Kevin Andrew Murphy

Kevin Andrew Murphy grew up in California, earning degrees from UCSC in anthropology/folklore and literature/creative writing, and a masters of professional writing fromUSC. Over the years he’s written roleplaying games, short stories, novels, plays, and poems, andcreated the popular character Penny Dreadful for White Wolf, including writing the novel of thesame name. Kevin’s also a veteran contributor to George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards series. His Wild Cards story “Find the Lady” for Mississippi Roll won the Darrell Award for Best Novella for 2019, and he has a graphic novel featuring his character Rosa Loteria currently being illustrated, plus other projects in the works he can’t announce just yet. He brews mead, plays games, and like a proper medieval gentleman, has a whippet.

His story, “Anastasia’s Egg”, appears in the Weird World War III anthology.


Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your background?


I’m from California and grew up in Silicon Valley. I  went to college at UCSC and grad school at USC, majoring in creative writing and anthropology as an undergrad and professional writing for my masters.


What kinds of stories do you write? Why?


I write fantasy and science fiction with occasional horror or mystery and usually involve some mythology and literary allusions and oftentimes comedy as well. It depends on the story.


Which of your short stories is your favorite? Why?


I’ve written so many stories that it’s hard to pick a favorite, but “Find the Lady” in Mississippi Roll, one of the recent Wild Cards volumes, won the Darrell Award for Best Novella last year, so I’m very happy with that. That was one of my forays into romance as well, so I’m so glad people liked it.


What author has had the greatest influence on your writing? Why?


Of all the authors I’ve read, I think my biggest influences were my favorites as a child, Joan Aiken and John Bellairs. I consider myself a stylist and I think I get that from Aiken, who in turn was inspired by Jane Austen. Bellairs showed me the fun writers could have with dark magic and the occult.


What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Tell me about a time you almost died.


Craziest thing I’ve done is also the time I might have died. I was in college going caving with my girlfriend and my best friend and I was rappelling down a twenty-foot chute when I thought the rope might be slipping. Made a snap judgement for safety and skinned my finger going down. But we found the coffee can at the bottom of the cave with all the signatures of the deepest delvers. The cave was blocked off a few years later for safety.


What was your favorite subject in school? Why?


My favorite subject in school was English, since I love literature and writing. Perversely penmanship was my worst subject in grade school, but once I learned how to type I never looked back.


What’s your favorite book? Why?


My favorite book is probably Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. It showed me how a sequel is written and has an excellent basic plot.


If you could live in any time period, when would it be? Why?


As for times to live, while I really like the present, the Baroque era had so much fun stuff in it if you had the money. Of course that’s always the problem even with the present.


Story’s Soundtrack

Each of the stories in this volume evoked certain themes and emotions that can sometimes be approximated with music. The below video is the editor’s best interpretation of the feelings and themes that this author’s story evoked. Please note that this is only the editor’s interpretation. The author did not know this portion of the blog post existed until the editor published it.


Order Weird World War III Now


2020-10-06T00:00:00

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

Weird World War III Release Date

C. L. Kagmi

C. L. Kagmi is an award-winning and bestselling writer of short science fiction. She holds a degree in neuroscience from the University of Michigan and spent five years working in clinical research before striking out as a full-time freelance editor and ghostwriter. Her short story “The Drake Equation” was a winner of the Writers of the Future contest and appeared in the bestselling anthology Writers of the Future Volume 33 in 2017. Her other short stories have appeared in issues 2 and 5 of Compelling Science Fiction and the anthologies Crash Philosophy and Compelling Science Fiction: The First Collection.

Her story, “Evangeline”, appears in the Weird World War III anthology.


Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your background?


I was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which most any Michigander will tell you is an interesting city (though whether they mean that as a compliment or an insult depends on where they’re from). It’s home to the University of Michigan, and it was basically settled by a bunch of hippies back in the 60s and 70s. 

When I graduated high school, there was no question in my mind about where I wanted to go. The U of M – not just because I had hometown spirit, but because it had an unusual combination of stellar art and science programs. By this time I was already infatuated with science fiction because I’d figured out it meant you could put art and science together.

I got my Neuroscience BS there and worked at the University’s Mott Children’s Hospital coordinating clinical research for five years. Then I realized I was spending as much time helping researchers with their writing as I was coordinating research, so I became a full-time ghostwriter and editor.

I’m now located in Chicago, which I must admit has even more going on than Ann Arbor. I think we’ve got about half a dozen colleges and one of the best public transit systems in the country. You can find anything you want in Chicago – for better or worse.


What kinds of stories do you write? Why?


