Alex Shvartsman

Alex Shvartsman is a writer, translator, and anthologist from Brooklyn, NY. Over one hundred of his short stories have appeared in Nature, Analog, Strange Horizons, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and many other magazines and anthologies. He won the 2014 WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction and was a two-time finalist for the Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Fiction (2015 and 2017). He is the editor of the Unidentified Funny Objects annual anthology series of humorous SF/F, and of Future Science Fiction Digest. His epic fantasy novel, Eridani’s Crown, was published in 2019. His website is www.alexshvartsman.com.

His story, “A Thing Worth a Damn”, appears in the Weird World War III anthology.


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


I’m a writer and translator from Brooklyn, NY. I was born in the country that no longer exists (USSR) and arrived via an airline that no longer exists (Pan Am.) So there’s truly no going back. So instead, I choose to write tall tales and also to translate from Russian fiction that I want to geek out about with my friends. I also edit anthologies and a magazine (Future Science Fiction Digest). Sometimes, I even find time to grab a quick nap.


What kinds of stories do you write? Why?


I tend to write a lot of humor, because the snarky, sarcastic voice is my default (Not that you could guess this from my Weird World War III story). However, I won’t be boxed in. I’ve written everything from space opera to political fantasy, the latter being the genre of my inaugural novel, Eridani’s Crown


Which of your short stories is your favorite? Why?


Hands down, the favorite short story of mine is “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma.” It also happens to be my most successful, having won an award and been reprinted a bunch of times, but I also love it because it’s exactly the sort of combination of humor, action, and creative problem-solving that I enjoy committing to the page. This story is free to read online at the Intergalactic Medicine Show archive. 


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


Fredrick Brown, Harry Harrison, Bob Sheckley, and Robert Silverberg, to name a few. I devoured their short story collections in translation growing up, and much of their style/approach to writing short fiction has really stuck with me.


Besides yourself, which other contemporary authors would you recommend?


Ken Liu, K. A. Teryna, and Shaenon K. Garrity are among my favorite contemporary short fiction authors.


What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?


I once got turned away at the border crossing into Malaysia and kicked out back into Singapore. Buy me a coffee at a convention sometime and I will tell you the entire story.


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.


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Ville Meriläinen

Ville Meriläinen is a Finnish university student, author of speculative fiction, and Death Metal musician. His short fiction has appeared in various venues online and in print, including Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine ShowPseudopod, and Cast of Wonders. His musical fantasy novel, Ghost Notes, is available from Digital Fiction Publishing.

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


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


I’m from a small-ish forest town on the west coast of Finland, from where I moved to study across the country to a small-ish forest city near the Russian border. While writing this, I’m visiting my parents, and can see the sea from the guest room window. Wood and water are prominent elements in my work and it’s no marvel why.


What kinds of stories do you write? Why?


The latest bio line I’ve given editors is: “Ville Meriläinen writes stories like the Finnish winter: long, dark, and someone probably gets hurt.” You try living without the sun for half a year and see how cheerful it leaves you.


Which of your short stories is your favorite? Why?


It’s always the latest one. I’m severely self-critical and whatever is newest usually feels passably competent. God forbid someone tells me they’ve read one of my older pieces, because the reaction is invariably thinking “Oh no not that one” while trying to convincingly smile and nod like I appreciate it.


Besides yourself, which other contemporary authors would you recommend?


I don’t think I’ve ever recommended authors over books, but Victor LaValle’s The Changeling, Justin Robinson’s The Dollmaker, and G. Willow Wilson’s The Bird King have hit me pretty hard lately, so I suppose there’s a list. I don’t know anything about the authors or their other works, to be honest. When you grow up on Black Metal you learn to separate art and the artist pretty fast.


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


All I want in life is to write silly stories in my bedroom and never talk to people, and yet somehow I keep winding up on stages. Dive bar stages, lecture hall stages, and then there was that one time in a black tie Hollywood gala beside a mechanical dragon and a number of genre grandmasters.


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.


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Deborah A. Wolf

Deborah A. Wolf was born in a barn and raised on wildlife refuges, which explains rather a lot. She has worked as an underwater photographer, Arabic linguist, and grumbling wage slave, but never wanted to be anything other than an author. Deborah’s first trilogy, The Dragon’s Legacy, has been acclaimed as outstanding literary fantasy and shortlisted for such notable honors as the Gemmell Award. This debut was followed by Split Feather, a contemporary work of speculative fiction which explores the wildest side of Alaska. Deborah currently lives in northern Michigan. She has four kids (three of whom are grown and all of whom are exceptional), an assortment of dogs and horses, and two cats, one of whom she suspects is possessed by a demon. Deborah is represented by Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media Group.

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


What kinds of stories do you write? Why?


Speculative fiction with a grimdark bent. Because that’s how I’m bent, I guess.


Which of your short stories is your favorite? Why?


I don’t have a favorite kid, and I don’t have a favorite story.


Besides yourself, which other contemporary authors would you recommend?


Anna Smith Spark, Anna Stephens, Michael Fletcher, Dyrk Ashton, Rob Hayes, and definitely Scott Oden. None of whom are members of a secret cabal of authors, honest.


What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?


My dog and I found an Ice Age bison skull when I was a kid. That was pretty cool.


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


It involved Tannerite. Beyond that, I plead the Fifth. (Also, I regret NOTHING).


 Tell me about a time you almost died.


When I was nineteen or so, four of us hopped on three snowmachines and made an unplanned trip from McGrath to Takotna. On the way back, one of our drivers was drunk and took off, the second snowmachine broke down, and the three of us were stuck with one machine for the long trip back. It was seventy-something degrees below zero. Then our last machine broke down…

With duct tape and luck, the three of us made it back to McGrath at about 4 in the morning. My knees were frozen solid and my feet were pretty well frostbitten, but we all survived.

Bush Alaska can be a tough place. I’m fifty one years old now, and the only one of that group who is still alive.


Tell us something about you that very few people know.


I have an intense dislike of being hugged. Gross. It’s almost as bad as cole slaw.


What is your favorite speculative fiction genre? Why?


Nothing transports me like epic fantasy. Well-written epic fantasy is one of the chief delights in life.


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


The north shore of Maui.


What was your favorite subject in school? Why?

Reading/English/Language Arts, always and forever. I dedicated my first book (THE DRAGON’S LEGACY) in part to my high school English teacher Deane O’Dell. As to why… reading has always been my drug of choice. Writing is just reading in my head.


What’s your favorite book? Why?


THE HOBBIT.

Because it’s the greatest book ever written, that’s why. Fight me.


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


I rather like the present time period, if we could just skip through from November 2016 till the day they lead a handcuffed Trump off to begin his prison sentence.


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

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