My Arisia Schedule

Arisia is coming up, and I have a fantastic schedule that I’m really excited about! Check it out!

Saturday January 13

9:00 AM    Grand Ballroom CD    Bad Prose Reading. N.S. Dolkart. An interactive reading of the hardboiled Bad Prose story “The Maltese Pelican” by Alias MacPenname (N.S. Dolkart). Laugh or correct the text, and your turn is over! PG-13
4:00 PM    Burroughs    Technology’s not a Cure: Disability in SFF. N.S. Dolkart (mod), LJ Cohen, Bekah Anderson, LB Lee, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Tikva. Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter reached almost all of its stretch goals, and completed funding. Defying Doomsday, an anthology of post-apocalyptic survival fiction that focuses on disabled characters was published in 2016. The conversation around disability in SFF is growing, but there are still many problems and problematic tropes in common use. Where do we, as a genre, need to go to create a better genre for disability representation?
8:30 PM    Douglas   SFF and the Feminine Elder. Lisa Batya Feld (mod), Greer Gilman, Andrea Hairston, N.S. Dolkart (I am super excited to be on a panel with these women. They’re freaking geniuses. I plan to do a lot more listening than talking). As our population ages and more people are living longer lives of greater vigor, older folks remain underrepresented as protagonists in SFF. Older women, in particular, rarely appear even as supporting characters, and often only appear in trope-laden roles we’ve all seen before. What stories break this mold? What stories are there yet to be told for older women in SFF? How do the fem-of-center relate to technologies of life extension or body replacement?

Sunday January 14

8:30 PM    Faneuil    Beyond Metaphor: Explicit Representation in SFF. N.S. Dolkart (mod), Sabrina Vourvoulias, Sarah Lynn Weintraub, Keffy R.M. Kehrli, Steve Berman. There are many SFF works that talk around an issue, rather than facing it head-on. What works are there that directly talk about race, sexuality, gender identity, disability; things that have been addressed in the past mostly as metaphor? Are there any ways we are moving away from only being able to imagine ourselves in our protagonists in vague and subtle hints? What still has to happen before explicit representation works properly for everyone?

Monday January 15

11:30 AM    Hale    Fantasy Reading. N.S. Dolkart, Stephen R Wilk. Authors will be reading their own original works about dragons, mysticism, and epic fantasy. (I will be reading a passage from the forthcoming third book of the Godserfs series, A Breach in the Heavens)

Writing Update

So, what has the great N.S. Dolkart been up to recently? Working on the next book?

In short, yes, though progress has been very slow. I recently had the unenviable task of writing to my editor to request that we delay publication of Godserfs book three until October 2018 (from an original pub date in August 2018) because I simply haven’t been writing quickly enough. My excuses are valid: new job (salaried, sucking up extra hours until I get used to the routine), house hunt (to move closer to said job), kids who need me to not disappear from their lives…anyhoo, my new first-draft deadline of April 1st is going to be much more attainable than February 1st.

So what does this mean? If you enjoyed AMONG THE FALLEN and are already awaiting the climactic Book Three, you can mark your calendars for October of next year. While you’re waiting, perhaps I can convince you to write a review.

My Readercon Schedule

Next weekend is Readercon, for which I am incredibly excited. How could I not be? Check out the amazing panels I’m on!

Friday July 14

12:00 PM    6    Back from the Dead. Judith Berman, John Crowley, N.S. Dolkart, Nicholas Kaufmann, Sioban Krzywicki (leader). There are many characters in SF/F who die in what appears to be a permanent fashion, only to be brought back from death. Examples, left intentionally vague to avoid spoilers, appear in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, Daniel José Older’s Bone Street Rumba books, and as far back as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books. How do the characters interact with resurrection (their own or someone else’s) and in some cases even prepare for it? When do readers feel like this works and is believable and satisfying, and when does it feel like a cheap trick or a cop-out? What is it like to read these stories while grieving, or keenly aware of one’s own mortality?
7:00 PM    6    Race and Historical Accuracy in Cod-Medieval Fantasy Fiction. S.A. Chakraborty, Phenderson Clark, N.S. Dolkart, Tom Greene, Catherynne M. Valente. Too often, we’ve heard the excuse of “historical accuracy” used to explain the lack of PoC in historical fiction. Yet their presence is profoundly felt throughout European history, including in the medieval era so often used or modified as a fantasy setting: Arabic numbers have been used in Western societies for centuries, philosopher Ibn Rushd preserved and notated the works of Aristotle, the Silk Road brought traders and diplomats from all over Asia, and Moors in Spain were credited with promoting astronomy, medicine, and literacy. This panel will discuss how to populate cod-medieval fantasy novels with characters of color who have dimension, depth, and humanity, while avoiding stereotypes of swarthy villains and uncouth sidekicks.

Saturday July 15

2:00 PM    C    Lines of Consent in Fiction. Samuel R. Delany, N.S. Dolkart, Lila Garrott, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Josh Jasper. In science fiction and fantasy, consent is often handled in fuzzy, imprecise ways. Obvious scenarios of non-consent, such as the enslaved house elves in the Harry Potter books, are easily identified as problematic, but less is said about magical destiny that compels an ordinary person to become a hero; inherited magic, rank, or family feuds that empower or endanger a character without their consent; soul mates, who are forced to love and be attracted to each other; werewolves compelled to change shape under the full moon; and other strictures that are so common we’ve come to take them for granted. This panel will discuss work that either explicitly deals with consent or appears oblivious to its relevance, and will explore the writer’s responsibility when placing characters in a scenario (or plot) that hinges on questionable consent or non-consent. Content note: this panel may explicitly discuss violations of consent and their consequences. For the purposes of this panel, trigger warnings and content notes are assumed to be valuable tools that assist the reader.

