News and Appearances - 2002

Asimov's published the second Darger and surplus story, "The Little Cat Laughed to See Such Sport," in its October/November issue. Michael says:

"Darger meets the one great love of his life, with predictable consequences. And I've just sold Gardner another story, "Legions in Time," a Van Vogtian tale of superduperscience - all speed and no adjectives - which should dismay and appall all lovers of fine literature."
(September 2002)

Michael describes an event he attended: "I was present at a reception at the Roxborough branch of the Philadelphia Free Library for the unveiling of their sidewalk bricks. This is a common bit of fund-raising these days: For a sizeable contribution, you get a vanity brick with your name or message cut into it. I bought two bricks, one reading Jack Faust and the other Jane Alderberry. I liked the physical connection of my books to the neighborhood, and the thought that a hundred years from now those in the know will get a kick out of seeing them."
(September 2002)

The Dog Said Bow-Wow won the Hugo for Best Short Story at ConJose. Michael says:

"My story aced out "The Bones of the Earth" at the last possible minute, too. Le Guin led solidly until the very last cut. I'm just glad that I'm down on record as liking that story.

My moment of glory occurred at 1:30 a.m. East Coast time. The phone rang in the middle of the night, I stumbled out of bed, and kicked the cord out of the phone. By the time I got it stuck back in, the phone was silent. So I hung it up, not realizing that the answering machine downstairs was recording Eileen Gunn's message, and went back to bed. I said to Marianne, "For a moment there, I thought I'd won," and went back to sleep."
(September 2002)

Being Gardner Dozois won the Locus Award for best non-fiction book, "much to Gardner's chagrin", says Michael. "BGD is my book-length interview with Gardner, in which we examine every published work of short fiction he ever wrote in order of publication. It contains his statement that only "five people on Earth" would want to buy a book-length interview with him, later revised down to four when his wife, Susan Casper, told him she wasn't going to buy a copy.

"Which just goes to show you how wrong Gardner Dozois can be. Wonderful writer. Lousy prophet."
(July 2002)

In The Shadow Of The Wall, edited by Byron Tetrick, is fresh out from Cumberland House. In addition to Michael's "Dirty Little War," it contains stories relating to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. by Orson Scott Card, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Laura Resnick, Barry Malzberg, and many others.
(July 2002)

Foundation has just accepted "Hope-in-the-Mist," a biographical profile of fantasist Hope Mirrlees. Quoting Michael: "Back in the 1920s, Mirrlees was a serious literary figure, a crony of Virginia Woolf (Mirrlees's only professionally published poem, "Paris," was the fifth publication of Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press) and good pals with T.S. Eliot, who stayed at her mother's house during World War II. She wrote three novels, two justifiably forgotten, and a third, Lud-in-the-Mist, that is an enduring classic of the genre. Then, at the peak of her abilities, she stopped writing. At 19,000 words, including footnotes, "Hope-in-the-Mist" is the longest piece of non-fiction devoted to her to date.

This project has taken me years of research to put together, and it's been enormous amounts of fun. It's put me in touch with feminist academics, T.S. Eliot's widow, and Hope Mirrlees's nephew, Count Robin de La Lanne Mirrlees, and it's made use of academic skills I picked up in college thirty years ago, and haven't had the opportunity to employ before now."
(May 2002)

«King Dragon» again: "[It] is finished and in. I confidently expect it will give all Anne McCaffrey-style dragon-lovers the pip.
(May 2002)

New Hugo nominations came in. Michael is nominated in two categories: in Best Short Story, for "The Dog Said Bow-Wow", published in Asimov's; and in Best Related Book, for Being Gardner Dozois. You can see the other contenders at the ConJose site.
(April 2002)

«King Dragon» is almost finished. Michael describes it: "It'll appear in The Dragon Quintet, a Science Fiction Book of the Month Club original, edited by Marvin Kaye. With other original dragon stories by Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Moon, and two others. (Since they haven't turned in their stories yet, I feel I shouldn't name names.) Kaye calls Lee's work "a sensual legend of a woman in love with dragonry," and Moon's "an engrossing story of an appealing young man who finds dragon eggs that drastically change his life." I told him that my story would serve as a corrective to these two. It's so caustic, it'll strip the paint off a Peterbilt."

Also: "I sold "Slow Life" to Analog, and Stan Schmidt is talking about giving it the cover. As Pete will testify, this is hard SF - it begins with a three-page description of a raindrop falling on Titan!"
(April 2002)

A new series of Michael Swanwick's short stories on the Web:
"Not content with writing a story a week for Michael Swanwick's Periodic Table of Science Fiction at Sci Fiction, I've agreed to write a second series for The Infinite Matrix ( called The Sleep of Reason. This will be one short-short story for every one of the eighty etchings in Goya's Los Caprichos - his series of very dark fantasies. The Sleep of Reason will be The Infinite Matrix's featured fiction for the first month, during which new stories will be posted twice a week. After the first month, the remaining stories will be posted weekly.

"I've already written the first dozen stories and, even for me, they are mordant creations. Images of Goya's etchings will be posted with each story, which is particularly helpful because his wonderful images add immensely to the narratives. There will be an overriding arc to the entire series with several inter-related threads (tales of the ruthless Elena, of the unfortunate Grace, and of Prick the Donkey among them) running throughout. This is something I've wanted to do for years, and I'm quite excited about it.
(April 2002)

Michael Swanwick about his latest batch of short stories:
"I sold "The Little Cat Laughed to See Such Sport," the second Darger and Surplus story, to Asimov's. "'Hello,' Said the Stick" came out in the March issue of Analog.

"Invisible Cities Press experienced cash-flow problems and dropped Crossroads: Southern Stories of the Fantastic, but since I trust the volume's editors, Brett Cox and Andy Duncan, I'm leaving "The Last Geek" with them while they look for a publisher. Most (and possibly all) of the writers in that book are doing the same.

"And I've turned in another thirteen short-shorts to Ellen Datlow for Sci Fiction's "Periodic Table of Science Fiction," bringing it up to element 52, Tellurium. I got a ton of complaints for calling element 27, Vanadium, a "couch potato," incidentally. Vanadium, it turns out, has fans. Lots of fans. Take my advice - if you ever want to work on the Web again, don't dis Vanadium."
(February 2002)

Public Appearances

Michael Swanwick will be Ellen Kushner's guest in her radio show on NPR, Sound and Spirit, on November 9. He will talk about J. R. R. Tolkien. More about the show at and


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