A.T. Greenblatt is a mechanical engineer by day and a writer by night. She lives in Philadelphia where she's well acquainted with all four seasons and is known to frequently subject her friends to various cooking and home brewing experiments. She is a graduate of Viable Paradise XVI and her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Uncanny, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Fireside, as well as fine other online journals. You can also find her on Twitter at @AtGreenblatt
I’m writing this tonight from my desk in my living room/office while eating dinner. It’s been that sort of weekend. Not bad, but gone too quickly. My desk sits in front of a window and from it I can see the people in the apartments across the street, in their kitchens or dining room or hybrid spaces like mine. I know they can see me too.
Do neighbors in NYC wave to each other? Or do we politely pretend we don’t have windows into each other’s lives?
I was going to talk about my writing this week, but honestly, works-in-progress are not very interesting to talk about because it’s usually the same update week after week: Still writing and still revising. So I’ll just say that one delightful surprise was getting the Long List Anthology, Volume 8 in the mail! This has my story “Questions Asked in the Belly of the World” as well as many other amazing pieces published in 2021. As a reader, I alway really enjoyed this anthology series.
Seriously, having a four day weekend has been so nice. I managed to spend part of the long weekend with my family, eating tons of home cooked food and playing with my dog. Hope those of you in the States have enjoyed it as well.
Not much to report on the home front this week. I continue to make headway on short story edits, essays, and new story drafts. Although progress is slower than I would like it to be. (It always is.)
This week, I finished reading the short story collection Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell. I found her storytelling craft exceptional, even though not all of the stories resonated with me. One of the things I liked most about it was how varied and unique each story was in terms of topics, settings, and breath. Each piece had a mix of darkness and humor, though the ratios varied from story to story.
I also saw the animated movie Porco Rosso by Hayao Miyazaki. It came out in 1992, but I never seen it before and there was a matinee over the weekend at one of the dine-in theaters in Brooklyn. So with coffee and truffle popcorn, I watched this strange, beautiful film and was once again fascinated by Miyazaki’s dreamlike way of storytelling. I learned recently that he doesn’t use a script when creating movies. Instead he creates a storyboard and he doesn’t know how the movie is going to end until he draws it.
Which, as someone who has to literally write things down to give them shape and meaning, I find that mind blowing.
Anyway, I’ll leave you with this: If you’re looking for a SFF short story to check out this week, try Slow Communication by Dominique Dickey
It’s that time of year again and I’m not talking about the holidays, though I’m excited for American Thanksgiving next week. (Four day weekend and homemade cranberry sauce!) Award season for the science fiction, fantasy, and horror community has begun, and it’s good practice to post a year end round up of your work and where to find it.
Also, since Twitter seems on the verge of collapse, I thought I’d mention that you can find me on Mastodon at @firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, I’m hoping to post on this blog weekly.
Okay, onto the stories. It’s been a bit of a rocky year for me in terms of writing, but three stories of mine were published and in some excellent venues.
Published March 2022 in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. 7,600 words (novelette)
“It should be noted here, at the beginning of the record, that the decision to invite such an esteemed and unknowable entity was not made lightly nor without a great deal of heated debate among the crew. [Addition: Upon reflection, Pilot Uma and Navigator Wilson conducted most of the debate and, ultimately, made the decision. The events that followed could have perhaps been avoided had they sought wider counsel.] However, it was agreed by all that the potential results were worth the risk. The crew was eager to
Published January 2022 in Slate Magazine. 7,000 words (short story)
“The open road is just potholes and misery, but Sabrina loves it anyway. Not that she has anything against the national train system, trains are great. But it’s the challenge, the potential to rebuild everything, that has her doing final checks on Gran’s old Jeep at the starting line of the Great American Road Race.
Not that Gran would’ve recognized her beloved car.”
