Karen (K.G.) Anderson writes short fiction — urban fantasy, space opera, alternate history, Weird West tales, near-future science fiction, poetry, and mystery. She attended Taos Toolbox, Viable Paradise and Cascade Writers (2011) and is a member of SFWA.
NEW! Hear “Wishbone” read by Juliana Rew in this Third Flatiron podcast.
Researchers from the Earth-Mars Consortium, sent to a remote planet to study silicate life forms, find themselves cut off from communication and supplies. As the threatened colony awaits the next visit from their flamboyant — and disturbingly evasive — founder, engineer Jac Wuo plots an uprising.
Read “Patience” at Allegory Magazine online (Volume 37/64, Spring/Summer 2020).
An earlier version of “Patience” appears in the anthology Reading 5 x 5 , edited by B. Morris Allen.
• “Heroes of the Bridge”
The friendship of two iconic artworks in Seattle’s Fremont arts district is threatened when one, a bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin, is deemed politically offensive and is slated for removal. The other statue, a concrete troll, urges Lenin to redeem himself by rescuing a troubled man contemplating suicide. But the results are not what the friends envisioned.
Buy “Heroes of the Bridge” in the ebook The Colored Lens: Winter 2020. With stories by Jamie Lackey, Michael J. Wyant, Jr., Nick Wisseman, Karter Mycroft, Janna Layton, Stephen Taylor, Douglas J. Eboch and Matt Ingoldby.
• “Invasion 101”
Martian Space Force Commander (Ret.) Ekkeron has fond memories of his cadet days, especially the field exercises in the Terran desert. But when he takes on a last-minute substitute teaching gig for the Academy he discovers that Things Have Changed.
Buy “Invasion 101” in Space Opera Libretti, edited by Brian McNett and Jennifer Lee Rossman. With stories by stories by James Dorr, Harry Turtledove, Bruce Taylor, Larry Hodges, Dawn Vogel and others. Available in paperback and ebook editions (2019).
• “Where the Train Goes”
Jamie hears trains at night in a dying town that has no tracks. An eccentric teacher tells him where he can find the trains, but warns him: sometimes the train stops and a man invites you to get on…
“A fine little fantasy. Beautifully told.” — review in SFRevue.
“The prose was engaging, and the story’s mystery kept it interesting.” — review in Tangent Online.
“Where the Train Goes” is in the Tangent Online 2019 Reading List.
Buy “Where the Train Goes” in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine #41, ebook or print, for $6.99, along with stories by Nancy Kress, Joe Haldeman, Kevin J. Anderson, Mercedes Lackey and others (November, 2019).
Therapist Moira Clark meets her most challenging client — the surviving half of the alien dyad that serves as the Vedan ambassador to Earth.
Buy “Grief“ in Pioneers and Pathfinders, edited by Jessica Augustsson of JayHenge Publishing. This speculative fiction anthology includes stories by Katherine Quevedo, Linda H. Codega, Wendy S. Delmater, Holly Schofield and others (2019).
“Grief” appeared originally in the Aurora Award-winning Second Contacts anthology form Bundoran Press).
Vivian Podestra’s politician grandson has a plan to save the country a lot of money on Social Security and Medicare. It’s probably going to cost Vivian her life.
“The plot winds most satisfactorily to a conclusion that proves that not only politicians can be deceitful and devious.” — review in Tangent Online.
“I’ve never seen an ocean, but I grew up playing ‘Rowboat’ in my family’s cramped living module on level C of Xinxin Colony. The worn blue carpet was the water, the concrete floor beyond it, a sandy shore. With a broomstick as an oar, I pretended I was Gramma Jen, rowing hard against the tide to get us home…”
- Listen to “Rowboat” on StarShipSofa, a District of Wonders podcast. Narrated by Farah Naz Rishi.
- Read “Rowboat” free online at Curious Fictions.
- Buy “Rowboat” in the anthology Metaphorosis (February 2016).