Sunday July 16

12:30 PM    A    Reading: N.S. Dolkart. N.S. Dolkart. N.S. Dolkart will conduct an interactive Bad Prose reading of his dreadfully-written story, “The Maltese Pelican.”

Judaism and the Godserfs Series

I know I’ve disappeared recently into a black hole of endless work and other stressful things (house hunting, anyone?), but I absolutely have to tell you about these three posts of mine that have come out this month, all discussing aspects of my series’ relationship with Judaism.

The first is over at the Jewish Book Council, where I discuss three biblical passages that particularly influenced my writing. They’re really fascinating passages in their own right, and you should definitely check it out.

The second post at the JBC is even dearer to my heart, a response to a 2010 essay in which Michael Weingrad argued that Judaism was inherently better suited to science fiction than to fantasy. In this response I discuss the thing that I feel to be most Jewish about my series: the complete lack of dualism.

Lastly, I’ve got a lovely post in about how I ended up writing such Jewish stuff anyhow, when I’d always resisted it in college. This one also reveals the idea at the core of Among the Fallenso only read it if you don’t mind some spoilers!

This is Not a Drill

Among the Fallen is out in stores right now! You can go buy it! I also have some great readings and talks lined up, so check out my events page if you’d like to hear me speak and get yourself a signed copy.

Another great piece of news I received recently is that I’ve been accepted as a panelist for Readercon this summer! I love Readercon, so this is really exciting for me. The discussions are always incredibly substantive, and the people are great. Plus Nnedi Okorafor is one of their guests of honor this year, which is so freaking cool. If you haven’t read anything of hers, you should really get on that.

Looking forward to April

I was halfway through writing a new blog post the other night when my wife said, “Hey, shouldn’t you be sending that to the publicist instead?”

Why, pray tell? Because we’re already at the cusp of publicity season for Among the Fallen, which comes out April 4th! So all my clever thoughts are getting run by the publicist first, so she can determine if I ought to post them myself or send them to other people as guest blog posts.

But fear not! I have other news for you. I’ve recently updated my News page to reflect all the various events I’ll be doing to celebrate the launch of my second published novel. Head over there and take a look!

Art & Theology at Fantasy Faction

Have you seen the beautiful cover of my second book, Among the Fallen? If you haven’t, head on over to Fantasy Faction and check it out! I can’t tell you how pleased I am with it – it’s everything I had hoped it would be. You have to see it.

I loved the cover so much, I spent some time this week perusing the artist’s portfolio at, where I made another awesome discovery: Andreas has also done art for Magic cards! New side quest: collect all of the magic cards he’s done and use them in a deck (it should be easy – he’s mostly done lands).

But back to Among the Fallen (and back to Fantasy Faction) – FF has just put out a guest blog post I wrote about the theology of my series, so if you need a refresher (or just want to spend a little extra time in my world) you can check that out too!


Among the Fallen, book two of the Godserfs series, comes out April 4th. It is already available for pre-order at your favorite bookstore. If you would like to hear me speak – and buy a signed copy – check out my News page for upcoming public appearances.

Review: Stay Crazy

I don’t get enough time to read nowadays, and by “not enough time,” I mean that I can basically only read on the odd Friday night when I manage not to fall asleep after both kids have already succumbed. So when I purchased Stay Crazy, I was relieved to find that it was such a slim volume. Maybe sixty, seventy thousand words tops? I can manage that in one sitting! If I don’t sleep much, anyway.

It took me until 2:30am, and I enjoyed every minute. Satifka doesn’t waste too much time getting us to Savertown USA, the Walmart-like superstore where all the action happens, but by that time she’s already established our main character Em well enough that we understand where she’s coming from and can usually tell a hallucination from reality. Usually.

The plot is fun if occasionally predictable, but the greatest strength of Stay Crazy is its incredible depiction of paranoid delusions and the way those delusions mix with the sci-fi element to keep both Em and the reader off their game. Once we’ve accepted that there is an interdimensional being talking to Em, and another one making people kill themselves, every subsequent delusion becomes at least somewhat plausible. Escodex says there’s an evil mind-controlling entity around somewhere, but he doesn’t know exactly where. Could it be the TV quack psychiatrist Wes Summersby? Maybe! The reverend who leads Jackie’s cultish church? Quite possibly! Is Em being paranoid? Absolutely.

I don’t have much experience with schizophrenia, but working with dementia patients I have witnessed plenty of clinical-level paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations up close and personal. I have also been present for manic episodes among friends. At least from my limited experience as a witness and caregiver, the depictions in Stay Crazy ring true. There are plenty of times when Em sees and hears things that aren’t there, and she knows they’re not there, but that doesn’t make them any less distressing. Boy have I seen that with some Parkinson’s patients. There are times when her practical concerns are overwhelmed by mania and magical thinking. I’ve seen that too, and at least from the outside, Satifka’s writing looks spot-on.

The premise is great, the execution is great, the book is great. Highly recommended.