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29 December 2016 @ 10:55 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

My novella “After the Harvest, Before the Fall” is in the January/February 2017 issue of Analog, which went on sale December 20th, and though I took note of that event over on Twitter and Facebook, I made no mention of it here, because I thought I’d said everything I want to say back when I’d made the sale, which was 44 years in coming.

Apparently not.

Holding the issue in my hands, peeling back the cover, and seeing my name at last on the Table of Contents, I wondered … what would 17-year-old me have felt if given a peek into the future, and allowed to peer over my shoulder at his name there?

I suspect he would have said something like, “What took took so long, old man?”Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

23 December 2016 @ 04:59 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Otto Soglow, whose comic strip The Little King ran for 40 years and entertained me when I was a kid, was born December 23, 1900—though I wasn’t to meet him until April 23, 1973 at that year’s Reuben Awards banquet held at the Waldorf Astoria. Which was apt, since he was a co-founder of the National Cartoonists Society, host for that event.

Annoying kid with a sketchpad that I was, I wheedled sketches out of Garry Trudeau, Curt Swan, Paul Fung, Jr., Roy Crane … and, of course, Soglow as well, who drew for me the famous character whose newspaper strip he would continue to create until his death in 1975.

I have no special memories of that encounter, only this wonderful souvenir.

But happy birthday! And thanks for making me smile.


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

For the 25th episode of Eating the Fantastic—which is also the final episode of 2016—my guest and I brunched at Aggio during a break from the Baltimore Book Festival. Aggio is a restaurant from Chef Bryan Voltaggio which the Baltimore City Paper recently dubbed as offering the Best Modern Italian in town.

I’d eaten at Aggio before, but that was when it was still a pop-up within a different Voltaggio restaurant, Range, in Friendship Heights—where, by the way, I recorded an earlier episode of Eating the Fantastic with Carolyn Ives Gilman, which I hope you’ll be moved to download for dessert once you’re done with the entree of this episode.

My guest for this meal was the always entertaining Nalo Hopkinson, winner of the 1999 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. And she’s more than lived up to the promise of that award, winning the World Fantasy Award for her short story collection Skin Folk, as well as winning the Sunburst Award, the Prix Aurora Award, and many others. Plus her novel, Sister Mine, won my own personal award for being one of my favorite novels of 2013.

Over gazpacho and fried chicken cacciatore, we discussed how knowing Nobel Prize winner Derek Wolcott when she was young affected her future, why Samuel R. Delany’s The Motion of Light in Water is “a lifesaving book,” the Lemonade Award, which she launched to encourage generosity within the science fiction community, that time she cosplayed as Lt. Uhura at her first convention, and much more.

Here’s how you can take a seat at the table—Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

As you might have noticed if you’ve visited here before, I enjoy reading obituaries. And not just those of the famous, but also those unlikely to make the front pages.

The obituary for Virginia Durr, which appeared in a recent issue of the Washington Post, was particularly fascinating. Here’s why—

I found it odd for the notice to mention within its first paragraph that Durr died “on the 61 anniversary of the arrest of Rosa Parks.” After all, many people die on the anniversaries of famous events. So I was curious why that particular event would be a fact worth bringing up.

The second paragraph provides an explanation … managing at the same time to make me even more curious.

It turns out that Durr’s parents were the ones who “bailed Rose Parks out of jail after she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus on December 1, 1955.”

Was the date of her death a coincidence? Or something more?

Because apparently, this action by Durr’s parents, who were civil rights organizers, “took a toll” on her, as the obituary put it, and led to her being “shunned,” taken out of school, and sent to a private school “up north.”

Was the date so infused with emotion for Virginia Durr that considering the anniversary this year caused her fatal heart attack? The obituary doesn’t make that connection, and the Internet provides no answer.

But I wonder …


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

There are very few things which would cause me to drive two hours to a casino on its opening day—but one of those very few things was in play yesterday, because I’d managed to reserve a table for the opening service of Voltaggio Brothers Steakhouse, the first collaboration between Bryan Voltaggio, whose hospitality I’ve experienced many times before at Volt, Range, and Family Meal, and his brother Michael, who’s made his name on the West Coast, and is therefore an unknown entity to my palate.

