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Nick Mamatas

Nick MamatasNick co-edited the magazine Clarkesworld for two years, which was nominated for the Hugo and World Fantasy awards. Stories from Clarkesworld have been collected in a pair of anthologies. Nick’s own short stories have appeared in literary journals such as Mississippi Review online, subTERRAIN, and Per Contra, slicks including Razor and Spex, and fantasy and horror magazines and anthologies including New Dark Voices 2, Poe’s Lighthouse, ChiZine, and Lovecraft Unbound. His fiction has been nominated for the Bram Stoker awards three times, the International Horror Guild Award, and Germany’s Kurd-Laßwitz Preis. His reportage and essays have appeared in the Village Voice, The Smart Set, H+, Clamor, In These Times, various anthologies. With Kap Su Seol he translated and edited the first English edition of a firsthand account of South Korea’s Kwangju massacre–Kwangju Diary (UCLA Asian Pacific, 1999). Nick now lives in the California Bay Area, where he is editor of tradebooks for VIZ Media and edits both Japanese science fiction novels in translation and books associated with Oscar-winning filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli.
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I Am Providence: A smart, dark, funny Lovecraftian mystery

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I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas

“On any other weekend, my body would have been discovered more quickly.” 

Panos Panossian is not the kind of a guy to let the mere fact that he is dead stop him from narrating; even if his first-person narration starts after he’s been killed, and is a faceless corpse in a cabinet in the morgue. That quote is the opening sentence in I Am Providence, a multi-genrebending novel by Nick Mamatas.

Panossian is, well, was a novelist, and a novelist in a very specific niche with a very specific fandom; he wrote Lovecraftian fiction. He was attending the annual Summer Tentacular, a Lovecraft convention held in Providenc... Read More

Magazine Monday: Tragedy and Comedy

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Crossed Genres, a magazine published online, digitally and in print, has a unique approach to genre fiction: every month it chooses a genre and requires that the stories it publishes that month combine the chosen genre with some aspect of science fiction or fantasy. Issue 27 offers a mash-up of science fiction and fantasy with tragedy. Surprisingly, none of the five short stories uses the traditional tragic element of a hero with a fatal flaw, which would seem tailor-made for SF and fantasy. Instead, the writers simply write stories that end in sadness.

“Nadirah Sends Her Love” by Ada Milenkovic Brown is the most imaginative of the stories. It takes the form of letters from Nadirah to Azim, her husband, in Hijiri Year 1432 -- or, as westerners figure time, 2011. In this world, the Arab nations continued to grow and deve... Read More

Magazine Monday: Bull Spec #5

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Bull Spec is a print and electronic science fiction and fantasy glossy magazine named for its home of Durham, North Carolina. The word “Bull” seems to have become associated with Durham because of a tobacco factory in the city, which itself took the name from the picture of a bull that appeared on the label of a mustard that the tobacco factory owner believed was manufactured in Durham, England; it’s all very complicated, but at least we know that the magazine’s name is based on where it is published. The publisher, Samuel Montgomery-Blinn, seems a bit surprised that the name of the magazine is mysterious to many outside of North Carolina, but he likes it. As well he should, because Bull Spec is a fine addition to the ranks of science fiction, fantasy and horror magazines.

“Mortal Passage” by Read More

Magazine Monday: Clarkesworld, September 2012, Issue 72

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Clarkesworld Magazine is a monthly electronic publication with a strong focus on science fiction, though it also publishes fantasy. In addition, it has an unusual emphasis on nonfiction. The September issue, No. 72, contains three stories, all of which are science fiction, two nonfiction articles, and an interview.

“The Found Girl,” by David Klecha and Tobias S. Buckell, opens this issue. It is about those left behind when the mass of humankind upload themselves into a digital, immortal existence. Unfortunately, many of those are children, a circumstance that is not explained; it seems odd that parents would leave their children behind. But then, they are not completely abandoned, for the digital world manages to interact with the bricks-and-mortar world to protect the chil... Read More

SFM: Poe, Bradbury, Danvers, Mamatas, James, Parypinski

Short Fiction Monday: Happy Halloween from Fantasy Literature and SFM! Our column today has an extra-large serving of horror stories. 


“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe (1846, free at Project Gutenberg)

Our narrator Montresor, an Italian nobleman, explains ― in a suspiciously vague way ― how his friend Fortunato has mortally offended and insulted him. Montresor sets himself on a course of implacable revenge ... but he wants to do so in a way that Fortunato understands that Montresor is the source of revenge, but without being caught or punished.

Montresor and Fortunato meet during a carnival festival ― which at first seems by chance, but then you find out that Montresor has set up the situation so that all of his... Read More

SFM: Gregory, Roanhorse, Vernon, Mamatas & Pratt, Clarke, Lowachee

Short Fiction Monday: Our weekly exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we've read recently that we wanted you to know about.

