Saturday, March 08, 2014

On the racks: "Rules of Engagement"

So it looks like the April/May issue of Asimov's is out, containing my story "Rules of Engagement." Two reviews are already up too, and both are pretty good: Sam Tomaino at SFRevu calls it a "good, solid story" with "a shattering conclusion" while it's one of just two Recommended stories in Lois Tilton's early March short fiction reviews at Locus.

Here's the first page of "Rules of Engagement":

A Reporter At Large

It was not much of a fight, as bar fights go: not even enough to get Kevin Bishop, Tony Cervantes and Tom Hollis thrown out of the bar in which they had spent the afternoon and evening of July ninth. The three soldiers had been drinking at The Swiss Bar and Grill, a bar popular with college students on weeknights but largely taken over by military on weekends, when their implants relax the usual restrictions on alcohol. Bishop, Cervantes and Hollis had served together in the 23rd Infantry Division of the 2nd Infantry Brigade (more often referred to as the 23-IN), mostly in Somalia and Yemen, and two of them were still on active duty. Fire team Chinook had survived the worst that the war and al-Shabaab could throw at them, but before long two would be in prison and one would be dead.

The immediate cause of the fight was money. Bishop, who had ordered the last two rounds, had revealed that he was unable to pay his share of the night's tab. The entire 23-IN had been flush with back pay when they had come home from deployment in Yemen, bringing a welcome stream of money into the city's bars; it was not unusual during that period for John Pratt, The Swiss's owner, to make two or more bank runs per night, each time with a duffel bag full of money. (Soldiers in the 23-IN pay for almost everything in cash, due to a widely-held belief that their implants track direct payments.) Two months later the money was beginning to run out, and for Bishop – who was no longer receiving combat pay and was also making regular payments to the city's ghat dealers – it already had. 


Thursday, January 09, 2014

Beyond words

Beautiful cover by Erik Mohr. Coming May 2014 from CZP!


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Falling further

Quick bit of news: the 2013 Worldcon panel on gay and lesbian issues in SF/F has been released as a podcast at Outer Alliance. I mostly talk about the issue from a day job perspective; you can hear it here.

Also: as a recent post indicated, I'm fairly used to running into other Matthew Johnsons. This is the first time I've encountered another "Fall From Earth," though. It wouldn't quite make sense as a cover to my book but it really ought to be the cover of somebody's.

Friday, September 27, 2013

You will find it positively fascinating

Here's my schedule for Can-Con, coming up next weekend (October 4-6) in Ottawa:


8:00 PM: News and fun from WorldCon with Cenk Gokce, Marie Bilodeau, and Andrew Barton.

9:00 PM: Humour in Science Fiction with Ira Nayman and Mike Rimar.

10:00 PM: ChiZine party and Ottawa launch of Imaginarium 2013, where I'll be doing a short reading from "The Last Islander."


9:00 AM: SFWA Regional meeting. Coffee and wood-fired Montreal-style bagels for SFWA members in attendance.

10:00 Reading with Kate Hearfield. I'll be reading "Beyond the Fields You Know," a new story from my upcoming collection; Kate will read "For Sale by Owner" and the prologue from her upcoming On Spec story "Traveller, Take Me".

5:00 PM: Multiculturalism in Science Fiction with Yves Menard, Candace Black, and David Hartwell.

6:00 PM: Researching for Fantasy Stories with Karen Dudley and Mike Rimar.

7:00 PM: Law in Science Fiction with Kate Heartfield, Tom Barlow and Lynda Williams.

8:00 PM: You're qualified for SFWA: Should you join?with Derek K√ľnsken, Suzanne Church, and Andrew Barton.

Friday, September 06, 2013

My Worldcon reality check

Fan: Oh, hey! Could you sign this for me?  

She opens an anthology and holds it out to me. 

Me: Sorry, I didn't write that -- that's another guy who publishes as "Mat Johnson."

Fan: Oh. Okay, well, never mind.


Me: I'll still sign it, if you like.

More ritual humiliation to come soon, maybe. In the meantime, here's me about to unravel the mysteries of time and space:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Inter con

Just time for a breather between getting back from When Words Collide and heading off to WorldCon. I had a great time at WWC in Calgary, meeting many people for the first time and also getting to know people I had technically "met" online in various contexts. All my panels were terrific and everyone was tremendously welcoming.

Two pieces of good news also came my way while I was there. First, I got my first look at the latest edition of The Year's Best Science Fiction and found that both "The Afflicted" and "The Last Islander" had gotten Honorable Mentions. Second, I learned that my story "Closing Time" will be included in a collection commemorating the 25th anniversary of On Spec. It's one of my favourite stories as well being the first story I ever sold there and, in fact, the first story I sold anywhere, so I'm particularly plased that it made the cut.

Edited to add: Actually three pieces of good news -- I had totally missed the fact that "Long Pig" was included in the collection Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. I'm not sure they would have let me back on the plane with that huge book in my luggage, but it was cool to see it in the dealer's room.

Next up is LoneStarCon, just over a week away. Here's my schedule:

Meet the New Doctor: Helen Mirren

Friday 13:00 - 14:00
0018B (Convention Center)

How much longer do we have to wait for gender parity in the Whoverse? What will happen if the regenerated Doctor is female, and who should play the role?

Julia Rios, Lynne M. Thomas, Matthew Johnson, Juliet Bruce 

Autographing: with Gregory Benford, Ben Bova, Cathy Clamp
Friday 17:00 - 18:00 
Autographing (Convention Center)

SFWA Meeting
Saturday 10:00 - 12:00 

008B (Convention Center)
008B Convention Center
008B Convention Center

Use of Language in Fantasy
Saturday 14:00 - 15:00
006A (Convention Center)

How do you determine the stye of language to use in fantasy? Do you use archaic language, modern language or poetic language - which works best and in what circumstances?

Mary Robinette Kowal, Jaime Moyer, Susan Krinard, Matthew Johnson, Carol Berg 

Who's Working on Gay Issues and Themes in SF/F?
Sunday 16:00 - 17:00

007CD (Convention Center)

Lee Martindale, Scott Bobo, Matthew Johnson, Julia Rios, Paige E. Ewing

SFWA Table Autographing
Monday 11:00-12:00 Dealer's room

I'll also be staffing the SFWA table in the dealer's room from 2-3 on Friday and 12-1 on Sunday. If you don't see me anywhere else stop by and say hi! 

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Table talk

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that When Words Collide is actually next weekend and not this weekend. Luckily I had the right date on my plane tickets and hotel reservations.

I also now have my schedule for signings at the Bundoran Press table in the dealers room; I'll be there from 3-4 to 6-7 on Friday and from 2 to 3 on Saturday. Stop by and get a free copy of "The Salt and Iron Dialogues" if you buy Fall From Earth, as well as my illegible signature.