• “I Know How You’ll Die”
“I know how you’ll die. Not when, or why, or even where—though I could make a good guess. Based on what I can see. Because what I can see is what you’ll see—in the final moments before you die.”
Drownings, car accidents, peaceful passings surrounded by loving family — she can foresee them all, and she’s learned to live with the knowledge. Until she meets a man whose violent death she must try desperately to prevent.
“I Know How You’ll Die” appears in Weirdbook #41 (2019) along with stories and poems by Adrian Cole, Darrell Schweitzer, S. L. Edwards, Aracibo Campeche, Marina Savila and others.
• “The Judge’s Chair”
Sissy’s Antiques in Fraightsville, Texas, teeters on the brink of eviction for failure to pay rent. If only Sissy would stop listening to the strange stories her second-hand furniture tells.
“The Judge’s Chair” appears in Two Hour Transport Anthology 2019, a compendium of science fiction, fantasy, horror and literary fiction from Seattle-area authors including Elly Bangs, Keyan Bowes, Seelye Martin, Patrick Hurley, J. G. Follansbee, Nisi Shawl, Derek Fetters, Tod McCoy, Jon Lasser, Mitchell Shanklin, Andy Dudak, Oscar McNary, Evan J. Peterson, Theresa Barker, Nicole Bade, and Eileen Gunn.
• “Politics As Usual”
As the 2020 elections approach, “lone shooters” stage attacks in major cities. An obscure blogger spots a connection between the killers.
“KG Anderson’s vision of 2020 kept me awake last night as I considered the prophetic nature of her visions.” review at Amazon.com
“The chilling ‘Politics as Usual’ by K.G. Anderson hit close to home for me, as I often drive past the Pittsburgh Synagogue used as a backdrop for this story. Interestingly, this is not for a debate about gun control, but rather a cleverly woven timetable that illustrates how voter suppression might evolve.” — review at Amazon.com
“Politics As Usual” provides a cautionary tale describing a sad end to everything that opposes the current radical conservatism.” — review at Amazon.com
Buy “Politics As Usual” in Alternative Truths III: Endgame from B Cubed Press. The anthology includes Louise Marley’s eerie prescient “The First Lady Is Missing” and Debora Godfrey’s hilarious “No Excuse,” about the revolving door at the Attorney General’s office (2019).
“It wasn’t that people deliberately ignored me. They just didn’t notice me. Or half the time they thought I was somebody else.
“‘Why did you guys make me so…average?’”
Cait’s immigrant parents selected robust but generic DNA so their child could blend in with the dominant population. Now a teenager, Cait refuses to blend in. She’s about to discover the dangers of embracing the family’s ethnic heritage.
- Read “Unnoticed” at the Factor Four Magazine website.
- Buy “Unnoticed” in Issue #5 of Factor Four, with stories by D.A. Xiaolin Spires, Rebecca Birch, Stephen S. Power and others.
• “Captain Carthy’s Bride”
A hotel maid in a fishing village impersonates a selkie and a visiting sea captain falls for the ploy — “capturing” her and taking her away to a comfortable life in the city. Twenty years later, Captain Carthy’s bride discovers the awful price she must pay for her deception.
“a pleasing and easy to read story that concealed its ending twist well.” — review at Tangent
Buy “Captain Carthy’s Bride” in the Third Flatiron anthology Terra! Tara! Terror!, edited by Juliana Rew. With stories by Marie Vibbert, Steven Mathes, Wulf Moon, SFWA Grand Master Robert Silverberg, and others.
“a lovely dark twist on a selkie story.” — review in Mad Scientist Journal
Mail-order bride Shulamit Pelz flees New York with her grandfather’s golem, pursued by Kabbalists seeking the creature’s magic. When her stagecoach is robbed in the New Mexico desert she meets a handsome outlaw and embarks on a path that makes Wild West history.