“Second Person, Present Tense” by Daryl Gregory (2005, free in print and audio at Clarkesworld, November 2017 issue; originally published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, September 2005 issue)

I love what Daryl Gregory does with drugs. “Second Person, Present Tense” is about the parents of a girl who died after overdosing on a drug called “Zen” or “Zombie.” Unable to cope with their loss, they latch on to a homeless girl (our narrator) who they hope will come live with them a... Read More

Spicy Slipstream Stories: If you love pulps…

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Spicy Slipstream Stories edited by Nick Namatas & Jay Lake

Slipstream, for me, is a type of fiction that is bizarre and confusing and defies expectations. That's not a bad thing, mind you, but to quote a passage from the introduction of the book, "You don't write slipstream, you read it." And so it was a big surprise when I started reading the stories in this anthology. They're actually — gasp — readable, or at least accessible to lay people without needing literary degrees or geeky credentials. In fact, the selections impressed me because they all stood out, and I can honestly say there's no bad story in this book. If I have any complaints with this anthology, surprisingly enough, it's because I feel some of the stories aren't that slipstream, that they're still too coherent and identifiable. But is that really such a bad trait?

The pulp influences this anthology draws upon migh... Read More

Supernatural Noir: A Datlow anthology

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Supernatural Noir edited by Ellen Datlow

Ellen Datlow suggests in her introduction to Supernatural Noir that noir fiction and supernatural fiction, with its roots in the gothic, have a lot in common. The main character in each tends to be a hard-living guy, usually down to his last flask of scotch, haunted by a sexy dame whose middle name is trouble. So it seemed natural to her to combine the two genres for an original anthology.

Despite my general rule that any anthology edited by Ellen Datlow is one I want to read, I resisted this one for a long time. Detectives looking for ghosts? Eh. Not my thing. But when Supernatural Noir was nominated for a Read More

Schemers: Stories of complex plans and gut wrenching betrayals

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Schemers by Robin D. Laws (editor)

Schemers is a collection of short stories by an excellent list of authors: Jesse Bullington, Tobias Buckell, Ekaterina Sedia, Jonathan L. Howard, Nick Mamatas, Elizabeth A. Vaughan, Tania Hershman, Kyla Lee Ward, Robyn Seale, Laura Lush, Molly Tanzer, John Helfers, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, and Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer.  These are stories of complex plans and gut wrenching betrayals. It is a gr... Read More

The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk: Truly mammoth, with some great stories

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The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk edited by Sean Wallace

The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk lives up to its name, with 21 works of fiction ranging from short stories to novellas. “Dieselpunk” is the term the coined for concepts that grew out of steampunk but have left the Victorian era behind and are now, for the most part, set in the time period between the two world wars. There are exceptions in this anthology; one story takes places during WWII and one during the American Occupation of Japan.

What you get here, mostly, is writers having a lot of fun with pulp-era inventions and adventures. There are airships, of course. There are airplanes, rockets, tanks, Voltron/Pacific Rim-style robotic fighting suits; there are jetpacks and giant subterranean drills. Several stories deal with Prohibition, and several authors start from the fact that the “interwar period” was far ... Read More

More speculative fiction by Nick Mamatas

Northern Gothic Nick MamatasNorthern Gothic — (2001) Publisher: Northern Gothic is the story of supernaturally crossed worlds — Manhattan’s Chelsea district of the present and New York during the Civil War draft riots. William, a young Irish immigrant trying to avoid the war, and Ahmadi, a gay man from the South trying to make it in the Big Apple, find their paths — and destinies — intertwined as William is sucked into the racist violence of the riots and Ahmadi is pulled inexorably into the past.


3000 MPH in Every Direction at Once Nick Mamatas3000 MPH in Every Direction at Once — (2003) Publisher: What if everyone actually was famous for exactly fifteen minutes? What if Joey Ramone could save the world? What if the spiritual enlightenment of saints and sages was a sexually transmitted disease? These are the fictions. Neon signs that predict a city’s future. Companies paying people to insult their clients online. Edgar Allan Poe’s New York is still alive, but not well. These are the facts. And they say speculative fiction and personal essays don’t belong in the same book. Whether in the glossy pages of the men’s magazine Razor or the stolen reams of office supplies that make up the zine The Whirligig, the writing of Nick Mamatas is your hitchhiker’s guide to the new, and very weird, millennium. Don’t know where the world is headed? Nick does and it’s 3000 miles per hour in every direction at once.


Move Under Ground Nick MamatasMove Under Ground — (2004) Publisher: The year is nineteen-sixty-something, and after endless millennia of watery sleep, the stars are finally right. Old R’lyeh rises out of the Pacific, ready to cast its damned shadow over the primitive human world. The first to see its peaks: an alcoholic, paranoid, and frightened Jack Kerouac, who had been drinking off a nervous breakdown up in Big Sur. Now Jack must get back on the road to find Neal Cassady, the holy fool whose rambling letters hint of a world brought to its knees in worship of the Elder God Cthulhu. Together with pistol-packin’ junkie William S. Burroughs, Jack and Neal make their way across the continent to face down the murderous Lovecraftian cult that has spread its darkness to the heart of the American Dream. But is Neal along for the ride to help save the world, or does he want to destroy it just so that he’ll have an ending for his book?


