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Could this be our ancestral village?



Updated 7.12.11



Free Fiction

Free Nonfiction





The Sycamore Hill Writers' Conference



Still Readable!

Now and then it gets past me that my novel Corrupting Dr. Nice is still in print.

But amazingly enough, it is!  A while back Jo Walton wrote a wonderful appreciation

of the book. If you can tolerate yet another time-travel screwball comedy with dinosaurs,

check it out.



Ender in Belorussian

Galina Miklosic has translated my essay on Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game

into Belorussian. If you are interested, you may find it here.


The Secret History of Science Fiction

James Patrick Kelly and I have edited this anthology of reprint stories published from 1971-2007, making the case for the convergence of mainstream fiction and literary sf. It contains stories from such luminaries as Thomas Disch, Don DeLillo, Ursula Le Guin, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Lucius Shepard, Carter Scholz, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem, Kate Wilhelm, Karen Joy Fowler, Margaret Atwood, Steven Millhauser, Gene Wolfe, Connie Willis, Geore Saunders, Molly Gloss, Maureen McHugh, and more. Published by Tachyon Books in October 2009.




Two interviews.  In the first, by Douglas Lain, author of LAST WEEK'S APOCALYPSE, we talk about science fiction, politics, utopia, some of my short fiction, and my twenty-year-old novel GOOD NEWS FROM OUTER SPACE). It's available at Dietsoap, Doug's quirky website, along with other recent podcasts.

The second interview was on the May 7 edition of "The State of Things" with Frank Stasio on WUNC radio, 91.5 FM in the Research Triangle. We talk about "Pride and Prometheus", Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen. Here's the link.


A Nebula Award!

To my surprise and delight, my story "Pride and Prometheus" won the 2008 Nebula Award for best Novelette. The ceremony took place in Los Angeles on the weekend of April 24-26; here are some photos.

My sincere thanks to everyone who voted for the award, and to all those who have helped and supported

me thoughout my writing career.

It's been twenty-six years since I won my first Nebula, for "Another Orphan" back in 1982. I think I now hold the record for the longest time gap between first win and second. I expect to win my third in 2035.


"Pride and Prometheus"

My novelette "Pride and Prometheus" also made the final ballot for the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award. In addition to the Nebula, it received the Shirley Jackson Award. Here's the text of the story if you wish to read it. I also have a podcast of me reading the story: part one and part two.



The Baum Plan for Financial Independence

and Other Stories

A collection of stories from my last ten years, including Tiptree Award Winner "Stories for Men." The collection was published by brilliant Gavin Grant and Kelly Link of Small Beer Press in April 2008.

Small Beer has made available free downloads of the text suitable for all

e-book readers.

I have added podcasts of "The Baum Plan," "Pride and Prometheus," and "Every Angel is Terrifying" to my audio page, available for free download to your iPod or MP3 player under creative commons license.

Here are some reviews of the collection.


James Patrick Kelly and I make another foray into anthologizing with

Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology

Published by Tachyon Books in October 2007.

The anthology seeks to show how the concerns and techniques of 1980s cyberpunk have been re-imagined for the 21st century. It contains stories by Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Gwyneth Jones, Jonathan Lethem, Charles Stross, Michael Swanwick, Walter Jon Williams, Pat Cadigan, Greg Egan, Paolo Baciagalupi, Paul Di Filippo, Elizabeth Bear, David Marusek, Christopher Rowe, and May Rosenblum.


New Story Available

My new story, "Downtown" is available at the way-cool online magazine

Flurb, A Webzine of Astonishing Tales,

edited and published by writer/mathemetician/visionary Rudy Rucker. 

Lots of other neat stories, photos and art there.

Check it out.


Kessel Reads at Will !

With the help of my friend James Patrick Kelly, I am now able to offer

free audio of me reading my story "The Baum Plan for Financial Independence."  Two other stories,

"A Clean Escape" and "Some Like It Cold" are available from (accessible through iTunes).  

I hope to be adding more in the future.

You'll find them here.


New Non-fiction post.

The text of a talk I gave at a 2001 conference sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, about posthumanity and ethics.

Imagining the Human Future: Up, Down, or Sideways

ABC's Masters of Science Fiction, the first episode of which was based on my story"A Clean Escape", was broadcast in August 2007. It starred Judy Davis and Sam Waterston. The series should soon be available on DVD.

More here, including photos from the production.



I've posted a memoir I wrote for the series

Contemporary Authors.  More than you ever wanted to know

about growing up Science Fictional in Buffalo, New York.


Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology
edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
has been published by Tachyon Books.

Named "Best Anthology of 2006" by The Green Man review.

Here are some reviews.


My new story, "Sunlight or Rock,"

which is a sequel to my novella "Stories for Men,"

appeared in the September 2006 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction.


I was a guest writer at Asturcon,
part of the Semana Negra arts festival, in Gijon, Spain, July 8-11, 2005.
Here are some photos.
My novel Good News From Outer Space
has been translated into Spanish by Lorenzo Luengo,

and published in Spain by Bibliopolis Fantastica, under the title

American Apocalypse™


Here's an essay on Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game
in which I explain carefully why this novel is not good

for your moral and emotional health.

Two stories,
"It's All True" and "The Baum Plan for Financial Independence"
are available for your reading pleasure

at the SciFiction website, edited by Ellen Datlow. 

My novella "Stories for Men"
shared the 2002 James Tiptree Award for sf dealing with gender issues,
with M. John Harrison's novel Light.  
It is available, along with fifteen other of my stories,
including the novella "Ninety Percent of Everything"
(in collaboration with James Patrick Kelly and Jonathan Lethem)
a finalist for the 2001 Nebula Award

as an ebook from
Here's an audio interview I did
with John C. Snider of SciFi Dimensions,
in which I comment at some length on "Stories for Men"
and other issues of surpassing interest.

I am a writer and a teacher.  I have published three novels: Corrupting Dr. Nice, Good News From Outer Space, and Freedom Beach (with James Patrick Kelly). I also have three short story collections available--Meeting In Infinity, The Pure Product, and  The Baum Plan For Financial Independence and Other Stories--and have co-edited two antholgies with James Patrick Kelly. In my more-or-less real life I'm a professor in the MFA program and Director of Creative Writing at North Carolina State University.

You can order my books at or If you are in the Raleigh, NC area, most of my books are avialable at Quail Ridge Books

I welcome your email at