I like to predict the future. Or try to. Ironically I did have us on schedule for a pandemic very similar to the coronavirus in my fictional universe, but not for another 100 years. Also the mortality rate was much higher, so we can be thankful for that. This isn’t a full apocalypse. Just about 2% of one.

I’m particularly interested in evolutionary biology and cybernetics. I don’t feel that either discipline has been explored to its fullest extent yet in fiction, and things get even more interesting when you predict how humans will respond to these developments.

In this book I’ve made a rare branching into magical realism or alternate universe speculative fiction. “Evangeline” is inspired by a real-life court case in which a psychic medium was charged with witchcraft – because she was leaking government secrets to the public, but the government couldn’t find enough evidence of how she was getting her information to charge her with espionage.


What authors have had the greatest influence on your writing? Why?


Frank Herbert, Octavia Butler, and Greg Bear are my three biggest influences. Greg Bear’s novella “Hardfought” remains one of my favorite pieces of literature of all time, and when I first discovered Octavia Butler I was totally astounded because it was like she was doing exactly what I wanted to do, but so much better. It’s amazing to consider how ahead-of-her-time she was.


What is your favorite speculative fiction genre? Why?


I am mostly a sucker for science fiction, because the element of science and futurism is tantalizing to me. However, I’ve been considering making more forays into magical realism and fantasy as places where emotional realities can be manifested as magic. We definitely live in a time where our society needs a plan for doing emotional work – maybe even more than we need scientific or technological advancement.


If you could live in any time period, when would it be? Why?


Honestly, the present is pretty interesting. Even if “interesting times” can sometimes be a curse. The only other time period I might choose would be being born in the future, so I can see how things turn out. We’re writing some hella interesting chapters of history right now.


Story’s Soundtrack

Each of the stories in this volume evoked certain themes and emotions that can sometimes be approximated with music. The below video is the editor’s best interpretation of the feelings and themes that this author’s story evoked. Please note that this is only the editor’s interpretation. The author did not know this portion of the blog post existed until the editor published it.


Order Weird World War III Now


2020-10-06T00:00:00

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

Weird World War III Release Date

Eric James Stone

Eric James Stone is a past Nebula Award winner, Hugo Award nominee, and Writers of the Future Contest winner. Over fifty of his stories have been published in venues such as Year’s Best SFAnalog Science Fiction and Fact, and Nature. His debut novel, a science fiction thriller titled Unforgettable, published by Baen Books, has been optioned by Hollywood multiple times. 

Eric’s life has been filled with a variety of experiences. As the son of an immigrant from Argentina, he grew up bilingual and spent most of his childhood living in Latin America. He also lived for five years in England and became trilingual while serving a two-year mission for his church in Italy.

He majored in political science at BYU (where he sang in the Russian Choir for two years) and then got a law degree from Baylor. He did political work in Washington, D.C., for several years before shifting career tracks.

He now works as a systems administrator and programmer. Eric lives in Utah with his wife, Darci, who is an award-winning author herself, in addition to being a high school science teacher and programmer. Eric’s website is www.ericjamesstone.com.

His story, “Deniability”, appears in the Weird World War III anthology.


Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your background?


I grew up mostly outside the United States (Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, England) because my dad worked in international business. I majored in political science at Brigham Young University, got a law degree from Baylor, and then worked in politics in Washington, DC, for about five years. Twenty years ago I moved back to Utah and shifted my career to web development and systems administration, which I’ve been doing ever since.


Which of your short stories is your favorite? Why?


My favorite is “Rejiggering the Thingamajig,” originally published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. It’s about a sapient T. Rex on a quest to restore the galactic teleport network with the help of an insane talking gun. I probably had more fun writing that story than any other. It probably has my best first line, too: The teleport terminal had not been built with tyrannosaurus sapiens in mind.


Tell me about a time you almost died.


When I was eight years old, my dad took me on a week-long fishing trip in Bariloche, Argentina. Because of an airline strike that canceled our flight after we got to the airport, my dad decided we would make the 1600-kilometer (1000-mile) drive from Buenos Aires. That night, as we drove along a two-lane highway, a tractor-trailer truck driving the opposite direction came over a hill in front of us, and it was driving down the middle of the highway.  My dad swerved off the road to avoid being hit, our tires hit gravel, and I’m not sure exactly how it happened after that, but the car spun through 360 degrees and stalled, leaving us facing our original direction in the wrong lane. Since truckers often traveled in convoys, my dad’s biggest worry was that another truck was going to come over the hill and smash into us, but fortunately there were no following vehicles. My dad got the car started again, and we continued on our way. As we were heading home after our week of fishing, we found the place where our near-accident occurred. In the daylight, we could see our skid-marks on the pavement — and the sheer cliff at the side of the road that we barely avoided falling over.