“I very much enjoyed this Jewish speculative Western — the first I’ve ever read of such a genre.” — review at SFFReviews.com
- Read “Escape” at Luna Station Quarterly online.
- Buy “Escape” in Issue 35 of Luna Station Quarterly with tales by Beth Goder, Wendy Nikel, Izzy Varju, Erin K. Wagner and others.
“Escape from the Lincoln County Courthouse” first appeared in 2016 in the Weird West anthology Story Emporium, featuring cover art by M. Wayne Miller.
K.G.’s essay on the lure of the Weird West appears in Nicole Givens Kurtz’s blog Other Worlds Pulp.
• “Different Meaning” (flash fiction)
“Screw symbols. Put no faith in them. That arrow carved hastily — or artfully — into a tree? It points the way…”
Read “Different Meaning” online at The Drabble.
• “Bad Memories, 2032”
An all-too-plausible glimpse into our future, “Bad Memories, 2032” imparts a shiver of recognition, a twinge of grief, and — perhaps — even a flash of empathy.
Buy “Bad Memories, 2032” in the anthology After the Orange: Ruin and Recovery (B Cubed Press; edited by Manny Frishberg). Stories by 29 science fiction authors including Brenda Cooper, John A. Pitts, Bruce Taylor, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Paula Hammond, J.G. Follansbee, Kara Dalkey, Edd Vick, Janka Hobbs, Keven David Anderson and Su J. Sokol.
What if 5 different authors each wrote the same story?
“Patience” is K.G. Anderson’s version of this “seed” story: Researchers are left on a remote planet to study the phenomenon of apparently sentient rocks. Their research founders for more than a decade and anger simmers as they await the return of the expedition’s flamboyant — and disturbingly evasive — leader.
Buy “Patience” in the anthology Reading 5 x 5 , edited by B. Morris Allen. Stories by Caleb Warner, L. Chan, Vanessa Fogg, K.G. Anderson, Beth Goder, Karl Dandenell and others.
• “The Right Man for the Job”
Desperate Democrats on Capitol Hill hold a seance to ask Molly Ivins, Adlai Stevenson II, and Walter Cronkite to do something about the current administration. They send back LBJ — with boots, Scotch, and beagles — to haunt the White House.
Buy “The Right Man for the Job” in the anthology More Alternative Truths (B Cubed Press). Stories, poems and essays by Lou J Berger, David Brin, Adam-Troy Castro, Esther Friesner, Manny Frishberg, Philip Brian Hall, Rebecca McFarland Kyle, Vonda N. McIntyre, John A. Pitts, Irene Radford, Mike Resnick, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Edd Vick, Jim Wright, Jane Yolen and many others.
“My favorites of the lot are K.G. Anderson’s, ‘The Right Man for the Job,’ in which frustrated Democrats hold a séance in an attempt to find a solution to our Trump problem. It’s witty and fun!” — review on Amazon.com
• “Everything Is Fixed Now”
The device Samantha’s company makes for corporate fitness programs is collecting medical data — without employees’ knowledge. Are “health risks” being fired — or allowed to die?
Buy “Everything Is Fixed Now” in the anthology Welcome to Dystopia: 45 Visions of What Lies Ahead edited by Gordon Van Gelder (OR Books, 2017). Stories by 45 authors including Elizabeth Bourne, Ron Goulart, Eileen Gunn, Les Howle, Janis Ian, Barry N. Malzberg, David Marusek, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Ruth Nestvold, Marguerite Reed, Robert Reed, Madeleine E. Robins, Geoff Ryman, James Sallis, J. M. Sidarova, Harry Turtledove, Ray Vukcevich, and Jane Yolen. Reviewed in Publishers Weekly. Reviewed in Strange Horizons.
Listen to “Everything Is Fixed Now” in the Audible version
A strange man comes to town and wins a woman’s heart, transforming her kitchen with exotic spices and culinary talents that just might be magic. Yet she can’t help but worry about his intentions…and the locked suitcase he keeps in their closet.
