Under Pressure: Life's Last Dance?

NON-FICTION by Julie Nováková in Issue 180 – September 2021

In the stifling depths where nothing had been thought to live, life thrives. In the deepest regions of Earth’s oceans or embedded far within its crust, both macroscopic and microbial life flourish despite the pressure that would instantly crush a human. Do you think the Mariana Trench is deep with great pressure at its bottom? […]

The Practice of Writing: A Conversation with Nina Allan

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 180 – September 2021

Nina Allan was born in Whitechapel, London, and grew up in the Midlands and West Sussex. She studied Russian language and literature at the University of Reading and the University of Exeter and earned her master’s in literature at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. She has lived on the Isle of Bute for nearly five years […]

5,000 Words a Day: A Conversation with Cat Rambo

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 180 – September 2021

Getting started in genre in the 2000s, with sales at venues including Strange Horizons, Talebones, Subterranean, and Fantasy Magazine, Cat Rambo now has published more stories than many authors will ever write. Rambo was born in College Station, TX, and grew up in South Bend, IN, in a house that was full of books, with […]

Editor's Desk: Ten+ Years of Translation

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 180 – September 2021

August quietly marked the tenth anniversary of our first translation, “The Fish of Lijiang” by Chen Qiufan, translated by Ken Liu. So why am I talking about it a month later? Well, to be honest, it sort of snuck up on me. I am not the first editor to feel passionately about the importance of […]

Retro Heroines: Bella, Buffy, and Katniss

NON-FICTION by Carrie Sessarego in Issue 179 – August 2021

The first decade of the 2000s was dominated by three groundbreaking heroines: Buffy Summers, of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bella Swan from the Twilight series, and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. These three heroines exercised power in ways consistent with their personalities and had different levels of success in reaching their […]

Just Under the Threshold: A Conversation with Adrian Tchaikovsky

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 179 – August 2021

Adrian Tchaikovsky, né Adrian Czajkowski, was born in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. He studied zoology and psychology at the University of Reading. In the mid-nineties, he paid the bills working with the Legal Aid Board, and via on-the-job training became a legal executive, eventually specializing in debt collection, litigation, and landlord/tenant law. At eighteen, Tchaikovsky discovered […]

Culture Beyond Flair: A Conversation with S. Qiouyi Lu

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 179 – August 2021

S. Qiouyi Lu was born and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. Æ went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in linguistics with a minor in Chinese. Æ did a few years of grad school, studying linguistics at Ohio State University, but ultimately returned to the San Gabriel […]

Editor's Desk: No Solicitations

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 179 – August 2021

A month doesn’t pass where I don’t field a question or see a comment about whether or not magazines, Clarkesworld included, are welcoming to new authors. A lot of this stems from a belief that magazines prioritize “name” authors over newcomers in the submissions process. Of major concern is the practice of solicited submissions, works […]

Destination Mercury

NON-FICTION by Andrew Liptak in Issue 178 – July 2021

There is no better example of how science fiction’s tendency to try and imagine a plausible future is like throwing a dart at a moving target than Larry Niven’s 1964 short story “The Coldest Place.” Up to that point, astronomers widely believed that the planet Mercury was tidally locked to the Sun: its rotation matched […]

Perpetual Training: An Interview with Tommy Arnold

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 178 – July 2021

Tommy Arnold’s memorable illustrations grace Fran Wilde’s Updraft books, the Subterranean Press edition of Martha Wells’ The Murderbot Diaries, C. L. Clark’s The Unbroken, Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth, and many more. Among other accolades, he was a Jack Gaughan Award winner in 2016, has been a Chesley Award nominee every […]

Connected to Culture: A Conversation with Sheree Renée Thomas

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 178 – July 2021

Sheree Renée Thomas was born in Memphis, TN. The eldest child of an air force vet, she grew up on various military bases. She eventually moved to New York, where she lived for twenty years before returning to live in Memphis. She worked at genre bookstore Forbidden Planet, as well as working full-time in publishing […]

Editor's Desk: An In-House Holiday

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 178 – July 2021

In October, Clarkesworld will celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of its very first issue, but for those of us behind-the-scenes, July (the seventh, to be precise) is where it all began. I was set on this path after a late-night conversation about the state of online fiction with Sean Wallace at Readercon. If you know your […]

Fungi in Fiction

NON-FICTION by Carrie Sessarego in Issue 177 – June 2021

Depictions of alien life-forms in movies and television are constrained by budget, by practicalities, and by storytelling purposes. For the purposes of budget and storytelling possibilities, Hollywood tends to highlight aliens with whom we can communicate, combat, cooperate with, and (if the original Star Trek is any indication) have sex with. Because of this, most […]

Undoing Good Women: A Conversation with Cassandra Khaw

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 177 – June 2021

Born in Malaysia, Cassandra Khaw grew up watching horror movies with their parents, from John Carpenter’s The Thing to A Nightmare on Elm Street to Critters. When they got older, they got into Asian horror movies, such as Shutter and The Eye. Nonetheless, long before landing their first fiction sales, they were a tech and […]

A Wider Range of Freedom: A Conversation with Alyssa Winans

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 177 – June 2021

Alyssa Winans grew up near Chicago. She studied in Japan for a year in high school, and her education had a strong emphasis on math and science. Regardless, she moved to Rhode Island for college, planning to study graphic design. “Luckily, everyone I met looked at my work and quickly directed me towards illustration.” Winans […]

Editor's Desk: What Do You Want?

