Friday, July 28, 2023

Not Quite A Review of Kelly Link's WHITE CAT, BLACK DOG


I have been reading Kelly Link's new collection, White Cat, Black Dogs, made up (though not slavishly) of  stories based on  fairy tales. In one way, this is a pity. One of the particular joys of Ms Link's fiction is that moment shortly after completing one of her stories when you lean back and wonder, "How the hell did she come up with that?"

"The Faerie Handbag" comes immediately to mind.

But even if (let us say for example) "The Lady and the Fox" being labeled as a reimagining of Tam Lin prevents that satisfying experience and allows the alert reader to anticipate how the story will end to boot, there are still other pleasures. The Honeywells are a marvelous invention. The young protagonist ages into desire most convincingly and touchingly. Her people act like people--and not just any people; they act like themselves... actual individual people you might conceivably meet. And the dialogue can be quote-out-loud delightfully crisp.

 I have no particular reason for saying all that--I haven't finished the book, so this post can in no way be considered a review. I just wanted to say that to somebody. Thank you for being there so I could.

And now, if you'll forgive me, I have a book to get back to.


Tuesday, July 18, 2023

One Day Sale Only! The Iron Dragon's Daughter in E-Book Form!


Speaking of busting somebody's chops... Some time ago, I was hanging with some writer friends who are way more productive than me and one of them asked, "What's your most popular novel?"

"Oh," I said, "It's probably The Iron Dragon's Daughter."

My friend smiled and said, "So you peaked in 1993?"


In unrelated news, Open Road Media has just announced that the e-book of The Iron Dragon's Daughter will be on sale this Friday, July 21 for only $1.99. That's in the US only.

So if you're unfamiliar with my work and are hoping someday you'll read the most popular thing I ever wrote and hate it, thus leaving yourself free to ignore me forever... well, here's your chance.

As you may have noticed, I am more comfortable with the soft sale than the hard stuff.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

"The Very Pulse of the Machine" in Farsi



I believe this is a first for me. "The Very Pulse of the Machine" has been translated into Farsi and is available to be read, free, at MetaphorSpace. Which is a not-for-profit platform for Farsi-language speculative fiction, both in translation and original. With a particular emphasis on fiction from underrepresented writers from Farsi-speaking nations.

This is a very cool project and I'm pleased to be a very small part of it.

If you or someone you know is fluent in Farsi, you really should look into MetaphorSpace. You can find my story here. Or just go to and poke around. It's a lovely looking site.

MetaphorSpace was founded and is maintained by Amir Sepahram. I thought I should mention that because people who create such things for the common good never get as much attention as they deserve.


Tuesday, July 11, 2023

One-Day-E-Book Sale! Tales of Old Earth! Today Only!



So there's another one-day pop-up sale of one of my e-books. This time it's Tales of Old Earth, which is a rather splendid collection of my short fiction. It'll be $1.99 only for Tuesday, July 11, 2023, available only in Canada and the United States.

As you probably know, I'm not into the hard sell. So I'll only that if you like e-books and speculative fiction in short form, and don't already have my collection but would like to... well, this deal is meant for you.

But you'll have to move fast. Tomorrow it'll be gone.



Thursday, July 6, 2023



“You have here the rare luxury of inhabiting the uncanny world of Michael Swanwick. Try not to fall off.”

     — Gregory Frost, author of Shadowbridge and Rhymer

This is a very strange moment for me. I have the (yes, uncanny) duty of reporting that Being Michael Swanwick, a book-length interview conducted by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, is now available for pre-order.

A little background: Almost a quarter-century ago I began interviewing Gardner Dozois about his short fiction. Every story he'd ever written, including why and how he'd written it, in chronological order. The result was published by Michael Walsh's Old Earth Books as Being Gardner Dozois. Credit where credit is due, the title was Michael Walsh's, not mine--I had no idea what to call it. Many years passed.

Then Alvaro got in touch with me and suggested performing a similar series of interview covering my short fiction to date, much as I had with Gardner. 

I was, let's be honest here, flattered. 

The project took over a year. And when it ended, I had a mad spasm of Imposter Syndrome. All I could think of was what Gardner said at the end of our project:

You realize that you have just pulled off one of those completely useless but impressive accomplishments, like making a replica of the Titanic out of marzipan, or building the Eiffel Tower life-sized out of old used Q-tips.

I can't claim that I said anything nearly so witty. But Alvaro Zinos-Amaro was a sharp and insightful (and patient!) interviewer and analyst of my fiction. He's a man, as they say, who can see further through a brick wall than most.

