2020 Round-Up (Wish I’d been more productive!)

If you’re considering works for the Nebula or Hugo Award, my only eligible story from 2020 is my novelette, BEYOND THE TATTERED VEIL OF STARS, which appeared in the Mar/Apr. issue of Asimov’s. It’s been one of the best-reviewed stories I’ve written. The story was also translated into Italian and recently published as an e-book by Delos Digital.

Otherwise, I sure wish I’d been more productive during the pandemic. 2020 was mostly a year of reprints for me, selling a total of 9 reprints. “IN THE STILLNESS BETWEEN THE STARS” appeared in The Best Science Fiction of the Year, Vol. 5, edited by Neil Clarke and has also been acquired for Forever Magazine. The story was translated into Czech and republished in XB-1; translated into Chinese and republished in SF World; and, finally, translated into Italian and republished as an e-publication by Delos Digital out of Milan.

I also sold reprints of my short story UNREELED to XB-1 in the Czech Republic and my novelettes MISSIONARIES and THE SCENT OF THEIR ARRIVAL as e-publications to Delos Digital in Italy.

I’m hoping for a much more productive 2021.

Author Spotlight at Lightspeed

Here’s an Author’s Spotlight interview, where Jason Ridler asks me some insightful questions about my family drama/first contact story, “Those Brighter Stars.”  Hope you enjoy it!




Best of Abyss & Apex Volume Two

My story “Snatch me Another” appears in the Best of Abyss & Apex Volume Two edited by the wonderful Wendy Delmater.  I’m proud to appear in the same table of contents with luminaries such as Robert Silverberg and C.J. Cherryh. 



Here’s the stunning cover art for the August 2016 edition of Lightspeed Magazine.  The artwork by Elizabeth Leggett is for my first contact story,  THOSE BRIGHTER STARS, which is now available to read (or listen to) for free either at Lightspeed or at i09 here.

Also, here’s my Author’s Spotlight interview with Jason Ridler, who asks some penetrating and insightful questions about my story.

Cover Art by Elizabeth Leggett




Upcoming Stories and Projects

Four months into my sabbatical from the 9-to-5 grind, I’m pleased to announce two short story sales!

“Those Brighter Stars” will be appearing in a forthcoming issue of online magazine LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE.  This one is about two generations of mother-daughter relationships and humanity’s reaction to an approaching alien starship.  I’ve written numerous stories about First Contact, but this may be my favorite. 

“Unreeled” will be featured in an upcoming issue of ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION.  This one is noir-ish SF horror and explores how a marital relationship is affected by one partner’s absence during an exploratory mission into a black hole.  I revised this one too many times to count with the help of my writers’ group to create just the right tone, so I’m glad it found such a great home after all the work I put into it.

The Wergen Sequence:  I’m putting the final touches on a new Wergen story, just as I’m starting to write the grand finale in the Wergen Sequence.  This will allow me to tie together all 8 Wergen stories into one big, juicy novel about First Contact, space colonization, intergalactic war — and unrequited love, of course.  There’s an arc that cuts through all the tales, so putting them together should create a satisfying story tracking the ups and downs and final resolution in the relationship between humanity and the Wergens.  I’m presenting the novel to the Starry Coast writing workshop in September for feedback.

Miscellaneous Stories:  Three stories — one an intergalactic treasure hunt story, another the return to the horrific near-future of my World Fantasy Award-nominated Tu Sufrimiento Will Protect Us, and the third set in the post-apocalyptic setting of The Scent of Their Arrival — are all in the incubator.  First drafts are complete, with revisions in the works.

Back to work!


FREEFALL: A Wergen Novella

freefall cover (rgb)(1) Here it is!  The stunning cover of my forthcoming hardcover novella by Immersion Press and Carmelo Rafala.  The artwork is by Richard Wagner. 

I’m very excited that it will be available for sale later this month.

