Friday, February 11, 2022

HOW TO GET TO APOCALYPSE on the Locus Recommended List, Also New Publications!

Hello again to my neglected blog! It's been about two months since the release of How to Get to Apocalypse and Other Disasters, my collection of 23 dark science fiction stories from the past decade and a half. It's been getting some great reviews and mentions! Silvia Moreno-Garcia lists it as one of her favorite SF/F books of the year in The Washington Post:

Another favorite was How to Get to Apocalypse and Other Disasters, a strong collection by Erica L. Satifka, one of the brightest science fiction writers today who should be getting more attention.

(She also picks out Caroline Hardaker's Composite Creatures as her favorite SF novel of 2021, and after reading it myself I have to strongly agree that it's one of the best SF books I've read in ages. Particularly recommended if you like reading about climate collapse, housecats, or both.)

And on, Jared Shurin name-drops it in both his best-of-2021 list and "Our Cyberpunk Year," where he writes:

These are the apocalypses of automation and redundancy; social stratification and malignant ignorance. Satifka has an incredible—unparalleled, even—ability to pack each story filled with technological concepts and imaginative conceits. It is excellent world-building, with every element strange and wondrous, but all perfectly plausible and naturally woven. It is a wave of new ideas, but never once feels like an onslaught, because the stories themselves are character-driven; about deeply empathetic people in these recognisable, if unsettling, worlds. These are stories that are not only immediately relevant, but will stand the test of time. Science fiction—cyberpunk, even—at its finest.

And over on the Locus Magazine site, reviewer Ian Mond also praises the collection, writing:

A common feature of Satifka’s work, which we see portrayed in “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Apocalypse”, is the slow death of society, typically brought about by the rapacious appetite of capitalism (and sometimes alien invaders). [...] For all the despair and dystopia in Satifka’s fiction, there’s an acerbic thread of humour that runs through most of these stories. Several of them are even out-and-out hilarious.

Speaking of Locus, my collection also made the Locus Recommended List (first time I've ever been on it), so if you really liked it, then you can vote for it (reader votes determine the shortlist/winners). And of course, more reviews on any platform are always appreciated!

In non-collection news, I had a non-fiction piece come out in the anthology Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985, out from PM Press at the tail end of last year. It's about (who else?) Philip K. Dick, and I take the position that Dick was perhaps not as personally far left as he's made out to be, but that the radicalism inherent in his works still resonates on both a left-wing and just a general human level. This is a gorgeous full-color book featuring essays on New Wave SF authors and the politics that inspired them (and that they inspired).

And in impending publication news, my short story "Twilight of the God-Makers" will be appearing in the Baen anthology Weird World War IV edited by Sean Patrick Hazlett (who also edited Weird World War III, which I am also in). It's an anthology of war stories that take place after the Big One ends, including authors such as Nick Mamatas, Martin L. Shoemaker, Laird Barron, and many others! My story is about what happens to the demented superhumans a united North American state created after they were no longer of use. I hope you check this book out too! Release date March 1, 2022. If you're a person who likes author interviews, I have a three-part interview series with the editor that can be accessed from his channel Through a Glass Darkly.

Oh, and last but certainly not least, we got a new kitten named Jack, who's modeling my contributor copy of Weird World War IV to the left here. But for more about him, you'll have to check Twitter.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Apocalypse... Now!

It's release day!!! How to Get to Apocalypse and Other Disasters, my first collection, is now available in nearly every online store you can name, which are all helpfully collected on this page. Copies ordered through Fairwood Press are already on their way to readers. You can also ask your local bookstore or library to order it, and I hope you do because libraries are great!

Having a short fiction collection has been a dream of mine for a long time. While I've had two longer things published (Stay Crazy and Busted Synapses, please buy/read/review those as well kthx), short stories are where I started and honestly where I feel most at home, inasmuch as I feel at home with anything related to writing lately. I really think these stories are the best thing I've ever done, and I hope some other people like it too.

But wait, there's more: I'll be at OryCon 42 this coming weekend (November 12-14, 2021), along with Patrick Swenson of Fairwood Press (who, yes, will have copies of my collection and many other great books!). Here's where I'll be if you want to come say hi:

Writing Short Fiction
Friday, November 12, 2021, 4:00 PM, Jantzen Room

A detailed look into the unique craft of creating original worlds in fantasy, sci-fi, and the paranormal. Whenever a writer begins a story, their goal is to take the reader to places they’ve never been before. What are some essential questions one needs to ask themselves about their world? Learn the various techniques to make worlds as original as possible. We will also discuss how to research, plot, and develop a setting.

Worldbuilding 101
Friday, November 12, 2021, 5:00 PM, White Stag Room
A detailed look into the unique craft of creating original worlds in fantasy, sci-fi, and the paranormal. Whenever a writer begins a story, their goal is to take the reader to places they’ve never been before. What are some essential questions one needs to ask themselves about their world? Learn the various techniques to make worlds as original as possible. We will also discuss how to research, plot, and develop a setting.

Be a Writer? Yes, You Can!
Friday, November 12, 2021, 7:00 PM, White Stag Room

If you've been dreaming of writing fiction, but you've struggled to finish your first project--or worse, gotten crushed by rejections!--this is the panel for you. Learn from experienced writers how to get going, keep going, and believe in yourself.

Autograph Session
Saturday, November 13, 2021, 1:00 PM, Art Show Foyer

All Planets Are Not Monocultural
Saturday, November 13, 2021, 6:00 PM, Pendleton Room

We get it, lazy writers and movie makers give you an entire ice planet that is somehow inhabitable. Or a jungle that goes on forever. Earth is not a mono-culture, why should your SF worlds be? We'll talk geography and how the terrain will impact your politics and biology for your aliens.

