Rachel Swirsky

Rachel Swirsky is an American literary, speculative fiction and fantasy writer, poet, and editor living in California. She was the founding editor of the PodCastle podcast and served as editor from 2008 to 2010. She served as vice president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2013.[1]

She has been published in such literary publications as PANK, the Konundrum Engine Literary Review, and the New Haven Review. Her speculative fiction work has appeared in numerous markets including Tor.com, Subterranean Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Fantasy Magazine, Interzone, Realms of Fantasy, and Weird Tales, and collected in a variety of year's best anthologies, including Gardner Dozois's The Year's Best Science Fiction, Rich Horton's The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, Jonathan Strahan's Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and Jeff & Ann VanderMeer's Best American Fantasy.

Her novella "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window" won the 2010 Nebula Award.[2][3] and was also a nominee for a 2011 Hugo Award[4] and for the 2011 World Fantasy Award.[5][6]

Swirsky's short story "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" won the 2013 Nebula Award for Best Short Story, and was nominated for the Hugo award for best short story of 2013.[7][8]

Rachel Swirsky
BornApril 14, 1982 (age 36)
San Jose, California, United States
GenreScience fiction, fantasy
Notable works
Notable awardsNebula Award (2010, 2013)


Swirsky was born in California. A graduate of the University of California Santa Cruz and the Iowa Writers Workshop, Swirsky taught undergraduate science fiction and fantasy writing while a teaching assistant at The University of Iowa.[9] In 2005, she attended the Clarion West writers workshop.[10]

In addition to her fiction, Swirsky writes critical essays, reviews, and other non-fiction.

Swirsky has donated her writing to a number of charity anthologies. Her story "Heat Engine" appeared in Last Bird, Drink Head, a flash fiction anthology supporting the ProLiteracy charity. In September 2010, she contributed a story to the online chapbook story collection Clash of the Geeks, presented by Subterranean Press supporting the Lupus Alliance of America.[11]

Swirsky lives in Bakersfield, California.[12]

Awards and critical reception

In addition to winning the Nebula, Swirsky's work has been nominated for awards and received other critical attention. Her novella "A Memory of Wind" was a finalist for the 2009 Nebula Awards ballot.[13] Her novelette "Eros, Philia, Agape" was nominated for the Hugo,[14] the Theodore Sturgeon Award,[15] the Locus Award,[16] the storySouth Million Writers Award,[17][18] and the Tiptree Award.[19] Her novelette "Portrait of Lisane da Patagnia" was a finalist for the 2012 Nebula Awards ballot.[20] 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novelette,[21] and the 2011 Nebula Award for Best Novelette. Her story "Fields of Gold" was nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novelette,[22] and the 2011 Nebula Award for Best Novelette.[23] "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" won the 2013 Nebula Award for Best Short Story,[24] and was nominated for the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.[25]

Her poem "The Oracle on River Street" won third place for the Rhysling Award and was reprinted in the 2008 Rhysling anthology.[26] Other work has also been long-listed for the storySouth Million Writers Award,[27] the BSFA Award, and the Tiptree Award.

Her work has been listed on the annual Locus Magazine's Recommended Reading List.[28][29][30]



  • How the World Became Quiet and Myths of the Past, Present, and Future, Subterranean Press, 2013, ISBN 978-159606-550-5
  • Through the Drowsy Dark: Short Fiction & Poetry, Aqueduct Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-933500-38-6

Edited works

  • People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, Prime Books, 2010, ISBN 978-1-60701-238-2

