SFWA Hikes Word Rate for Qualifying Markets

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced that on September 1 the minimum payment rate will be increased to eight cents a word for short fiction sales to be counted toward qualifying writers for membership.  

The current 6c/word rate has been in effect since mid-2014. SFWA explains:

In accordance with our mission to support and empower science fiction and fantasy writers, SFWA periodically reviews and adjusts the minimum payment rates for professional short fiction markets, known colloquially as the SFWA Pro Rate… This change is the result of market analyses conducted by SFWA Board members, along with a review of the effects of inflation on author compensation.

… SFWA supports fair compensation for writers. We hope the new Pro Rate will encourage short fiction publishers to increase their payment rates.

Works in qualifying markets are judged by the date they were purchased. Stories sold before September 1st, 2019 at the then-current qualifying rate will continue to qualify a writer for SFWA membership.

SFWA has slowly escalated its minimum rate over the past 15 years, as shown below:

  • Prior to 1/1/2004 – 3c/word
  • 1/1/04 to 6/30/14 – 5c/word
  • 7/1/14 to 8/31/19 – 6c/word
  • 9/1/19 – 8c/word

[Thanks to JJ for the story.]

“Oh, Captain, My Captain”

Steve Vertlieb, William Shatner, and Erwin Vertlieb in 1969.

By Steve Vertlieb: I interviewed William Shatner for British magazine L’Incroyable Cinema in the Summer of 1969 at The Playhouse In The Park whilst Star Trek was still in the final days of its original network run on NBC. My old friend Allan Asherman, who joined Erwin and I for this once-in-a-lifetime meeting with Captain James Tiberius Kirk, astutely commented that I had now met all three of our legendary boyhood “Captains,” which included Jim Kirk (Bill Shatner), Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers (Larry “Buster” Crabbe), and Buzz Corry, commander of the Space Patrol (Ed Kemmer). It’s funny how an often-charmed life can include real life friendships with childhood heroes.

Steve Vertlieb and Buster Crabbe in 1979.

Boyhood hero Buster Crabbe was the special guest at a local Philadelphia nostalgia convention during the Spring of 1979, and took the trouble to search for me in the telephone directory. He telephoned my parents’ home and spoke with my father, asking him if he knew Steve Vertlieb. My dad said that he did, indeed, know me as I was his son. Buster said that he was in town for a few days, and asked my dad to have me call him so that we might meet for dinner. It took my father some thirty minutes to convince me that Buster had really called. I called him back at his hotel, and we dined the next evening at a restaurant in Philadelphia’s Chinatown where he playfully dumped some of his dinner into my own plate, and urged me to “Eat, Eat, Eat.”

Ed Kemmer and Steve Vertlieb.

Together with one of my earliest boyhood heroes and role models, Ed Kemmer, who starred as Commander Buzz Corry of the Space Patrol, broadcast every Saturday morning on ABC Television and radio in the early-to-mid 1950’s. After this initial meeting, Ed and I remained friends through correspondence until his passing. Ed was a great guy. It was a thrill to meet him finally after some fifty years, and to develop a friendship with him in the years before he passed.

The Verge Launches Multimedia Sci-Fi Anthology, “Better Worlds”

The Verge today launched Better Worlds,  a new series of short fiction stories, audiobooks and animation that explores how technology could shape society and the environment in better, more equitable ways.  

Everything today is so dark. The news is terrible. The TV shows are grim. The superheroes are dark. However many of the best creators and inventors were inspired by golden age sci-fi comics, shows like Star Trek, and writers like Isaac Asimov and Octavia Butler, who imagined science improving the future.

“At The Verge, we’re committed to exploring how the intersection of technology and culture will impact our lives in the future,” said Nilay Patel, Editor-in-Chief of The Verge. “Better Worlds will pull together some of biggest names in sci-fi to bring positive new light and thinking on what’s to come.”

That’s why The Verge is launching Better Worlds, bringing exciting names in science fiction like Justina Ireland, John Scalzi, and Leigh Alexander whose original short stories disrupt the common narratives of an inevitable apocalypse and explore spaces our fears have overlooked. The series, sponsored by Boeing, will showcase original storytelling from these heavy-hitting writers, with 11 original fiction stories, five animated adaptations, and five audio adaptations.

