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[AUTHOR PROFILE] For New Author Kelly Robson, “2015 Was an Amazing Year”


In 2015 Kelly Robson‘s first fiction publications appeared in major Science Fiction markets Clarkesworld,, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and in the anthologies New Canadian Noir, In the Shadow of the Towers, and License Expired. Her novella “Waters of Versailles” was nominated for a 2015 Nebula Award. Three of her stories appeared on the 2015 Locus Recommended Reading list, and have also been chosen for five year’s best anthologies. Her website is

Notable Work

Waters of Versailles

  • Publisher: Tor
  • Editor: Ellen Datlow
  • Nominated for the Nebula Award
  • Included in Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, edited by Jonathan Strahan

The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill

Two-Year Man

  • Publisher: Asimov’s
  • Recommended by Locus reviewer Lois Tilton
  • Included in The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume One edited by Neil Clarke
  • Included in The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 8 audiobook anthology, edited by Allan Kaster
Prominent Awards
  • Nebula
Distinguished Publishers
  • Tor
  • Night Shade

Distinguished Editors
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Gardner Dezois
  • Sheila Williams
Distinguished Magazines
  • Asimov’s
  • Clarkesworld
Year’s Best Anthologies
  • Gardner Dezois
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Paula Guran
  • Neil Clarke
  • Allan Kaster
Recollections About My Journey to Print and Beyond

Inspiration for my stories.
“The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill” was inspired, in part, by one of my favorite James Tiptree, Jr. novellas “The Only Neat Thing To Do,” where a teenager is colonized by alien spores. Tiptree’s story starts out as a light space adventure and has you weeping uncontrollably through the final two-thirds. Tiptree really knew how to slip the knife between a reader’s ribs and twist.

Authors that influenced me

  • Connie Willis
  • Walter Jon Williams
  • James Tiptree, Jr.
  • Michael Bishop
  • Alan Bennett

What I was trying to accomplish with my plots and characters
With “Waters of Versailles” I wanted to illustrate how being forced to nurture a child changes a person. Sylvain prides himself on his alpha male nature — he’s a striver and a womanizer who enjoys being in control, but he’s also a fish out of water in the stifling hothouse of the palace. I wanted to turn him into a willing caregiver without depriving him of his masculinity.

Reactions to getting my manuscripts accepted and my stories being nominated for an award
When “Two-Year Man” was accepted by Sheila Williams for publication in Asimov’s Science Fiction, I was in my office cubicle. I cried my eyes out – literally bawled, but silently, I hope! As a teenager, I was obsessed with Asimov’s. Discovering the magazine was a transformative experience for me. It was the January 1984 issue, with Connie Willis’ “Blued Moon” on the cover and as I read it, I could feel my life changing, my horizons expanding, my fate shifting.

Feedback from editors about my stories
Ellen Datlow said that she cried every time she read “Waters of Versailles”. Sheila Williams said “Two-Year Man” reminds her of the Connie Willis story “Letter from the Clearys.” I couldn’t ask for greater praise from either editor.

What it’s like to work with blue chip editors
Ellen Datlow rightly deserves every single award she’s won for excellence in editing. Nothing gets by her. She can expose a story’s weaknesses with just a few questions, and she’s not prescriptive at all. She doesn’t tell you what to do, just puts the finger right on the problem and lets you decide how to deal with it.

Events on the horizon
My novelette “The Gladiator Lie” appears in Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond, edited by Madeline Ashby and David Nickle. The Ian Fleming books are in the public domain in Canada, and it was incredibly fun to play in the Bond sandbox.

Excerpted scene from one of my stories

From “Waters of Versailles”:

The Grand Chamberlain led Sylvain into the cedar-scented garderobe. A rainbow of velvet and satin cushions covered the floor. The toilet gleamed in a place of honor, bracketed by marble columns. Something was growing in the toilet bowl. It looked like peach moss.

The moss turned its head. Two emerald eyes glared up at him.
“Minou has been offered a number of other seats, but she prefers the throne.” The Grand Chamberlain looked embarrassed. “Our well-beloved king will not allow her to be disturbed. In fact, he banished the courtier who first attempted to move her.”

The cat hissed, its tiny ivory fangs yellow against the glistening white porcelain. Sylvain stepped back. The cat’s eyes narrowed with lazy menace.

A wide water drop formed in the bend of the golden pipes above the toilet. The drop slid across the painted porcelain reservoir and dangled for a few heartbeats. Then it plopped onto the cat’s head. Minou’s eyes popped wide as saucers.

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