As you know, I love being present as a restaurant begins—I was also at the opening nights of both Range and Pineapples and Pearls—but as it turned out, there were issues surrounding this particular opening we hadn’t anticipated.

Voltaggio Brothers Steakhouse isn’t a standalone restaurant, but rather one within the MGM Grand National Harbor casino, which proved so crowded once its doors opened that within an hour, it had reached capacity, and the venue began advising folks via its Twitter feed that perhaps they should consider coming by some other time.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Still have the meat sweats thanks to my recent run of episodes centered around Kansas City BBQ? Then you’ll probably welcome a break for Eating the Fantastic’s first vegetarian episode, recorded at Baltimore’s One World Cafe during the Baltimore Book Festival.

My guest who stole away from the Inner Harbor to join me this episode is Sam J. Miller, a writer who’s been nominated for the Nebula, World Fantasy, and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards, and who won the Shirley Jackson Award for his short story “57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides.” And who last shared a meal with me during the 2015 Nebula Awards weekend at Alinea, considered to be one of the Top 10 restaurants in the world. His debut novel, The Art of Starving, will appear from HarperCollins in 2017.


We discussed the value of community within the science fiction field, the transformative piece of advice he received from Ted Chiang while attending the Clarion Writers Workshop, how one deals with reviews that are more politically than artistically motivated, the way 9/11 changed horror movies, the importance of the life and works of the great Thomas M. Disch, and more.

Here’s how you can eavesdrop on our conversation—Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve been bemoaning the fact my nights have contained fewer dreams than they used to, and November seemed to have had the fewest ever since I began to sharing them with you. I still haven’t figured out the why of it, which frustrates me. But I guess I should be glad that even though my dreams are dwindling, I still had visits last month from Katee Sackhoff, Stan Lee, Robert Silverberg, and others.

Check out the dreams I originally shared in November over on Twitter.

November 2016

I dreamt I chased another car at high speed, only to have it escape when it shrunk to mouse-size and vanished through a crack in a wall. Nov 30

I dreamt I wandered a hotel heading for George R. R. Martin’s party, patting my pockets for my ticket, sure I’d get in if I found it or not. Nov 30

I dreamt three gangsters collapsed on a golf course, and when I investigated, I collapsed, too! The fertilizer was sending up poison gas! Nov 30

I dreamt I worked in a jewelry store, and the moment my boss took a break and left me in charge, the store was overrun by shoplifters. Nov 26

I dreamt I interviewed Dwayne Johnson on a movie junket — but when it was all over, realized I hadn’t asked any questions about the movie! Nov 26

I dreamt I wandered Brooklyn in search of breakfast and ended up at a 100-year-old knishery. Which I don’t think Brooklyn has in real life. Nov 24

I dreamt my HS pal @marcfrons got cast as a criminal on Law & Order, and I was hired to be his dim-witted sidekick. I used my Lenny voice. Nov 18

I dreamt I was Loki, trapped in the Roosevelt Island tram above the East River. Don’t know why, if I was Loki, I couldn’t escape. Oh, well. Nov 16

I dream I visited @PaulKupperberg in Copenhagen, where he was now in charge of tourism. I kept offering him Starbursts. He kept refusing. Nov 14

I dreamt @BELUTHAHATCHIE asked what I was working on, and I told him a story that existed only in dream. Now to decide whether to write it. Nov 13

I dreamt I was at Bob Silverberg’s house. He was decluttering, and offered me a box of his correspondence with Tom Disch. I took it eagerly. Nov 12

I dreamt I visited a cemetery and got into a conversation with a guy who’d gotten married there only 5 minutes before. Never found out why. Nov 6

I dreamt my mother-in-law built an Eiffel Tower out of cheese as a centerpiece, then grew sad when she realized she could have bought one. Nov 5

I dreamt Katee Sackhoff and I went for tattoos together. She got a skeletal rib cage over her rib cage, while I got zombie flesh on my arms. Nov 5

I dreamt I left a Moscow restaurant and saw @ResaNelson zoom by on a steamroller. I tried to follow on roller skates, but couldn’t catch up. Nov 4

I dreamt I swam to the bottom of a swimming pool and stayed there for hours, safe and happy. There seemed nothing odd about breathing water. Nov 2

