kristoff.

If you're attending Gen Con I hope you'll stop by and see me.

SciFi Strange, an interview with me

The Apex Publications blog has been focusing on Weird Fiction this month, so they decided to interview me about SciFi Strange. If you've ever enjoyed SciFi Strange, disagreed about SciFi Strange, or wondered what the hell is SciFi Strange, then you should go check out the interview.

Here's the link:  SciFi Strange, an interview with SciFi Strange author Jason Sanford

Many thanks to Krissie McMakin for doing the interview.

Reviews of "Monday's Monk"

AsimovsMarch2013Review are coming in for my novelette"Monday's Monk" in the March 2013 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction. So far people are loving the story, which is really gratifying.

Lois Tilton in Locus gives "Monday's Monk" a coveted "recommended" rating, adding the story contains "A powerful scenario, carried by strong characters – not only Somchai but Seh Náam, the leader of the Blues, whose treatment of the monk is part reverence for his role, part cruelly taunting him with his own religious beliefs."
John Sulyok in Tangent Online calls the story a "must read," adding "Jason Sanford is able to create an astonishing amount of detail in his characters, setting, and rules, using few words. The prose is able to breathe without being bogged down in the details. More can be said, but the story should be allowed to speak for itself."
Sam Tomaino in SFRevu says "Monday's Monk" is another "great story" from me.
Primary Sources says of "Monday's Monk" that "I was entirely caught in Somchai’s crisis of faith and its eventual resolution; this was certainly my favorite story of the issue."

PragoFFest appearance on Saturday, Feb. 2

I'll be appearing virtually at the PragoFFest convention in the Czech Republic on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8 pm local time. I'll be discussing SciFi Strange and why I believe this style of science fiction is so relevant to today's SF-influenced world.

PragoFFest looks like a blast and I wish I could attend in person. The Czech magazines XB-1 (and their predecesor Ikarie) have published a large numbers of my stories. I also write a monthly column for XB-1, which Martin Sust is kind enough to translate. Translations will be available for my talk and I'll also take questions from the audience.

So if you're in the Czech Republic this Saturday, look for the virtual me at PragoFFest.

Another awards post

Always one to follow the authorial herd off a literary cliff, I'm now listing my works available for Hugo, Nebula, and assorted other award consideration.

Here's the list. It's a big one.

  • My novelette "Mirrorblink" from the British SF magazine Interzone, issue 243 (Nov./Dec. 2012).

Yeah, that's it. Big list. And in case anyone asks, the novelette is eligible for the Nebulas due to Interzone also publishing an electronic edition.

I'll provide any eligible award nominator with a free copy of the story — contact me if you want that option.

Reviews of "Mirrorblink"


Matthew Dent says "Mirrorblink" is a perfect example of why I'm one of his favorite writers and that "The story itself is beautifully written, and the protagonist a wonderfully constructed character. The ideas and themes in the story are exactly what good SF should be grappling with, and evoke more questions than they answer. As well they should."

Steve Rogerson calls "Mirrorblink" the best story in this issue of Interzone, and that "Sanford tells this complex and entertaining post-apocalyptic tale with skill."

You can find Interzone in stores now. You can also purchase ebook editions, or subscribe, at the following links.

Donate to Worldbuilders, win a chance for some amazing signed books and prizes

Now that the world didn't end — so much for the predictive powers of the ancient Mayans — why don't you take the time to help build the world up. Worldbuilders is one of the genre community's best charities and a great way to change the world for the better.

Founded by author Pat Rothfuss, Worldbuilders helps fund the amazing work done by Heifer International. There are two ways to donate through Worldbuilders. First, you can go to the WorldBuilders page on Team Heifer and donate. For every $10 you donate, you'll receive one chance receive to win prizes such as signed books from authors like me (including both Million Writers Award anthologies I edited and my short story collection Never Never Stories). 

You can also purchase signed books and items directly from WorldBuilders through their online store and auctions. As with the donations, all money goes to Heifer. Complete details on the store and auctions can be found on the Worldbuilders website

Thanks to Pat Rothfuss for running Worldbuilders each year. I encourage everyone to go and donate for a great cause.

"Mirrorblink" now available in ebook and print editions of Interzone 243


My novellete "Mirrorblink is now available in print and ebook editions of Interzone 243. So far, reviews have been good.

Matthew Dent says "Mirrorblink" is a perfect example of why I'm one of his favorite writers and that "The story itself is beautifully written, and the protagonist a wonderfully constructed character. The ideas and themes in the story are exactly what good SF should be grappling with, and evoke more questions than they answer. As well they should."

Steve Rogerson calls "Mirrorblink" the best story in this issue of Interzone, and that "Sanford tells this complex and entertaining post-apocalyptic tale with skill."

You can find Interzone in stores now. You can also purchase ebook editions, or subscribe, at the following links.