Published June 2022 in the Bridge to Elsewhere Anthology. 4,000 words (short story)
“Tessa rubbed her face. Click, click went her teeth, but now, her only accompaniment was the ship’s deep hum. The junkyard man had warned her she was on borrowed time with The Castaway when she’d bought it, but there was something, something that Tessa couldn’t quite name, that whispered, Don’t give up on the ship. Not yet“
That’s it! What have you read this year that you’ve loved? Have you published something that you’re proud of? Please feel free to leave a comment!
The last five months been some of the most stressful months of my life and I’m finally getting a chance catch up on the things I’ve missed. I’m writing more again and trying to reengage with the SFF community. I’m slowly responding to overdo emails and tackling some of the less urgent things on my to-do list. I’m noticing the less urgent things too, like how I moved my Tupperware containers into my new apartment, but not all of the lids.
I had a great time in World Fantasy Convention last weekend – it was a last minute decision to go and I’m glad I did. For me, it’s always a revitalizing to go to cons. So much of writing is done alone and for me, going to a con is always a reminder that there’s a whole community of people creating and writing, geeking out about stories and stressing out about the industry too.
I’m currently working on some solicited stories and have been trying my hand at writing more personal essays. Some things I can’t talk about publicly yet, but I can share that my story “Waystation City” will be published in Uncanny Magazine early 2023! If all goes to plan, I should have a few more things coming out in early 2023. Until then, I’ll remain cryptic
One bit of exciting news is that I will be doing a reading at the KGB Fantastic Reading Series on January 11th with Chris Cevasco! I’ve been a fan of this reading series for a while and am super excited to get to be a part of it!
I’m going to try to update this blog more often now that Twitter seems to be imploding. I’m aiming for once a week, but maybe that means only posting a recipe I tried or what I’ve been reading.
Sadly, I won’t be able to make it in person to Worldcon this year. I have an important family event the next weekend and decided to try to avoid big social gatherings beforehand. I’m sad that I won’t be able to see friends and meet new people in person, but I am hoping to make it to World Fantasy Con in November.
However, I will be doing some online programming, including a virtual table talk, and would love to see people virtually. Here’s my schedule:
Virtual Table Talk – Friday, September 2 at 4:00pm CDT
Where: Airmeet Table Talk
Who: A. T. Greenblatt
Blending, Blurring, Evaporating Genres – Saturday, September 3 at 10:00am CDT
Description: Dragons in space? Magic robots? Speculative fiction has always refused to be confined between strict boundaries, and genre mashups and crossovers are now a common feature. How have our expectations for each genre changed over the years? How will they continue to change when “shelf space on a bookstore” is no longer a main concern?
One Hero to Save Them All – Saturday, September 3 at 2:30pm CDT
Description: Many stories set in dystopias or featuring a revolution focus the narrative on a single, solitary hero. But is this realistic? Is it fair, either to the hero who must do all the work or to the secondary characters? Is it fair to readers, looking to effect changes in their own societies, to read about competent characters who can do it all? Come join the panelists as they explore and question examples of solitary heroes.
I totally forgot to write this post and the conference is starting tomorrow. And, if all the flying goes smoothly, I will be in Minneapolis tonight. Also, I’m going to be on some panels. Additionally, I’m very excited to see people again in person and might not have finished my cup of coffee this morning yet, hence stream of consciousness-like wording of this post.
Stella Evans (M), Avani Gadani, A.T. Greenblatt, Benjamin C. Kinney, Michael Merriam.
From airport scanners with only two body type defaults to facial recognition systems that can’t recognize BIPOC, unconscious—or conscious—design decisions from our world that treat people unequally seep into our fantasy worlds. Authors create fantastic worlds full of stairs wheelchair users can’t access or magic systems designed to erase disabilities. But there also exist magic writing systems that dyslexic users excel at and blind earthbenders who don’t have to overcome their disabilities in order to thrive. What are broad principles or specific ways of approaching world-building to include as many people in the fantasy as possible?
What kind of ambiguity serves a story, in endings and in narrative support? Raising complicated questions with no easy answers is all well and good; avoiding dealing with what they mean entirely is an abnegation of responsibility. We can’t control reader interpretations, and there can be power in letting readers fill in for themselves what goes, but when is failing to take an explicit stance a disservice to the reader, and how explicit is it important to be? Where is the line between an ambiguous ending that fails the reader by failing to take a stance, or that serves the reader in forcing them to think through implications to their logical conclusion and intentionally decide on their own reading?