“a magical tale of the power of love as an ingredient in preparing meals. Meals that become simply… delicious.” — review on Amazon.com
Buy “Delicious” in the anthology Triangulation: Appetites (Parsec Ink). Edited by Frank Oreto and Douglas Gwilym. Stories by Holly Schofield, Jack Lothian, and others.
• “The Light of Two Moons”
“Jan’s hopes had faded like the old graffiti scrawled on the mud wall of the Dein compound. The throbbing of a rotor overhead sparked no thought of rescue. He had long forgotten his plans for escape.“
Read “The Light of Two Moons” online at Ares Magazine.
• “Patti 209”
She designed “the elder-care environment of the future,” but finds herself, 30 years later, a numbered inmate in the place. With Medicare and Social Security long gone and dignity a luxury, Patti 209 confronts life-and-death decisions.
Buy “Patti 209” in the Alternative Truths anthology. 24 authors had 100 days to write about the 45th president; stories by Jim Wright (of Stonekettle Station), Blaze Ward, Daniel Kimmel, Janka Hobbs, Marleen Barr and Adam Troy-Castro. Edited by Phyllis Irene Radford and Bob Brown.
“‘Patti 209,’ by K.G. Anderson, is a sad story—and one that may stick with you a while. Like its predecessor, it’s written—and well written, too—from an “if this goes on” perspective.” —review at AmazingStories.com
“‘Patti 209’ and ‘Relics: A Fable’ are good old-fashioned New Wave-style dystopian tales.” — review at Amazon.com
(POEM – 2017)
“From the sky
to the lake
to the pipes
to the tap…”
Hear (or read) the rest of “Soup” online at Poetry on Buses.
• “My Job Is Hell”
“Up at 5, take the hellhound walkies, then catch the Underground to Styxbridge for a bagel with sulfur spread. They say Hell is other people, but somehow I’m always alone. I trot along the hot lavawalk to the office, clutching my flaming triple espresso. Sure, we’ve got Eternity here, but I’d rather not be late…”
Read the rest of “My Job Is Hell” online at Every Day Fiction.
“Corporate Hell, what a concept, with just the right amount of bureaucratic red tape and cynicism.” — comment at Every Day Fiction
A distraught mother of a runaway teen visits her great-aunts’ decaying summer cottage. The great-aunts reveal magical talents and disturbing family secrets, tempting Ellie with glimpses of what her life might have been — and could be.
- Listen to “Unraveling” on Far-Fetched Fables, a District of Wonders podcast. Read by voice artist Fran Carras.
- Read “Unraveling” at Curious Fictions.
- Buy “Unraveling” on in the anthology Triangulation: Beneath the Surface. Stories by James Van Pelt, Sandra M. Odell, Manny Frishberg, and others.
• “The Bookman” (flash fiction)
“The stranger at the bus stop held a tattered book with a faded pink-and-white dust jacket — a $950 first American edition…”
• “His Last Victim”
A young police officer volunteers for a novel undercover role, one for which he is uniquely suited. Thus disguised, he witnesses the Ripper’s last horrific crime — and glimpses the high-level cover-up that drew the curtain over the killer’s identity.
Read “His Last Victim” at Curious Fictions.
Buy “His Last Victim” in The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories. Edited by Maxim Jakubowski. Stories by Carol Anne Davis, Martin Edwards, Barbara Nadel, William Meikle, Steve Rasnic Tem, and others.
Therapist Moira Clark meets her most challenging client — the surviving half of the alien dyad that serves as the Vedan ambassador to Earth.
See the YouTube trailer for “Grief.”
Read the review of “Grief” at All Our Words: Diverse Science Fiction.
“For me the best was ‘Grief,’ which involves an alien race where two entities function as one—not quite Trill, but you get the point. When one dies, the other part is inconsolable, so they get a human grief counselor to help.” — review on Amazon.com