Authors In This Issue

After thirty-six years of teaching high school English, James Van Pelt <> writes full time in western Colorado. He’s been a finalist for the Nebula, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and his collection, The Radio Magician and Other Stories won a Colorado Book Award. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and year’s best anthologies. His latest short story collection, The Experience Arcade and Other Stories, came out in 2017. The author’s new story references school shootings, which may be disturbing to some readers.

Harry Turtledove’s September/October 2017 Asimov’s alternate history story, “Zigeuner,” won the 2017 Sidewise Award. Harry says he was “almost equally gobsmacked and delighted when it did.” “Zigeuner” was set during WWII. His new AH tale takes us to a different war.

Ray Nayler <> 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 speaks Russian, Albanian, and Azerbaijani Turkish. Ray is currently in Pristina, Kosovo, as the Cultural Affairs Officer for the U.S. Embassy. Ray’s work has appeared in Asimov’s several times, as well as in ClarkesworldLightspeedNIGHTMAREEllery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Crimewave, and many other journals and collections. His story “Winter Timeshare” (Asimov’s, January/February 2017) was recently included in The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of the Year’s Best Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois.

Siobhan Carroll is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Delaware. When not globetrotting in search of dusty tomes, she can be found puzzling over arcane horrors in the stacks. Her fiction can be found in magazines like and Lightspeed and in anthologies like Children of Lovecraft and Fearful Symmetries. For more of her fiction, visit Siobhan would like to thank the enterprising writers of the Sycamore Hill Workshop and the marauding band known by the too-cute name of “Sparkleponies” for their help on this story.

“Escape from Sanctuary” follows Allen M. Steele’s earlier stories “Starship Mountain” (July/August 2018) and “The Lost Testament” (March/April 2019). In between writing stories about the far future, Allen has been visiting China quite a bit lately. He tells us his travels have inspired both this story and the next one in the series.

Rudy Rucker <> is a mathematician, a computer scientist, and author of more than forty books. He worked as a professor of computer science at San Jose State in Silicon Valley. He received Philip K. Dick awards for his cyberpunk Software and Wetware. Rudy’s most recent novels are Return to the Hollow Earth and Million Mile Road Trip. Nine of his backlist titles were reprinted by Night Shade this year, and his short stories can be found on his Complete Stories webpage. After retiring from the videogame industry, Marc Laidlaw moved to Kauai, where he is trying to remember how to write books. So far the effort has given rise to one new novel, Oversea. The authors’ interests in math and the ocean have once again led to the zany adventures of Zep and Del.

The Iron Dragon’s Mother, Michael Swanwick’s third (and stand-alone) volume of an accidental trilogy that began twenty-five years ago with The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, has just been published by Tor. The City Under the Stars, a collaborative short novel by Gardner Dozois and Michael, whose first half, “The City of God” (October 1996), appeared in Asimov’s almost a quarter of a century ago, is soon to be published by The author tells us, “it has a happy ending—and that happy ending was Gardner’s creation.” Michael adds, “Already, I can hear you doubting that’s true and simultaneously wishing it were. But it is, it is, it is! You will be so happy when you read it. You might even cry.”

Kali Wallace studied geology and earned a PhD in geophysics before she realized she enjoyed inventing imaginary worlds more than she liked researching the real one. She is the author of the young adult novels Shallow Graves and The Memory Trees and the middle grade fantasy City of Islands. Her first novel for adults is the science fiction thriller Salvation Day. Her short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, F&SF,, and other speculative fiction magazines. After spending most of her life in Colorado, she now lives in southern California.

Jim Kelly returns to his favorite magazine after an unexcused story absence in 2018. He had a new collection from Prime Books, The Promise of Space, in July 2018 with an introduction by his ever-patient editor, Sheila Williams, and January 2020 will see publication of a novella, King of the Dogs, Queen of the Cats, in hardcover from Subterranean Press. After twelve years on the faculty of the Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA program at the University of Southern Maine, he recently retired to spend more time riding his motorcycle.

Octavia Cade is a New Zealand writer. She has a PhD in science communication that gets a lot of use in her science fiction stories. Her tales have appeared in Asimov’s, ClarkesworldShimmerStrange Horizons, and a number of other places. A poetry collection, Mary Shelley Makes a Monster, is forthcoming from Aqueduct Press, and a short climate fiction novel, The Stone Weta, has recently sold to Paper Road Press. Octavia has won three Sir Julius Vogel awards for SFF, attended Clarion West 2016, and will be the 2020 writer-in-residence at Massey University in New Zealand (the first time the position’s gone to a speculative fiction writer!).

James Gunn tells us, “I got the idea for ‘Quantum Theory’ during a Saturday morning breakfast with Kij Johnson and Chris McKitterick, a couple of former students of mine who have taken over responsibility for the Center for the Study of Science Fiction and the University of Kansas summer SF workshops and Institute. We meet for breakfast at the same place almost every Saturday and talk about the Center and our various operations that seem to be expanding to other countries. We also talk about stories. One day I mentioned particle theory and what might happen if we really created a quantum computer and encountered something unexpected.” Jim adds that when he started work on the story, he had Fredric Brown in mind as a model. “I always admired Fred’s touch with understated SF comedy, particularly dealing with aliens.” 

Peter Payack was the first Poet Populist of Cambridge Massachusetts (2007–2009). Payack has published over 1,500 poems, stories, prose poems, photos and articles including multiple appearances in The Paris Review, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Cornell Review, and Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. He was a contributing editor of the groundbreaking magazine, Creative Computing from 1975–1985. Payack is the inventor of the world-renowned Stonehenge Watch™, an infinitesimal replica of the megaliths at Stonehenge inside of an old-fashioned pocket watch, which can be used as a shadow clock to tell time, mark the seasons and predict eclipses. He has published 20 nationally distributed books, the latest, The Book Of Conceptual Anarchy, Vol 1.

Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but has lived in Pittsburgh for over twenty years. She writes both fiction and poetry, and her work has appeared in Analog, Asimov’s, Daily SF, F&SF, and Science. She has an antiquated website at and tweets at @MarySoonLee.

Brittany Hause is a linguist; they also write SFF poetry. Their speculative verse has most recently appeared in Star*Line, Grievous Angel, Abyss & Apex, and Eye to the Telescope.