The first story of The Verge’s multimedia package “Better Worlds” is live today, and new stories will premiere each Monday and Wednesday through February 13, 2019. Follow along on theverge.com, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and your favorite podcast app. See the full schedule below:

  • Monday 1/14: Justina Ireland, “A Theory of Flight”
    • A daring plan to build an open-source rocket could help more people escape Earth.
  • Wednesday 1/16: Leigh Alexander, “Online Reunion”
    • A young journalist chronicling a vintage e-pet reunion gets more than she expected.
  • Monday 1/21: John Scalzi, “A Model Dog”
    • An overbearing CEO demands that his employees engineer a solution to his dad’s aging dog.
  • Wednesday 1/23: Cadwell Turnbull, “Monsters Come Howling in Their Season”
    • An island commonwealth integrates an AI to defend itself against a worsening hurricane season.
  • Friday 1/25: Katherine Cross, “Machine of Loving Grace”
    • An AI designed to moderate video games takes on a life of its own.
  • Monday 1/28: Rivers Solomon, “St. Juju”
    • A young woman must choose between her secure enclave and the one she loves.
  • Wednesday 1/30: Carla Speed McNeil, “Move the World”
    • You can choose to pull a lever that resets the world — but will it make things better?
  • Monday 2/4: Elizabeth Bonesteel, “Overlay”
    • A father undertakes a dangerous mission to save his captured son.
  • Wednesday 2/6: Kelly Robson, “Skin City”
    • A street performer gets into trouble after falling for a radical privacy devotee.
  • Monday 2/11: Karin Lowachee, “The Sun Will Always Sing”
    • A spacecraft carrying precious cargo embarks on a lifetime journey to a better world.
  • Wednesday 2/13: Peter Tieryas, “The Burn”
    • As people around the world fall victim to The Burn, AR researchers begin to suspect a pattern.

[Based on a press release.]

Star Trek Personnel Files

Compiled by Carl Slaughter: From Certifiably Ingame’s Personnel Files of notable Star Trek characters.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Personnel File

Benjamin Sisko: Personnel File

Kathryn Janeway: Personnel File

Chief Miles O’Brien: Personnel File

Micheal Burnham: Personnel File

Uncanny Magazine Issue 26 Launches 1/1

The 26th issue of  Uncanny Magazine will be available on January 1.

Hugo Award-winning Publishers/Editors-in-Chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are proud to present the 26th issue of their 2016, 2017, and 2018 Hugo Award-winning online science fiction and fantasy magazine. As always, it features passionate SF/F fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, provocative nonfiction, and a deep investment in the diverse SF/F culture, along with an award-winning monthly podcast featuring a story, poem, and interview from that issue. Stories from Uncanny Magazine have been finalists or winners of Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards.

All of Uncanny Magazine’s content will be available in eBook versions on the day of release from Weightless Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Kobo. Subscriptions are always available through Amazon Kindle and Weightless Books. The free online content will be released in 2 stages- half on day of release and half on February 5. 

Uncanny Magazine Issue 26 Table of Contents


  • Julie Dillon- Pearls and Stardust


  • The Uncanny Valley (1/1)


  • Fran Wilde- “A Catalog of Storms” (1/1)
  • Natalia Theodoridou- “Poems Written While” (1/1)
  • Senaa Ahmad- “Nothing to Fear, Nothing to Fear” (1/1)
  • Delilah S. Dawson- “The Willows” (2/5)
  • Marissa Lingen- “The Thing, With Feathers” (2/5)
  • Inda Lauryn- “Dustdaughter” (2/5)


  • Ellen Kushner- “The Duke of Riverside” (1/1)


  • Linda D. Addison- “Safe Havens– WFC Award Ceremony 2018 Toastmaster Speech” (1/1)
  • Elsa Sjunneson-Henry- “How to Make a Paper Crane” (1/1)
  • Alec Nevala-Lee- “The Most Powerful Force” (2/5)
  • Keidra Chaney- “What It Feels Like for a Fangirl in the Age of Late Capitalism” (2/5)


  • Cassandra Khaw- “A Letter From One Woman to Another” (1/1)
  • Sonya Taaffe- “The Watchword” (1/1)
  • Hal Y. Zhang- “Steeped in Stars” (2/5)
  • Jennifer Crow- “Red Berries” (2/5)


  • Caroline M. Yoachim Interviews Natalia Theodoridou (1/1)
  • Caroline M. Yoachim Interviews Marissa Lingen (2/5)

Podcast 26A (1/1)

  • Fran Wilde- “A Catalog of Storms,” as read by Erika Ensign
  • Cassandra Khaw- “A Letter From One Woman to Another,” as read by Stephanie Malia Morris
  • Lynne M. Thomas Interviews Fran Wilde

Podcast 26B (2/5)

  • Delilah S. Dawson- “The Willows,” as read by Stephanie Malia Morris
  • Hal Y. Zhang- “Steeped in Stars.” as read by Erika Ensign
  • Lynne M. Thomas Interviews Delilah S. Dawson

DC Roundup

Compiled by Carl Slaughter:

  • Upcoming DC animated films
  • Batman description

“See DC, that’s all we want.  A definitive portrait of a beloved character that balances multiple tones across dozens of hours that can only happen with a perfect creative team and lands at the perfect time in the cultural zeitgeist.  Is that so hard?”

