My Routine

I seem to alternate years of not finding a publisher with years of better luck.  My routine is the same with either:  write a short story a week (I’ve nearly finished a sequence of 36 stories taking place on successive days); send rejected stories out to another publisher; query agents for a novel; and revise a 3/4 done novel, novella (usually a past year’s National Novel Writing Month project), or first draft of a short story  or script — all of which must be kept in continuity with each other.


I used to think when a favorite writer didn’t have anything new that they were either writing a novel or taking time off.  Most writers I know work steadily, all the time, and there’s a portion of luck in appears in print/on screens and when.  A writer is someone who writes: I keep at it (and all the secretarial work that goes with finding publication) until my luck changes.



-Lisa Shapter



For Your Bradbury Award Consideration

The production script for  my first play, “The Other Two Men,” is on the Bradbury Award Suggested Reading List for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation:

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America members may read the script here:

The script is set 800 years in the future in a colonized Milky Way galaxy. In this play, historians on an established colony world decide to clone two of their four planetary founders in order to solve the problem of what went wrong in their lives. These clones are raised in strict historical recreations of their 300-years-gone-by North America hometowns and are given the same military training as their originals.

This play is about the day the two young men meet.

They find themselves locked in one room until they solve an unspecified problem about the past. Some things go wrong:  historians on this colony planet have only cloned two of the four founding figures; the clones have figured out they are duplicates of famous long-dead men and everyone around them is an actor in a living history museum; and they’re two unique new people – not their original, heroic progenitors.

It is is a story about free will and predestination – what can and cannot be planned. It is about a relationship that do not fit conventional categories and a story that does not follow conventional patterns.

-Lisa Shapter


Deep background (Or:  (Nearly) Everything I Write is in the Same Universe) —

This script is based on an unpublished short story.   The play stands on its own, but it  is linked to an ongoing series of short stories now appearing in Black Denim Lit.  The prequel stories are:

This is Not a Love Story in Black Denim Lit (October 2015)  (How the originals of the two clones met.)

Inducement” in Black Denim Lit (2016)

Searching” in Black Denim Lit #8 (December 2014) (The Rain and the Resada mentioned in passing in the script)

Planet 50” in Black Denim Lit (July 2015) (A better view of Resada.)


These related stories are set in the same universe:

The World in His Throat in Things We Are Not: An M-Brane SF Magazine Queer Science Fiction Anthology (2009)

Life on Earth” in Expanded Horizons (January 2015)

Nightskyman Hope” in Expanded Horizons (January 2016)

No Woman, No Plaything” in Kaleidotrope (October 2012)  (Resada on her own.)

Planet 38” in Four Star Stories (Summer 2013)  (Another story about Resada on her own.)


I also have an unrelated alternate history novella published by Aqueduct Press:

A Day in Deep Freeze


Nearly all of my work is interconnected:  each work stands on its own but each piece adds depth and nuance to the others.  Those who read this script will know things about these characters that no one else knows.  (Readers of the short stories will appreciate the two original characters’ world and why their descendants might have wanted to clone them.  There was a draft of the script where the two originals and Rain and Resada had an entire conversation about the world they’d founded (and their worries for the place) but it didn’t end up in the production.)


The script also benefited immensely from the feedback and questions from the workshop reading by Generic Theater, and the specific and detailed revision suggestions of Susan Turner, Alan Huisman, Alex Pease, Collin Snider; and the careful rehearsal process at The Players’ Ring — with the sound advice of Tomer Oz, Emery Lawrence, Bailey Weakley, and the encouragement and wisdom of Todd Hunter, Barbara Lakin Newton, and master playwrights David J. Mauriello and Jim Kelly.  I was tremendously moved by the play’s reception and have made friends of fellow artists that I hold dear.

