Michael Swanwick

Michael Swanwick (born November 18, 1950) is an American science fiction author who began publishing in the early 1980s.[1]

Swanwick in 2009
Swanwick in 2009
BornNovember 18, 1950
GenreScience fiction, fantasy

Writing career

Swanwick's fiction writing began with short stories, starting in 1980 when he published "Ginungagap" in TriQuarterly and "The Feast of St. Janis" in New Dimensions 11. Both stories were nominees for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story in 1981.[2] His published novels are In the Drift (an Ace Special, 1985), a look at the results of a more catastrophic Three Mile Island incident, which expands on his earlier short story "Mummer's Kiss". This was followed in 1987 by Vacuum Flowers (1987), an adventurous tour of an inhabited Solar System, where the people of Earth have been subsumed by a cybernetic mass-mind; Stations of the Tide (1991), the story of a bureaucrat's pursuit of a magician on a world soon to be altered by its 50-year tide swell; The Iron Dragon's Daughter (1993), a fantasy with elves in Armani suits and dragons as jet fighters; Jack Faust (1997), a retelling of the Faust legend with modern science and technology; Bones of the Earth (2002), a time-travel story involving dinosaurs; The Dragons of Babel (2008), which is set in the same fantasy world as The Iron Dragon's Daughter; and Dancing with Bears (2011), featuring the rogues Darger and Surplus (from a series of his short stories) adventuring in post-Utopian Russia.

His short fiction has been collected in Gravity's Angels (1991), Moon Dogs (2000), Tales of Old Earth (2000), Cigar-Box Faust and Other Miniatures (2003), The Dog Said Bow-Wow (2007), and The Best of Michael Swanwick (2008). A novella, Griffin's Egg, was published in book form in 1991 and is also collected in Moon Dogs. He has collaborated with other authors on several short works, including Gardner Dozois ("Ancestral Voices", "City of God", "Snow Job") and William Gibson ("Dogfight").

Stations of the Tide won the Nebula for best novel in 1991, and several of his shorter works have won awards as well: the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for "The Edge of the World" in 1989, the World Fantasy Award for "Radio Waves" in 1996,[3] and Hugos for "The Very Pulse of the Machine" in 1999, "Scherzo with Tyrannosaur" in 2000, "The Dog Said Bow-Wow" in 2002, "Slow Life" in 2003, and "Legions in Time" in 2004.

Nonfiction writing

Swanwick has written about the field as well. He published two long essays on the state of the science fiction (The User's Guide to the Postmoderns, 1986) and fantasy ("In the Tradition...", 1994), the former of which was controversial for its categorization of new SF writers into "cyberpunk" and "literary humanist" camps. Both essays were collected together in The Postmodern Archipelago 1997. A book-length interview with Gardner Dozois, Being Gardner Dozois, was published in 2001. He is a prolific contributor to the New York Review of Science Fiction. Swanwick wrote a monograph on James Branch Cabell, "What Can Be Saved From the Wreckage?" which was published in 2007, and a short literary biography of Hope Mirrlees, Hope-in-the-Mist, which was published in 2009.

Michael Swanwick 2007
At the Avram Davidson tribute, NYC, 2007



  • In the Drift (1985)
  • Vacuum Flowers (1987)
  • Stations of the Tide (1991), Nebula Award winner; 1991; Hugo and Campbell Awards nominee, 1992; Clarke Award nominee, 1993
  • The Iron Dragon's Daughter (1993), Clarke, Locus Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards nominee, 1994
  • Jack Faust (1997), BSFA nominee, 1997; Hugo and Locus Fantasy Awards nominee, 1998
  • Bones of the Earth (2002), Nebula Award nominee, 2002; Hugo, Locus SF, and Campbell Awards nominee, 2003
  • The Dragons of Babel (2008), Locus Fantasy Award nominee, 2009
  • Dancing With Bears (2011) - a Darger and Surplus novel
  • Chasing the Phoenix (2015) - a Darger and Surplus novel

Short fiction


Short stories



  1. ^ "Locus Online: Michael Swanwick interview excerpts". Locus Magazine. 2004-05-27. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
  2. ^ The Periodic Prime of Michael Swanwick (interview with Michael Swanwick) accessed 3 January 2014
  3. ^ World Fantasy Convention (2010). "Award Winners and Nominees". Archived from the original on 2010-12-01. Retrieved 4 Feb 2011.
  4. ^ The Dead, 2011 reprint at Tor.com
  5. ^ Willie Garcia, Webmaster. ""Legions In Time" by Michael Swanwick". Asimovs. Archived from the original on 2004-12-08. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
  6. ^ Michael Swanwick. ""The Little Cat Laughed to See Such Sport" by Michael Swanwick". io9.com. Retrieved 2014-04-24.
  7. ^ The Dala Horse at ISFDB
  8. ^ The Mongolian Wizard at Tor.com

External links

'Hello,' Said the Stick

‘Hello,’ Said the Stick is a science fiction short story published in 2002 by Michael Swanwick. It was nominated for the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Short Story as well as the 2003 Locus Award.