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 177 – June 2021

“What do you want?” That was the question asked by the representative of the Shadows in Babylon 5. The Shadows were an ancient race that followed the first principles of chaos through warfare, evolution through bloodshed, and perfection through victory. For a younger race to reach their full potential they must endure the chaos of […]

A Brief History of Russian Science Fiction

NON-FICTION by Alex Shvartsman in Issue 176 – May 2021

It’s telling that the Russian term used to describe speculative fiction doesn’t distinguish between science fiction and fantasy. The word is fantastika (фантастика)—the literature of the fantastic. It is used equally to reference the Three Laws stories of Asimov and the Middle Earth tales of Tolkien. It is this lack of distinction—combined with Russia’s rich […]

Raising Science Fictional Children: A Conversation with Kelly Robson

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 176 – May 2021

Before Kelly Robson was a celebrated science fiction writer, she competed in rodeos, and was even a rodeo princess. “I like to say that being a rodeo princess is like having all the glamour and none of the responsibility. Also to be clear, this isn’t a beauty contest—it’s a riding contest.” Robson was born in […]

The Cost of Doing Good: A Conversation with Octavia Cade

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 176 – May 2021

New Zealand author Octavia Cade had always planned to be a scientist when she grew up. “But as much as I love science, scientific writing sucked all my enthusiasm out. It’s the worst. It’s boring and inaccessible and scientists have no right to whine about people misunderstanding science when they have done everything they can […]

Editor's Desk: A Quarantine Soapbox

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 176 – May 2021

Much like Matt Dixon’s robot on the cover of this month’s issue, I’ve felt a little boxed in this month. I’m currently in mandatory quarantine following a COVID test for the third time in the last two weeks. I should make it clear that I’m not at risk, though. This is solely for the protection […]

Wagon Train to the Arctic

NON-FICTION by Andrew Liptak in Issue 175 – April 2021

The history of space opera is one that prizes exploration and discovery; of finding new worlds and new civilizations or sights that human eyes have never encountered. Science fiction authors, tech visionaries, and science communicators have highlighted humanity’s long history of expeditionary travel as a sign that it’s our destiny as a species, one that […]

Freedom Over Tyranny: A Conversation with Harry Turtledove

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 175 – April 2021

Harry Turtledove first published as Eric Iverson, after being told that people would think “Turtledove” wasn’t his real name. Sword and sorcery adventure novels Wereblood and Werenight came out in 1979 with Belmont Tower. Del Rey/Ballantine published The Misplaced Legion in 1987 (wherein Romans are transported to another universe), beginning the Videssos cycle in the […]

In the Absence of Guidelines or Censorship: An Interview with Bo-Young Kim

INTERVIEW by Gord Sellar and Jihyun Park in Issue 175 – April 2021

Bo-Young Kim is one of the luminaries of Korean-language science fiction. After studying psychology in university and a stint as a scenario/script writer for a computer games company, she debuted as an SF author to great effect: her first published work, “The Experience of Touch,” won the best novella award in the inaugural 2002 round […]

Editor's Desk: In the Months Ahead

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 175 – April 2021

My last few editorials have been consumed by a focus on our annual reader’s poll and the works we published in 2020. This month, I’m turning it around and looking ahead to a few of the things that will be happening here in 2021. First, let me set the stage. I started the year with […]

“We'll Know It When We See It”: The Trouble with Finding (Alien) Life

NON-FICTION by Julie Nováková in Issue 174 – March 2021

Last month, NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars to investigate current and past conditions on the Red Planet and search for life. With it, an old but still burning question inevitably arises: when—if—we find alien life somewhere, are we going to recognize it? The question is far less trivial than it sounds. The odds […]

Falling in Love and the Collective Consciousness: An Interview with Elly Bangs

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 174 – March 2021

Elly Bangs was born in Seattle and lived there nearly her whole life. She earned a BA in creative writing from The Evergreen State College, roughly sixty miles away. She’s primarily worked in small nonprofit organizations, “usually in a role that combines doing all their paperwork with building their websites and databases. Right now I’m […]

Important Strangers: A Conversation with Becky Chambers

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 174 – March 2021

Becky Chambers grew up outside Los Angeles “in a family heavily involved in space science”—her father worked in aerospace engineering, her mother worked as an astrobiology educator. Her mother loved genre fiction, so Chambers was reading and watching SFF shows before she’d started school. Despite the prevalence of the sciences in her family, she moved […]

Editor's Desk: The Best from 2020

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 174 – March 2021

Over the last two months, Clarkesworld readers have been helping to determine the best story and cover art that we published in 2020. While there’s almost always someone (or a group of someones) who tries to sway the process, the voting went rather smoothly this year. Participation was up slightly over 2019 with the majority […]

Peter Pan Through the Years

NON-FICTION by Carrie Sessarego in Issue 173 – February 2021

“All children, except one, grow up.” These words open the novel Peter Pan, by J. M. Barrie. The story was published in and takes place in Edwardian England (after the death of Queen Victoria and slightly before World War I). Its pages are full of adventure, playfulness, terror, and levity. The novel was one of […]

Thrilling to the Harmony: A Conversation with Karen Osborne

INTERVIEW by Arley Sorg in Issue 173 – February 2021

As a self-avowed Star Trek nerd, it is perhaps fitting that Karen Osborne’s earliest attempts at selling fiction were in the Star Trek franchise: “As a teen, I once wrote a Star Trek: Voyager spec script with a friend over CompuServe, which became my first real rejection letter. It’s framed.” Osborne’s first SFF sales of […]
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