Viable Paradise Instructors

VP 21 Instructors

Elizabeth Bear

Elizabeth Bear is the Hugo and Sturgeon Award-winning author of over twenty novels and seventy short stories. She was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. She lives in a 275-year-old house in Massachusetts with her husband, Scott Lynch, and a small menagerie. Her recent books include Karen Memory, An Apprentice to Elves (co-written with Sarah Monette), The Stone in the Skull, and Ancestral Night (2018).

Erin Black, Editor, Scholastic Press

Erin Black

As an editor at Scholastic Press, Erin works on middle grade and young adult novels, including the Shadow House series by Dan Poblocki, Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales by Kiersten White, Once Upon a Cruise by Anna Staniszewski, Titans and Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott, and the Secrets of Bearhaven series by K. E. Rocha. She likes everything from contemporary to fantasy, and humor to horror, and loves few things better than stories about kickass girls.

Steven Brust

Steven Brust is an American fantasy and science fiction author. He is best known for the multi-volume, New York Times-bestselling Vlad Taltos adventure fantasy series beginning with Jhereg (1983), which incorporates a wide variety of storytelling styles and genres, ranging from swords-and-sorcery to hardboiled mystery to financial thriller. He is also the author of a second series of novels set in the Dragaeran Empire of the Vlad books, the Khaavren Romances, which is ostensibly narrated by a Dragaeran historian with an impossibly prolix narrative style which strongly resembles that of a certain late-nineteenth-century English translation of the works of Alexandre Dumas; the first of these is The Phoenix Guards (1991). He is a Minnesotan; they don’t like to talk about themselves.

Steven Gould

Steven Gould is the author of the frequently banned book Jumper; other novels such as Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, Jumper: Griffin’s Story, 7th Sigma, Impulse, and Exo; and several short stories published in Analog, Asimov’s, and other magazines and anthologies. Wildside won the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction and was nominated for the Prometheus Award. He has been on the Hugo ballot twice and the Nebula ballot once for his short fiction. Jumper was made into the 2008 feature film of the same name with Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, and Hayden Christensen. In 2013, Steve was hired to to help develop the three movie sequels to James Cameron’s Avatar, as well as write four novels based on the films. He recently finished two terms as president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Steve lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon (M. J. Locke) and their two daughters, where he keeps chickens and falls down a great deal.

Max Gladstone

Max Gladstone has been thrown from a horse in Mongolia and nominated twice for the John W Campbell Best New Writer Award. Tor Books published FULL FATHOM FIVE, the third novel in Max’s Craft Sequence (preceded by THREE PARTS DEAD and TWO SERPENTS RISE) in July 2014. Max’s game CHOICE OF THE DEATHLESS was nominated for a 2013 XYZZY Award, and his short fiction has appeared on and in Uncanny Magazine.  LAST FIRST SNOW, the next Craft Sequence novel, will hit shelves in July 2015, and is about zoning politics, human sacrifice, and parenthood.

Max Gladstone

Laura J. Mixon / Morgan J. Locke

Laura J. Mixon / Morgan J. Locke

Laura J. Mixon is a chemical and environmental engineer better known as a science fiction writer. She writes about the impact of technology and environmental changes on personal identity and social structures. Her work has been associated with the cyberpunk movement, and has been the focus of academic studies on the intersection of technology, feminism, and gender. Her first five novels came out under the name Laura J. Mixon. Subsequent works, including Up Against It, the first novel in her science fiction series Wave, appear under her pseudonym, M. J. Locke. She blogs about fiction-related subjects at as Morgan J. Locke.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Teresa Nielsen Hayden, photo credit: Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Teresa Nielsen Hayden is a consulting editor for Tor Books, where she has worked with authors ranging from Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson to Robert Charles Wilson, John M. Ford, and Steven Brust. At various points in her career she has also edited comic books, literary criticism, and utopian literature. Her essay collection Making Book was a Hugo finalist in 1995; a sequel, Making Conversation, was published in 2016. For other writing and publishing, she has been a Hugo finalist four times. With her husband, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, she co-edited the Hugo-nominated fanzine Izzard, won TAFF in 1985, and helped found the New York Review of Science Fiction; today, the Nielsen Haydens manage the weblog Making Light and were among the guests of honor at the 2016 Worldcon, MidAmericon 2, in Kansas City. Together, in 2003, they were awarded the Edward E. Smith Memorial Award (the “Skylark”), for service to the field.

Sherwood Smith

Sherwood Smith began her publishing career in 1986, writing for adults, young adults and middle grade. To date she’s published over forty books. She’s also written short fiction, screenplays, media tie-ins, and collaborated with several authors, including Andre Norton. One of her books was an Anne Lindbergh Honor Book; she’s twice been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and is a Nebula finalist. Sherwood Smith earned an M.A. in history, and worked for several years in film and tv production in Hollywood before becoming a teacher for twenty years, working with children from second grade to high school. She specialized in literature, history, and drama. She still does writing workshops at schools and conventions, and reviews at Goodreads.

Sherwood Smith

2017 Editor-in-Residence

Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Associate Publisher, Tor Books

Patrick Nielsen Hayden

photo credit: Houari-B

Patrick Nielsen Hayden is an Associate Publisher at Tor Books. Authors he has edited at Tor include Poul Anderson, Emma Bull, Arthur C. Clarke, Glen Cook, Charles de Lint, Damon Knight, Ken MacLeod, George R. R. Martin, Laura J. Mixon, Harry Turtledove, David Weber, and Jack Womack, among many others; in addition, he has been responsible for publishing many notable first novels, including those of Maureen F. McHugh, Susan Palwick, Jonathan Lethem, Cory Doctorow, Jo Walton, John Scalzi, and Ada Palmer. He also acquires and edits original fiction for His most recent anthology is Twenty-First Century Science Fiction (2013), co-edited with David G. Hartwell. He has won three Hugo Awards and a World Fantasy Award for his editorial work. With his wife, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, he co-edited the Hugo-nominated fanzine Izzard, won TAFF in 1985, and helped found the New York Review of Science Fiction; in 2016, they were among the guests of honor at the 2016 Worldcon, MidAmericon 2, in Kansas City. The Nielsen Haydens’ website is at, including their blog, Making Light.

2017 Writers-in-Residence

Scott Lynch

Scott Lynch was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 2, 1978, the first of three brothers. He’s lived in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area his entire life; currently, he’s just across the border in Wisconsin, about half an hour east of the Twin Cities. The Lies of Locke Lamora, Lynch’s first novel, was bought by Simon Spanton at Orion Books in August, 2004. Prior to that Lynch says he had just about every job you usually see in this sort of author bio—dishwasher, busboy, waiter, web designer, office manager, prep cook, and freelance writer. His work has appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Times of London bestseller lists and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award.

Scott Lynch

Emeritus Instructors

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