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Carolyn Ives Gilman

Carolyn Ives Gilman’s first novel, Halfway Human, was called “one of the most compelling explorations of gender and power in recent SF” by Locus. Some of her short fiction can be found in Aliens of the Heart and Candle in a Bottle, both from Aqueduct Press, and in Arkfall and The Ice Owl, from Arc Manor. Her short fiction has appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Lightspeed, Phantom Drift, Bending the Landscape, Interzone, Universe, Full Spectrum, Realms of Fantasy, and others. She has been nominated for the Nebula Award three times and for the Hugo once. In her professional career, Gilman is a historian specializing in 18th- and early 19th-century North American history, particularly frontier and Native history. She lives in Washington, D.C. and works at the National Museum of the American Indian.


The Ice Owl: A Hugo- and Nebula-nominated novella

The Ice Owl by Carolyn Ives Gilman

Carolyn Ives Gilman's novella The Ice Owl, originally published in the November/December issue of the magazine Fantasy & Science Fiction, was nominated for (but didn’t win) both the Nebula and Hugo Awards in 2012. The Ice Owl is set in the same universe as Gilman's earlier novella Arkfall (2008). These stories can be read independently.

Thorn is a teenager living in a future where near instantaneous communication is possible but travel is still limited to the speed of light. She and her mother are Wasters. Outcasts in most societies they are part of, and often living in their own ghettos, Wasters are usually seen as trouble, heretics or rebels. Thorn is a teenager but has already lived parts of her life on nine different plan... Read More

Dark Orbit: A rewarding high concept sci-fi novel

Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman

Dark Orbit
by Carolyn Ives Gilman is a smart, thought-provoking First Contact novel that delves into questions of human perception, identity, and knowledge construction. The philosophical questions are layered atop a plot that, even if it isn’t the strength of the novel, is more than serviceable, keeping the reader’s surface attention even as the larger ideas beckon one into deeper waters.

Centuries ago the human race sent out “Quest” ships in search of habitable planets. Ship travel has since been replaced by transportation via light beam through a “Wayport,” which while overcoming the vast distances still has the problem of relativity, so that those “Wasters” who regularly travel this way give up family and friends, returning to planets where decades have passed while they themselves aged only a few months or years. Now, one of the Quest... Read More

Magazine Monday: 2012 Nebula-Nominated Novellas

I do not envy the awards panel for the Nebula Awards this year. There are two excellent novellas equally deserving of the award in that category.

The first of the novellas I refer to is “The Man Who Ended History:  A Documentary” by Ken Liu.  This story concerns the Pingfang District in China and the infamous Unit 731 maintained there by the Japanese for biological and chemical weapons research before and during World War II. I had never heard of Unit 731 before reading this novella, and was shocked to learn of its existence and the role of the United States in hushing it up after the war in order to profit from the research. It sounds so innocuous to refer to “the research”: in fact, the Japanese used Chinese peasants for their research, including amputating limbs, infecting them with syphi... Read More

SHORTS: Dellamonica, Malik, Gilman, Vaughn, Fischer, Hurley

There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about.

“The Cage” by A.M. Dellamonica (2010, free online at or purchase Kindle version)

“The Cage,” a stand-alone short story by A.M. Dellamonica, was published a few years ago on; I read it a while ago, re-read it recently, and am happy to report that it was just as enjoyable the second time aro... Read More

SHORTS: Gilman, Levine, Johnson, Liu, Weir

There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about.

“Touring with the Alien” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (April 2016, free at Clarkesworld magazine, Kindle magazine issue)

In “Touring with the Alien,” an unnamed alien species has landed impenetrable bubble ships on Earth and is sending out “translators,” apparently-human people who claim that they were abducted as children and raised by the aliens. The translators claim that the aliens do not pose a threat to humans … nor, indeed, are they very interested in humans at all. Gilman’s narrator, Avery, gets a chan... Read More

SHORTS: Corey, Gilman, Vaughn, McDonald, Bisson

Our weekly exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we've read that we wanted you to know about.

The Vital Abyss by James S.A. Corey (2015, $2.99 Kindle, $4.95 audio)

I haven’t read or watched THE EXPANSE yet, but I purchased some of the related novellas when they were on sale at Audible. The first one I read was The Vital Abyss and I loved it. This is my type of science fiction.

The story opens with 37 people held captive in a large room. They’ve been there for many years. One day a man comes in and asks for one of the prisoners to interpret some information that’s on a handheld computer. Thinking this may be a way for one of them to be release... Read More

Exploration Blues

Welcome to another Expanded Universe column where I feature essays from authors and editors of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, as well as from established readers and reviewers. My guest today is Carolyn Ives Gilman, who is a Nebula and Hugo Award–nominated writer and real-life historian at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Her novels include Halfway Human and the two-volume novel Isles of the Forsaken and Ison of the Isles. Her short fiction appears in many Best of the Year collections and has been translated into seven languages. In her latest work, Dark Orbit, Read More