Science Fiction that Pulls New People Into the Genre

I have always believed that science fiction is for everyone. After all, it’s truly the most “forward” facing genre and you would think this should obligate it to be more diverse and open than it has been in the past. Still, for a long time, it was challenging to find stories about people or stories written by a person who wasn’t white, male, and heterosexual. A genre like science fiction, which  is for everyone, really ought to be about everyone, and diversity should be represented in the fiction and in the authors who are in the industry.

So, when Nancy Holder and I were working on Futuredaze 2: Reprise, these were all things that were on our mind. However, while we were in the reading stage (and when you’re putting together a reprint anthology, that is one huge stage of the process!), we picked the best of what we found. We figured we would look at diversity issues after we selected the stories that we most wanted in the anthology. At the end of our reading stage, we ended up with 16 stories–15 of which are in the book. When we looked at that group of stories, which really were all of our favorite stories, we were pretty shocked that the selection was naturally diverse. If they weren’t great, they weren’t for us. The fact that diversity happened naturally was incredibly gratifying since it touched on my early belief that science fiction is for everyone.

The reason I bring this up is that I just read a review on Goodreads that said this about Futuredaze 2: Reprise:

“…it’s aimed at a younger audience who probably shouldn’t start chronologically. I think that anyone who believes that people need to approach science fiction starting with the older stuff, even from the “Greats” will find that modern readers demand a bit more, and a bit less crap. While many people might be willing to overlook offensive crap in older science fiction as “just part of the times,” there is something to be said for not having to deal with that. And here is a set of stories that are great and original and show real diversity and a view of the world that isn’t just white and male. It’s refreshing, and it is how science fiction is going to end up pulling more and newer people into the genre, which is what it needs.”FD2 on Goodreads

Yes! This is exactly how I feel about science fiction, and seeing someone write that in a review of my book was like winning the lottery. Thank you Charles Payseur. I don’t know you, but I hope that someday we get to meet because I have a feeling we’d have a fantastic discussion about the history and future of science fiction.

For those of you who don’t review books that you’ve read, I can guarantee you that the authors and publishers read them. To those of you, like Charles, who take the time to write down your thoughts, thank you!

Sometimes writing and publishing feels like throwing words into a vacuum. It’s so nice to see what people think, no matter what they have to say. Seeing those reviews is rewarding because it’s an acknowledgement that someone cared enough to share their thoughts about your work. That’s what it’s all about. So, again, thank you!

Posted in Futuredaze, Reviews, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Excellent Review for Futuredaze 2: Reprise from Foreword Reviews


Click here to buy now

We just received a really great review from Foreword Reviews, which is included in their Fall 2014 issue. Thank you Foreword Reviews!

The entire review is so complementary that I couldn’t just pick one thing to share here. So, I’m including a few different snippets for you to enjoy:

“Thoughtfully organized to maximize enjoyment, this sci-fi collection introduces YA readers to exciting subgenres and authors….Underwood and Holder follow up Futuredaze, their collection of original science-fiction stories and poetry, with this sequel featuring fifteen previously published stories by well-known YA authors like Scott Westerfeld and Cassandra Clare….The editors’ respect for their teen audience is apparent and adds to the appeal of the collection. The previously mentioned stories, like all of the others chosen for this book, incorporate issues of identity, independence, and relationships that are hallmarks of YA literature….At just under 300 pages, the length provides a nice taste of some of the best science-fiction writing for teens without being overwhelmingly long.” — Carolyn Bailey

Futuredaze 2: Reprise is available for purchase in storesonline, and from Underwords Press. Feel free to share with the YA readers in your life.

Posted in Futuredaze, Reviews, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

List of Young Adult Science Fiction Anthologies

Reading short science fiction is a great way to introduce young adult readers to the genre. However, finding a “SF” only anthology for young adults isn’t quite as easy as you might think. For the dedicated searcher, there are some great books out there–many of which include stories by the top authors in the field. Here’s a quick list of YA science fiction anthologies that you might enjoy:

FD2Reprise After
ShardsandAshes DiverseEnergies
FirebirdsRising Futuredaze
Timewarp DarlingsofSF
Firebirds ChildrenofInfinity

If you know of any other science fiction only YA anthologies, feel free to post the titles in the comments since they are a bit more difficult to find than mixed genre YA, fantasy YA, or paranormal YA anthologies.

