Jay O’Connell writes, “This novella, which has been bubbling away in the back of my mind for decades, is the only good thing to emerge from my 2020. Americans lost a half million fellow citizens, and I lost my parents, but I kept coming back to this story and finding reasons to keep working with it. I look forward to and dread the future in roughly equal measure. This makes writing SF interesting. I keep rooting for humanity. I was, and am, a late bloomer . . . and so, I hope, is humanity writ large.”
Gregory Norman Bossert started writing in 2009 on a dare and has no intention of stopping anytime soon. This is his ninth story for Asimov’s. He’s a finalist for the Sturgeon Award, and a winner of the World Fantasy Award. When not writing, he wrangles spaceships and superheroes for the legendary Industrial Light & Magic, currently on the new Marvel TV shows. He reports, “This story came to me while staring at the screen and thinking, somewhat crankily, that there was nothing more provoking—or subversive—as a blank page.”
Will McIntosh <www.willmcintosh.net and Twitter @willmcintoshSF> is a Hugo award winner and finalist for the Nebula and other SF/F awards. His novels include Faller (Tor Books), Love Minus Eighty (Orbit), and Soft Apocalypse (Night Shade). Along with eight novels, Will has published about fifty short stories in Asimov’s (where he won Reader’s Awards in 2010 and 2013), Lightspeed, Science Fiction and Fantasy: Best of the Year, and elsewhere. Will was a psychology professor before turning to writing full time. He lives in Williamsburg with his wife and their twins. In the author’s latest tale, life unravels spectacularly after . . . “Philly Killed His Car.”
Toronto author and editor L.X. Beckett frittered their youth working as an actor and theater technician in Southern Alberta before deciding to make a shift into writing science fiction. Their first novella, “Freezing Rain, a Chance of Falling,” appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of F&SF and takes place in the same universe as “The HazMat Sisters,” just like their novels Dealbreaker and Gamechanger. Lex identifies as feminist, lesbian, genderqueer, poet, cat-parent, and married. An insatiable consumer of kdramas, mysteries, and true crime podcasts, they can be found enthusing about these and other topics on Twitter at @LXBeckett or at the Lexicon, http://lxbeckett.com.
Megan Lindholm lives in rural Washington state and has been writing urban fantasy since Wizard of the Pigeons was first published in 1985. After a decade or two of writing as Robin Hobb, Megan returns to contemporary fantasy with stories of Celtsie set in the Wedge district of modern-day Tacoma, Washington. Celtsie and her pet boarding business and peculiar magic have previously appeared in the story “Community Service” in the anthology The Book of Magic, which was edited by Gardner Dozois.
Gregory Feeley sold his first story in 1973 and has since written a number of short stories, novellas, and novels, including Arabian Wine, which first appeared here (in shorter form) in 2004. Greg took a dozen-year detour into teaching to put his kids through college, but hopes to return soon to full-time writing. He recently completed a long novel, Hamlet the Magician. After a seventeen-year absence, we’re pleased to have him back in the pages of Asimov’s with a tale about a colony ship and . . . “The Children of the Wind.”
Rudy Rucker is still writing and painting. He spent most of the past two years working on his forthcoming novel Teep. Along the way he gave a talk on “Telepathy and Commercial Immorality” at the 2019 Internet Festival at the University of Pisa, where he encountered his old cyberpunk pal and story collaborator Bruce Sterling. Pisa was the home of thirteenth-century mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci. Swept away by the festive atmosphere, Rudy and Bruce agreed to write an SF story about Fibonacci for a planned 2020 celebration of the eighty-fifth anniversary of the man’s birth. Bruce and Rudy’s story appeared, edited and translated into Italian by Daniele Brolli for his conference anthology Ipotesi per Fibonacci, Pisa, December 2020. And now here it is in the original, colloquial Inglese.
Bruce Sterling adds that he is a native Texan and globetrotting cyberpunk guru and has been spending rather a lot of time in Italy during the twenty-first century. His latest short story collection is called Robot Artists and Black Swans, the Italian Fantascienza Stories.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch published two books in her Diving series in the past six months, Squishy’s Teams and Thieves. The next Diving novel, The Chase will appear shortly. She’s also returned to her Fey universe for the first time in twenty-five years. A novella will appear in August, with new novels to follow. At the end of 2020, she finished a novel about her popular mystery characters, Spade and Paladin. Ten Little Fen: A Spade/Paladin Conundrum will appear later this year. She continues to write her blog on the business of publishing every week and because she doesn’t have enough to do, she’s studying Spanish again for the first time in decades. We are pleased that she found some time to write this interesting take on . . . “Alien Ball.”
Fran Wilde directs the Genre Fiction MFA concentration at Western Colorado University and writes nonfiction for NPR, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. A two-time Nebula winner, Fran writes for adults and kids, with seven books (so far) that embrace worlds unique (Updraft, The Gemworld) and portal (Riverland, The Ship of Stolen Words), and numerous short stories, including this, her fourth for Asimov’s. Her latest tale takes us dangerously close to a . . . “Seed Star.”
Michael Swanwick says, “You asked for bio information. Like everyone else, the pandemic lockdown has been hard on me. With isolation came inertia. With inertia came stillness. With stillness came meditation. With meditation came enlightenment. With enlightenment came the ability to see the universe as the fiction it is. Hence my newborn ability to teleport. I simply redefine my location and there I am! Which is why I’ve left this note on your desk. It saves me the cost of a stamp. Don’t worry, I haven’t been snooping around. But I’m afraid I did steal a stick of gum from the pack in your desk drawer.” Michael recently won the Aelita Award, which is given out at Russia’s oldest convention, also (and not coincidentally) named Aelita. He was the first Westerner ever to receive the award and, he was, “quite frankly, amazed and overwhelmed.”
Taimur Ahmad is an environmentalist and rock climber working at the intersection of conservation, recreation, and social justice. Born and raised in New York City, Taimur currently lives in the small town of Bishop, California, in the eastern Sierra Nevada. The chickens in this story were inspired by his backyard flock.