Sarah Pinsker tells us, “I don’t play fiddle, but I’ve chunked along on guitar at old-time jams. This story was borne out of a New Year’s Eve old-time jam where I played along on guitar behind the fiddlers. I’m always amazed by their knowledge and memory, so I thought I’d put them on a generation ship and see what happened. I brought a draft to Sycamore Hill in 2015 but it took me another year and a half to find my way through.”
Suzanne Palmer made quite a splash with her 2016 short fiction. Her novella, “Lazy Dog Out” won its category in the Asimov’s Readers’ Award Poll. Her novelette, “Detroit Hammersmith, Zero-Gravity Toilet Repairman (Retired)” took its category in Analog’s AnLab Awards, and her short story “Ten Poems for the Mossums, One for the Man,” is a current finalist for the Eugie Foster Memorial Award for Short Fiction. Suzanne lives in a very small town with an even smaller library that is the heart of her community, and she tells us she has learned this: “Libraries are always bigger on the inside than on the outside, they can take you anywhere in time and space, and they are our best antidote to inequality and ignorance. Whatever apocalypses come our way, if we can keep our public libraries alive for all of us, we might just be all right.”
Sandra McDonald grew up along historic Revere Beach, Massachusetts, and spent years commuting back and forth on the Blue Line extension of Boston’s MBTA subway system. Her novels and short stories frequently feature New England history, the Atlantic Ocean and marshlands, and blue-collar heroes struggling through ordinary lives. This story is one of her most intensely personal and poignant, with a few guest appearances by her favorite ghosts.
Michael Swanwick. The author tells us, “last year I flew to Moscow to receive the Grand Roscon Award and was later guest of honor at MidAmeriCon II—forty years after the first MidAmeriCon was my very first Worldcon. Forty seems to be an auspicious number for me.” Of his latest tale, he adds, “knowing me as long as you have, I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that this story is autobiographical. So much here happened to me—the stint I put in at the Parc Zoologique de Paris, my dreary youth, my love of cigar boxes, and my rapid rise to the status of Trickster being the least of them! Indeed, my responsibilities as a cosmic power are such that I would have long ago abandoned this planet were it not for my deep and abiding love for Asimov’s. I’m sure the rest of the world will forgive you for this.”
Carrie Vaughn is best known for her New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty who hosts a talk radio show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. Her latest novels include a near-Earth space opera, Martians Abroad, from Tor Books, and a post-apocalyptic murder mystery, Bannerless, from John Joseph Adams Books. She’s written several other contemporary fantasy and young adult novels, as well as upward of eighty short stories. The author is a contributor to the Wild Cards series of shared world superhero books edited by George R.R. Martin and a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop. An Air Force brat, she survived her nomadic childhood and managed to put down roots in Boulder, Colorado. Visit her at www.carrievaughn.com. While Carrie’s previous Asimov’s stories have been SF—in a nod to our annual slightly spooky fall issue—her latest tale introduces us to . . . DEAD MEN IN CENTRAL CITY
James Gunn’s memoir, Star-Begotten: A Life Lived in Science Fiction should be out any minute from McFarland and Company. It follows Mike Page’s book about Jim’s career from the same publisher, Saving The World Through Science Fiction, and the publication by Tor Books in June of Transformation, the third volume in the Transcendental trilogy. The two “Tales from the Transcendental” that you are about to read derive from this trilogy.
Harry Turtledove. After too long an absence, Harry Turtledove returns to our pages with a deeply disturbing look at the human capacity for inhumanity. The author’s next book, Hot War: Armistice, is just out from Del Rey. Harry tells us he’s up to two granddaughters, continues to write, and is spreading alternate history on Twitter as @HNTurtledove.
Dennis E. Staples graduated from Bemidji State University with a bachelor of fine arts in creative writing and is a current master of fine arts in fiction student at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Dennis grew up around the Leech Lake Reservation, which inspires a lot of his writing including his first story for Asimov’s, but he is enrolled in the Red Lake Band of Chippewa (Ojibwe). The author tells us, “I don’t have much of a testimonial other than to say that I’ve been reading the magazine since about 2013, and it’s been one of my main goals as a writer to appear in it. I’m extremely honored that a story so close to my cultural heritage is my first professional publication.”
Although William Preston wishes stories gushed forth from an ever-bubbling well within him, his tales usually derive from something he has seen or read. This present story is no exception, as its source is a movie with which he bent the minds of his film studies students. The tale’s main character, however, and what he found beyond that film’s narrative . . . well, perhaps some mysteries of inspiration remain.
Allen M. Steele. “An Incident in the Literary Life of Nathan Arkwright” is a sidebar to Allen M. Steele’s recent novel Arkwright (part of which first appeared in Asimov’s). It’s an untold story from his notes that quite didn’t fit into the storyline and therefore was left out until now. Allen’s latest novel, Avengers of the Moon was released in April by Tor. It’s the first new, authorized Captain Future novel since 1946.
Tim McDaniel teaches English as a Second Language at Green River College, not far from Seattle. His short stories, mostly comedic, have appeared in a number of SF/F magazines, including F&SF, Asimov’s, and Analog. He lives with his wife, dog, and cat, and his collection of plastic dinosaurs is the envy of all who encounter it. Tim’s author page at Amazon.com is www.amazon.com/author/tim-mcdaniel. In his latest tale for the magazine, we encounter a mysterious object when our heroes . . . SQUAMOUS AND ELDRITCH GET A YARD SALE BARGAIN
R. Garcia y Robertson says, “The great thing about ‘Grand Theft Spaceship’ is that Jazmyne is a real person. She was my foster daughter for three years, and the smartest person I have ever known. By the time she was four she had taught herself to read and write. When I was half way through this story, I found an old tale that Jazmyne had written when she was about five. It was a paragraph long, but it was the same story! Like Cole says, ‘scary smart’!” Rod had to take years off writing to care for his aged parents. Now he’s an orphan in his sixties, but, fortunately, still has many stories to tell.
Kit Reed says she comes from the Neolithic age, when she worked on a Royal Standard office model manual typewriter and instead of hitting delete, tore up pages that weren’t working, ripped them out and started at the top all over again. She composes the same way now, but it takes just as long because she can re-re-rewrite and start all over a lot more times because, keyboarding, she doesn’t get as tired. Her 2015 novel, Where, was a finalist for the Campbell award; Mormama, her Southern Gothic novel, is just out from Tor. We’re relieved that she managed to get a spooky new tale out of her computer in time for our September/October issue.