Selected short stories

  • "Defiled Imagination," PANK Magazine, October 2010
  • "The Monster's Million Faces," Tor.com, Sept 8, 2010
  • "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window," Subterranean Magazine, Summer 2010
  • "A Memory of Wind," Tor.com, Nov 3 2009
  • "Eros, Philia, Agape," Tor.com, Mar 3 2009 (reprinted in Jonathan Strahan's Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Vol. 4 and in Rich Horton's The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2010)
  • "Marrying the Sun," Fantasy Magazine, June 30, 2008 (reprinted in Jonathan Strahan's The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Vol. 3)
  • "How the World Became Quiet: A Post-Human Creation Myth," Electric Velocipede, issue 13 (reprinted in audio at Escape Pod, Sep 20 2008 and in Jeff & Ann VanderMeer's Best American Fantasy 2)
  • "A Monkey Will Never Be Rid of Its Black Hands," Subterranean Magazine, Winter 2008
  • "Dispersed by the Sun, Melting in the Wind," Subterranean Magazine, Spring 2007
  • "The Debt of the Innocent," Glorifying Terrorism, 2007
  • "Heartstrung," in Interzone 210 (reprinted in audio at Pseudopod, Mar 28 2008; reprinted in Rich Horton's Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2008)
  • "A Letter Never Sent," in Konundrum Engine Literary Review
  • "Scene from a Dystopia," in Subterranean Magazine #4, 2006

Selected poetry

  • "Mundane," Ideomancer, 2010
  • "Evening in Pompeii," Ideomancer, 2010
  • "String Theory," Ideomancer, September 2009
  • "Remembering the World," Electric Velocipede #15-16, Winter 2008
  • "The Passionate Oven," Helix #8 (reprinted in Transcriptase)
  • "Pro-Life Patter," Diet Soap #2 (originally printed on Alas, a Blog)
  • "Terrible Lizards," Diet Soap #1, online edition, February 2008
  • "Invitation to Emerald," Lone Star Stories, December 2007
  • "A Season with the Geese," Abyss&Apex, third quarter 2007 (reprinted in The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume One)
  • "The Oracle on River Street," Goblin Fruit, Summer 2007


  1. ^ "Current Officers". SFWA. 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  2. ^ "2011 Nebula Award Winners". SFWA. 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  3. ^ Hesse, Monica (2011-05-23). "Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America hold annual convention". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  4. ^ Locus, 2011 Hugo and Campbell Awards Winners (access date August 21, 2011)
  5. ^ "Renovation - Hugo Awards". Renovationsf.org. Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  6. ^ "Awards of the WFC". World Fantasy Convention 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  7. ^ "2013 Nebula Awards Winners". Locus. 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
  8. ^ http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/2014-hugo-awards/
  9. ^ "Rachel Swirsky". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  10. ^ "Rachel Swirsky". Clarion West. 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  11. ^ Swirsky, Rachel (2010-07-01). "The Complex Identity of the Archetypal Hero: A Fictional Treatise with Unicorn Pegasus Kittens | Alas, a Blog". Amptoons.com. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  12. ^ "Rachel Swirsky". Macmillan.
  13. ^ Sheila Crosby May 16, 2010 at 4:49 am (2010-05-15). "SFWA announces 2009 Nebula Awards winners". SFWA. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  14. ^ "2010 Hugo Award Nominees". The Hugo Awards. 2010-04-04. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  15. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 2010 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award". Locusmag.com. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  16. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: Locus Award Nominees List". Mark R. Kelly and Locus Publications. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  17. ^ "storySouth Million Writers Award Notable Stories 2008". Storysouth.com. 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  18. ^ "storySouth Million Writers Award Notable Stories 2008". Storysouth.com. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  19. ^ "2010 Tiptree Award Long List". James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
  20. ^ "2012 Nebula Awards Nominees Announced". SFWA. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  21. ^ 2012 Hugo Awards Archived April 9, 2012, at WebCite, at TheHugoAwards.org; retrieved June 26, 2014
  22. ^ 2012 Hugo Awards Archived April 9, 2012, at WebCite, at TheHugoAwards.org; retrieved June 27, 2014
  23. ^ 2011 Nebula Awards Nominees announced, at SFWA.org; published February 2012; retrieved June 27, 2014
  24. ^ 2013 Nebula Awards Winners, at Locus; published May 17, 2014; retrieved June 26, 2014
  25. ^ 2014 Hugo Awards, at TheHugoAwards.org; retrieved June 26, 2014
  26. ^ "Science Fiction Poetry Association". Sfpoetry.com. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  27. ^ "storySouth Million Writers Award". Storysouth.com. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  28. ^ Burnham, Karen (2011-02-03). "Locus Roundtable » 2010 Locus Recommended Reading List". Locusmag.com. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  29. ^ "Locus Online: Magazine: February 2010: 2009 Recommended Reading List". Locusmag.com. 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  30. ^ Locusmag.com