So if you've ever wondered anything at all about my science fiction and fantasy stories, here's your chance. I told Alvaro everything I knew.  Being Michael Swanwick is being issued in trade paperback this November, 2023, by Fairwood Press for $19.99. But apparently if you pre-order it, it's on sale for $16.99

With an introduction by Gregory Frost and an afterword by Marianne Porter, publisher of Dragonstairs Press.

You can  pre-order Being Michael Swannwick from Fairwood Press here.

You can buy Being Gardner Dozois from Old Earth Books here.

 And you can buy Alvaro's Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg here.

Alas, Being Alvaro Zinos-Amaro won't be available for another twenty years. But it will be worth waiting for.

And here's what the publisher had to say . . .

In 2001, Michael Swanwick published the book-length interview Being Gardner Dozois. Now Swanwick himself becomes the subject of inquiry. During a year of conversations, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg) set about discussing with Swanwick his remarkable career, with a particular focus on his extraordinary short fiction. 

The resulting collection of transcribed interviews is a tribute to the similarly-named book that inspired it, a discussion of writing craft, an anecdotal genre history, and a chronological survey of the work of a modern master.


Alvaro Zinos-Amaro is a Hugo- and Locus-award finalist who has published over fifty stories and one hundred essays, reviews, and interviews in professional markets. These include Analog, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Galaxy's Edge, Nature, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Locus,, Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, Cyber World, Nox Pareidolia, Multiverses: An Anthology of Alternate Realities, and many others. Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg was published in 2016 to critical acclaim. Being Michael Swanwick is Alvaro's second book of interviews. His debut novel, Equimedian, is forthcoming in 2024.


The 2023 Hugo Finalists Have Been Announced!


After an embarrassing but brief accidental release of what may not have been the real list of Hugo finalists, the 2023 Chengdu Worldcon people have announced the true and final ballot.

You can find a clear and easy-to-read English language version here.

I've looked over this list and it's a fine mixture of old friends and writers I've never heard of before and will have to search out. Which is to say that it's everything I want from a Hugo ballot.

Congratulations to all the nominees! 


Wednesday, July 5, 2023

A Holy Fool's Review of The Best of Michael Swanwick Volume 2


Years ago, I kvetched to a freelance writer friend about a review I'd gotten where the reviewer had skimmed three chapters, misidentified the protagonist, and gotten wrong the gender of the person he thought was the protagonist.

"Other reviewers I know," he said, "think I'm a fool for actually reading the book, considering how little I'm getting paid."

So maybe the Locus are holy fools (though I assume they earn more than the pittance newspapers offer) for not only reading the books they review but thinking about them before they write down their reactions. 

One such fool is Russell Letson, who has not only given The Best of Michael Swanwick Volume 2  (Subterranean Press)  the review that I in my hubris think it deserves, but has also read and thought about and analyzed and commented on every story in the book. This is virtue above and beyond the call of duty.

At this point, it's traditional to quote the more effusive sections of the review, but I don't think that would be good for my already-exaggerated sense of self worth. So if you're curious, I'll simply point you to the review itself--here.

And maybe I should add . . .

Letson speculates that the frequent appearance of catalogues in my works--and I admit that it's a literary form I am fond of--is meant as a way of conveying the richness of the world. He's absolutely right about that. And his use of Robert Louis Stevenson's rhyme:

The world is so full of a number of things

I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings

is spot-on.


Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Another Involuntary Martyr: Victoria Amelina


 One of us has been murdered.

Victoria Amelina, 37 years old, the author of two novels and two children's books, a literary award winner, a poet, and a woman with everything to look forward to... died in a Russian missile attack on a restaurant in Ukraine.

At her age, I hadn't accomplished half so much. 

But she was dining in a restaurant in the city of Kramatorsk, Ukraine, when a Russian Iskander missile hit the building.

This is what happens when a foreign tyrant finds he can't seize a nation in a week and decides to reduce it to rubble over a prolonged war. People like Ms. Amelina aren't collateral damage. They're intentional  victims.

As are all the others who died in that missile strike. They might not have been noted writers. But they were human beings who valued their lives, their loves, their families every bit as much as she did.

I mourn them all.

But for selfish reasons, Victoria Amelina most of all. What might she have written? What young writers might she have inspired? What fortunate phrase might have found itself into your everyday usage?

We'll never know.

In her memory tonight, I shall imagine selections from the books she will never write, the poems she will never create, the thoughts no one but her could have put words to.

And then I will curse the darkness.