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S.J. Chambers

Ms. Geraldine Manville's Beauty School for Little Goyles, flash fiction, September 1, 2010

S.J. Chambers is the articles editor at Strange Horizons magazine. She writes fiction and non-fiction, and both areas have appeared in FantasyBookslutYankee Pot Roast, and Her current project includes The Steampunk Bible, co-written with Jeff VanderMeer and published by Abrams in 2011.

Get to know S.J. Chambers...

Birthdate? September 5, 1981

When did you start writing? Since I was a child, but I didn't start writing "seriously" until about six years ago.

When and what and where did you first get published?  My first short story got published in Mungbeing magazine ( in 2006.

Why do you write? I like sharing ideas with people, and this is the only way I've found I can successfully achieve transmission.
Why do you write Science Fiction and/or Fantasy? I really love parables, allegories, and symbolism, and I think science fiction and fantasy can  play with those two things in a way no other genre can.

Who is your favorite author? Your favorite story? I have several, but my most influential would have to be Edgar Allan Poe, whose stories prove more complex and resonant to me each time I read them. My favorite is Ligeia.

What are you trying to say with your fiction? At this point in my career, I don't have an agenda. All of my stories are different. I either write things that are just absurd and silly, or are heartbreaking and melancholy. If anything ties those two extremes together, however, it has to be a focus on making characters and worlds vivid for the short time the reader inhabits them--to provide an escape from this one, at least. Whether it is philosophical or just for jokes, literature's first purpose is to entertain.

Do you blog? Where? Yes. The Flightless Philosopher at

If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say? Well, at least she tried. 

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