External links

Burn (novella)

"Burn" is a science fiction novella published in 2005 by James Patrick Kelly. It won the 2007 Nebula Award for Best Novella.

Electric Velocipede

Electric Velocipede was a small press speculative fiction fan magazine edited by John Klima. Published from 2001 to 2013, Electric Velocipede won the Hugo Award for Best Fanzine in 2009.

Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway is a novella by Seanan McGuire. Set in a boarding school for teenagers who have passed through "doorways" into fantasy worlds only to be evicted back into the real world. It was critically acclaimed upon release, and it won the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Novella, the 2016 Nebula Award for Best Novella, and the 2017 Locus Award for Best Novella. and the Alex Awards for 2017

Fields of Gold (disambiguation)

"Fields of Gold" is a 1993 song by Sting.

Fields of Gold may also refer to:

Fields of Gold (novelette), a 2011 story by Rachel Swirsky

Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984–1994, a compilation album by Sting.

Fields of Gold, a 1999 album by Terell Stafford

"Fields of Gold", a song by Finnish folk metal band Turisas in their album The Varangian Way (2007)

Turisas sings a live version on the documentary A Finnish Summer with Turisas (2008)

Fields of Gold, a 2002 television film directed by Bill Anderson

Fields of Gold, a book by Andy Stanley

Fields of Gold, a 2010 novel by Fiona McIntosh

Fields of Gold (novelette)

"Fields of Gold" is a 2011 fantasy novelette by Rachel Swirsky. It was first published in the Jonathan Strahan-edited anthology "Eclipse Four", and was reprinted in Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2012.

Glorifying Terrorism

Glorifying Terrorism is a 2007 science fiction anthology edited by Farah Mendlesohn, which was compiled in direct response to the Terrorism Act 2006. Every story in the anthology has been specifically designed to be illegal under the Act's prohibition on any publication "indirectly encouraging the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism," including "every statement which glorifies the commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the future or generally) of such acts," and the anthology's introduction begins with the explicit statement that "(t)he purpose of the stories and poems in this book is to glorify terrorism."

If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love

"If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" is a short story by American writer Rachel Swirsky. It was first published in Apex Magazine in 2013.

List of Clarion West Writers Workshop alumni

This is a list of alumni in the Clarion West Writers Workshop, a six-week workshop for writers of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative literature, held annually in Seattle, Washington.

Daniel Abraham (1998)

Kathleen Alcalá (1987)

Greg Beatty (2000)

Jenna Black (1989)

K. Tempest Bradford (2003)

Cassandra Rose Clarke (2010)

Monte Cook (1999)

Greg Cox (1984)

Kathryn Cramer (1984)

Indrapramit Das (2012)

A. M. Dellamonica (1995)

Arinn Dembo (1990)

Ron Drummond (1987)

Andy Duncan (1994)

Susan Fry (Susan Lee) (1998)

Richard Garfinkle (1992)

Kathleen Ann Goonan (1988)

Neile Graham (1996)

Susan Grossman (1990)

Caren Gussoff (2008)

Andrea Hairston (1999)

Randy Henderson (2009)

David Herter (1990)

Kij Johnson (1987)

Vylar Kaftan (2004)

Georgina Kamsika (2012)

Fiona Kelleghan (1995)

Margo Lanagan (1999)

Ann Leckie (2005)

David D. Levine (2000)

