Michael Swanwick

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Swanwick in 2019
Swanwick in 2019
GenreScience fiction, fantasy

Michael Swanwick is an American science fiction author who began publishing in the early 1980s.[1]

Writing career[edit]

Swanwick's fiction writing began with short stories, starting in 1980 when he published "Ginungagap" in TriQuarterly and "The Feast of St. Janis" in New Dimensions 11. Both stories were nominees for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story in 1981.[2] His published novels are In the Drift (an Ace Special, 1985), a look at the results of a more catastrophic Three Mile Island incident, which expands on his earlier short story "Mummer's Kiss". This was followed in 1987 by Vacuum Flowers (1987), an adventurous tour of an inhabited Solar System, where the people of Earth have been subsumed by a cybernetic mass-mind; Stations of the Tide (1991), the story of a bureaucrat's pursuit of a magician on a world soon to be altered by its 50-year tide swell; The Iron Dragon's Daughter (1993), a fantasy with elves in Armani suits and dragons as jet fighters; Jack Faust (1997), a retelling of the Faust legend with modern science and technology; Bones of the Earth (2002), a time-travel story involving dinosaurs; The Dragons of Babel (2008), which is set in the same fantasy world as The Iron Dragon's Daughter; and Dancing with Bears (2011), featuring the rogues Darger and Surplus (from a series of his short stories) adventuring in post-Utopian Russia.

His short fiction has been collected in Gravity's Angels (1991), Moon Dogs (2000), Tales of Old Earth (2000), Cigar-Box Faust and Other Miniatures (2003), The Dog Said Bow-Wow (2007), and The Best of Michael Swanwick (2008). A novella, Griffin's Egg, was published in book form in 1991 and is also collected in Moon Dogs. He has collaborated with other authors on several short works, including Gardner Dozois ("Ancestral Voices", "City of God", "Snow Job") and William Gibson ("Dogfight").

Stations of the Tide won the Nebula for best novel in 1991, and several of his shorter works have won awards as well: the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for "The Edge of the World" in 1989, the World Fantasy Award for "Radio Waves" in 1996,[3] and Hugos for "The Very Pulse of the Machine" in 1999, "Scherzo with Tyrannosaur" in 2000, "The Dog Said Bow-Wow" in 2002, "Slow Life" in 2003, and "Legions in Time" in 2004.

Nonfiction writing[edit]

Swanwick has written about the field as well. He published two long essays on the state of the science fiction (The User's Guide to the Postmoderns, 1986) and fantasy ("In the Tradition...", 1994), the former of which was controversial for its categorization of new SF writers into "cyberpunk" and "literary humanist" camps. Both essays were collected together in The Postmodern Archipelago 1997. A book-length interview with Gardner Dozois, Being Gardner Dozois, was published in 2001. He is a prolific contributor to the New York Review of Science Fiction. Swanwick wrote a monograph on James Branch Cabell, "What Can Be Saved From the Wreckage?" which was published in 2007, and a short literary biography of Hope Mirrlees, Hope-in-the-Mist, which was published in 2009.

Television and Film[edit]

Swanwick's short story "Ice Age" from Tales of Old Earth was adapted into a short film for episode three of the Netflix Series Love, Death + Robots (2019).[4]

At the Avram Davidson tribute, NYC, 2007



  • In the Drift (1985)
  • Vacuum Flowers (1987)
  • Stations of the Tide (1991), Nebula Award winner; 1991; Hugo and Campbell Awards nominee, 1992; Clarke Award nominee, 1993
  • The Iron Dragon's Daughter (1993), Clarke, Locus Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards nominee, 1994
  • Jack Faust (1997), BSFA nominee, 1997; Hugo and Locus Fantasy Awards nominee, 1998
  • Bones of the Earth (2002), Nebula Award nominee, 2002; Hugo, Locus SF, and Campbell Awards nominee, 2003
  • The Dragons of Babel (2008), Locus Fantasy Award nominee, 2009
  • Dancing With Bears (2011) - a Darger and Surplus novel
  • Chasing the Phoenix (2015) - a Darger and Surplus novel
  • The Iron Dragon's Mother (2019)
  • City Under the Stars (2020) - with Gardner Dozois

Short fiction[edit]

Short stories
Title Year First published Reprinted/collected Notes
Ginungagap 1980
'Shed that guilt! Double your productivity overnight!' 2008 Swanwick, Michael & Gunn, Eileen (September 2008). "'Shed that guilt! Double your productivity overnight!'". F&SF. 115 (3): 129–136.
Of finest scarlet was her gown 2014 Swanwick, Michael (April–May 2014). "Of finest scarlet was her gown". Asimov's Science Fiction. 38 (4&5): 74–90.
The scarecrow's boy 2008 Swanwick, Michael (October–November 2008). "The scarecrow's boy". F&SF. 115 (4&5): 231–238.


  • "User's Guide to the Postmoderns", Asimov's, 1986
  • "The Postmodern Archipelago" (1997) Tachyon Publications
  • "What Can Be Saved from the Wreckage? James Branch Cabell in the 21st Century" (2007)
  • "Hope-in-the-Mist: The Extraordinary Career & Mysterious Life of Hope Mirrlees" (2011)


  1. ^ "Locus Online: Michael Swanwick interview excerpts". Locus Magazine. 2004-05-27. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
  2. ^ The Periodic Prime of Michael Swanwick (interview with Michael Swanwick) accessed 3 January 2014
  3. ^ World Fantasy Convention (2010). "Award Winners and Nominees". Archived from the original on 2010-12-01. Retrieved 4 Feb 2011.
  4. ^ "Love, Death & Robots | Netflix Official Site". www.netflix.com. Retrieved 2019-10-07.
  5. ^ The Dead, 2011 reprint at Tor.com
  6. ^ Willie Garcia, Webmaster. ""Legions In Time" by Michael Swanwick". Asimovs. Archived from the original on 2004-12-08. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
  7. ^ Michael Swanwick. ""The Little Cat Laughed to See Such Sport" by Michael Swanwick". io9.com. Retrieved 2014-04-24.
  8. ^ The Dala Horse at ISFDB
  9. ^ "The Mongolian Wizard Series by Michael Swanwick". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  10. ^ The Mongolian Wizard at Tor.com

External links[edit]