Across the Event Horizon

I had an amazing trip to London from March 28 to April 5 to celebrate the launch at Eastercon of my collection, ACROSS THE EVENT HORIZON, edited by Ian Whates and published by Newcon Press.   I had a great time at the con and got to meet many people I’d only had the pleasure of interacting with online.  I especially enjoyed hanging out with Ian Whates and Ian Watson (“Big Ian” and “Little Ian”), chatting with Aliette de Bodard and Rochita Loen-Ruiz, meeting Garth Powell, Nina Allen, Roy Gray (from Interzone‘s TTA Press), Neil Williamson, Terry Martin (from Murky Depths) and so many enthusiastic fans.  I was truly astounded at the number of fans familiar with my work who approached me to say how moved they were by “Longing for Langalana” or how much they liked the Kawkawroons or the scenters in “The Scent of Their Arrival.”  The whole experience seemed surreal to me and I’ll never forget it

I also attended the launch of SOLARIS RISING 2, edited by Ian Whates (Solaris) at Waterstone, a London bookstore in Bloomsbury.  A pleasure to meet fellow contributors Paul Cornell (current writer of Wolverine and the most British of the attendees), Adrian Tchaikovsky, Martin Sketchley, and the charming James Lovegrove.  Ian Whates hosted the festivities. 

 Cover image

Recording of “Dear Annabehls”

Other Worlds Than TheseMy story “Dear Annabehls,” originally published in John Klima’s Electric Velocipede, now appears in the anthology Other Worlds Than These, edited by master anthologist John Joseph Adams, alongside stories from Stephen King, Ursula K. LeGuin, George R.R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Silverberg, Orson Scott Card and others.  Here’s an interview I gave about the story.

Also, here’s a terrific recording of the story that originally aired on the Maine radio show “Beam Me Up.” Enjoy!

The Top 10 Movies of 2011

Before getting to my top picks, I’d like to acknowledge some of the critically lauded — even Oscar-nominated — movies that failed to live up to expectations in 2011.   One of the worst culprits, Terrence Malick’s grandiose The Tree of Life tried to reveal the meaning of life through out-of-sequence scenes of the Big Bang, the age of dinosaurs,  a family’s life in 1950’s Texas, and the afterlife – all accompanied by soaring symphony music.  Unfortunately, it only succeeded in revealing the meaning of pretentiousness.  The Help, in contrast, failed for being too pedestrian.  Not even the above-average acting performances by its female cast could elevate it beyond its simplistic script.  Another disappointment for me – and I love baseball (and baseball statistics in particular) — was the extraordinarily dull Moneyball, a snoozer that consists of conversations in dark rooms between ill-defined characters.  (Was Jonah Hill really nominated for best supporting actor?  Really?  C’mon!)  And while I appreciated the melancholy tone and Hawaiian setting of The Descendants, I still don’t understand the fuss over this average family drama.  Shame showed us the sordid life of a sex addict in all its NC-17 glory, but I only needed about five minutes to get the drift of it.  Finally, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a spy movie set in the 1970’s, proved impenetrable to me (perhaps because I was unfamiliar with the novel and/or miniseries) and I quickly became lost in its murky plot.

Here are my favorites. One takes place in the 1930’s, another in the 1920’s and a third in the 1910’s. Two are by the same director, two are about the age of silent movies, two have protagonists with comic dog sidekicks, and four are set in Europe.

10.  Young Adult. Charlize Theron shines in this black comedy about a hard-drinking, self-centered writer of young adult fiction who returns to her hometown to reunite with her high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson).  So what if he happens to be happily married with a newborn infant?  The clever script by Diablo Cody (Juno) does a great job of setting up viewer expectations—then dashing them in unanticipated ways.

9. Beginners. This quirky love story zips back and forth to different points in the life of a lonely graphic artist (Ewan McGregor) who’s unable to commit to serious relationships.  In contrast, his septuagenarian, newly widowed father (sure-to-win Oscar-nominee Christopher Plummer), who’s just come out of the closet, has no such difficulties.  The complex relationships between McGregor, his lover (the luminous Melanie Laurent from Inglourious Basterds) and his father all ring true in this poignant tale of new beginnings.

8.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II. Harry vs. Voldemort in the long-anticipated showdown!  The action-packed finale to the Harry Potter saga delivers movie magic (once again) and a satisfying resolution to the epic series, which ends on a high note.

7.  The Adventures of Tintin. The Hardy Boys meets Raiders of the Lost Ark in Steven Spielberg’s motion-capture animated 3-D adventure about the iconic Belgian comic book sleuth.  It’s worth seeing just for the spectacular visuals—but there’s also mystery, a treasure hunt, pirate battles, pulpy action sequences and a pet dog sidekick who steals the movie.  Tremendous fun.

