The Periodic Table of Science Fiction

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The Periodic Table of Science Fiction
AuthorMichael Swanwick
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreScience fiction
PublisherPS Publishing
Publication date
July 1, 2005
Media typePrint (Slipcased hardcover, hardcover)
Pages274 (hardcover)
ISBN1-904619-01-0 (slipcase), ISBN 1-904619-00-2 (hardcover)

The Periodic Table of Science Fiction is a collection of 118 very short stories by science fiction author Michael Swanwick. Each story is named after an element in the periodic table, including the then-undiscovered element 117.

The stories were commissioned to run on Eileen Gunn's The Infinite Matrix[1] but were published in the Sci Fiction section of, between 2001 and 2003.[2] The stories were published as they were written, about which Swanwick said, "It made the sequence into a kind of performance art, something akin to being a trapeze artist, which is a possibility not normally open to a writer."[3]

The print edition was published in 2005, in two signed limited editions: one slipcase hardback edition with a print run of 200,[citation needed] and one hardback edition with a print run of 500 books.[4] In 2009, Swanwick posted the stories on a weblog dedicated to the purpose.[5]

The theme of each story in the collection is inspired by the element it is named after. The book also includes an afterword by the author, and a foreword by Theodore Gray who was awarded the IgNobel Prize for Chemistry in 2002.


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