Posted in Science Fiction, Uncategorized, Young Adult Literature | Leave a comment

YA Literature Panels at Loncon3

Yesterday, I attended the panel “From the Horse’s Mouth: What Teens are Reading” and I was on the “Cover Art for Young Adult and Middle Grade Books” and “YA on the Big Screen” panels.

Teens Reading PanelMy absolute favorite panel of the convention has been the “What Teens are Reading” panel that featured teen and middle grade readers. The panel was moderated by YA author Laure Eve and included Leo Adams, Sophie Strahan, Princess Scientist, and Iris Wilde. It was amazing to see kids who are so passionate about books…. PAPER books! This group of panelists did a fabulous job representing YA and MG readers and really drove home the point that what they want is smart, interesting, diverse, and original fiction. I think more conventions should include young adult panelists who enjoy talking about what they are reading since they are truly the experts on the subject.

“YA on the Big Screen” was a really fun panel that could have gone on a lot longer. It was moderated by Carrie Vaughn and the panelists included Thea James, Martin Lewis, Amy Sturgis, and me. There was general agreement between the panelists and the audience that dystopian films are really starting to look the same, and that is heightened by the fact that we’re seeing many of the same supporting actors and actresses in multiple films, which tend to give the impression that you really could take characters from one film set and drop them into one of the other film sets and you would have the same movie. A little more visual variety would help a lot. Another theme that came up multiple times was that while action films are great, we would love to see a few more thoughtful and introspective films that really take the time needed to develop the story, the characters, and the worlds within the books. We’re all holding our breath to see what The Giver will deliver as a film. That said, the recent YA film boom has been great and being able to experience our favorite stories in a variety of media is a wonderful thing.


The “Cover Art for Young Adult and Middle Grade Books” panel was great. It was moderated by Ann VanderMeer and the panelists included Christopher Gibbs, Klaus Mogensen, and me. Ann brought in a powerpoint presentation, which featured a bunch of interesting book covers, including some done by Christopher and the covers for Futuredaze and Futuredaze 2: Reprise. I have to say that it was pretty cool to see my own covers up on the big screen. The discussion went really well and covered everything from creating art to marketing, to what type of direction publishers provide and more. It was also really interesting to see the how trends in style and color changed over time. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this panel, but was really pleased by it, especially since the audience was so participative. It felt like everyone was engaged in the discussion, which was great.

So far, Loncon 3 has been terrific. This has been my first Worldcon and will definitely not be my last. In fact, it’s making me even more excited about BOSKONE (Boston’s SF/F convention) in February 2015!





Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Futuredaze 2: Reprise is Now Available!

This is it! It’s book day for Futuredaze 2: Reprise! My coeditor  Nancy Holder and I are very excited about this anthology of short science fiction for young adults. Futuredaze 2: Reprise pulls together a stellar selection of reprint stories that range from SF classics to recent YA publications, which features fiction from some of our favorite authors!

Table of contents in alphabetical order by title:

  • “The Fluted Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • “The Last Ride of the Glory Girls” by Libba Bray
  • “I Never” by Cassandra Clare
  • “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman
  • “Deep Blood Kettle” by Hugh Howey
  • “Sweet Sixteen” by Kat Howard
  • “Valedictorian” by N. K. Jemisin
  • “Going Deep” by James Patrick Kelly
  • “The Veiled Shanghai” by Ken Liu
  • “Good Girl” by Malinda Lo
  • “The Other Elder” by Beth Revis
  • “Secret Identity” by Will Shetterly
  • “Stupid Perfect World” by Scott Westerfeld
  • “A Letter from the Clearys” by Connie Willis
  • “Wilding” by Jane Yolen

We’ll have copies of Futuredaze: 2 Reprise for sale at Loncon3 this year. However, for those of you who are unable to make it to London this weekend, here are a few links where you can purchase a copy of Futuredaze: 2 Reprise.

I am about to board a plane for London where I will be joining 10,000 of the coolest people on the planet at Loncon 3 (the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention). I’ll be handing out glow-in-the-dark Futuredaze 2: Reprise writstbands. So, if you are at the convention, come look me up and say hello.

Posted in Futuredaze, London, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Considering my MFA from Stonecoast Five Years Later


Here I am introducing Jim Kelly at my graduation ceremony. Summer 2009

Five years ago, I earned my MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Popular Fiction. Five years ago, James Patrick Kelly was our graduation speaker and he was firm in telling us to remember to make time to write. Five year is a long time.

