For Your Consideration: Our 2013 Award-Eligible Contributors List

We published two books in 2013: Fish (edited by Carrie Cuinn and KV Taylor) and Bibliotheca Fantastica (edited by Don Pizarro). We also published a novella, Inedible Sins, and launched the first issue of our new speculative fiction magazine, Lakeside Circus.

Of course, we have to mention that both of our anthology covers for 2013 were drawn by the amazing Galen Dara, who should certainly be nominated for all of the awards this year.

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In addition, the authors we’ve published are eligible for various awards either for the stories we presented to you or for other work. We posted a PDF reading copy of Colleen Anderson’s “The Book With No End” here, since she’s on the Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot in the “Superior Achievement in Short Fiction” category. But there are more!

Polenth Blake, whose story “Thwarting the Fiends” was a favorite from Fish, also has a novelette out: “By Means of Clockwork Selection”. For more details, go here.

Nathan Crowder’s story “Cold Comfort of Silver Lake” is in Blood Rites: an Introduction to Horror, on the preliminary Stoker ballot for anthologies. Crowder can also be found in Cthulhurotica (2011).

Sam Fleming, who wrote the excellent “What the Water Gave Her” for Fish, also wrote “When Shepherds Dream of Electric Sheep” for the Looking Landwards anthology by NewCon Press. Find out more about Fleming here.

Gabrielle Harboway, who appeared in Cthulhurotica, is Nebula-eligible for “Blood Magic,” published in Witches, Stitches & Bitches from Evil Girlfriend Media. The story is online for free in the SFWA short story forum, for the consideration of SFWA members. Read more about her work here.

Ken Liu, who wrote “How Do You Know if a Fish is Happy?” for Fish and ” ” for IN SITU (2012), shares his favorite publications of 2013 and a list of his eligible stories here.

Please also see our list of award-eligible authors from Lakeside Circus, here.

Interview: Graham Storrs (IN SITU)

Name: Graham Storrs

Age: 55

Author of: “Salvage”

Current Geographic Location: Queensland, Australia

Original Hometown: Hull, Yorkshire, UK

Twitter: @graywave

Website: http://grahamstorrs.cantalibre.com/

Recent publications: My first novel, TimeSplash was published last year. It is a technological thriller, set in the near future, featuring a time-travelling terrorist and an emotionally damaged young woman who may be the only person who can stop him.

Do you think alien life exists in the Universe? Of course, have you never met a teenager? Seriously… Yes, without a doubt. It’s a big Universe, and it would be egocentric – and statistically naïve – to think our little planet was the only place this happened.

If you could travel off Earth, would you? What if it meant you could never come back? If I couldn’t come back, I wouldn’t go. I have too much here that I wouldn’t want to lose. But I would be tempted. Oh boy would I be tempted!

What inspired your story? I often think about distant futures, where everything we take for granted in our everyday lives has become almost incomprehensible to the archaeologists who might stumble on it. I wanted to push this to the limit, to a time so far ahead that the Earth itself had been forgotten. It would be nice to think the lives we led could still inspire those far off people we might evolve into.

What music or movies helped you to write this story? Music and movies don’t usually inspire what I write. Mostly what inspires me is science and technology – and other science fiction writers. When I thought about the far distant future in this story, I envisaged a post-singularity Galaxy that had grown rather dull and comfortable. I think, as a species, we would go along with comfortable if it was offered. But I’d hope there would always be just a few malcontents.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? I’ve probably rewritten this story four times since it was “finished”. Some parts had more attention than others – like the beginning and the end. But the rewrites were all about style and “flow”. I was very lucky in that I liked the characters of the two brothers from the start and didn’t need to change them at all.

What is your favorite bit?

“It would be a long time before he could get a ship and a crew together to go to Andromeda. Plenty of time for him and Ven to work things out and grow easy with the idea that they’d just said goodbye.”

