Ian Creasey lives in Yorkshire, England. In his garden he grows strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, whitecurrants, cherries, apples, and plums. He often wishes there was some way of adding extra hours to the day.
Sean Monaghan <seanmonaghan.com> grew up exploring the forests and mountains, and enjoying the wildlife, of his native New Zealand, eventually pursuing university studies in geography and geology. While more of an indoors type now, he relishes the opportunity to travel above the treeline, into deserts, jungles, and lakes, around the world, and with travel restrictions, is missing the opportunity for international explorations. Sean’s love of these landscapes is vividly apparent in his work.
Tom Purdom tells us, “One of my favorite bits of poetry is a couplet by Elinor Wylie: ‘He loved a city / And the street’s alarums; / Parks were pretty / And so were bar-rooms.’ I live, by choice, in the center of a major American city and devote part of my writing time to arts journalism. In September of 2019, at the beginning of the 2019-20 music season, I sat in a very urban pocket park and heard several members of the Philadelphia Orchestra play Beethoven’s sextet for strings and two horns in the kind of setting it was written for. Six months later, I watched the entire cultural life of Philadelphia shut down. In the long months that followed, I’ve watched the music organizations I cover adapt to an outbreak that attacked most of the things that make cities attractive. Now I can see the city waking up. And it looks like it’s going to survive.” Tom’s latest story is about the survival of a different, though fundamentally similar, sort of environment.
Michèle Laframboise <https://michele-laframboise.com> lives in Mississauga, Ontario, where she feeds coffee grounds to her plants, makes webcomics, and creates stories filled with humor, adventure, and wonder. Wonder and plants figure prominently in Michèle’s latest tale for us. Her nineteenth SF novel, Le Secret de Paloma (David, 2021), deals with teen angst and grief on a remote, hostile world. It is currently in translation and about to begin its quest for a good home.
A.A. Attanasio, author of Radix, The Last Legends of Earth, and Centuries, began writing professionally in 1975 after receiving his master of fine arts from Columbia University. His first stories appeared in New Dimensions, Epoch, and New Worlds. Since 1980, he has lived alongside a nature preserve on the southeast corner of O’ahu. He wrote this story about a perilous journey while standing at a desk-sized boulder inside Koko Crater, a dormant volcano.
Nick Wolven’s fiction recently appeared in the Year’s Best Science Fiction, published by Tor and edited by Jonathan Strahan, and is forthcoming in F&SF. His short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies in countries around the world. Nick’s devastating new near future tale takes a powerful look at the cutthroat world of a touring rock band.
In his latest communiqué, Michael Swanwick tells us, “Well, it’s happened again! Thanks to my notoriously sloppy lab technique, my attempt to genetically modify bumblebees to a size sufficient to employ them as saddle animals for eco-friendly commuting purposes has backfired. I am now the size of a bumblebee myself and the only way I am able to write you is by throwing myself from the top of my monitor headfirst onto the keyboard, thus typing one letter at a time. Much as Archy the Cockroach did in the immortal tales of Don Marquis. The hours spent typing this email have given me a ferocious headache that will further delay any attempts to undo that mishap. Also a terrible feeling of déjà vu. But your readers are probably not interested in my petty problems. So, instead, you should tell them that ‘The Beast of Tara’ is a companion piece to ‘Dream Atlas,’ in the March/April 2021 issue of Asimov’s. Different characters, different locales, different sciences and, indeed, different futures. But the same dilemma, though differently resolved. I encourage everyone to glue the two issues together back-to-back with one upside down, much like the old Ace Double paperbacks. Just for that extra kick of nostalgia.” We hope Michael figures out how to regain his normal size soon so he can get back to writing stories without risking a fractured skull.
Stephanie Feldman is the author of the novel The Angel of Losses (Ecco), a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, winner of the Crawford Fantasy Award, and finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, and she is the co-editor of the multi-genre anthology Who Will Speak for America? (Temple University Press). Her second novel, Saturnalia, is forthcoming in 2022. Stephanie’s stories and essays have appeared in Asimov’s, Electric Literature, F&SF, The Maine Review, The Rumpus, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn. The author lives outside Philadelphia with her family. Her latest tale for us is a cautionary piece.
Joel Armstrong <joeljarmstrong.com> is a speculative fiction writer based in the Midwest. His short fiction has also appeared in Daily Science Fiction and Teleport Magazine. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife and their two naughty cats, Gadget and Rigby.
Joel Richards tells us, “Masks are up there with tattoos as means of self expression. Jack Vance showed us that in his classic ‘The Moon Moth.’ That story first appeared half a century ago, but is all too topical now in Covid times. Post Covid, that self-expression—wearing a mask—could be more happily viewed as an exuberance. I’m hoping for that.”
Jendayi Brooks-Flemister (she/they) has been imagining the weird and unsettling since she started writing at seven. Her experiences as someone queer and Black have lent themselves to how she understands the mental and emotional toll that comes with being othered. This lens manifests itself through the people, cultures, mental health issues, and experiences in her writing. Her fiction has appeared in Anathema Magazine, Santa Fe Writers Project, and Constelación Magazine, and more is forthcoming in Asimov’s. Jendayi is currently working on her debut novel in her new home of Portland, Oregon.