Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Gratuitous Sex


For reasons of plot, I just now did a web search and discovered that my single most aphoristic moment has not been preserved online.

 Allow me to correct that. 

Back in the Eighties, when the transgressions of the New Wave were still fresh in everybody's minds, as was the indignation with which the Old Wave greeted them, I was on a panel about sex where somebody from the audience asked me what I felt about gratuitous sex. Conventional wisdom was that sex was okay in a story if it was necessary to the central idea but otherwise not.

"I'm in favor of gratuitous sex," I said. Then, after the briefest of pauses, "And I believe it has its place in fiction as well."

Roars of laughter and applause.

NOT, I assure you, because my bon mot was all that bon. But because in that more innocent age, most of the people in the audience had had sex with one or more new partners within the past day and were hoping to repeat the experience soon.

Anyway... feel free to quote me. I don't expect to be saying anything half so clever anytime soon.



Remembrance of Leaves Past



Look what Marianne found in the back yard! It's a relict of last year's Halloween story, an oak leaf with the word "Cemetery" written on it. 

You'd think this would put me in a down mood, but it does not. This is a great week for me. Tomorrow, after more than a year of being very, very responsible, I will be officially immune and can resume my usual joyful, irresponsible life. Plus, a very dear friend told us she's become a grandmother! She's somebody who deserves joy and it gladdens me to see her so happy.

Plus, the leaf itself reminds me how much fun Marianne and I had wandering through cemeteries, writing on leaves and then documenting them so they could be posted, two or three at a time, on my blog. I'm looking forward to resuming what has become an annual tradition this autumn.

All winter, like some evil doppelganger of George R. R. Martin, I have been reminding people that "Spring Is Coming!"  Now it has arrived, and with it, joy.

Wishing the same for you, I remain,

yr. obt. spt.

Michael Swanwick


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Love, Death + Robots Season 2




The last time I was in China, for a science fiction conference in Chengdu, I brought along a Love, Death + Robots t-shirt, which I'd earned the honst way--by writing a story that one of the first-season episodes was based on. Boy, did that make me popular! LD+R wsa clearly a global phenomenon.

Now, the trailer for season 2 has been released, along with a list of  new episodes. Do I have a story in it? With all modesty, I can safely say... no.

 But there's a third season coming, later this year. Will I have something in that one? All I can say is that I'm being a little vague on that front.

The seasons drops on Netflix on May 14. I'll be watching.



Monday, April 12, 2021

Love Death + Robots: The Official Anthology: Vol. 1!



Okay, this is a cool project. You may remember that my story "Ice Age" was made into an episode of Love Death + Robots, the terrific series of animated short science fiction created by Tim Miller  and David Fincher. In fact, Tim Miller himself directed my episode. I was pretty chuffed about that.

Now there's an e-book collecting the stories and screenplays the cartoons were based on.  Publication date is May 14 but it's available for pre-order now. I look forward to getting my copy so I can see what changes were made in the adaptation. (The line "Too soon" in my episode? Tim Miller's addition--and a good one, too.)

Here are the links they gave me:

Amazon US:

Amazon AU:

Amazon UK:

Amazon CA:



And yes . . .


I regret that there's not a hardcover too. But given that Cohesion Press, the publisher, is in Australia and that the mails are what they are today, you could go made waiting for the book to arrive.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Annie Without Crow!



I'm in virtual print again!

"Annie Without Crow" is up on  The lovely portrait of Annie above, by Wylie Beckert, illustrates the story. The talented Jonathan Strahan edited.

And what, you ask, is the plot? Well, Annie, who is the avatar of Romantic Love, has a falling-out with her one true love, Crow, who is Trickster. And when something like that happens, what's a girl to do but retreat to her all-female estate in the sixteenth century and plot revenge upon all males everywhere and everywhen?

Romance doesn't always play nice.

You can read the story here. Or, you know, just go to and poke around. There are a lot of good stories and articles to be found there. 


Friday, April 2, 2021

A Requiem for Old Bessie



For years and possibly even decades, whenever I chanced to post a picture of my office, people would ignore the ostensible subject of the post and exclaim in horror,: You're still using a CRT monitor?!

Well, yes, I'd  reply. It still works fine.

But think of all the extra space you'd have if you bought a flat screen instead.

Well... As it turns out, things are as mortal as people. Old Bessie (a name I gave the CRT monitor posthumously when I realized how much I was going to miss it) died and I had no choice but to get with the times.

And now look! My desktop, which had earlier been merely cluttered, is now a parody of itself. There are books and notebooks and office supplies on top, a tin box I used to gather up I forget what (for neatness' sake), half-written stories, a printout of someone else's novel, magazines, CDs and mini-CDs, an orange 3.5 inch floppy disk, and look here! a letter from Gene Wolfe. 

I'm afraid to dig any deeper, list I find old obligations, safely forgotten long ago, and realize I still have to deal with them. But clearly, Old Bessie, by taking up so much of my desktop, was imposing a degree of neatness that the newcomer, slim and sleek as it is, simply cannot. There's a moral here, and I think we all know what it is:

Never tidy up. It just makes more room for clutter to accumulate.