Kelly Link

Sonia Orin Lyris (1992)

Usman T. Malik (2013)

Daniel Marcus (1992)

Louise Marley (1993)

David Marusek (1992)

Maura McHugh (writer) (2006)

Carlton Mellick III (2008)

Steve Miller (1973)

Mary Anne Mohanraj (1997)

Monidipa “Mimi” Mondal (2015)

E. C. Myers (2005)

Ruth Nestvold (1998)

Gene O'Neill (1979)

Susan Palwick (1985)

Laurie Penny (2015)

Evan J. Peterson (2015)

Cat Rambo (2005)

Justina Robson (1996)

Benjamin Rosenbaum (2001)

Mary Rosenblum (1988)

Diana Rowland (1998)

Kiini Ibura Salaam (2001)

Lawrence Schimel (1991)

Carol Severance (1984)

Nisi Shawl (1992)

Jeff Spock (2004)

Rachel Swirsky (2005)

Gabriel Teodros (2016)

Sheree Thomas (1999)

Amy Thomson (1984)

Gordon Van Gelder (1987)

David J. Williams (2007)

Eric M. Witchey (1998)

N. Lee Wood (1985)

Mad Norwegian Press

Mad Norwegian Press is an American publisher of science-fiction guides and novels. The company has worked with authors such as Harlan Ellison, Peter David, Diana Gabaldon, Tanya Huff, Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, Mary Robinette Kowal, Seanan McGuire, Barbara Hambly, Martha Wells, Juliet E. McKenna, Aliette de Bodard, Jody Lynn Nye, Catherynne M. Valente, Rachel Swirsky, Melissa Scott, Hal Duncan, Brit Mandelo, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Nancy Holder, Sharon Shinn, Jeanne C. Stein, Colleen Doran, Jill Thompson, Jen Van Meter, Marjorie Liu, Sarah Monette, Mark Waid, Lyda Morehouse, Paul Magrs, Gary Russell, Robert Shearman, Lance Parkin, Andrew Cartmel, Steve Lyons, Lawrence Miles and Tat Wood.

Mad Norwegian was founded by Lars Pearson, a former staffer at Wizard Magazine, and is based in Des Moines, Iowa.

The majority of the company's output is reference guides to science-fiction series such as Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and The X-Files. As a rule of thumb, such guides examine the continuity that governs each show --- taking into consideration how different episodes reconcile against each other, for instance --- along with critiques, theorizing and behind-the-scenes details. The "About Time" series, a series of guidebooks to Doctor Who, deviates from this formula somewhat by examining the political and cultural context (as well as the development of television) that influenced Doctor Who on a year-by-year basis during its initial 26-year run (from 1963 to 1989).

From 2002 to 2006, Mad Norwegian produced a series of Faction Paradox novels, using concepts and characters as created by Lawrence Miles.

The company has a series of essay collections pertaining to women and fandom: the Hugo-Award-winning Chicks Dig Time Lords (2010), Whedonistas! (2011) and the Hugo-Award-nominated Chicks Dig Comics (2012), and the Hugo-Award-nominated Chicks Unravel Time (2012).

Forthcoming from Mad Norwegian the essay collection Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It, with an introduction by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman.

Mantis Wives

"Mantis Wives" is a 2012 weird fiction short story by Kij Johnson. It was first published in Clarkesworld.


Minicon is a science fiction and fantasy convention in Minneapolis usually held on Easter weekend. Started in 1968 and running approximately annually since then, it is one of the oldest science fiction conventions in the midwest United States. It is run by the Minnesota Science Fiction Society, a non-profit organization that is "dedicated to furthering the appreciation of science fiction and fantasy literature".

Minicon has had many guests of honor over the years, including Gordon R. Dickson, Poul Anderson, Clifford D. Simak, Lester del Rey, Frederik Pohl, Octavia E. Butler, Harlan Ellison, Larry Niven, and Terry Pratchett.

Nebula Award for Best Novella

The Nebula Award for Best Novella is given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for science fiction or fantasy novellas. A work of fiction is defined by the organization as a novella if it is between 17,500 and 40,000 words; awards are also given out for pieces of longer lengths in the novel category, and for shorter lengths in the short story and novelette categories. To be eligible for Nebula Award consideration a novella must be published in English in the United States. Works published in English elsewhere in the world are also eligible provided they are released on either a website or in an electronic edition. The Nebula Award for Best Novella has been awarded annually since 1966. Novellas published by themselves are eligible for the novel award instead if the author requests them to be considered as such. The award has been described as one of "the most important of the American science fiction awards" and "the science-fiction and fantasy equivalent" of the Emmy Awards.Nebula Award nominees and winners are chosen by members of the SFWA, though the authors of the nominees do not need to be members. Works are nominated each year between November 15 and February 15 by published authors who are members of the organization, and the six works that receive the most nominations then form the final ballot, with additional nominees possible in the case of ties. Members may then vote on the ballot throughout March, and the final results are presented at the Nebula Awards ceremony in May. Authors are not permitted to nominate their own works, and ties in the final vote are broken, if possible, by the number of nominations the works received. The rules were changed to their current format in 2009. Previously, the eligibility period for nominations was defined as one year after the publication date of the work, which allowed the possibility for works to be nominated in the calendar year after their publication and then be awarded in the calendar year after that. Works were added to a preliminary list for the year if they had ten or more nominations, which were then voted on to create a final ballot, to which the SFWA organizing panel was also allowed to add an additional work.During the 53 nomination years, 171 authors have had works nominated; 49 of these have won, including co-authors and ties. Nancy Kress has won the most awards: four out of eight nominations. Robert Silverberg, John Varley, and Roger Zelazny have each won twice out of eight, two, and three nominations, respectively. Silverberg's and Kress's eight nominations are the most of any authors, followed by Lucius Shepard and Michael Bishop at seven, and Kate Wilhelm and Avram Davidson with six. Bishop has the most nominations without receiving an award for novellas, though Wilhelm and Davidson have also not won an award.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2012

Nebula Awards Showcase 2012 is an anthology of science fiction short works edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel. It was first published in trade paperback by Pyr in May 2012.


PodCastle is a weekly audio fantasy fiction podcast. They release audio performances of fantasy short fiction, including all the subgenres of fantasy, including magical realism, urban fantasy, slipstream, high fantasy, and dark fantasy. As of 2018, Jen R. Albert and Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali share editing duties and the show is mainly hosted by assistant editor Setsu Uzume, with occasional guest hosts.

Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast

"Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast" is a 2009 science fiction novelette by American writer Eugie Foster. It was first published in Interzone, and has subsequently been republished in Apex Magazine, in The Nebula Awards Showcase 2011, and in The Mammoth Book of Nebula Awards SF; as well, it has been translated into Czech, French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, and Hungarian, and an audio version was released on Escape Pod.


Swirsky is a Belarusian surname, named for the former city of Swir, in what is now Belarus. It may refer to:

Chuck Swirsky (b. 1954) - sports commentator.

Dale Swirsky - candidate for Winnipeg South Centre in the 2006 Canadian federal election.

David Swirsky - vocalist for the Moshav Band

Rachel Swirsky (b. 1982) - science fiction & fantasy author.

Robert Swirsky (b. 1962) - computer scientist, author, pianist.

Seth Swirsky (b. 1960) - songwriter, recording artist, author.

The Green Leopard Plague

The Green Leopard Plague is a 2004 novella by Walter Jon Williams. It was first published in Asimov's Science Fiction.

The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window

"The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window" is a fantasy novella by American writer Rachel Swirsky. It explores the conjunction of invocation, deep time, and culture shock. It was originally published in Subterranean Magazine, in the summer of 2010, and subsequently republished in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2011 (from Prime Books) and "The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Vol. 5" (from Night Shade Books).

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