Ancient Engines

"Ancient Engines" is a science fiction short story published in 1999 by Michael Swanwick. It was nominated for the 2000 Hugo Award for Best Short Story as well as the 1999 Nebula Award for Best Short Story.

Bones of the Earth

Bones of the Earth is a 2002 science fiction novel by Michael Swanwick. It was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 2002, and the Hugo, Campbell, and Locus Awards in 2003.

Dogfight (short story)

"Dogfight" is a science fiction short story by American writers Michael Swanwick and William Gibson, first published in Omni in July 1985. The story was also included in Gibson’s 1986 short story collection Burning Chrome.

Gravity's Angels

Gravity's Angels is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Michael Swanwick. It was released in 1991, and was the author's first book published by Arkham House. It was published in an edition of 4,119 copies. The stories originally appeared in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Omni, and other magazines.

Hugo Award for Best Short Story

The Hugo Award for Best Short Story is one of the Hugo Awards given each year for science fiction or fantasy stories published or translated into English during the previous calendar year. The short story award is available for works of fiction of fewer than 7,500 words; awards are also given out for pieces of longer lengths in the novelette, novella, and novel categories. The Hugo Awards have been described as "a fine showcase for speculative fiction" and "the best known literary award for science fiction writing".The Hugo Award for Best Short Story has been awarded annually since 1955, except in 1957. The award was titled "Best Short Fiction" rather than "Best Short Story" in 1960–1966. During this time no Novelette category was awarded and the Novella category had not yet been established; the award was defined only as a work "of less than novel length" that was not published as a stand-alone book. In addition to the regular Hugo awards, beginning in 1996 Retrospective Hugo Awards, or "Retro Hugos", have been available to be awarded for 50, 75, or 100 years prior. Retro Hugos may only be awarded for years in which a World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, was hosted, but no awards were originally given. To date, Retro Hugo awards have been given for short stories for 1939, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1951, and 1954.Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by supporting or attending members of the annual Worldcon, and the presentation evening constitutes its central event. The selection process is defined in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution as instant-runoff voting with six nominees, except in the case of a tie. The short stories on the ballot are the six most-nominated by members that year, with no limit on the number of stories that can be nominated. The 1955 and 1958 awards did not include any recognition of runner-up stories, but since 1959 all six candidates have been recorded. Initial nominations are made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of six nominations is performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Prior to 2017, the final ballot was five works; it was changed that year to six, with each initial nominator limited to five nominations. Worldcons are generally held near Labor Day, and are held in a different city around the world each year. Members are permitted to vote "no award", if they feel that none of the nominees is deserving of the award that year, and in the case that "no award" takes the majority the Hugo is not given in that category. This happened in the Best Short Story category in 2015.During the 69 nomination years, 191 authors have had works nominated; 52 of these have won, including co-authors and Retro Hugos. Harlan Ellison has received the most Hugos for Best Short Story at four, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Mike Resnick, Michael Swanwick, and Connie Willis have each won three times, and Poul Anderson, Joe Haldeman, and Ken Liu have won twice, the only other authors to win more than once. Resnick has received the most nominations at 18, while Swanwick has received 14; no other author has gotten more than 7. Michael A. Burstein, with 7, has the highest number of nominations without winning.

Jack Faust (novel)

Jack Faust (1997) is a science fiction novel by American writer Michael Swanwick. It was nominated for the British Science Fiction Award in 1997, and for both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1998.

Legions in Time

"Legions in Time" is a science fiction novelette by Michael Swanwick. It won the Hugo Award for Best Novelette in 2004. The story was reprinted in Science Fiction: The Best of 2003 and in three other collections and anthologies.

Swanwick wrote that his story was inspired by A. E. Van Vogt's classic "Recruiting Station," "which just speeds along like racehorse afire, and thought I'd try to write something similar."

Moon Dogs

Moon Dogs is a collection of science fiction short stories and essays by Michael Swanwick. It was published by NESFA Press in 2000 to commemorate his appearance as Guest of Honor at Boskone 37. It includes collaborations with Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann.

Puck Aleshire's Abecedary

Puck Aleshire’s Abecedary (2000) by Michael Swanwick, a collection of short-short stories (one for each letter of the alphabet), initially ran in The New York Review of Science Fiction at a rate of one per month for 26 months starting with Issue 111, November 1997. Each story was accompanied by a collage illustration by the journal's editor Kathryn Cramer. Dragon Press collected these stories in a single volume entitled Puck Aleshire’s Abecedary.There were two editions, a carefully handbound edition produced for Dragon Press by Henry Wessels with linen cloth spine with handmade paper-covered boards and endpapers with deckled edge and a trade paperback edition printed by Odyssey Press in New Hampshire.