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Interview: Mae Empson (IN SITU)

Name: Mae Empson

Age: 37

Author of: “Vessels of Clay, Flesh, and Stars”

Current Geographic Location: Seattle, Washington

Original Hometown: Frederick, MD. Other cities I’ve spent time include Chapel Hill, NC, and Bloomington, IN.

Twitter: @maeempson

Website: http://maeempson.wordpress.com

Publications: Recent publications include: “First, Kill a Bear,” in The Pedestal Magazine, April 2012; “The Tea-Serving Doll,” in Attic Toys from Evil Jester Press, March 2012; “The Salt of Aksum,” in Demeter’s Spicebox, February 2012; “A Welcome Sestina from Cruise Director Isabeau Molyneux,” in Future Lovecraft from Innsmouth Free Press, November 2011, to be reprinted by Prime Books, August 2012; “An Interrupted Sacrifice,” in Historical Lovecraft from Innsmouth Free Press, April 2011, and “Little Rattle Belly,” in Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine, March 2011.

Of note, the story in Historical Lovecraft is also set in Precolumbian Peru, but offers a very different explanation for many of the same facts about Moche culture.

Do you think alien life exists in the Universe? I think the universe is vast enough that it is reasonable to assume that there is life out there, but it may not be sentient enough or similar enough to us to resemble the sort of aliens encountered in speculative fiction. I wrote my story for In Situ in fall 2010, not long after the announcement of Gliese 581 g, a planet in the habitable zone of distance from its sun with the right temperature and atmosphere for liquid water. This is a hopeful and exciting time for the discovery of life of some kind, if not the sort of life that would make for plausible antagonists.

If you could travel off Earth, would you? What if it meant you could never come back? If I had the money to afford a single joyride, I’d spend it on something else, I think. But I might buy a ticket for my husband who I think would adore it. Or go with him! I don’t think I could leave my family and friends, if I couldn’t come back. My husband predicts that in our lifetime we will see the opportunity to send our ashes into space after we die, which might be the best and most likely moment for it.

What inspired your work? After selling my story to Cthulhurotica which was set in Ancient Greece, I was very interested in thinking about other historical cultures that could be used as settings for Lovecraftian fiction. I started researching obscure cultures with art that depicted tentacles. Once I found the Moche culture of Precolumbian Peru, I couldn’t read enough about them. Their rulers drank the blood of sacrificial victims. They had an Octopus god and a Spider god, and lots of tentacles in their paintings, clothing, and metalwork. Their rites and mythology are particularly fascinating. The premise for In Situ allowed me to set a story in the present day with the discovery of a Moche tomb. Writing about graduate students was an area where I could draw on my own life experiences. I studied English, but most of my roommates were in Latin American Studies. In terms of other inspirations, as an identical twin myself, I have a certain fascination with the biology of different kinds of twins which works its way into the story. So, the story blends historical fact and mythology, lived experience, and, of course, alien horror.

Since the story was written in 2010, I can confirm that it was not inspired by the recent movie Prometheus, though there are some similarities, such as a bizarre alien liquid stored in a high-tech canister within ancient-looking pottery which, when consumed, can cause a monstrous pregnancy…

What music or movies helped you to write this story? Professor Alvarez is something of a Latino Indiana Jones – the heart-throb professor who is also an archaeologist. Of course, he’s not nearly as noble or trustworthy.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? Many. This story was particularly challenging to tell within the word count limit, so that required a lot of editing and deciding which pieces of the story in my head absolutely needed to be told on paper. I explored several endings before I found this one, which now feels to me like the only possible way for the story to end.

What is your favorite bit? My favorite part is the ending, but to post any of that here might introduce spoilers. Here’s a section from earlier in the story:

“I am experienced. With research. There is much about the Moche that we do not need to personally experience to study. No one in the field has actually drunk blood, or performed a human sacrifice. It doesn’t matter if I’m-” She stopped. He hadn’t actually asked her that, had he?

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Interview: Greg Burch (IN SITU)

Name: Greg Burch

Age: 25

Author of: “In The Grid: The Assemblage of the Aelioan”

Geographic Location: Missoula, MT

Original Hometown: Lewistown, MT

Recent publications: This is my first.

