Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015

BASFF-2015Exciting news! Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, the first of its kind, dropped yesterday. It’s a spectacular anthology, edited by John Joseph Adams and Joe Hill (you can read his wonderful introduction here), and full of established and up-and-coming writers writing literary non-realism.

And, it just so happens to include my story “Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead,” which originally appeared in Help Fund My Robot Army!!! & Other Improbably Crowdfunding Projects, and was reprinted at Lightspeed.

Over at Tor.com, Martin Cahill has this to say:

Some of the strongest stories in this collection are the ones that perfectly meld the unsettling nature of science fiction and fantasy, with the beating human heart of our own experience. Carmen Maria Machado’s Kickstarter-inspired short story, “Help Me Follow My Sister Into The Land of the Dead,” is heartbreaking and inventive, as it utilizes the format of the crowdfunding website to delve into the relationships of two estranged sisters, and has an ending like a gut punch.

11225468_10101119494256405_1077508257569709999_oI’m unbelievably proud to be appearing in these pages with so many writers I admire, including Sam J. Miller, Kelly Link, Karen Russell, and Sofia Samatar.

So head to your local brick-and-mortar or an internet retailer and pick up a copy of Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015. You won’t regret it, I promise.

And if you’re in or around New York City, I’ll be at a panel/signing/Q&A with Joe Hill at Forbidden Planet on November 9th, and a reading with Seanan McGuire as a part of the New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series on November 10th, both to celebrate the release of BASFFSee you there?

My Campbell Award Eligibility & Recommendations

I made an awards eligibility post a few weeks ago, but it occurs to me that I should make one specifically for the Campbell, since it covers two years’ worth of work.

I am in my second qualifying year for the Campbell Award. My first professional sale was to Strange Horizons, for “Inventory,” which was published in January 2013. Since then, I’ve published 19 short stories in a mix of genre/non-genre magazines.

Last year, I included my three favorite stories from 2013 in the Campbell anthology.

(I also published one other genre story that wasn’t included in the anthology: “Real Women Have Bodies” at FiveChapters.)

In her NPR review of the 2013 Campbell anthology, K. Tempest Bradford recommended me for nomination, writing:

Carmen Maria Machado’s stories build and build until they surround and ensnare, and at the end you’re always glad to be all tangled up. My favorite, “Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law & Order SVU,” defies explanation. Call it postmodern, or fan fiction, or Lovecraft meets Dick Wolf — all labels fall short of capturing the essence of this story.

This year, the 2014 Campbell anthology will include:

  • “California Statutes Concerning Defrauding an Innkeeper” / AGNI
  • Mothers” / Interfictions
  • The Husband Stitch” / Granta (recently selected for inclusion in Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 2)

In addition to these stories, I published three other speculative stories, including:

When it comes to my personal ballot, here are the other writers on my shortlist:

My Nebula-Eligible Stories

In 2014, I published half my stories at SF/F-specific venues (Lightspeed twice, Interfictions) and half at non-genre places (Granta, AGNI, Yalobusha Review). All of them were non-realist, and some mix of fantasy and horror. Here are my Nebula-eligible stories for the upcoming awards cycle. Thank you, as always, for your consideration.

Novellette:

The Husband Stitch,” Granta. This story has gotten more love than anything else I’ve published this year. J.Y. Yang said: “I started reading. And then kept reading. And kept reading. The beauty of this story is the way it takes urban myth, freshly scraped off the walls of the Internet, and kneads it into something electric.” Over at SF Signal, A.C. Wise wrote: “Nearly everyone knows how the story will end, how it must end, and yet the sense of impending doom, the question of when crawls beneath the reader’s skin and leads them through the story.” K. Tempest Bradford included it in her “Best Short Stories for the Week of November 10th – 15th,” saying: “This is exactly the kind of SF you’d expect to find in a magazine like Granta — language spun like gossamer, linear narrative dipping in and out of some other mode, be it the past, the future, or the stories of others, a mysterious truth held tight in the hand, a surprise to people unfamiliar with fantasy or horror but sweetly expected by those of us who are.” And perhaps most excitingly, Ellen Datlow mentioned it during a World Fantasy Convention panel when asked about her favorite work of the past year.

Short Stories:

Mothers,” Interfictions. This story was a finalist in the American Short Fiction Contest, judged by Amy Hempel. Gillian Daniels at Fantastic Stories calls the prose “tight and gorgeous,” and says “the main character of ‘Mothers’ [functions] in worlds where explanations hide behind curtains that are never lifted. [She] can only do the best with the circumstances offered to [her].”

Please Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead.” First published in the John Joseph Adams anthology Help Fund My Robot Army & Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects, and later reprinted in Lightspeed Magazine. K. Tempest Bradford included this in her “Best Short Stories for the Week of July 7th – 12th” post at io9, saying “The concept is interesting but I had my doubts about whether or not it could be pulled off without seeming gimmicky. I should have known that Machado’s story would be brilliant and work exactly right, given that she’s already proved her skill at spinning great tales through unconventional story structures.”

Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa,” Lightspeed Magazine. Lois Tilton at Locus Magazine recommended this story: “Eggs as cosmic metaphor and pickup line – unusual and original premise.”

California Statutes Concerning Defrauding an Innkeeper,” AGNI. A genre- and form-bending romp through a magic-realist road trip gone terribly awry. (Print only – available on the SFWA forums)

Ekphrasis,” Yalobusha Review. For the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure enthusiasts out there.

Updates: io9 & #pitchbitch

K. Tempest Bradford says lovely things about “Please Help Me Follow My Sister Into the Land of the Dead” over at io9:

This story is a reprint from the anthology Help Fund My Robot Army!!! (edited by John Joseph Adams) where all of the stories take the form of crowdfunding pleas. The concept is interesting but I had my doubts about whether or not it could be pulled off without seeming gimmicky. I should have known that Machado’s story would be brilliant and work exactly right, given that she’s already proved her skill at spinning great tales through unconventional story structures.

Also, my interview with Estelle Tang about pitching and writing literary criticism is up at #pitchbitch. Check it out!

Announcements & Links

First of all, I am excited to announce that my story “Please Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead” will be appearing in the John Joseph Adams anthology Help Fund My Robot Army & Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects. The anthology will drop in July. Get ready! It’s gonna be amazing.

Lois Tilton of Locus Magazine recommends my Lightspeed story “Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.” She writes that “[eggs] as cosmic metaphor and pickup line [is an] unusual and original premise.”

In a round-up about the “best stories [he’s] been making time for,” Matt Bennardo recommends and also does a close reading of “Observations About Eggs…” that makes my heart sing.

In an interview with Short Story Review, Rachel Swirsky reiterates her love for “Inventory.”

In “something you need to watch today” news, I recently stumbled across this amazing clip of David Lynch explaining where his ideas come from. His observations and advice are invaluable for any creative person.