It seemed like silly advice back then since we just spent two years writing, writing, writing. I was exhausted from the work and hoping that the cash I laid down for the degree was worth it, but I was pleased with the fact that over those two years I had established a consistent writing schedule that had become second nature to me.

Several months after graduating, I realized that I had lost my writing mojo. My mom had passed away and I could barely keep myself going. If it weren’t for my Stonecoast mentor Nancy Holder, I might have forgotten how to fill a blank screen with words. I wasn’t her student any longer, and yet she held out a hand to me, helping me to get back in my chair to write. Since then, I often think back on Jim Kelly’s words, secretly acknowledging that maybe it wasn’t such silly advice after all.

I couldn't have made it without a little help from my friends.

I couldn’t have made it without a little help from my friends. RtoL: Diana, Nancy, Linda, ME, and Jim. :-)

Looking back over these last five years since graduation, I can’t imagine my life without Stonecoast and the friends that I made. That was where I learned to slay dragons, talk Elvish, and fly spaceships. We plotted out heinous acts and argued over legal technicalities like seasoned detectives. We debated about whether or not Ned Stark really needed to die and how a single act could set forth a flood of decisions that would change the world.

Since graduating I have come to terms with my own personal definition of success, and I am pleased to say I am on the path to achieving it. I am happy, but not content. There is still more to do! More to write! More to publish!

Deciding to get an MFA is almost as big of a decision as deciding which school to attend. For those of you considering Stonecoast as an option, I can’t guarantee that your experience will be the same as my experience. All I can say is that Stonecoast was exactly what I needed to acquire the tools to build my career as a writer, editor, and publisher…with a little con-running thrown in for fun.

If anyone ever wants to talk MFA programs and Stonecoast, you know where to find me. Also, here’s where you can find the Stonecost MFA in Creative Writing Program.


Posted in Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Pre-Order Your Copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise

Hey, everyone! I just wanted to let you know that you can now pre-order your copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise from Underwords Press. All you have to do is Go To The Book Page for Futuredaze 2: Reprise and then click on the pre-order button. Easy!

Pre-Order Futuredaze 2: Reprise now!

Pre-Order Futuredaze 2: Reprise now!

Futuredaze 2: Reprise: fifteen of the best and most brilliant young adult science fiction stories, written by the hottest SF and YA authors, are gathered for the first time in one anthology. Wild-west steampunk, true love with the alien next door, a confab with Mr. Darcy’s avatar, musical fluted girls, and Dorothy in alt-China—this is not your mom and dad’s science fiction. Grab a friend and go for launch to worlds of wonder that reveal who we are and what we want to become through our decisions, relationships, and the chances we take on our futures—across all universes!

Table of contents in alphabetical order by title:

  • “The Fluted Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • “The Last Ride of the Glory Girls” by Libba Bray
  • “I Never” by Cassandra Clare
  • “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman
  • “Deep Blood Kettle” by Hugh Howey
  • “Sweet Sixteen” by Kat Howard
  • “Valedictorian” by N. K. Jemisin
  • “Going Deep” by James Patrick Kelly
  • “The Veiled Shanghai” by Ken Liu
  • “Good Girl” by Malinda Lo
  • “The Other Elder” by Beth Revis
  • “Secret Identity” by Will Shetterly
  • “Stupid Perfect World” by Scott Westerfeld
  • “A Letter from the Clearys” by Connie Willis
  • “Wilding” by Jane Yolen
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Underwords Press Has a Shiny New Web Site!

UPHomePageI am thrilled to announce that  Underwords Press has a brand new website. It has been a long time in coming, and I am really excited to share it with all of you.

Along with the new look and feel of the site, we now have the ability to sell and ship books to readers within the US and Canada. (So, rather than giving your money to another online retailer, you can come direct to the source.) We are also set up for pre-orders. So, now you can pre-order your very own copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise for delivery on August 12, 2014.

Come check out the new site. Visit our book page. Sign up for the newsletter. Find out where we will be appearing next, read the reviews, and stay in touch!


Special thanks to Matt, Deena, and Lori at Deena Warner Design for their help with the new site.

Pre-Order Futuredaze 2: Reprise Now!

Pre-Order Futuredaze 2: Reprise Now!