Do you think alien life exists in the Universe? Absolutely.  If we’re discovering new life forms on this planet, all the time, the possibility increases off-planet, all the time.

If you could travel off Earth, would you? What if it meant you could never come back? Certainly.  I like traveling, and interstellar traveling would be even more fascinating, for the potential of seeing things no one else has ever seen.

What inspired your piece? A project my speculative creative group and I are working on that involves telepathy.

What music or movies helped you to write this essay? None are really applicable, though I listen to the Requiem for a Dream and Godfather soundtracks, frequently, while writing.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? One.

What is your favorite bit?

Donald Parkinson tries to grab a trowel. He is bound and determined to revisit the site, to grab more bones and look for any other physical evidence he could possibly find. In his haste, gravity – and perhaps fate – intervene. He trips, the trowel pointing upward in his clenched fist, his soft flesh falling onto its hardened steel and!

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Interview: Dawn Vogel (IN SITU)

Name: Dawn Vogel

Age: Mid-30s

Author of: “Donning the Helm”

Current Geographic Location: Seattle, Washington

Original Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Twitter: @historyneverwas

Website: http://historythatneverwas.com

Recent publications: “Unexpected Sparx,” in Cobalt City Dark Carnival (Timid Pirate Publishing), “The Glorious Dead” in Zombies Gone Wild Vol. 2 (forthcoming)

Do you think alien life exists in the Universe? I think that for humans to assume that they are the only intelligent life form in the entire universe is a little bit egocentric. So yes, I do believe in aliens.

If you could travel off Earth, would you? What if it meant you could never come back? I think that I would want to IF I could come back, for the experience of seeing the Earth from space. But if it meant I couldn’t come back, I’d be much less inclined to go.

What inspired your story? I didn’t start out with much of an idea for this story except that I knew I wanted to set it in the nineteenth century and use a journal format. I also borrowed from an Eddie Izzard bit from Glorious about how archaeologists always find a series of small walls. So I started with a series of small walls that made up a labyrinth, and the story just grew from there.

What music or movies helped you to write this essay? I wrote portions of this story while listening to an eclectic mix of instrumental music, mostly from movie soundtracks. But I quickly found that the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack really didn’t contribute well to this sort of story. The Star Wars trilogy soundtracks were a little better. In the end, I probably wrote more of this story in silence than I normally do.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? I wrote the bulk of this story by hand, so there were some minor rewrites as I typed it. I also edited it a bit and got some suggestions for edits from my husband. I think the portion that I worked on the most was the letter at the beginning of the story, while the journal just flowed out smoothly.

What is your favorite bit?

“On reviewing what I have written, I know that this sounds like nothing more than a strange dream. For years, religious men, the mentally ill, and others of dubious emotional clarity have claimed to see flying discs in the sky, which they attribute to the workings of God and the saints or beings from another world. I have always deemed such sightings to be folly.”

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Interview: Bear Weiter (IN SITU)

Name: Bear Weiter

Age: 42

Author of: “Seeds”

Current Geographic Location: The suburbs of Kansas City.

Original Hometown: Same…boring, I know. But I did live in Minneapolis for ten years.

Twitter: @bearthw

Website: http://www.bearweiter.com/

Recent publications: The Little Things” in Black Static, “The Collector” in Slices of Flesh, and “Taint” in Phobia.

Do you think alien life exists in the Universe? Absolutely. The vast number of stars out there just scream we are not alone. Whether that includes intelligent life or not (and whether we should include ourselves in that category) is another matter. I’m not convinced that we’ve ever been visited by alien life-forms; I can understand the fascination with the idea, but it’s rather unlikely and the majority of sightings or theories just don’t hold up to Occam’s  Razor. I doubt that should we ever encounter intelligent life they’ll look even vaguely like us; more than likely they’ll be wildly different, and possibly so different we may not even recognize their presence.

I am convinced that anal probes are a human fascination, and not alien.

