Alexander Jablokov. The author tells us, “One rainy afternoon I was reading Haldor Laxness’s novel, The Fish Can Sing, and among the eccentric lodgers at a house the main character lives in there is an older woman obsessed with how her body will get back to her home when she dies. I thought, ‘what if getting your body back to where you were born was something that was not just desired, but required? And why would that be?’ The story grew from there, and, I have to admit, has continued growing beyond the present tale.”
Octavia Cade has a PhD in science communication and is currently researching reproduction methods in New Zealand’s only seagrass. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, and The Dark, among others. Her short fiction has been BSFA and Sir Julius Vogel shortlisted, and Popcorn Press recently published Chemical Letters—her SF poetry collection on the periodic table. Her hauntingly delicious first story for Asimov’s describes what it’s like to spend time . . . Eating Science With Ghosts
Sandra McDonald’s office building in Florida backs up to a scenic retention pond surrounded by trees, benches, and signs that say “Beware of Alligators.” Howard P. Lovecraft, scion of Rhode Island, passed through Jacksonville on his visits to Florida in the 1930s. Whip up an ancient slithering evil, add a dash of Lovecraft, throw in the daily grind of life in cubicles, and you get this story of a day when everyone would have been better off unemployed. Any resemblances to Sandra’s former and current coworkers and occupations are purely weird coincidences.
Michael Libling. In between writing short fiction, Michael Libling has been working on a novel—“a disturbing hybrid of horror and coming-of-age.” After years of procrastination due to an allegedly inherent shyness, Michael has responded (also allegedly) to popular demand by finally building a website: www.michaellibling.com. Here, among other things, he claims to “expose the dirty underbelly” of his life in genre fiction. With “dirty underbelly” yet ringing in our ears, we can safely say that “Wretched the Romantic” goes to those deep and dark places no Libling story has dared go before.
In addition to writing science fiction, Rich Larson has been a semifinalist for the Norman Mailer Poetry Prize and his literary short work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Journey Prize. He enjoys soccer, basketball, sketching, and pool, and spent the past summer backpacking in Colombia and Peru before returning to Canada to study translation. Translation skills would certainly help the children in . . . Water Scorpions
Will Ludwigsen lives and writes in Jacksonville with his partner writer Aimee Payne and their blended family of greyhounds and cats. Every couple of semesters after his heart recovers, he teaches genre creative writing at the University of North Florida. Of his latest story he writes, “Yes, there was a real Leaning Lincoln. I was relieved not to find it among my father’s things when he passed away in 2013.”
Susan Palwick is an associate professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno with four novels and many stories to her credit. In addition to her work in Asimov’s, recent short fiction has appeared in F&SF and Clarkesworld. She tells us that her latest story “came to me in a shopping mall in world-famous Intercourse, Pennsylvania, where my sister and I visited a store that carried nothing but animals—insects, lizards, even bats—displayed in lucite blocks. We left very quickly. The store claimed to showcase the beauty of nature, but we felt only sadness for the dead creatures, and deep disquiet that they’d been turned into tacky souvenirs. I found myself wondering what their lives had been like before they ran afoul of collectors; thus ‘Lucite’ was born.”
Dominica Phetteplace. The mysteries deepen in “Project Extropy,” Dominica Phetteplace’s tenth story to appear in Asimov’s and the fifth installment of her Project cycle about artificial intelligence and a future San Francisco. The Project tales are also a novel-in-progress that Dominica plans on completing during her upcoming stay at the MacDowell Colony.
S. N. Dyer mixes up a bit of folklore and history to explain what happens . . . When Grandfather Returns
Michael Blumlein <www.michaelblumlein.com> is the author of four novels and two story collections, the award-winning The Brains of Rats, and most recently, What the Doctor Ordered. He has been nominated twice for the World Fantasy Award and twice for the Bram Stoker Award. We are pleased to have him back in our pages with his surreal tale about a woman’s desperate choices.