6.  The Artist. This beguiling black-and-white silent movie — about a forlorn silent film star (Jean Dujardin) coping with the advent of the talkies — speaks to something that still resonates today, the sense of loss that sometimes accompanies the arrival of the next technological marvel. But it’s also sly, funny and uplifting.

5.  Bridesmaids. The year’s funniest movie by the Judd Apatow-crew shows that sensitive talky gals can be equally as funny – and as hilariously raunchy – as their male counterparts.  Saturday Night Live‘s Kristin Wiig surprises with her acting range as the bridesmaid who fears she’s losing her lifelong best friend (Maya Rudolph).  And Oscar-nominated Melissa McCarthy is a scene-stealing laugh riot.  ‘Nuff said.

4. Midnight in Paris. Owen Wilson effectively adopts the nebbish-y neurotic Woody Allen persona in this charming flick about an American writer who explores Paris at night and time-travels to the 1920’s where he rubs shoulders with legendary literary figures.  Nighttime Paris evokes the kind of wonder and mystery Allen typically reserves for New York City.  With his exploration of London in Match Point, Barcelona in Vicki Cristina Barcelona, and now Paris, Allen seems to have found a formula for reinvigorating his career.  Let’s hope he continues his European exploits.

3.  Hugo. Hands down the most visually spectacular film of the year, Martin Scorcese’s magical 3-D movie about an orphan who lives inside the compartments behind a wall-clock in a French railroad station in 1931 – and loves motion pictures – is absolutely enchanting.  Like The Artist, Hugo celebrates the age of silent film and is populated by an array of peculiar characters, including Sacha Baron Cohen as an officious, child-hating station inspector and Ben Kingsley as a bitter toy store owner with a mysterious past.

2.  War Horse. Steven Spielberg’s affecting masterpiece tracks the epic journey of a horse through the horrors of World War I, presenting the interweaving stories of its various owners on both sides of the conflict.  Shot in the lavish, old-Hollywood style of a John Ford Western, the red skies and open prairies and horrific battle sequences show off Spielberg’s skills, but his greatest gift remains his ability to tell an emotional story with no apologies.  To Spielberg’s many sourpuss critics, I can only say: I challenge you not to be moved.

1.  A Separation. Contemporary Tehran seems utterly alien, yet so familiar, in my favorite movie of 2011, a riveting Iranian family drama about a child custody dispute—and a murder charge.  It features the best ensemble acting performances of the year with characters that are nuanced and sympathetic, and a script (nominated for best screenplay) that underscores the sometimes-subjective nature of truth.  Brilliant.


11. Margin Call (moody financial thriller set in the nighttime offices of a New York City investment firm on the eve of a market catastrophe); 12. Captain America (Marvel’s iconic superhero is brought to life in this entertaining popcorn flick set during WWII); 13.  Drive (a strange hybrid of languorously paced art film and brain-bashing action flick starring a magnetic Ryan Gosling); 14. Contagion (Steven Soderbergh’s slick, frighteningly clinical account of the race to contain a global pandemic that threatens humanity’s survival);  15.  Another Earth (a duplicate version of Earth appears in the sky—a metaphor for second chances—in this compelling indie about terrible mistakes and redemption)

Finally, here is a list of actors more deserving than Jonah Hill of a best supporting actor nomination:  Albert Brooks in “Drive”; John Hawkes in “Martha Marcy May Marlene”; Kevin Spacey in “Margin Call”; Jeremy Irons” in “Margin Call”; Ben Kingsley in “Hugo“; Sacha Baron Cohen in “Hugo”; Seth Rogan in “50/50”; Patton Oswalt in “Young Adult.”

Mercurio’s 2011 Recapped

Where did 2011 go?  A few blinks of the eye and *poof*!

●   I’ll never forget 2011 because it was the year I was nominated for my first major award, the World Fantasy Award, for my Black Static story “Tu Sufrimiento Shall Protect Us.” I traveled to San Diego for the award ceremonies, did a reading, and got to lose to the amazing Joyce Carol Oates.  (It still makes me laugh that I was mentioned in the same breath as a multiple Pulitzer Prize nominee.)  Best of all, I got to share this experience with my fellow Fluidians N.K. Jemisin and Matthew Kressel who were also nominated.