If you could travel off Earth, would you? What if it meant you could never come back? Yes, but, as someone who has claustrophobia at times, I don’t think it would be very realistic. The means of travel would have to be very spacious, maybe more of a “Stargate” approach than anything of current technology. Traveling out into space, even for a day or so in our current craft, would kick on anxiety that would be very tough to control. If I couldn’t come back? Um…I’m too fond of Earth. I’d love to see another world, especially one teaming with crazy life, but I’d need to be able to come back. I could adapt to survive if it was my only choice, but I’d rather not.

What inspired your story? I wanted intimate, personal reactions to something other-worldly. I also wanted to draw upon experiences that I know personally, and I kept coming back to claustrophobia. It’s not the subject of the story, but it’s a primary element, touched upon in a couple of ways.

What music or movies helped you to write this piece? I actually don’t remember; I often have TV running when I write, though not always. If it is on, it’s turned down low so I can barely hear it, and I’ll let run whatever is marginally interesting, just not too interesting. I tried not to think of other movies that could inspire my story as it would be too easy to draw upon that. Other times I’ll write in odd places, like running out to lunch and writing on my iPad or iPhone, or in bed.

Musically, well, I distinctly remember listening to some Puscifer and Tool— I just like Maynard’s music that much I guess.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? Quite a few—I see at least six or seven saved Word files for versions I shared with my early readers; those are distinctly different versions saved out for that purpose, as I do all of my actual writing in Scrivener (and there’s about thirty snapshots there—different instances of saved states). Real rewrites, not just slight editing tweaks, would be at least five. I started three different times before I settled on the tone of the piece.

What is your favorite bit?

“Your brother’s a buzz-kill who doesn’t recognize an opportunity when it craps on his face. This is alien tech, no doubt. And it’s the find of the century. The military will pay millions for this shit. And they can pay us even more to keep us quiet, or we can be famous for the find. Their choice.” Dave grinned at his own thought.

“Or they’ll kill us and take whatever they want,” I suggested.

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Interview: Jason Andrew (IN SITU)

Name: Jason Andrew

Age: 39

Author of: “Recovery”

Current Geographic Location: Seattle, Washington

Original Hometown: Fresno, Ca

Website: http://jasonbandrew.com/

Recent publications: My short story “Moonlight in Scarlet” appeared in Cover of Darkness from Sam dot Publishing. I felt very honored when this story made Ellen Datlow’s Honorable Mention List for Best Horror Fiction in 2011. “Darkly Dreaming in Black Waters” appeared in Night Terrors II from Blood Bound Books. My science fiction story “Requiem” appeared in the anthology Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations from Dark Moon books.

I just recently finished writing a good chunck of the Vampire: the Masquerade V20 RPG supplement titled Hunters Hunted 2.

Do you think alien life exists in the Universe? The universe is far too vast for life to only exist on one sad lonely rock. If we are the only life in the epic scope and time of the universe, then existence is really a huge waste of space. However, I concede that it may be centuries before humanity comes into contact with a species capable with communicating with us.

If you could travel off Earth, would you? What if it meant you could never come back? I have a bag packed just in case the TARDIS ever shows up. I would love to see the stars, explore the universe, and then write a travelogue. If we survive, I believe that our destiny as a species to explore the universe. Just this month, a man-made object, Voyager 1, escaped the solar system for the very first time.

What inspired your essay? There were a number of threads in my life that combined into this story. First, I talked to a friend of mine named Ed about his experiences in the military overseas and a number of the little details came from incidents that actually happen to him. I read an article about a man with a strange skin condition during a time when my allergies were causing me problems with my eyes. The rest of the story crystalized for me when I was writing for a web service named ChronoZoom that attempts to present a visualization of the scope of time and worked with the brilliant Doctor Walter Alvarez; the scientist known for helping form the theory about how the dinosaurs went extinct.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? I wrote three drafts.  The first two were in second person.

What is your favorite bit?

This is a strong hand.  I imagine how easy it would be to snap the leather straps that bind me to this place and then I smell hope.

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