Jason Sanford has published six previous stories in Asimov’s, with his novelette “Toppers” from the magazine’s August 2016 issue recently reprinted in The New Voices of Science Fiction, edited by Hannu Rajaniemi and Jacob Weisman. A two-time Nebula Award finalist, Jason has also published stories in Analog, Apex Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Interzone, and other magazines. His newest short story collection Heaven’s Touch and Other Science Fiction Dreams was released at the end of 2019. Jason was born and raised in the American South, the setting of this story, and testifies that many of the characters including Masey and Alma were inspired by real people from his life. Because no matter how much technology changes our lives, family and friends still matter.
Derek Künsken has built genetically engineered viruses, worked with street kids in Central America, served as a Canadian diplomat, and now writes SF in Gatineau, Canada. Derek has two novels: The Quantum Magician and The Quantum Garden. His new story came from a prompt for a New Year’s homecoming tale from the Chinese SF publisher FAA.
Nancy Kress is the author of thirty-three books. Her work has won six Nebulas, two Hugos, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Her fiction has been translated into sixteen languages, none of which she can read. In addition to writing, Kress often teaches at various venues around the country and abroad, including a semester as guest lecturer at the University of Leipzig, an intensive workshop in Beijing, and the annual two-week workshop Taos Toolbox, which she teaches with Walter Jon Williams. Like much of her writing, Nancy’s most recent work, Sea Change (2020), is about genetic engineering. In “Semper Augustus,” however, she is concerned with something else: the future of a United States in which automation has profoundly affected the nature of work.
Garrett Ashley’s stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, Sonora Review, Yemassee, Smokelong Quarterly, and other places. He’s a recent PhD candidate in fiction at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. His unsettling new story for Asimov’s about the nature of intelligent life is currently being transformed into a longer manuscript.
Lia Swope Mitchell is a writer and translator from Minneapolis. She recently earned her PhD in French from the University of Minnesota by writing about visual technology and representations of the body in French speculative fiction from 1865 to 1926. Her short fiction includes appearances in Apex, Cosmos, Terraform, and Shimmer. Lia’s first book-length translation, Georges Didi-Huberman’s Survival of the Fireflies, appeared in 2018 from the University of Minnesota Press. In the turbulent future of her first story for Asimov’s, we learn of an odd encounter for . . . “Rena in the Desert.”
Mercurio D. Rivera’s stories have appeared in Analog, Interzone, Lightspeed, Black Static, Nature, Abyss & Apex, and numerous anthologies and year’s best collections. He tells us he is hard at work putting the final touches on his mosaic novel, The Love War, based on his series of stories about the Wergens—repellent aliens with a strange biochemical attraction to humanity. His latest story for Asimov’s features godlike beings with the power to bend reality itself to their whims. If you peer into infinity, you might spy them lurking . . .
Tom Purdom tells us, “Stories about immortality have an obvious appeal for writers who’ve reached their eighty-somethings. In my case, I can note that I’ve been writing about the subject since I was in my thirties. I’ve been fascinated by it, in fact, ever since I read a Clifford Simak story, ‘Eternity Lost,’ around the time I started reading science fiction, seventy years ago.”
Nathan Hillstrom’s first story, “White Dust,” appeared in our January 2016 issue. In the summer of 2018, the author put all of his belongings into storage and began an itinerant lifestyle as well as a recent return to fencing. He tells us, “Despite being a few years out from my Wall Street career, I remain fascinated by the financial economy and how we self-organize around it, which is probably evident in my new story.” Nathan is currently working on a novel set in the same universe as “Opportunity Space.”
Ray Nayler’s debut as a writer of science fiction was in the pages of Asimov’s in 2015 with the story “Mutability.” Since then, his work has appeared here several times, as well as in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, F&SF, and Nightmare. His “Winter Timeshare” (Asimov’s, January/February 2017), was included in The Very Best of The Best: 35 Years of the Year’s Best Science Fiction, edited by the late Gardner Dozois. Ray has lived and worked in Russia, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and the Caucasus for well over a decade as a Foreign Service Officer, Peace Corps Volunteer, and in Foreign Assistance. He is currently in Pristina, Kosovo, as the Cultural Affairs Officer for the U.S. Embassy. You can follow him at raynayler.net. Ray’s latest tale takes us to a future Istanbul and a . . . “Return to the Red Castle.”
James Gunn tells us, “‘In Our Stars’ got its inspiration from another Saturday morning breakfast with Chris McKitterick and Kij Johnson, and it consisted of a single sentence that readers will find in the final scene, but I won’t reveal here because the story is a search for it. I engaged in the writing of this tale with the help of five consultants: the section in India with the help of Kodali Sadasivarao, a retired India police executive who is also a science fiction fan, author, anthologist, and man of letters both in English and his native Indian language; Phillip Baringer, a physics professor who has done research at CERN; Adrian Melott, a professor of biophysics who recently retired; Perry Alexander, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science; and John Symons, a professor of philosophy. The latter four are all from the US. Some of the characters are modeled after them, although the opinions expressed are all mine, with the help of discussions in my living room. The writing of the story had an unusual history as well. After getting started, I fell on the ice in my driveway in late January trying to retrieve a recycling bin from the curb, where a stream of water had frozen. I spent nearly a week in the hospital being examined and treated for cuts on the left upper side of my face, and then nearly four weeks in a rehab center. I was happy to get home and finish the tale.”