I dreamt I found myself wearing wedding rings on the ring fingers of BOTH hands. Which confused me at first, but then I became OK with it. Nov 2

I dreamt I was working in the Bullpen with Stan Lee — ’70s Stan Lee — when a letter came from Larry Lieber suing Marvel for royalties. Nov 1


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

My final Eating the Fantastic episode recorded during the Kansas City Worldcon was also my final taste of Kansas City BBQ. I chose Q39 for my brisket farewell, as Bonjwing Lee, a foodie I trust, had written that the place offered “some of the most tender and well-smoked meat” he’d eaten recently according to his Eater survey on Kansas City burnt ends.

My guest this episode is the incredible prolific Robert Reed, who’s been writing award-winning science fiction for decades—and I do mean decades—starting in 1986, when he was the first Writers of the Future Grand Prize Winner for his story “Mudpuppies,” all the way to 2007, when he won the Best Novella Hugo Award for “A Billion Eves” (which I was honored to accept on his behalf at the 2007 Worldcon in Yokohama).


We discussed why he believes he isn’t as prolific as we all think he is, the reason Robert Silverberg was a role model for him as he was getting started, what it was like writing 500-word short shorts for the Destiny videogame, why he didn’t read the shooting script when his short story “Truth” was made into the movie Prisoner X, how he really feels about collaboration (hint: he doesn’t play well with others), and more.

Here’s how you can share the BBQ and conversation—Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

As I’ve told you before, I’m addicted to the obituary pages of newspapers, and not just so I can read summations of the lives of the rich and famous. I’ve always been moved by the passing of regular folks, too, and sometimes, certain write-ups stand out.

And so, here’s your uplifting obituary of the day.


I regret never having met Henry Frank Kulesza.

I’d have liked to listen to polka and eaten some kielbasa with him.


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

A few days ago, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America announced that the nominations period for the Nebula Awards had begun, and since all my 2016 short stories have now been published—and the recommendations period for the Bram Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers Association is ongoing as well—it’s time to gather info about my publications in one place so eligible voting members of those two organizations can take them into consideration.

First up, two science fiction tales—

“101 Things to Do Before You’re Downloaded”


This 5,850-word far future science fiction story appears in the anthology You, Human, edited by Michael Bailey for Dark Regions Press. With the Earth about to end for our descendants, there are still a few more things that need to get done before it’s all over …

[UPDATED November 27 to add video from Chessiecon, so you may now see and hear me read all four stories I published in 2016. Enjoy!]

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14 November 2016 @ 02:14 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Remember my 44-year struggle to sell a story to Analog? Well, that long struggle is almost over.

You’ll have to wait until the double-sized January/February issue goes on sale December 20th to read “After the Harvest, Before the Fall,” but the current issue has an In Times to Come feature which made me extremely happy.

Check out the start of the third paragraph —


Nice to have proof this wasn’t just an elaborate prank by editor Trevor Quachri.



Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I may have given you the impression, based on the three previous episodes of Eating the Fantastic, that all I ate while I was in Kansas City for this year’s World Science Fiction Convention was BBQ. Not true! This episode’s guest requested sushi, which led us Bob Wasabi Kitchen, giving me some respite from the meat sweats.

And who’s the guest this time? Kathleen Ann Goonan, whose first novel, Queen City Jazz, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and who won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel for In War Times. And, I should add, who wrote the story, “The Bride of Elvis,” which I had the honor of publishing twenty years ago (yikes!), back when I was editing Science Fiction Age magazine.


We talked about which side she chose as a kid in the Marvel vs. DC comics rivalry, why she ended up a creator of science fiction rather than fantasy, whether she’s a plotter or a pantser when she writes, if she’ll ever continue her acclaimed Nanotech Quartet, and more.

Here’s how you can share the sushi—Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

As I told you the last time I gathered my dreams, I seem to be remembering fewer of them these days. It isn’t that I’m not having them—I continue to stir in the night aware I’m rising out of dreams—but between the time I reach consciousness and reach for a pen, the dreams mostly dissipate. My hold on them has for some reason weakened.