-Lisa Shapter

Go & Do: 5 Things to do This Weekend (from

The Other Two Men‘ opens at the Ring
From July 15 to 24, Oz Productions presents “The Other Two Men” by Lisa Shapter at The Players’ Ring, 105 Marcy St., Portsmouth. Showtimes are 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 9 p.m. on Sundays. Tomer Oz directs Shapter’s play, with Emery Lawrence and Bailey Weakly as two clones figure out if their future is a choice or not. This is the debut performance of Shapter’s first play. It is based on an ongoing series of short stories published in Black Denim Lit. Tickets cost $12 with discounts for Players’ Ring members, students, and seniors. To reserve, visit or call (603)­ 436-8123.

Source: Go & Do: 5 things to do this weekend

Automatic Coupledom: Or, “This is Not a Love Story”

One thing I dislike is when the male and female lead of a book/show/movie inevitably become a couple. I loved the early seasons of the X-Files (after moments in early episodes with Gillian Anderson wearing less clothes than on-duty FBI agents usually do, but the same not happening to David Duchovny) was that the two main characters were co-workers with a sense of professionalism. They were not (yet) fated by the writers to be together just because of their respective genders.

Give the same situation to any two same-sex FBI agents in another film or TV show and viewers rightly wonder: “Wait, how long have you known this person?”, “Erm, what do you see in this person, exactly?”, “Are you so badly written that you only know the people who appear on screen – or do you have a larger life of family, dates, acquaintances, things you do when you’re not working, musical tastes, childhood memories, etc.”

This is the kind of unquestioned writing assumption I like to take apart in my science fiction. Would a person with a social circle of five or eight people of the same sex (because they’re all co-workers on an isolated planetary frontier) fall for someone they ordinarily wouldn’t date? After how long? Why – how would that sound inside their own head? How would complicating factors of one kind or another (including different orientations, new temporary staffers, the obligation to raise children together) change that? (Starting with: “Hrm, we’re all co-workers and breaking up with one or more of them might make this place unlivable.”)

My novelette “This is Not a Love Story” (in Black Denim Lit) takes a situation that ought to create romance in popular culture – two soldiers alone on a ship – except that they’re both male and straight. Instead it’s a story about traumatic bonding and, in time, romantic friendship. These are the same two soldiers in “Searching” and “Planet 50” (and they’re there, offstage, in the background in “No Woman, No Plaything” and “Planet 38”. My other stories set in this same universe play with other possibilities: two castaways who fall in love in “Life on Earth” (perhaps because of an alien life form, one of the only non-terrestrial candidates for sentience in this universe), two male co-mothers in “The World in His Throat” (in M-BRANE-SF’s anthology) Things We Are Not, and the protagonist of “Nightskyman Hope” who ignores (reasonably and realistically) the spouse-to-be who appears on the last page. (Yes, Steven’s two friends are “The World in His Throat”’s Olaf and Pursell.)

So read “This is Not a Love Story”, then “Searching”, then “Planet 50” – and come see my play about the same two soldiers (and their far-future clones) July 15-24, 2016 at The Players’ Ring in Portsmouth, NH: “The Other Two Men”. Or read them in reverse order, or read “Planet 50” after reading “No Woman, No Plaything” or “Planet 38” – each path will change the stories and show the people in them in a different light.

So do they, automatically, belong together?

-Lisa Shapter

List of Gay Male SF Writers

From the blog of my friend & fellow SF writer Kellan Sparver.

Limited to published authors.  Presented as a public service, in no particular order.

  • Arthur C. Clarke (added 2013-11-6; how did I forget?)
  • Samuel R. Delany
  • Hal Duncan
  • Thomas M. Disch
  • Rahul Kanakia
  • David Gerrold
  • Geoff Ryman
  • Steve Berman
  • Clive Barker (added 2012-12-12)
  • Richard Bowes (added 2012-12-12)
  • Gregory Maguire (added 2012-12-26)
  • Kyle Aisteach (added 2013-12-26)
  • David Gerrold (added 2013-12-27)

Not pictured: Alberto Yáñez, Aleksandr Voinov (bisexual)

That’s… sevennineteneleven thirteen.  Who am I forgetting?  (The SFWA member directory lists 1747 members.)

(Thanks to Bogi TakácsCharles A. Tan, et al.)

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