Award-Winning Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, and More

Month: January 2020

2019 Clarkesworld Reader’s Poll – Phase One

The nomination phase of our annual reader’s poll for Best Clarkesworld story and cover art (of 2019) is now open. This phase is short and will close tomorrow, January 28th at 8PM EST. Vote now!

2019 Clarkesworld Stories and Cover Art

2019 Clarkesworld Stories

Eater of Worlds” by Jamie Wahls (Short Story, 1/19)
One’s Burden, Again” by Natalia Theodoridou (Short Story, 1/19)
Fire in the Bone” by Ray Nayler (Short Story, 1/19)
The Ghosts of Ganymede” by Derek Künsken (Novelette, 1/19)
Venus in Bloom” by Lavie Tidhar (Short Story, 1/19)
East of the Sun, West of the Stars” by Brit E. B. Hvide (Short Story, 2/19)
Painwise” by Robert Reed (Short Story, 2/19)
The Final Ascent” by Ian Creasey (Novelette, 2/19)
Give the Family My Love” by A. T. Greenblatt (Short Story, 2/19)
The Face of God” by Bo Balder (Short Story, 2/19)
The Butcher of New Tasmania” by Suo Hefu (Short Story, 2/19)
But, Still, I Smile” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires (Novelette, 3/19)
When Home, No Need to Cry” by Erin K. Wagner (Short Story, 3/19)
Death of an Air Salesman” by Rich Larson (Short Story, 3/19)
Dreams Strung like Pearls Between War and Peace” by Nin Harris (Short Story, 3/19)
Treasure Diving” by Kai Hudson (Short Story, 3/19)
The Thing With the Helmets” by Emily C. Skaftun (Short Story, 3/19)
The Last Eagle” by Natalia Theodoridou (Short Story, 4/19)
Ripen” by Yukimi Ogawa (Novelette, 4/19)
Gaze of Robot, Gaze of Bird” by Eric Schwitzgebel (Short Story, 4/19)
The Flowering” by Soyeon Jeong (Short Story, 4/19)
Social Darwinism” by Priya Chand (Short Story, 4/19)
In Search of Your Memories” by Nian Yu (Short Story, 4/19)
Skyscrapers in the Sand” by Y.M. Pang (Short Story, 4/19)
Tick-Tock” by Xia Jia (Short Story, 5/19)
Move Forward, Disappear, Transcend” by A. T. Greenblatt (Short Story, 5/19)
Empress in Glass” by Cory Skerry (Short Story, 5/19)
Insaan Hain, Farishte Nahin” by Arula Ratnakar (Novelette, 5/19)
The Sun from Both Sides” by R.S.A. Garcia (Novelette, 5/19)
The Painter of Trees” by Suzanne Palmer (Short Story, 6/19)
Erdenweh” by Bo Balder (Short Story, 6/19)
The Peppers of GreenScallion” by Myung-hoon Bae (Short Story, 6/19)
Said of Angels” by Eric Del Carlo (Novelette, 6/19)
Bonobo” by Robert Reed (Short Story, 6/19)
Field Mice” by Andy Dudak (Short Story, 6/19)
The Visible Frontier” by Grace Seybold (Short Story, 7/19)
Xingzhou” by Ng Yi-Sheng (Short Story, 7/19)
Shattered Sidewalks of the Human Heart” by Sam Miller (Short Story, 7/19)
Wu Ding’s Journey to the West” by Tang Fei (Novelette, 7/19)
Flowers on My Face” by Geo-il Bok (Short Story, 7/19)
One in a Million” by Rodrigo Juri (Novelette, 7/19)
The Weapons of Wonderland” by Thoraiya Dyer (Short Story, 7/19)
Entangled” by Beston Barnett (Short Story, 8/19)
Onyx Woods and the Grains of Deception” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires (Short Story, 8/19)
Your Face” by Rachel Swirsky (Short Story, 8/19)
The Yorkshire Mammoth” by Harry Turtledove (Short Story, 8/19)
In This Moment, We Are Happy” by Chen Qiufan (Novelette, 8/19)
The Second Nanny” by Djuna (Novelette, 8/19)
Dave’s Head” by Suzanne Palmer (Novelette, 9/19)
Amorville” by Bella Han (Novelette, 9/19)
To Catch All Sorts of Flying Things” by M. L. Clark (Novelette, 9/19)
Lapis” by Sara Saab (Short Story, 9/19)
Malinche” by Gabriela Santiago (Short Story, 9/19)
All Electric Ghosts” by Rich Larson (Short Story, 10/19)
The Scrapyard” by Tomas Furby (Short Story, 10/19)
An Arc of Lightning Across the Eye of God” by P H Lee (Short Story, 10/19)
National Center for the Preservation of Human Dignity” by Youha Nam (Short Story, 10/19)
Song Xiuyun” by A Que (Novelette, 10/19)
How Alike Are We” by Bo-young Kim (Novella, 10/19)
Your Future is Pending” by Matthew Kressel (Short Story, 11/19)
Antarctica” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires (Short Story, 11/19)
Cloud-Born” by Gregory Feeley (Novelette, 11/19)
Sentinel” by Chang-Gyu Kim (Novelette, 11/19)
Operation Spring Dawn” by Mo Xiong (Novelette, 11/19)
Such Thoughts Are Unproductive” by Rebecca Campbell (Short Story, 12/19)
Witch of the Weave” by Henry Szabranski (Short Story, 12/19)
Annotated Setlist of the Mikaela Cole Jazz Quintet” by Catherine George (Short Story, 12/19)
Eclipse our Sins” by Tlotlo Tsamaase (Novelette, 12/19)
Appointment in Vienna” by Gabriel Murray (Novelette, 12/19)
Symbiosis Theory” by Choyeop Kim (Novelette, 12/19)

