Speculative Literature Foundation Announces 2009 Gulliver Travel Research Grant Winner

Caren, by Jamie Eby PhotographyThe Speculative Literature Foundation announced today that its 2009 Gulliver Travel Research Grant has been awarded to SFWA member Caren Gussoff. The $800 grant will be used to help Gussoff to travel to western Washington State in order to research the setting of her near-future novel The King of Seattle.

Gussoff’s stories have appeared in Abyss & Apex, PodCastle and Fantasy Magazine, and in several Seal Press anthologies. Her novel explores a post-pandemic Puget Sound, in which mental illness is a communicable disease.

An excerpt:

Pills? I asked.

Yes, the majordomo answered. He held his hands still, and said, SSRIs, SSDIs, neuroleptics, anticonvulsant mood stabilizers, anxiolytics, hypnotics. Trans-dermal, sub-lingual, prophylactic. Peach, pink, blue. Then he looked at me.

I was holding my hand up against my mouth.

You’re about my age, he said. You’ll get used to the naked faces.Then he looked down at his rubbing hands like they had nothing to do with him. Do you remember before we knew you could catch crazy?

Yeah, I said, nodding. I remember.


This year the competition was especially fierce, with many excellent entries. Five Honourable Mentions were given:

Nisi Shawl
Jeremy Smith
Livia Llewellyn
Emily Jiang
Nadia Kalman

The Gulliver Travel Research Grant is awarded to assist a writer of speculative fiction in his or her research. As in previous years, the 2009 grant of $800 is to be used to cover airfare, lodging, and/or other expenses relating to the research for a project of speculative fiction. The grant is awarded by a committee of Speculative Literature Foundation members on the basis of interest and merit.

The grant is named after Gulliver, a character in the 1726 story “Gulliver’s Travels” written by Jonathan Swift. The story represents one of the earliest examples of fantasy travel.

Applications for the seventh annual Gulliver Travel Research Grant will open on July 1, 2010.