I’m not sure what that means. I only know that instead of up to seven dreams harvested a night, I’m down to one, if that. Which is why it’s been three months since I’ve bothered pulling them together like this to see whether there’s any sort of theme running through them.

In any case, this time around, my dreams featured guest stars Marilyn Monroe, Miley Cyrus, Jon-Erik Hexum, Lee Remick, George R. R. Martin, and more …

October 2016

I dreamt I tried to convince Ted Chiang to teach a workshop, and stuffing my face with cake at the same time, so he couldn’t understand me. Oct 31

I dreamt I wandered NYC looking for pie. Cherry pie. But it was eternally elusive, and I — sniff! — woke before I could find any. Oct 29

I dreamt I was kidnapped in some unspecified foreign country, and brought to meet a drug warlord, who turned out to be … Miley Cyrus. Oct 24

I dreamt Somtow Sucharitkul interviewed me about Japan, and all my answers were required to be in Japanese. (The interview did not go well.) Oct 23

I dreamt I was out at a restaurant eating a big bowl of Spider Soup, and complaining it contained too many noodles and not enough spiders. Oct 22

I dreamt I’d volunteered for a one-way trip to Neptune, but in the final days before launch, I was starting to have second thoughts. Oct 22

I dreamt an episode I’d written of The Untouchables was about to air, and I was wandering around a con looking for a TV so I could watch. Oct 21

I dreamt I caught a baby’s car seat as it was falling down the stairs, but the baby slipped out and continued plummeting. Not a nice dream. Oct 12

I dreamt Gordon Van Gelder and I were lobbying Congress to pass laws helping out independent bookstores. Don’t know whether we succeeded. Oct 2
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Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Another episode of Eating the Fantastic … another helping of Kansas City BBQ.

As part of my quest to eat all the BBQ I could during this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, I ended up at Gates B-B-Q, since according to the word on the street (if the Internet can be considered the street), it’s one of the two best BBQ joints in Kansas, the other being Arthur Bryant’s.

Here’s a story of the difference between the two of them which may be apocryphal, but—I’ve heard that when candidates for political office come to town, they always head to Arthur Bryant’s for their photo ops—but the journalists, the crews running the cameras, the working stiffs following those candidates—they head to Gates. I have no idea whether that’s truth or fabulation, but it sure does make for a good story!

Joining me at Gates was the ridiculously talented Alyssa Wong, nominated at Worldcon for the The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and winner of the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Short Story for “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” … which is also up for a World Fantasy Award. Whether or not she wins will be revealed at a banquet this Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.


Listen in as we chow down on BBQ and talk about what franchise inspired her to write fanfic, the exciting moment when she first encountered a character who looked like her, where she hopes to be 10 years down the road, how she encountered Faceless Ghost Grandma, why she said, “I hate being bored and I don’t like rules,” and more.

Here’s how you can share the BBQ and conversation—Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

27 October 2016 @ 11:29 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Seeing Carol Tilley lecture at the National Archives on the letters kids wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Special Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 defending comics books turned out not to be the only comics-related thing in my life this afternoon. Because as I was heading back to Union Station for my train home, I came upon the following street art which made political statements by tweaking actual covers from old comic books.

Here are the four I saw, accompanied by the original covers I tracked down.

activistcomics1 jimmyolsen127Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Carol Tilley—who’ll be speaking Thursday at the National Archives about letters kids wrote to the Senate defending comics in 1954—just posted over on Facebook the front page from the August 25, 1940 issue of Fantasy News … and I can’t resist sharing one part of it here.

Thomas S. Gardner, whose short fiction had been published in the ’30s in Wonder Stories, complained that the new science fiction comics were so inane as to cause some readers to give up on science fiction entirely. Plus comics (or so he claimed) were even damaging the reputation of science fiction—and the fans themselves.

Science Fiction is being guffawed, ballyhooed, and ridiculed out of existence. The readers and magazines are being classified as morons as a result of the comic books.

Luckily, though, the prescient Gardner predicted comic books wouldn’t be around for long.

The comic magazines are a fly-by-night affair in all probability. The fact that few appear for the second issue but start out with a new series hoping to sell the first copies is pretty good proof of their impermanence.

Gardner lived until 1963, after the Golden Age of comics had ended and the Silver Age had begun. Wonder whether that was long enough for him to change his mind?