2019 Clarkesworld Cover Art

by Pascal Blanche

by Arthur Haas

“Alien Abstract VI”
by Arthur Haas

“Biolight paws at sunset”
by Arthur Haas

by Matt Dixon

“Warm Song”
by J.R. Slattum

“The Giant Mimr”
by Axel Sauerwald

by Roman Kuteynikov

by Beeple

by Beeple

“Pizza Break”
by Tomas Kral

by Derek Stenning

Post Surgery Update

It’s been nearly a week and a half since surgery and things are going much better now. I’ve finally managed to sleep through the night (once) and the incision site is healing nicely. General pain levels are down, but still a presence. (Mostly dull. It can get sharper, but I’m learning not to do things or to stop before that can become a problem.) My surgeon has lifted a few of the restrictions and my device continues to function properly.

There’s still a good bit of swelling on the left side of my chest, which I am told is caused by pooled blood. There’s also extensive bruising on my chest and left arm, both of which have added to the discomfort. Weight and movement restrictions will remain on my left arm for a few more weeks. This is to keep me from accidentally pulling the lead (and screw) out of my heart–both of which would be obviously bad. Pain prevents me from even considering those motions.

This procedure was more complicated than the original implantation, but I had been lead to believe that the recovery would be about the same. They were wrong about that. This was worse. It took much longer for me to get back to doing simple things like using a cell phone or computer. Movement caused pain. Pain caused tension. Tension caused new pain in different places. I ended up watching a lot of TV this time instead and was rarely comfortable. I’m so happy that the worst of that is over.

Thank you to everyone that has been writing and wishing me well. I haven’t been in the best of shape to respond to all of you, but know I’ve seen and appreciated your kind words.

Defibrillator Saga: Hopefully the End

I went in for surgery yesterday to have my defibrillator and leads removed and replaced. While most of the procedure was outlined in a previous post, there were a few “new to me” details that I didn’t find out about until I got there. To start off, during prep, I was informed that they would have to shave neck to toes due to some of the contingency procedures that could happen if there were any problems. That and hair is an vector for transmitting bacteria or other surprises. Next was that there would be an emergency line on my groin, just in case they needed to send a balloon up through a vein/artery (I’m not entirely remembering this part as it involves needles and my brain skitters a bit when that comes up) just in case they need to stop some internal bleeding. The legs were shaved just in case they needed to borrow some part from my leg to fix something else. Oh and there was another line placed in my arm, again with the needle, and something put down my throat so they could keep an eye on my heart during the procedure. (Fortunately that would be put in after I was unconscious.)