More items follow the jump.

Continue reading

Strahan Reveals ToC for Best SFF Volume 13

Editor Jonathan Strahan has announced the table of contents for his Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume 13 with stories from 2018. He said:

I could easily have added more stories – especially more novellas – but any book has to fit between a single set of covers and I’m very happy with these selections:

  • “Dreadful Young Ladies”, Kelly Barnhill (Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories)
  • “Okay, Glory”, Elizabeth Bear (Twelve Tomorrows)
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing, Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again”, Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, 11/31/18)
  • “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington”, P Djeli Clark (Fireside Magazine)
  • “Flint and Mirror”, John Crowley (The Book of Magic)
  • “An Agent of Utopia”, Andy Duncan (An Agent of Utopia)
  • “The Bookcase Expedition”, Jeffrey Ford (Robots vs. Fairies)
  • “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth”, Daryl Gregory (Tor.com)
  • “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies”, Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine)
  • “You Pretend Like You Never Met Me, and I’ll Pretend Like I Never Met You”, Maria Dahvana Headley (Lightspeed,)
  • “When We Were Starless”, Simone Heller (Clarkesworld)
  • “The Woman Who Destroyed Us”, SL Huang (Twelve Tomorrows)
  • “Golgotha “, Dave Hutchinson (2001: An Odyssey in Words)
  • “The Storyteller’s Replacement”, N K Jemisin (How Long Till Black Future Month?)
  • “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society”, T. Kingfisher (Uncanny)
  • “Field Biology of the Wee Fairies”, Naomi Kritzer (Apex, 9/4/18)
  • “Meat and Salt and Sparks”, Rich Larson (Tor.com)
  • “Firelight”, Ursula K Le Guin (The Paris Review 225)
  • “The Starship and the Temple Cat”, Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
  • “Quality Time”, Ken Liu (Robots vs. Fairies)
  • “A Brief and Fearful Star”, Carmen Maria Machado (Slate)
  • “The Blue Fairy’s Manifesto”, Annalee Newitz (Robots vs. Fairies)
  • “The Staff in the Stone”, Garth Nix (The Book of Magic)
  • “Blessings”, Naomi Novik (Uncanny)
  • “Mother Tongues”, S. Qiouyi Lu (Asimov’s Science Fiction)
  • “Intervention”, Kelly Robson (Infinity’s End)
  • “Widdam”, Vandana Singh (F&SF)
  • “Yard Dog”, Tade Thompson (Fiyah #7)
  • “Olivia’s Table”, Alyssa Wong (A Thousand Beginnings and Endings)

The book, which will be out in April 2019, is available for pre-order. Note: Strahan says the cover has placeholder names on it but the ToC above is accurate.

[Thanks to Jason of Featured Futures for the story.]

Doctor Who Roundup

Compiled by Carl Slaughter:

  • Doctor Who and the Phantom Menace Effect
  • Doctor Who writers have no sci-fi experience
  • The Infallible Doctor
  • A British Doctor reaches for her sonic screwdriver, an American billionaire reaches for a gun.

“What’s wrong with you, why don’t you get a gun and start shooting things, like civilized people?”  –  Jack Robinson, Doctor Who, “Arachnids in the UK”, Season 11, Episode 4

  • Doctor Who villains

Doctor Who villains have included such memorable species and individuals as the Dalek, Cybermen, Sandaron, Slitheen, Silurian, Silence, Weeping Angels, Davros, the Master, the Rani, and Madam Kovarian. Now we have the Pting.  How does this new creature compare with the Doctor’s other foes?  Share your opinion.

Google search for Doctor Who villains

  • Rosa Parks in a powerful episode of Doctor Who

“Let’s Have a Spoiler-Laden Talk About That Powerful Episode of Doctor Who” at io9.

Tonight Doctor Who ventured back to 1955 for a long, hard look at the struggles of Rosa Parks in mid-20th century Alabama. Let us know what you thought of its take on a crucial moment in history in our weekly, spoiler-tastic discussion zone.

  • New v. Old Who Fans

New Doctor Who fans don’t understand the rage of old Doctor Who fans and old Doctor Who fans don’t understand why the new Doctor Who fans don’t understand.