If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?


1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500


What’s your favorite book? Why?


My favorite book is Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, because it’s beautifully written and the story is emotionally powerful. I will be proud if I ever manage to write anything even half as good as that novel.


Story’s Soundtrack

Each of the stories in this volume evoked certain themes and emotions that can sometimes be approximated with music. The below video is the editor’s best interpretation of the feelings and themes that this author’s story evoked. Please note that this is only the editor’s interpretation. The author did not know this portion of the blog post existed until the editor published it.


Order Weird World War III Now


2020-10-06T00:00:00

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

Weird World War III Release Date

Nick Mamatas

Nick Mamatas is the author of several novels, including I Am Providence and Sabbath. His short fiction has appeared in Best American Mystery StoriesYear’s Best Science Fiction and FantasyAsimov’s, Tor.com, and many other venues—much of it was recently collected in The People’s Republic of Everything. Nick is also an editor; his anthologies include Haunted Legends (with Ellen Datlow), Mixed Up (with Molly Tanzer), and Wonder and Glory Forever: Awe-Inspiring Lovecraftian Fiction.

His story, “Bleak Night at Bad Rock”, appears in the Weird World War III anthology.


Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your background?


I am from Long Island, and specifically a little Greek-American (and even more specifically, a little Ikarian-American) enclave on the North Shore. I grew up largely in Brooklyn.


Besides yourself, which other contemporary authors would you recommend?


Do people recommend themselves in questions like this?!? I want the names of those people! And their addresses!


Tell me about a time you almost died.


Years ago, while living in Jersey City, we wanted to grill some food in the concrete backyard because the power and gas were out. We were also out of lighter fluid, so I grabbed a cigarette lighter and a big rock and was about to smash the former open with the latter when my girlfriend at the time walked outside and said, “Don’t do that. The lighter will explode and you will die.” And so I didn’t, and I didn’t.


If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?


The Manhattan in the parallel universe where Giuliani and Bloomberg didn’t ruin it.


If you could live in any time period, when would it be? Why?


Three weeks from now, when I’ll be all caught up. At least I’ve been telling myself I’ll be all caught up in three weeks for the past thirty years, so…


Story’s Soundtrack

Each of the stories in this volume evoked certain themes and emotions that can sometimes be approximated with music. The below video is the editor’s best interpretation of the feelings and themes that this author’s story evoked. Please note that this is only the editor’s interpretation. The author did not know this portion of the blog post existed until the editor published it.


Order Weird World War III Now


2020-10-06T00:00:00

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

Weird World War III Release Date

Peter J. Wacks

Peter J. Wacks, born Zarathustra Janney, then quickly reminted the next day to a sane name on his second birth certificate, never really recovered a sense of normalcy in his life. Peter (or Zarth, whatever, it’s cool) has travelled to thirty-seven countries, hitchhiked across the United States (very funny, no, he didn’t hitchhike to Hawaii), and backpacked across Europe. He loves fast cars, running 5Ks, space travel, and armchair physics. In the past, Peter has been an actor and game designer, but he loves writing most and has done a ton of it, which can be found by Googling him, or checking his Amazon page. Even if it seems a little cyber-stalkery, don’t worry, go for it! Since he doesn’t think anyone really reads these things anyway, he will mention that strawberry daiquiris, Laphroaig, great IPAs, and really clever puns are the best way to start conversations with him. On a last note, his most recent novel is about a magical Ben Franklin, and was released by Baen in 2020. You, know, if you’re actually reading the author bios and notice this. If you aren’t, this just got slightly uncomfortable. Are you still there? The bio is over. Read the next one.

His and Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s story, “It’s A MUD, MUD World”, appears in the Weird World War III anthology.


Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your background?


Hi there! I’m Peter. It is actually difficult to answer the question where are you from, because it has many answers. I’ve lived in the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Denmark and travelled to an additional 33 countries. Even in the U.S. I’ve lived in 6 different states and travelled to all 44 of the others. I guess I really try to be from everywhere. Right now, I happen to park my laptop at a docking station in California, or, depending on the week, in Colorado. I’ve been in entertainment and creative fields my entire life, starting as a child actor at age 6. I’ve been an actor, game designer, poet, essayist, novelist, editor, magician, and more-depending on my mood.

I guess the best way to define myself is that everyday I am hungry to experience or learn something new.


What kinds of stories do you write? Why?