●   In March, I co-taught a science fiction writing seminar, the Holodeck Writers Workshop (organized and hosted by the inimitable Tony Smith of StarshipSofa) with an esteemed staff consisting of Asimov’s editor Sheila Williams and writers extraordinaire Michael Swanwick, James Patrick Kelly and Gregory Frost.  I spoke about a topic near to my heart: the benefits and pitfalls of writing groups.

●   Two of my stories appeared in back-to-back issues of Interzone, both set in my Wergen Universe.  “For Love’s Delirium Haunts the Fractured Mind” came out in Interzone #235 (July-Aug 2011) (many thanks to Matt Kressel and Paul Berger for helping me come up with that audacious title, btw).  Rich Horton recently called it one of the best stories published by Interzone in 2011.  My novelette, “Tethered,” appeared in the following issue (Interzone #236) (Sept./Oct. 2011).  Both of these stories were accompanied by haunting illustrations of the Wergens by Ben Baldwin, which I loved.  They are my sixth and seventh stories, respectively, to appear in the acclaimed British mag.

●   I was honored to learn that David Hartwell & Katherine Cramer recently selected “Tethered” for their annual Year’s Best Science Fiction 17 anthology, published by Harper Collins, scheduled to hit bookstores in May 2012.  I’ve been a huge fan of this “year’s best” series ever since it debuted seventeen years ago (edited solely by David Hartwell at the time) so this was especially exciting news.

●   “Tethered” has also been long-listed for the British Science Fiction Award, which means that at least one member liked it enough to add it to the pool of about thirty contending stories from 2011.

●   My short story “All Smiles” appeared in Murky Depths #16 in March.

●   In November, StarShipSofa (No. 211) podcast my story “In the Harsh Glow of its Incandescent Beauty.”  It was narrated by J.J. Campanella, who gave a terrific performance.  Take a look at the ice-field and towering glaciers of Triton, illustrated below by Brian Mutschler!  That same story also appeared in the Starship Sofa Vol. 3 anthology with some amazing artwork by Timothy Booth.

Art by Brian Mutschler

●   I made my first sale to Poland, with “Tu Sufrimiento…” being translated and reprinted in the annual anthology “Steps into the Unknown.” I was particularly pleased that the story appears in the table of contents right next to fellow Fluidian Paul Berger’s highly acclaimed “Stereogram of the Gray Fort, in the Days of Her Glory.”

●   Two stories from 2010, “In the Harsh Glow…” and “Dance of the Kawkawroons” received Honorable Mention in Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best SF.

●   These same two stories appeared at #6 and #7 respectively in Interzone’s annual Readers’ Poll.

●   “Tu Sufrimiento…” received an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year anthology.

●   Speaking of Ellen Datlow, I co-hosted the KGB Reading twice with Matt Kressel when Ellen was traveling and had the pleasure of introducing Kit Reed and N.K. Jemisin.

●   Czech Republic magazine X-B1 translated and reprinted “In the Harsh Glow…” in its January 2011 issue and informed me recently that it will be republishing “Dance of the Kawkawroons” in an upcoming issue in 2012.

In sum, not a bad year.  My 2012 resolution: to improve my story output and get closer to finishing my collection of interrelated Wergen stories.

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Across the Event Horizon

Across the Event Horizon by Mercurio D. RiveraAcross the Event Horizon contains the very best of Mercurio’s work to date; fourteen stories selected by the author himself, including “Langalana” and “Tu Sufrimiento”. Learn more »

Other Worlds Than These

Other Worlds Than These by John Joseph AdamsMercurio D. Rivera’s story, “Dear Annabehls” is now out in the anthology Other Worlds Than These. Compiled by acclaimed editor John Joseph Adams, never before have the best parallel world stories and portal fantasies been collected in a single volume—until now. More info »

Year’s Best SF 17

Year's Best SF 17Mercurio D. Rivera’s “Tethered” appears in Year’s Best SF 17. Acclaimed, award-winning editors and anthologists David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer demonstrate the amazing depth and power of contemporary speculative fiction, showcasing astonishing stories from some of the genre’s most respected names as well as exciting new writers to watch. Prepare to travel light years from the ordinary into a tomorrow at once breathtaking, frightening, and possible. More info »

Holodeck Writer’s Workshop

Mercurio D. Rivera taught at the Holodeck Writer’s Workshop alongside Sheila Williams, James Patrick Kelly, Michael Swanwick and Gregory Frost. If you wish to raise your fiction, narration or art skills to the next level, this workshop is for you. More info »