Cover art, interior illustration, and book design of both editions are by Kathryn Cramer. Swanwick published a subsequent volume of short-shorts, which initially appeared on the website The Infinite Matrix and were collected as The Periodic Table of Science Fiction.

Radiant Doors

"Radiant Doors" is a science fiction short story published in 1998 by Michael Swanwick. It was the winner of the 1999 Asimov’s Reader Poll, and was nominated for the 1999 Hugo Award for Best Short Story as well as the 2000 Nebula Award for Best Short Story.

Scherzo with Tyrannosaur

"Scherzo with Tyrannosaur" is a science fiction short story published in 1999 by Michael Swanwick, later expanded into the novel Bones of the Earth. It won the 2000 Hugo Award for Best Short Story, was nominated for the Nebula Award, placed third in the 2000 Locus Poll, and placed fourth in the Asimov's Science Fiction Reader Poll.

Slow Life (novelette)

"Slow Life" is a science fiction novelette by Michael Swanwick. It won the Hugo Award for Best Novelette in 2003.

The story is set on Titan. The author wrote: "I liked Titan specifically because there was a lot known about its chemistry and geography, but most people were not familiar with it, so a story set there would feel fresh to them."

Stations of the Tide

Stations of the Tide is a science fiction novel by American author Michael Swanwick. Prior to being published in book form in 1991, it was serialized in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in two parts, starting in mid-December 1990.

It won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1991, was nominated for both the Hugo and Campbell Awards in 1992, and was nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1993.

The Dog Said Bow-Wow

"The Dog Said Bow-Wow" is a science fiction short story by American writer Michael Swanwick, published in 2001. It won the 2002 Hugo Award for Best Short Story and was nominated for the 2002 Nebula Award for Best Short Story. The Dog Said Bow-Wow is the title story of his 2007 short story collection, published by Tachyon Publications, and was reprinted in the same year in Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology.

The Dragons of Babel

The Dragons of Babel is a 2008 science fantasy novel by American author Michael Swanwick, set in the same world as his earlier work The Iron Dragon's Daughter (1993). It follows the plight of a young man named Will Le Fey after a crippled dragon takes up residence in his town and inside his mind. Like The Iron Dragon's Daughter, the novel subverts fantasy tropes while it explores the extremely dark and gritty world of Faerie.

The Dragons of Babel was nominated for the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 2009.

The Periodic Table of Science Fiction

The Periodic Table of Science Fiction is a collection of 118 very short stories by science fiction author Michael Swanwick. Each story is named after an element in the periodic table, including the then-undiscovered element 117.

The stories were commissioned to run on Eileen Gunn's The Infinite Matrix but were published in the Sci Fiction section of SciFi.com, between 2001 and 2003. The stories were published as they were written, about which Swanwick said, "It made the sequence into a kind of performance art, something akin to being a trapeze artist, which is a possibility not normally open to a writer."The print edition was published in 2005, in two signed limited editions: one slipcase hardback edition with a print run of 200, and one hardback edition with a print run of 500 books. In 2009, Swanwick posted the stories on a weblog dedicated to the purpose.The theme of each story in the collection is inspired by the element it is named after. The book also includes an afterword by the author, and a foreword by Theodore Gray who was awarded the IgNobel Prize for Chemistry in 2002.

The Very Pulse of the Machine

"The Very Pulse of the Machine" is a science fiction short story published in 1998 by Michael Swanwick. It was the winner of the 1999 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. It was also nominated for the 1999 Locus award and Asimov's Reader Poll.

Vacuum Flowers

Vacuum Flowers is a science fiction novel by Michael Swanwick, which was published in 1987. It is an early example of the cyberpunk genre, and features one of the earliest uses of the concept wetware.

The protagonist of the novel is Rebel Elizabeth Mudlark, the recorded personality of a dead woman which has become the property of a corporation that intends to sell it as entertainment. Rebel escapes by taking over the body of Eucrasia Walsh, a woman who rents herself out for temporary testing of new wetware programming. While escaping the corporation Eucrasia's latent personality is beginning to reassert itself.

Rebel's adventures take her throughout the widely colonised solar system. She initially lives in canister worlds orbiting the Sun in a trojan orbit, where she sometimes works removing bioengineered weeds (vacuum flowers, the space-tolerant flora of the title) from the canisters' exterior ports. Since the recording omits most of her memories, she must rely on strangers to help her survive, though she cannot trust any of them. Rebel meets and falls in love with Wyeth, a leader whose personality was reprogrammed into a team of four complementary personas. Together they form an uneasy alliance with The Comprise, the hive mind which rules Earth, and encounter Dysonworlders, who live on genetically engineered artificial comets (Dyson trees).

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