I love this question! The defining quality of the stories that I write is that I hate formulas, and I avoid writing into specific well explored territory. It’s nearly impossible to define the kind of story I write, other than to say it is usually the story in the anthology that stands out as very uniquely different. Different isn’t always good, but at least it helps people stop and blink. An example of this is that once, when challenged to write a Space Opera; I wrote a story about an aria being performed which told the story of a space battle. Another example: my time travel novel can be ripped apart and the 13 chapters can be read in any order and still result in the three act structure of build up, conflict, resolution. Even if it is just as simple as presenting a comedic story amidst very serious counterparts, its the thing I love do.  


Which of your short stories is your favorite? Why?


Okay, I’m going for a shameless self plug here. What I should say is that the story in Sean’s upcoming Weird War III anthology is my favorite. (Not naming it because I’m not sure if you’ve done the Table of Contents reveal yet, Sean…) Instead, I’m going to put out there the shortest story I’ve ever had published: Shotgun Wedding. It is a 1 page post apocalyptic bromance, and I wont give you more than that. It appears in the charity anthology Surviving Tomorrow (Google it). It was rewritten so many times it’s almost ridiculous, because I wanted to see if I could fit all the elements and hooks of a story into a one page story, and still have room for the reader to like the character. I think I succeeded, and the pre-release reviews so far have been mentioning the story so I feel like others feel the same way.


Tell me about a time you almost died.


Which one? Ha. Alright, this summer, amidst the COVID 19 craze, my first hardcover released from the marvelous Baen books—Caller of Lightning (think Ben Franklin at Hogwarts). (See how I put in a detail important for the story but ALSO a shameless plug?) Right as I was gearing up to start promoting the book in late April, I developed a fever. Then I started having trouble breathing. Then my muscles started aching at the bone level…

After being diagnosed with the global freaking pandemic, my life fell apart, in ways. I could only focus for about 90-120 minutes each day. If I tried to read or sit at the computer I’d start to have trouble breathing or fall asleep. But it was only supposed to last a week or two, so I tried not to worry—we still didn’t know better. My case lasted a little over 5 weeks before I was finally allowed to emerge from quarantine. At times, my O2 was as low as 68%—a level that should have had me in a coma. I was paranoid, full of anxiety… it was hell. And I couldn’t write more than a couple minutes a day.

And yet here I am. I do have post illness complications, and I am still shaking them off, going through a kind of slow physical therapy to try to regain my brain and my vascular strength… but let me tell you this: there is nothing like being on the losing side of the pandemic curve to make you get your crap together and decide to go out and kick some arse. 


What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?


Okay. Craziest, stupidest, bone-headedest…. and appropriate to the upcoming anthology:

When I was 14 years old I was in Leningrad amidst Gorbachev’s Perestoik—it was the year before the renaming of the city to St. Petersburg. It was an amazing experience. Seedy looking guys on street corners would offer you 300 Rubles to the dollar—at a time that the banks were offering 3 to 1. They were using a special technique called an Elmsley Count to make it look like they were giving you that many Rubles, when in fact you’d get a random 60 or 80 Rubles. As I ALSO knew how to do the same count, I would negotiate with the con-men and usually walk with about 100 per dollar. To give you a metric – the single most expensive bottle of vodka I was able to find, behind the locked cabinet at the store, was about 350 Rubles. It was very good. I was living like the Dread Pirate Roberts in Patagonia, feasting every night, the best entertainment, and all for less than my $10 weekly allowance for full chore completion.

So one night, having had a nip of that very fine bottle of Vodka, I wandered out onto the streets of an asleep Leningrad until I came to the Hermitage Museum at the Menshikov palace of Peter the Great next to the Neva River. In my tipsy 14 year old brain I decided that since the building was Peter’s winter palace, and MY name was Peter… I should take a memento home. On the front entrance of the building, suspended over the entry between two beautiful ornate lampposts in the plaza, hung a giant red Soviet flag with a fringe along the edges. I glanced around once, made sure no one was overtly watching and at about 3 in the morning, I scaled the side of the building to the flag pole and stole the flag. I should be rotting in a prison in Russia, but somehow, I ghosted into the night with my stolen flag and got it all the way back the U.S. Not by far… but it was the supidest AND the craziest thing I have ever done. 


Story’s Soundtrack

Each of the stories in this volume evoked certain themes and emotions that can sometimes be approximated with music. The below video is the editor’s best interpretation of the feelings and themes that this author’s story evoked. Please note that this is only the editor’s interpretation. The author did not know this portion of the blog post existed until the editor published it.


Order Weird World War III Now


2020-10-06T00:00:00

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

Weird World War III Release Date

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