As I said, very excited for this and if you’re there, please feel free to come say hello.
I can’t remember when I posted here last and honestly, I’m a little too lazy right now to check, but I think it’s been a while. I’m slowly getting used to living in a new city. Or at least getting a little less lost, which is nice. I’m really enjoying the springtime greenery and looking forward to summer.
Speaking of upcoming things, I will be at the virtual Nebula Convention next weekend (May 19th-May 22nd). I also have a virtual reading at NYRSF on June 7th. Here’s the information for both:
The Future of Disability Representation – May 20th at 3pm PST – with Effie Seiberg, Andi C. Buchanan, Nicola Griffith, A. T. Greenblatt, and Nalini Haynes
Description: Writers with disabilities prop up excellent examples of representation, discuss how to overcome harmful tropes and stereotypes, and explore, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the future of portraying disability in SFF.
The Second Person and You – May 22nd at 10:30am – P H Lee, Suzan Palumbo, Lauren Ring, Eden Royce, and A. T. Greenblatt
Description: The second person is often regarded as difficult, complex, or experimental. But it doesn’t need to be! Explore how your work could benefit from this technique with authors who have intentionally and successfully written from this perspective.
My second event is an author reading at the NYRSF series. It will be streamed on the internet free for all on June 7th at 7pm!
Hope this post finds you all healthy and safe. I’m going to keep this quick today because I’m not feeling well and am quite tired, but I wanted to let you know that I have some exciting things going on next weekend. And it will all be online!
First up, I’ll be on a panel at Luxcon 2022. Troubling Tropes: Depicting Disability – Saturday at 9:00am ET
Next, I have a reading at Flights of Foundry. Reading – 10:00am-11:00am EST in The Eyre. (Note: An hour is a long time to read, so I probably read for 20-30 minutes and host a kaffeeklatsch-like Q&A the rest of the time.)
Lastly, I’ll be teaching a class for Clarion West Online called “Persisting as a Short Story Writer” from 4:00pm-5:00pm. Here’s the details. There’s still a few spots available!
I’m a little late to posting about this new story because my life has been a bit insane. A little over a month ago I accepted a new engineering position and now, a handful of weeks later, I’m sitting in an apartment in Brooklyn with my laptop and other essentials, but with most of my belongings in storage.
I’m still reeling from all the changes, but I’m also excited.
But right before I decided to upend my life, I wrote this story. I created it very quickly – when I was extremely tired and my exercise schedule was messed up (hence my writing productivity was also messed up.) I wanted to tell a time-looping story, but I all my initial ideas feel too much like Groundhog Day. The idea of revisions and how a story can change over time has always fascinated me. How you can redirect a story by adding little details here or reframing a moment there. So I decided to try that on an extreme scale with this story.
At some point, I wasn’t even sure it made sense to anyone but myself – that’s how zoomed in I was to each sentence and every worldbuilding detail. I couldn’t see the larger picture anymore. So I’m eternally grateful to Beneath Ceaseless Skies editor Scott Andrews and my beta readers for their help on this one.
I figured a time-looping story needed a looping song as its soundtrack, so I was listening to Zoë Keating “Possible” on repeat as I wrote and rewrote this story.
I’m so excited to share this story with the world! It’s about a road race across America in a climate-wrecked future where the highway system has been abandoned and trains are the main mode of transportation. I’ve been working on this piece for several months now and it was definitely a challenge to keep it in the short-story word range. There’s a wonderful companion essay to the story “How Heeding Disabled People Can Help Everyone Survive a Crisis” by Damien P. Williams.
This story has several point-of-view characters, each with her own history and goals. One of the biggest challenges was to make sure each character had a chance to tell her piece of the story and to make sure she came alive against the backdrop of where she came from. So, it made sense for Sabrina, Jody, and Fern to have their own theme songs while I was writing this story.