You can read the issue in its entirety over at FANAC.


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

There’s only one more convention I plan to attend before the end of 2016, and it’s not the World Fantasy Convention, since I decided to give that stop on the circuit a pass this year. Instead, you’ll be able to find me at Chessiecon, which was highly recommended by this year’s Guest of Honor, Sarah Pinsker. And since I trusted her enough to invite her to be the first guest on my Eating the Fantastic podcast, I figured I could trust her on that as well.


If you make it to Timonium, Maryland at the end of November, here’s where you’ll be able to find me … aside from when I’m wandering the halls or hanging out in the bar, that is.

Saturday, November 26, 2:15 p.m.
I plan to read an excerpt from my short story “101 Things to Do Before You’re Downloaded,” which will appear in the upcoming anthology You, Human.

Stupendous Bollocks
Sunday, November 27, 1:45 p.m.
Our host asks obscure questions which exist not as much to be answered as to encourage panelists to tell us what they know (or what they can make up) about the subject. Points are awarded for interesting answers, regardless of their correctness or relevance to the original topic.
with Carl Cipra, Heather Rose Jones, Steve Kozeniewski, Elizabeth Schechter

I have no idea what that second item on my agenda will be like, but I look forward to finding out together. Hope to see you there!

18 October 2016 @ 02:25 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Sunday afternoon was one of the highlights of my year, because at the end of an extended weekend in New York—during which I recorded four new episodes of Eating the Fantastic—I got to take Marie Severin to lunch and then spend several hours sitting outside in the sun with her on an unseasonably warm October day.


And when I say I did those things, I of course mean we did those things—for any visit to the Mirthful one must include the Impish one—my wife, Irene Vartanoff.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

When recording a podcast in a restaurant setting, sometimes you have to deal with the background chatter of other customers, and sometimes you have to deal with music pouring from overhead speakers … but I never expected I’d have to deal with a speeding locomotive!

That’s right—in an Eating the Fantastic first, my guest and I had to contend with a freight train. Actually, more than just a freight train—but many freight trains.

When it came time for dinner at Fiorella’s Jack Stack, we were given the choice of a table either in the main dining room or out on the patio, and because I was afraid the loud music combined with the conversation of other customers would create an ambient noise you’d find distracting, I decided we should eat al fresco … not realizing there were railroad tracks nearby, which meant an occasional locomotive would pass. But don’t worry—I think you’ll find the result more amusing than annoying, especially when (as you’ll hear) one overly loud engine caused my guest and me to break into song.

My guest this episode is Hugo, Nebula, and Stoker Award nominated writer Adam-Troy Castro. Adam has published more than 100 short stories, some of which I was privileged to buy back when I edited Science Fiction Age magazine, plus a story someone else had the honor of purchasing—my all-time favorite zombie story.


We talked about the epiphany caused by his first viewing of Night of the Living Dead, how he handled a heckler during his early days doing stand-up comedy, the history behind the novel he almost wrote spinning off from the classic TV show The Prisoner, and much more. We even, for reasons you will learn, had cause to sing a few bars of the Johnny Cash classic “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Here’s how you can share the BBQ—Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

11 October 2016 @ 11:11 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

You know how I say that one of the best parts of any convention is leaving that convention for a meal with friends? (A belief, by the way, which eventually caused me to create my podcast Eating the Fantastic.) Well, the meal I had last Friday night during an escape from Capclave with Natalie Luhrs and Aaron and Angela Pound proved my point.

A couple of days before Capclave, I learned that Range—which I’d visited many times before, one of those times being for a meal on a break from last year’s Capclave—would be holding a two-day pop-up by Charleston’s Jeffrey Stoneberger, chef and owner of 2Nixons, which has earned itself quite a rep for its take on Asian street food. And the first of those two days happened to be the first day of the con. So you know I had to be there.


Stoneberger had previously staged at The Fat Duck and Noma, so you wouldn’t expect him to be the sort of chef to turn his hand to ramen and yakitori. But that’s what he’s done. And the food he put before us last Friday proved worthy of that lofty resume.

Here (rather belatedly, and briefly, as it’s been a crazy week) what we were served that night.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )