“Book…” at the Monthly Round

My Birdverse novelette “The Book of How to Live” made The Monthly Round at Nerds of a Feather:

Bracing. Spicy. Lightly bitter. It’s how I would profile a Session IPA, a drink that speaks to me of autumn and the smell of burning leaves. It’s also how I imagine “The Book of How to Live” by Rose Lemberg would taste, with an eye toward resistance and revolution and city teaming with magic, cultures, and history slowly coming to a boil. And that might seem a bit dramatic for a story that is, at the surface, about lanterns and machine lubricants water pumps. And yet the story does a magnificent job of looking at the economics of magic with a careful eye on where the magicless resident in a society that so strongly values magical talent.

Read the whole review at Nerds of a Feather.

This story is about community, revolution, and resistance, and it just feels very timely right now.

A Portrait of the Desert in Personages of Power

Friends, this has been a difficult week. Devastating for many of us. I have spoken at length on twitter about my feelings about this election, and will continue to do so there: @roselemberg.

I posted on Twitter last night that I am reluctant to announce the sale of my novella — it feels weird to have good news at such a difficult time. Many people told me that good news would be welcome.

With this in mind: I have sold my Birdverse Origin novella, “A Portrait of the Desert in Personages of Power,” to Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It is an intensely lyrical and mythic piece with power exchange, consent, trauma, survivorship, queer/trans romance and people turning into giant flaming birds.

This piece is very important to me and I hope you enjoy it too. It will be published in Spring 2017.


New reviews, and a poem!

My new Birdverse novelette “The Book of How to Live” has received some positive reviews.

The first from Tangent, by reviewer Michelle Ristuccia:

Rose Lemberg brings us another moving LGBTQIA fantasy piece set in the Birdverse, the novelette “The Book of How to Live.” Lemberg’s love story follows two strangers who struggle to be accepted in a world ruled by magic users. Efronia wishes to attend university to further her non-magical inventions; meanwhile Zilpit-nai-Rinah fights to attain an equal status within her own family unit, her oreg. […] “The Book of How to Live” is about defining one’s self and developing one’s talents regardless of whether others accept you or not. [see full review here]

The second is from Quick Sip Reviews, by Charles Payseur.

Um…yes. Yes to this story. About work and ability and value in an unequal society, it weaves together magic and mechanics, desire and hope. And for a story that’s about so-called simples, it is wonderfully complex, exploring a setting that continues to expand and deepen, each story strengthening and widening the grid that is Birdverse and providing an incredible experience. This story focuses on two women, Efronia and Atarah, brought together not so much by their lack of deepnames so much as their genius at making things. They are artificers, not because they have been granted the title by a university or other entrenched power, but because their inventions work. And the story is about work, the work that one does and how one does it. About the power of work to draw people together, to unite them, especially when the work is so tied to how to live and how to live better. [read the full review here!]

I have talked about Charles a lot here, because I am so grateful for the work he does reviewing such an astounding number of short fiction publications in SFF. We need this coverage. I hope you will consider supporting his work on Patreon!


I also have a new poem out at Strange Horizons. It’s NOT a Birdverse poem, for a change – it is a rather short piece titled The Ash Manifesto. I hope you like it!

Charles Payseur reviewed this poem at Quick Sip Reviews as a part of his Strange Horizons reviews. Really Charles is a hero.

The Sippys

Last year I found myself a recipient of a new fan award, The Sippy, bestowed by none other than Charles Payseur, reviewer extraordinaire. My Birdverse novelette “Geometries of Belonging” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies received The Big Sip for excellent relationships in short SFF!

This year, in preparation for 2016 Sippys, Charles redesigned the award and kindly revisited the last year’s winners with the new trophies.

Here is mine:


I am really happy with this. In general I am just so happy to see that Birdverse has fans. It means a lot to me. I am especially happy to see “Geometries…” recognized; as you may have seen, I have since written a novel about some of the characters in this novelette – and I’m almost ready to query it.

If you’d like to support Charles Payseur’s reviewing work, he now has a Patreon for Quick Sip Reviews!

“The Book of How to Live” is live! + some notes

My new Birdverse novelette, “The Book of How to Live,” is live in Beneath Ceaseless Skies’ 8th Anniversary double issue.

Here are some notes about this story:

I first became a fan of Mikhail Lomonosov as an eight year old living in Vorkuta, when I read his “Ode to Glass.” I memorized some of his astronomical and other scientific poems, and read everything about him I could find. Lomonosov was an 18-century Russian polymath from a peasant family, who traveled by foot from his home village in the northern Arkhangelsk region to Moscow because he was determined to study. He was admitted into the Slavic Greek Latin Academy on false pretenses – he claimed to be from a priestly rather than a peasant family – and was almost expelled when this was discovered. He was not, however, expelled, and eventually became one of the most influential scientists, social scientists, and poets of the Russian 18th century. As a child, I was deeply inspired and influenced by his story, the humble origins, the very long journey he made on foot, the determination, what it took to get into a higher education environment. I held on to this story and the hope that everything is possible.

As a grown-up and an academic who is multiply marginalized, I wanted to poke at this favorite childhood story some more. What if the Lomonosov-like figure is a woman? What if the Lomonosov-like figure is a queer, asexual woman? What if the Lomonosov-like person is autistic? What if this person is expelled after all?

I examine some of this in the story of Efronia Lukano, one of the two MCs of my new Birdverse novelette, “The Book of How to Live.” This story is set in Laina, a country in the north-east of Birdverse which has many Russian influences, though Laina is certainly not Russia.

The other protagonist of “Book…” is Zilpit-nai-Rinah (later Atarah), a Khana inventor and artificer without magic. I’ve written about Khana people living in various corners of Birdverse, and there are many more stories to tell; the protagonists of my Nebula-nominated “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” are Khana people from Niyaz, which is in the southwest. Magic is commonplace among the Khana, and especially among Khana women; in “Cloth…”, the protagonist, Aviya, who is without magic, finds her place in her people’s narrative. Zilpit/Atarah does not really fit in the traditional Khana society, and builds new things. There’s a lot more to say about Atarah and the Khana society in Laina, about academic politics, and who gets admitted and excluded, but I will let the story speak for itself.

“The Book of How to Live” is set in the early days of the Lainish Revolution; this is a formative and hopeful period of the revolution’s history, and we see people of many ethnicities and walks of life come together to work for a better world. I hope you like this story and let me know what you think.

Many thanks to Bogi Takács, Shweta Narayan, and Corey Alexander for their helpful comments on this story, and to Scott Andrews at Beneath Ceaseless Skies for publishing it.

Two upcoming reprints

I am very pleased to report that I sold reprint and audio rights to “How to Remember to Forget to Remember the Old War” (Lightspeed’s Queers Destroy SF) to GlitterShip. This is a story of two interstellar veterans with PTSD, and it the first time this story will be available online in text and audio format.

Second, “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” will be reprinted in the Long List Anthology, volume 2, edited by David Steffen – which is Kickstarting right now. The Long List Anthology collects select stories that appeared on the Hugo longlist; and this year they are also reprinting some letters from Letters to Tiptree. Novelettes were a stretch goal this year, and that stretch goal has been reached. The Kickstarter is now raising for the novella stretch goal! Look at this incredible lineup:

Short Stories and Letters (base goal)

“Three Cups of Grief, By Starlight” by Aliette de Bodard
“Madeleine” by Amal El-Mohtar
“Pockets” by Amal El-Mohtar
“Tuesdays With Molakesh the Destroyer” by Megan Grey
“The Women You Didn’t See” by Nicola Griffith (a letter from Letters to Tiptree)
“Damage” by David D. Levine
“Neat Things” by Seanan McGuire (a letter from Letters To Tiptree)
“Today I Am Paul” by Martin L. Shoemaker
“Pocosin” by Ursula Vernon
“Wooden Feathers” by Ursula Vernon
“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong

Novelettes (stretch goal at $3900 – reached)

“The Heart’s Filthy Lesson” by Elizabeth Bear
“So Much Cooking” by Naomi Kritzer
“Another Word For World” by Ann Leckie
“Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” by Rose Lemberg
“The Deepwater Bride” by Tamsyn Muir
“Our Lady of the Open Road” by Sarah Pinsker
“The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild” by Catherynne M. Valente

Novellas (stretch goal at $5000)

“The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” by Usman T. Malik
“The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps” by Kai Ashante Wilson

I am very much looking forward to this anthology, and I hope you consider supporting the Kickstarter.

I’ll have a new Birdverse novelette available for free in Beneath Ceaseless Skies tomorrow – so will post more soon!

BCS Eighth anniversary double issue!

The Beneath Ceaseless Skies Eighth anniversary double issue is available to purchase early through Weightless Books! It contains my new Birdverse novelette “The Book of How to Live.”

This piece will go live for free on the BCS website on October 6th, and I will have some notes for you then! Happy reading!


Two awesome reprints for “Cloth….”

“Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” has been chosen to appear in Heiresses of Russ, edited by A.M. Dellamonica and Steve Berman. This is my first year’s best reprint, and the first time “Cloth…” will appear in print — I’m really excited!!


Aaaand… “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” appears in Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year 7!! I’m very happy about that. A great lineup.


As a bonus: for those of you not following this on Twitter, I’ve finished a full draft of my Birdverse novel THE UPHOLDING and am revising it. I love it.

After Worldcon

I was at MidAmericon2 only sporadically due to childcare constraints, observance (was not there on Shabbes), and health setbacks. I did not attend any parties, and missed the Hugo Award ceremony. Still, I enjoyed the con very much and loved meeting and/or seeing many of you there. I am sorry I missed so many of you, and hope to see everyone at some future con!

The two highlights of the con for me were: finally meeting Bill Campbell of Rosarium face to face, and my own Birdverse reading. I was thrilled to have an hour slot, which allowed me to read a full first chapter of The Upholding. I also read a few pages from my Birdverse novella “Portrait…,” which is currently on submission. I am very grateful to everyone who made it to the reading; and I am so glad that many people engaged with the work and wanted to talk about mental illness and its representation in SFF.

I also found out that my Birdverse novelette “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” was on the Hugo longlist. It is a great honor to have a story on the longlist, especially in a year like this one; thank you very much to everyone who nominated and voted for it.


MidAmeriCon II Schedule

I will be attending parts of Midamericon II in KCMO later this week! Hope to see many of you there.

For my individual reading, I will be reading from my new Birdverse novel, THE UPHOLDING. This is the first time I am going to be reading anything from this book. I’ll probably post more about this a few days before the con, but shortly: Parét (“Geometries of Belonging”), an expelled and mentally ill former student of Magical Geometry, is about to get himself volunteered. To save the world.

I may also read a new SFnal prose poem, “Retrying.”

I will have copies of An Alphabet of Embers and Spelling the Hours for those who’d like to buy!

My full schedule is below.

Mars Needs Poets

Thursday 11:00 – 12:00, 2205 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Let’s talk science fiction and fantasy poetry! Where can you find it? Who’s writing it? What pieces do we love? And how is science fiction changing the landscape of modern poetry?

Jim Davidson (M) , Mary Soon Lee, Rose Lemberg, Frederick Turner , Dr. Mary A. Turzillo Ph.D., Jo Walton.

5 Questions to Ask When Creating a Fictional Culture

Friday 14:00 – 15:00, 2505B (Costume) (Kansas City Convention Center)

How does one create a fictional culture that is tangible, realistic and sucks readers in? Need help avoiding overdone or stereotypical culuture devices? This panel will discuss 5 important questions writers must ask themselves when creating a fictional culture.

Tim Akers , J. Kathleen Cheney , M.C.A. Hogarth, Rose Lemberg, Ian McDonald.

Reading: Rose Lemberg

Friday 16:00 – 17:00, 2203 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center)

Rose Lemberg


Autographing: Rose Lemberg, Bogi Takács, Adam Rakunas, Alyssa Wong, Katherine Wynter

Sunday 14:00 – 15:00, Autographing Space (Kansas City Convention Center)

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R.B. Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Their work has appeared in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Uncanny, and other venues, and has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, and other awards.

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