Move Under Ground Nick Mamatas, Under My RoofUnder My Roof — (2008) Young adult. Publisher: Herbert Weinberg’s father is striking a blow for freedom. Implanting a nuclear device within a garden gnome in the front yard of their Long Island home, he’s declared independence from the U.S. The household is understandably is an uproar. Mother’s gone, the local weatherman has moved in, and 12-year-old Herbert is simultaneously a hostage and the Minister of Information. A daring raid plucks the lad from his ancestral home, but even while troops surround the belligerent house-state of Weinbergia, the call to freedom has been sounded. The house is rapidly filling up with American refuseniks. Can the refrigerator hold out? And will Herbert’s telepathic powers defeat imperialism and reunite him with his father? Based on Aristophanes’s Archanians, Under My Roof is funny, ambitous novel.


Nick Mamatas You Might Sleep...You Might Sleep … — (2009) Publisher: A busboy with the power to kill with a glance, and a vendetta against the President. The guy in the next cubicle has launched The Revolution, and his first target is the marketing department! Joan of Arc is back, and she’s blogging! Edgar Allan Poe, another poor sap dead thanks to Election Day. A girl with the power to destroy the universe, once she gets out of rehab. Three weeks after the Singularity, it’s up to the planet’s last psychotherapist to solve the mystery of the first posthuman murder. And, of course, Joey Ramone saves the world. You might sleep, but after reading these stories you’ll never dream in quite the same way again.


Move Under Ground Nick Mamatas, Under My Roof, Farewell PerformanceFarewell Performance — (2011) Publisher: Jaskey has a flashlight, a captive audience, and a story about the end of the world — what could be better? At the publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


Move Under Ground Nick Mamatas, Under My Roof, SensationSensation — (2011) Publisher: When Julia Hernandez leaves her husband, shoots a real estate developer, and then vanishes without a trace, she slips out of the world she knew and into the Simulacrum — a place where human history is both guided and thwarted by the conflict between a species of anarchist wasps and a collective of hyperintelligent spiders. When Julia’s ex-husband Raymond spots her in a grocery store he doesn’t usually patronize, he’s soon drawn into an underworld of radical political gestures where Julia is the new media sensation of both this world and the Simulacrum. Told ultimately from the collective point of view of another species, this allegorical novel plays with the elements of the Simulacrum apparent in real life — media reports, business speak, blog entries, text messages, psychological-evaluation forms, and the lies lovers tell one another — and poses a fascinating idea that displaces human beings from the center of the universe and makes them simply the pawns of two warring species.


Move Under Ground Nick Mamatas, Under My Roof, SensationThe Damned Highway: Fear and Loathing in Arkham — (2011) With Brian Keene. Publisher: A hilarious, shocking, terrifying thrill ride across the American landscape, The Damned Highway pays homage to the gonzo journalism of Hunter S. Thompson and the uncanny terrors of H. P. Lovecraft! Horror legend Brian Keene (The Rising) and cult storytelling master Nick Mamatas (Move Under Ground) dredge up a tale of drug-fueled eldritch madness from the blackest depths of the American nightmare. On a freaked-out bus journey to Arkham, Massachusetts, and the 1972 presidential primary, evidence mounts that sinister forces are on the rise, led by the Cult of Cthulhu and its most prominent member — Richard M. Nixon!


Move Under Ground Nick Mamatas, Under My Roof, Sensation, BullettimeBullettime — (2012)  Publisher: DAVID HOLBROOK EXISTS EVERYWHERE AND NOWHERE. David Holbrook is a scrawny kid, the victim of bullies, and the neglected son of insane parents. David Holbrook is the Kallis Episkopos, a vicious murderer turned imprisoned leader of a death cult dedicated to Eris, the Hellenic goddess of discord. David Holbrook never killed anyone, and lives a lonely and luckless existence with his aging mother in a tumbledown New Jersey town. Caught between finger and trigger, David is given three chances to decide his fate as he is compelled to live and relive all his potential existences, guided only by the dark wisdom found in a bottle of cough syrup. From the author of the instant cult classic Move Under Ground comes a fantasy of blood, lust, destiny, school shootings, and the chance to change your future.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsLove is the Law — (2013) Publisher: In 1989, punk-rock girl “Golden” Dawn has crafted an outsider’s life combining the philosophies of Communism and Aleister Crowley’s black magic. One fateful day she finds the dead body of her mentor in both politics and magick shot in the head, seemingly a suicide. But Dawn knows there’s more going on than the Long Island cops could ever hope to uncover. In setting out to find the murderer herself, she will encounter dark and twisted truths for which no book, study, or basement show could have prepared her. Award-winning prose author Nick Mamatas crafts a raw, hilarious, original mystery!