Virtual Memories Show 399:
Sheila Williams

With her new fantastic short story anthology, Entanglements: Tomorrow’s Lovers, Families, and Friends (MIT Press), editor Sheila Williams brings together a panoply of voices to explore how technology and scientific advances have on the deepest human relationships. We talk about Sheila’s nearly 40 years editing science fiction stories at Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, how she manages to balance new and diverse voices with a foundation of SF’s history, how she copes with receiving ~800 stories a month (while only being able to buy 5-6), and technology’s greater role in day-to-day life and what that means for writers’ and readers’ imagination and expectations. We also get into her author freakouts (like going blank when she met Samuel R. Delany many years ago), how her philosophy background helps her as an editor, missing cons and festivals, the challenge of editing an author in translation (in this case Xia Jia), and more. Give it a listen! And go read Entanglements!

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About our Guest

Sheila Williams is the two-time Hugo Award winning Editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, which has won the prestigious Locus Award for Best Magazine in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Sheila’s interest in science fiction began in her early years in western Massachusetts, when her father read Edgar Rice Burroughs books to her as a child. By the time Sheila was in sixth grade, her parents found her a British anthology abroad called Adventure Stories for Girls, which she read no less than a dozen times. Sheila went on to graduate from Elmira College, NY, studying at the London School of Economics junior year, and received her Master’s from Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to her editorial stewardship of the magazine, Sheila Williams is the editor/co-editor of more than two dozen best-selling science fiction anthologies. Her most recent anthology is Entanglements: Tomorrow’s Lovers, Families, and Friends.

Follow Sheila on Twitter and Instagram.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded remotely via Zencastr. I used a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Sheila by Ché Ryback. It’s on my instagram.