Million Writers Award anthology ebooks only $2.99


The ebook editions of my Million Writers Award anthologies, which are retrospective collections featuring ten years worth of award-honored stories, are temporarily marked down to only $2.99.

The first anthology, Million Writers Award: The Best Online Science Fiction and Fantasy, focuses on SF/F stories, while the second, Million Writers Award: The Best New Online Voices , highlights non-genre stories. 

To order the ebook editions at this discounted price, check out the links below.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt needs a SF social media push to realize his anthology dreams

Sometimes it seems like we hear more about the jerks in SF fandom than the truly quality people. This is partly an age-old story — as always, the news which spreads the easiest is about the creep at Readercon harassing people, or the fools who continually dip into anger and hate and undermine the joy our genre should instead be creating.

But despite how bad news spreads, the truth is that the genre jerks are far outnumbered by the great people in fandom. And one of the best people I know is Bryan Thomas Schmidt.

Bryan is a fan, an author and an editor. His debut novel, The Worker Prince, earned an honorable mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s list of best SF of 2011. He's also an incredibly nice person, always willing to discuss genre fun and games and to help those in need.

Now Bryan needs our help. Bryan has an anthology-building dream and without the help of fandom his dream won't come true. You see, Bryan has launched a Kickstarter fundraiser for his anthology project Beyond The Sun and he has less than a week to finish raising the funds!

Here's a summary of the project from the To Be Read blog

Beyond The Sun is going to feature stories by some amazing legendary science fiction writers, some established writers and some new writers on the subject,” he says. His headliners are all Hugo and Nebula winners: Robert Silverberg, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Mike Resnick and Nancy Kress. All have written novels and stories on the topic before and look forward to exploring it further. Joining them are familiar names such as Cat Rambo, Jason Sanford, Jennifer Brozek, Brad R. Torgersen, Jean Johnson, Erin Hoffman, Jamie Todd Rubin and Guy Anthony DeMarco.

“The writers included are some of my writing heroes and good friends,” Schmidt says. “It’s a thrill to have the participation of such notables as well as giving new writers the opportunity get more exposure for their own work by appearing alongside others with such respected reputations. Plus, you can just tell from the list of names how amazing the anthology is going to be!”

Between them, the headliners alone have 12 Hugos, 5 Nebulas and numerous other awards. Several other invitees have nominations and awards as well.  Schmidt has even lined up award-winning artist Mitchell Davidson Bentley to do the cover as well as several experienced and up and coming artists to add images for the stories themselves. “It’s rare these days to have artwork inside books, but I think it inspires the imagination,” Schmidt says. “I know that, as a writer, it’s intriguing to see what artists get as inspiration from my own work.” With the project aimed at being family friendly and applicable for educational use, Schmidt also thinks this will add value and interest.

Yes, as one of the author's in this anthology I obviously have a vested interested in seeing this project succeed. But this is a project I'd support even if I wasn't involved. Bryan has created a remarkable lineup for his anthology and this is a book I desperately want to read.

Bryan has less than one week to raise the restof the funds for his Kickstarter campaign. So please, go and support this campaign.

And spread the word.

Because Bryan needs this to go viral.

If only a few of the people who talk online about the bad things that happen in our genre would spread the word about Bryan, then his dream will come true. I mean, the bad stuff will always happen. And it's important for us to discuss the bad so we can stop it in its tracks.

But let's not forget to also promote the great people in our genre.

People like Bryan.

Preview of my novelette "Mirrorblink"

MirrorblinkMy 12,000 word novelette "Mirrorblink" will appear shortly in Interzone and editor Andy Cox was kind enough to send me a preview of the story's art spread. (Click on the image at right for a bigger view. Please note that while the art is finished the page layout is a work in progress).

What do I think about the art? Only that it slapped my eyes silly and reprogrammed the shambling mass I call a mind into feeling nothing but shock and awe!

Which is another way of saying, "Wow!"

The art is by Warwick Fraser-Coombe, who did an equally great job illustrating my story "Peacemaker, Peacemaker, Little Bo Peep."

"Mirrorblink" is set on a far future Earth. Humanity lives in small villages where advanced communications technology is forbidden. The most dangerous thing one can do in this world is travels, meaning visiting villages beyond your own. Not only are people suspicious of strangers, there are other dangers lurking outside the village walls, including alien beings called Observers and massive burns of plasma which occasionally rain from the skies, destroying all life in the blast area.

Here's a little excerpt from the story.

Ein of Wastal of the Town of Near Side approached the crossroads holding her pass before her like a child gifting a beloved toy to a friend.  Above, the Day shined hot and clear, with only the smoke on the horizon marring the sky’s even blindness.  Ein had hoped the smoking remnants of that distant burn would dissipate before she reached this new town, but naturally no such luck.

Ein’s body shook from starvation--her food pouch almost empty, her muscles weak and stringy from weeks of half rations--but as she stood before the crossroads she ignored her hunger.  Father Jajher had often warned Ein against approaching strange towns while distracted.  So Ein forgot everything except for the old man in the guard house and the rifle he aimed at her heart.  

