Eileen Gunn

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About Me

Preferred Name

Eileen Gunn

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What I Write

Writing Sample

After Grandma died, after we wrapped her in silk and buried her near the French lilac, you stood on the porch, and you said “I wish I could have mittens made of her fur.” It was cold that night, it’s true, but still, I was a little surprised. It seemed so soon to be thinking of that.

We went into the house, to your room. You set aside your crutches, sat on your bed, and put your legs up on the counterpane.  Already there was an emptiness where Grandma would have been.

She had raised us, but had we ever known anything about her? I think not. We didn’t even know who to notify, if anyone. She had appeared out of nowhere when we were young and needed help.

Although, I think it’s fair to say that she was young then, too, and perhaps the name Grandma was a misnomer. I think they are younger than us in many ways, irrespective of our relative ages, or of the number and ages of their younger generations.

— Unfinished fragment, circa 1996, Eileen Gunn


What I Write

I write short stories, and I try not to do the same thing twice.


I taught a week of Clarion West in 2015 and loved every minute of it. My stories can be found online on Tor.com, Lightspeed, Flurb, and elsewhere. My recent collection, Questionable Practices (Small Beer Press, 2014), received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. My previous collection, Stable Strategies and Others (Tachyon Publications, 2004), was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick award and the World Fantasy Award, and was shortlisted for the James Tiptree, Jr. award. The Japanese translation (2006, Hayakawa) received the Sense of Gender award in 2007.

My Write-a-thon Goals

Writing Goals

I will write at least 500 words every weekday on my essay on the history of the fantastic imagination. And if I meet my daily goals during the week, I will allow myself the weekend off. Make me do it, folks!

My Progress

I’m working on a short history of fantasy, and that’s what I’ll be devoting my time to for the Write-a-thon. You can read my story “Terrible Trudy on the Lam,” an almost-real-life adventure, in the April 2019 Asimov’s magazine. Ted Chiang just slapped down a challenge to science-fiction writers everywhere — I mean, made a quiet request for an intelligent modification to how we write stories — and I’ll be addressing that after I finish the essay on fantasy.


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