August 1, 2019: K. Chess and Max Gladstone

On August 1, we were at Trident again with the amazing K. Chess and Max Gladstone, and The Forum Network was there to record!

K Chess is the author of FAMOUS MEN WHO NEVER LIVED (Tin House Books, 2019). Her writing has appeared in The Chicago Tribune’s Printer’s Row Journal, PANK, Salon, Tor.com and other outlets. Her short stories have been honored by the Nelson Algren Literary Award and the Pushcart Prize. K earned a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from Southern Illinois University. She was awarded a W.K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts. She reads fiction for Quarterly West and teaches writing at GrubStreet in Boston and Rhode Island.

Max Gladstone has been thrown from a horse in Mongolia and nominated twice for the John W Campbell Best New Writer Award. Tor Books published FOUR ROADS CROSS, the fifth novel in Max’s Craft Sequence (preceded by THREE PARTS DEAD, TWO SERPENTS RISE, FULL FATHOM FIVE, and LAST FIRST SNOW) in July 2016. Max’s game CHOICE OF THE DEATHLESS was nominated for a XYZZY Award, and FULL FATHOM FIVE was nominated for the Lambda Award. His short fiction has appeared on Tor.com and in Uncanny Magazine.  His most recent project is the globetrotting urban fantasy serial BOOKBURNERS, available in ebook and audio from Serial Box, and in print from Saga Press.

Link Round-up: Max Gladstone

51eskyhyrol._ac_sy400_On Thursday evening, we welcome K. Chess and Max Gladstone to Trident for our summer reading series event, and it’s going to rock multiple parallel universes and possibly various time streams!

Max Gladstone is a very busy author. His latest releases are the standalone novel Empress of Forever (released in June) and the novella This Is How You Lose The Time War (released this month!), co-authored with Amal El-Mohtar. Today we’re bringing you a round-up of just a few of the interviews and reviews from recent weeks.

Come see Max on August 1st at Trident Books! RSVP here.

Empress of Forever reviewed at Lightspeed Magazine:

“As if Simon R. Green’s pulp Deathstalker novels and Iain Banks’ Culture novels had a glorious, star-smashing baby, one filled with amazing set-pieces that wouldn’t look out of place on a big-screen blockbuster, but also one filled with insights on sacrifice, fate, and friendship.”

A wide-ranging interview with Max at Den of Geek:

“I knew this would be a story about—well, a lot of things, but among them genius, power, personal will, and the way genre fiction relates to these things…. I also liked the underdog aspect: someone at the top of her game taken back to square one in an unfamiliar context. To get what she wants, she has to conquer the world—again.”

A co-interview with Amal El-Mohtar at Clarkesworld, by Chris Urie:

No one gave me this advice, but for years now I’ve had on my desktop a Post-it note saying in all caps: YOU DO NOT NEED PERMISSION. Obviously not comprehensive life advice! I mean, permission is important for any activity that involves more than one person! But when creating in solitude or in a tight pair, it’s important to remember that, yes, you can write this sentence, make this comparison, turn the scene in just this way.

And finally, Max and Amal interviewed each other at Bookish:

AE: What is Red’s ideal beverage? Her preference, I mean, given the vastness of all time and space.

MG: In all time and space, huh? I see Red as a whiskey-inclined individual. I was about to say “but you can’t drink whiskey forever,” but with her augments, she probably could!


Max Gladstone has been thrown from a horse in Mongolia and nominated twice for the John W Campbell Best New Writer Award. Tor Books published FOUR ROADS CROSS, the fifth novel in Max’s Craft Sequence (preceded by THREE PARTS DEAD, TWO SERPENTS RISE, FULL FATHOM FIVE, and LAST FIRST SNOW) in July 2016. Max’s game CHOICE OF THE DEATHLESS was nominated for a XYZZY Award, and FULL FATHOM FIVE was nominated for the Lambda Award. His short fiction has appeared on Tor.com and in Uncanny Magazine.  His most recent project is the globetrotting urban fantasy serial BOOKBURNERS, available in ebook and audio from Serial Box, and in print from Saga Press.

Quick Questions with K. Chess

Famous Men Cover 060718.inddK. Chess is the author of Famous Men Who Never Lived, a fresh take on parallel worlds, refugees, and the power of art. Ian Mond at Locus called it a “nuanced, smart, and intimate” novel.

Come see K on August 1st at Trident Books! RSVP here.

Tell us about your latest release in five words or fewer, or in one image/gif.

What book do you wish more people knew about?

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer, a middle grade Afrofuturist adventure story about siblings from a wealthy Harare family on the run across the city’s slums and suburbs. I read it in seventh grade — the first speculative book I’d ever encountered with a non-western setting that incorporated non-Judeo-Christian mythology — and I’ve never forgotten it.

What was the first story you ever wrote?

It was Buffy: the Vampire Slayer fanfiction. That’s all you’ll ever get out of me!

What appeals to you about the genre you work in? (or a genre you work in?)

At an event recently, I was sitting next to someone who was being really dismissive of the worth of any writing that wasn’t literary. I didn’t know what to say. I mean, my formal writing education focused on literary fiction, too, but my allegiance to sci fi feels deeper and older. I wish I’d told this person is that what I most value about speculative fiction is the immense freedom — a freedom of imagination, but not a freedom from logic or consequences or human truths. (Of course, I couldn’t come up with that at the time.)

What do you like to listen to when you write?

I listen to the same albums on repeat — if I already know the words, they don’t distract me. I wrote Famous Men Who Never Lived to Angel Olsen’s album Burn Your Fire for No Witness and edited to Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager.


K Chess is the author of FAMOUS MEN WHO NEVER LIVED (Tin House Books, 2019). Her writing has appeared in The Chicago Tribune’s Printer’s Row Journal, PANK, Salon, Tor.com and other outlets. Her short stories have been honored by the Nelson Algren Literary Award and the Pushcart Prize. K earned a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from Southern Illinois University. She was awarded a W.K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts. She reads fiction for Quarterly West and teaches writing at GrubStreet in Boston and Rhode Island.