Later, they wheeled me into the operating room. There was at least six people in there and they put me under before the rest of the team arrived. In the past, I’ve been asked to count as they put me under. This time, I was just out before I knew what was going on.

The procedure went perfectly, so none of the contingencies they prepared for were necessary. They started waking me in the OR and it’s pretty much a blur. I know I was coming out (fighting my way out) of a very odd dream, nauseous, and unable to keep my eyes open. The kept me in recovery for perhaps an hour and then wheeled me to my room where my family was waiting for me. I really needed to see them, but I was struggling to stay awake and they hadn’t eaten.

Hospitals are not places to sleep. I slept in one or two hour slices throughout the night, interrupted by blood tests, blood pressure checks, stealing my water away (so I wouldn’t drink after midnight) and shift changes. It was enough to give me back my appetite and the strength to sit in a chair.

In the morning, a tech came to test the device–the same one that I saw during my first hospital visit in December–and we chatted about the new device and what had happened since he last saw me. This one might last 10-13 years before the battery needs to be replaced and it’s a lot louder. I could actually feel the vibrations, but that just might be the sensitivity of the incision area. It’s not big, but it hurts. Dull and regularly pain. For the next 4-6 weeks, I have limitations on my left arm designed to keep me from yanking the new lead out of my heart. The good news is the pain pretty much prevents me from accidentally doing any of the things I’m not supposed to. No lifting things, raising my arm, etc.

Everyone that needed to see me came through before noon, so I was able to get out on time, or early in hospital time. Lisa and Eamonn came to bring me home and I felt every turn. Driving is off the table for a while and left-side seatbelts would be a big mistake. Still, I’m home now and that’s a big improvement.

Thanks to everyone that supported me over the last few weeks, but particularly my family and the amazing team at Morristown Medical Center. Everyone over in Gagnon wing is a pro and so kind.

Complete list of posts in this series
Defibrillator Saga 1
Defibrillator Saga 2
Defibrillator Saga 3
Defibrillator Saga Conclusion

Surgery on Thursday

Tomorrow I will head to Morristown Medical Center to have my defibrillator and the accompanying wiring removed and replaced. (Why is outlined in previous posts.) The procedure involves removing the device and then placing a straw-shaped tool around the wires and snaking it into my heart, where the wire is screwed in. Over the last seven years, scar tissue has formed over the screw (this is a feature, not a bug–it holds it more securely in place). The scar tissue will be zapped away by a laser at the end of the tool so they can remove  the lead. Then they’ll remove the tool and wire.

At this point, there is a possibility of some bleeding. Should that happen, the surgeon performing the procedure will have to go in and stop it. Statistically, this shouldn’t happen, but I’m reassured by the fact that the surgeon performing the procedure came highly recommended and should be more than capable of dealing with the situation.

After everything is removed, they will need to run a new wire into my heart, screw it in, and install the new defibrillator in my chest. They’ll glue me shut and that should be it for the day. I’ll be under for the entire procedure and if the past is any indicator, I’ll be barely functional for the rest of the evening.

If everything goes as planned, I will be released sometime on Friday. If there was bleeding, it’s likely they’d keep me a few more days. Either way, I’ll have some restrictions while everything heals and new scar tissue secures the screw more firmly. For example, I won’t be able to hold anything over ten pounds or raise my left arm higher than my elbow. (The risk here is pressure on the wire pulling the screw out of my heart. Great mental image, isn’t it?) The nice thing is that any inclination to do the wrong thing is deterred by the pain. That was the one thing that caught me off-guard after the initial procedure. No one said how much movement would hurt.

No one likes surgery. I’d be a fool to say that I wasn’t worried or concerned even though I know I have an excellent team on my side. I could just leave the wire in there, but given my age, it would almost certainly cause a complication down the line and every year it stays in there, the harder it will be to take out. (At seven, I’m already at an extra level of difficulty.) It’s time to get this over with.

Being a cyborg isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

A last thank you to everyone that has been so supportive through all this, particularly the few that have reached out to share their own experiences. It’s meant a lot to me.

Talk to you soon.

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