Not that the guard actually aimed at Ein.  He aimed at the kaleidoscope of faces and names projected into the air by her pass--an ancient data mirror containing the downloaded memories from hundreds of people.  In theory the data proved Ein was who she claimed to be.  But tradition demanded a pass be held before one’s chest.  If the guard rejected the pass, the rejection would be a hypersonic needle through both mirror and heart.

The complete story will be in issue 243 of Interzone, available in early November. If you can't find Interzone in your area, be sure to subscribe. Interzone is absolutely the most beautiful and exciting SF magazine in the world. 

Context 25 schedule

I'm attending Context 25 this weekend in Columbus, Ohio. I'll have copies of my short story collection Never Never Stories along with the anthologies Million Writers Award: The Best New Online Voices and Million Writers Award: The Best Online Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Here is my schedule:

  • Friday 8 p.m.:  Seducing Today's Youth to SF: A Call to Arms — panel featuring me and Bill Levy
  • Saturday 11 a.m.: Can Science Fiction Match Reality? — panel featuring me, Geoffrey Girard, A.J. Scudiere, and Bill Levy
  • Saturday 1 p.m.: The Next Step: What Happens AFTER Breaking Into Print? — panel featuring me, Steven Saus, Addie King, and Mindee Arnett
  • Saturday 1 - 3 p.m.: Meet the Authors - Autograph Session
  • Sunday 11 a.m.: When Fantasy Becomes SF and SF Becomes Fantasy — panel featuring me, Linnea Sinclair, Geoffrey Landis, and David L. Burkhead

I look forward to seeing everyone at the convention. 

In small things of note

One of my favorite books while studying archeology was In Small Things Forgotten, an exploration of how the little things we leave behind tell others so much about our lives.

Here are a few small things of note for today:

  • The public vote for the storySouth Million Writers Award is now closed. I'll release the results in the evening on Monday, Aug. 13.

  • Asimov's Science Fiction has accepted a second story from me. "Monday's Monk" is my first SF story set in Thailand and draws heavily on my experiences there as a Peace Corps Volunteer. When I know the story's publication date I'll let everyone know. Many many thanks to Sheila Williams for accepting the story.

  • SF Signal has published the English edition of my essay "Opening the SF Translation Pipeline to America," which was originally published in the Czech magazine XB-1. Thanks to Aliette de Bodard, Nick Mamatas, and Ken Liu for their insights on the topic and to both XB-1 and SF Signal for publishing the essay.


Million Writers Award anthologies now available; early reaction includes a Publisher's Weekly starred review


Spotlight Publishing has released my two Million Writers Award anthologies, which are retrospective collections featuring ten years worth of award-honored stories.

The first anthology, Million Writers Award: The Best Online Science Fiction and Fantasy, focuses on SF/F stories, while the second, Million Writers Award: The Best New Online Voices, highlights non-genre stories. 

Early reviews for the SF/F anthology are now coming in and — drum roll please — the book received a Publisher's Weekly starred review! To quote:

"Sanford, editor of the online literary journal storySouth, assembles a remarkable collection of science fiction and fantasy works, all originally published online and heralded in storySouth’s annual Million Writers Award contest (some are winners, others finalists and notables). ... Many of these stories have earned other awards and nominations, and they prove that online journals and magazines deserve readers’ respect and attention.


In addition, Jamie Todd Rubin at Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show also review the SF/F anthology. He said: 

"We are living in a golden age of short science fiction and fantasy. Having read and written a great deal about classical Golden Age science fiction, having done a pretty good job keeping up with most of the short fiction markets today, I feel I can make this statement with some authority. If further evidence is required, however, I point to Jason Sanford's recent anthology,Million Writers Award: The Best Online Science Fiction and Fantasy."

Again, wow! Many thanks to both reviewers for the kind words.

Contributor copies have now mailed, and this weekend I'll be mailing out signed copies to anyone who pre-ordered (those would have gone out last weekend but the storm and power outage intervened). 

To order a print or ebook edition, click below.

Million Writers Award update (the power outage edition)

Thanks to the storms which swept through the eastern U.S. this weekend, my house has gone off the grid. For now, my iPhone is still working so I have a rudimentary ability to post items to this blog, along with access to email and social media. But that's the extent of my online abilities.

Unfortunately, today was when I planned to both release the judge's picks for the Million Writers Award top ten stories and start the public vote for the overall winner. But to do that I need FTP and other online access. As soon as I have it we'll start the final part of the contest. Thanks to everyone for their patience.

Also, the two Million Writers Award anthologies are now available. However, the distributor is still working on placing them with online bookstores like Amazon. That should happen in another week or two. Until it does, if people order from Spotlight Publishing they'll receive immediate shipping and still receive the pre-order pricing of $13.99 for the book and .99 cent shipping. Details and links here.