Sunday, November 14, 2021, 11:00 AM, Overton Room

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021


My debut collection How to Get to Apocalypse and Other Disasters comes out in a month! And to celebrate, I'm giving away at least one and possibly two paper ARCs. Just fill out this survey with your contact information and your favorite fictional apocalypse. Due to international shipping costs and the fact that the last few things I sent overseas I can't ship a print ARC out of the United States, but I can send an eARC if you win (or hell, just if you ask nicely).

In the meantime, you can still pre-order H2G2A&OD directly from Fairwood Press, as well as at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books2Read (digital), and my local bookstore Powell's! If you use Goodreads, you can add it to your to-read list, or post a review if you have an eARC. And if you're a reviewer who's interested in getting an eARC, email me at satifka at gmail dot com!

Here's some more stuff that people have been saying about my collection with the very long title:

"The stories in Satifka's debut collection are inventive and gritty, bleak and satirical, hilarious and horrifying. Her work is reminiscent of Philip K. Dick at his best in revealing the struggles and resilience of everyday people caught up in the machinery of the future."

— Tim Pratt, author of Prison of Sleep and the Axiom series 

"Satifka is one of the most exciting writers around and still sadly under the radar. Her mordant stories grapple with technology and society in a way that brings to mind the cyberpunk greats. The tales in her first collection range from a grim story of dead children turned into flesh puppets for a TV show to an incredibly effective response to Ursula K. Le Guin’s classic "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas."

— Silvia Moreno-Garcia, author of Mexican Gothic

"Satifka (Busted Synapses) presents 23 strange and captivating stories about the end of the world. None of these endings call for rains of fire and brimstone. Instead, these apocalypses are most often brought about by extraterrestrials, and the tales explore a wide variety of human-alien relationships . . . displaying wide-ranging creativity. Fans of speculative fiction are sure to be pleased."

— Publishers Weekly


And while I'm not sure of my schedule yet, I'm definitely going to be at OryCon 42 the weekend after my book release, and there'll be copies there! So lots of ways to get a copy of H2G2A&OD in the very near future.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Coming Soon-ish: HOW TO GET TO APOCALYPSE AND OTHER DISASTERS (My First Collection!)

Today is my book conception day! How to Get to Apocalypse and Other Disasters, my first collection, will be released in November 2021 by Fairwood Press! Here's the description from the website:

The apocalypse can take many forms. Possibly our end will come by way of an addictive cell phone game that manipulates its users into a crowd-sourced mass murder. Or perhaps our downfall involves aliens drugging us into bliss and then taking it away. Maybe it'll be technological redundancy that leaves loved ones without a purpose, or corporations replacing the natural world with creatures more amenable to market pressure.

All these apocalypses and many more can be found in Erica L. Satifka's debut collection, which gathers together twenty-three short stories from the past decade, including from Clarkesworld,,LightspeedInterzone, and The Dark.

While I've published one and a half novels, my first writing love and main focus has always been short stories and it's been my forever dream to have a collection. And Fairwood Press was at the top of my dream publisher list, having put out many of my favorite collections over the past decade. So needless to say, I'm thrilled in ways mere pixels can't express.

So what's inside? HTGTAAOD contains twenty-one of my previously published stories from such venues as Interzone, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Shimmer, as well as two or three original stories, one of which will be set in the Busted Synapses universe.

You can/should pre-order How to Get to Apocalypse and Other Disasters on the Fairwood Press site. If you're a reviewer and want to get an advance review copy, please also get in touch! I am really excited about this collection, and I hope that you will be too!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Story Notes: "Where You Lead, I Will Follow: An Oral History of the Denver Incident"

Hello there! It's time for another installment of my "story notes" series, which comes around whenever one of my short stories gets published. Today's discussion/commercial is for the story "Where You Lead, I Will Follow: An Oral History of the Denver Incident," published October 2020 in the Baen Books anthology 
Weird World War III, edited by Sean Patrick Hazlett.

In early 2019 I decided to join everyone else in 2016 and start getting into Pokemon Go. And as I do with all video games, I'm talking obsessive interest for like five months until it became something to check on my phone once a day. But during those months my mind turned, as it so often does, to figuring out how the thing I'm obsessed with could potentially be used to destroy the world.

If you don't know what Pokemon Go is, it's an augmented reality games played on your cell phone where you're shown a mini-map of your surroundings with superimposed Pokemon, stops, and gyms. The similar game in my own story, Follow the Leader, is the same idea with a paranoid twist: The game sometimes asks you to interact with your real-world surroundings in order to complete its "Instructions," while your phone's camera records your actions for posterity. What kinds of things were included in these "Instructions"? Oh, they're innocuous things like moving a post-it note or stealing someone's pencil or going into the basement of your apartment building. A lot of actions that don't seem like anything at all, until it's too late.

As the title implies, this is an oral history, told by ten characters each with their own special connection to Follow the Leader and the ensuing catastrophe. This is among the more experimental stories I've written, but it came from necessity: No matter how many "zero drafts" I did I couldn't find a way to get across the scope and reach of the fictional game without at a minimum three characters, and at that point I figured I might as well round up to ten.

It's not a spoiler to say that the eventual result of all these small-scale changes is that Washington, DC was vaporized in a nuclear explosion, as this is revealed on the very first page. And since this is an anthology of alternative Cold War stories, the putative enemy is also not in doubt. But could the Russians really be behind such a complex scheme? Get your own copy of Weird World War III to find out! (And check out the Tangent review if you have a moment, for short reviews of the stories in the rest of the anthology.)