Posted in Uncategorized, Underwords Press | 2 Comments

My Loncon3 Program Schedule

LONCON3_logo_270wI’ll be at Loncon3 this year, which is more commonly know as “WorldCon”. It’s a rotating convention held in a different host city every year, and this year…you guessed it…it’s in London!

I just received my final program schedule, which will keep me busy. Plus, I’m doing some volunteer work at the convention. So, I’ll be a busy girl.

August 14-18, 2014

London, England
At the ExCel Campus in the Docklands area.

Speaking of volunteer work. If you’re going to be at Loncon3 and you’d like to help me with staffing the Kaffeeklatches/Literary Beers or putting on the Doctor Who Party on Thursday night… let me know!FD-postcard.indd

Here’s my schedule. Be sure to come say hello because I will be handing out awesome glow in the dark wristbands to celebrate the launch of Futuredaze 2: Reprise (Aug 12th)!

The Retrofuturism of JJ Abrams
Thursday 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)
From Super 8 to Star Trek to Almost Human, JJ Abrams-developed projects often seem to take particular delight in updating or simply inhabiting the futures of days gone past. To what extent is this nostalgia, and to what extent can elements of critique or challenge be identified in his work? What are the implications for the upcoming third Star Wars trilogy, and other Abrams-driven franchises?
Val Nolan (M), Pawel Frelik, Sorcha Ní Fhlainn, Ashley Pollard, Erin M. Underwood

Wholapalooza – Doctor Who Party
Thursday 22:00 – 02:00, Fanac Tent (ExCeL)
A Doctor Who party for one and all to come and celebrate a great British – and science fictional – institution. There will be games and prizes!
Erin M. Underwood (M), Galia Bahat

Cover Art for Young Adult and Middle Grade Books
Saturday 16:30 – 18:00, London Suite 3 (ExCeL)
With the explosion and evergreen popularity of science fiction and fantasy for young adult and middle grade readers, the need for artwork is constant. What books have the best covers? What are some of the key elements within YA and MG cover art? Which artists are actively making and selling art for these readers? How have the styles and elements within YA and MG cover art changed over time and what trends are coming in the future?
Ann VanderMeer (M), Christopher Gibbs, Klaus Æ. Mogensen, Erin M. Underwood

Staging the Fantastic
Saturday 18:00 – 19:00, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)
Is this a golden age for genre theatre? On both sides of the Atlantic, fantastical theatre has seen notable successes in recent years – from ‘blockbuster’ productions at the National Theatre of His Dark Materials and the original Tori Amos/Samuel Adamson musical, the Light Princess, to smaller, thought-provoking independent work from groups such as The Alchemist Theatre Company, Unlimited Theatre, Luna Theatre Company, and the BFG Collective. Earlier this year, Stage the Future was the first international academic conference on SF theatre; and the forthcoming anthology Geek Theater collects genre theatre by numerous playwrights and other SF authors. So what are the challenges and opportunities of putting SF and fantasy on stage? How does SF theatre use special effects, which are so central to other forms of visual SF? And how is the audience for SF theatre growing and changing?
Erin M. Underwood (M), Susan Gray, James Patrick Kelly, Geoff Ryman, David Wake

On The Blogs: Bloggers Discuss their Roles in the World of YA
Sunday 10:00 – 11:00, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)
Bloggers have become an integral part of YA book promotion. How do authors find these bloggers? Why should readers trust their opinions? What are the best book blogs out there right now and what makes them so useful?
Foz Meadows (M), Patricia Ash, Liz de Jager, Shaun Duke, Erin M. Underwood

Posted in Conventions, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Signal Boost: Genesis SF Magazine Submissions Open

I just received the following email from Jarvis Sheffield about submissions being open for Genesis Magazine. So, I am posting it here because it’s a great magazine that you should know about and submit to! Now, go write and send in those stories and images.


Hello everyone,

The submission deadline for the Genesis Science Fiction Magazine is Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Please email us your stories, photos and graphics, etc… to be showcased in this and upcoming publications. Get your submissions in before then if possible. Stories should be between 1,500 to 3,000 words. Graphics should be at least 300 dpi saved as .png, .jpg, .psd or .pdf.

Send submissions to:

Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed.
Black Science Fiction Society

Visit BlackScienceFictionSociety at:

Posted in Signal Boost, Uncategorized | 2 Comments