Alex Shvartsman is the author of The Middling Affliction (Caezik Press, 2022) and Eridani’s Crown (UFO Publishing, 2019). Over 120 of his short stories have appeared in Analog, Nature, Galaxy’s Edge, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. He is the winner of the 2014 WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction and has twice been nominated for the Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Fiction.
Alex has translated books, screenplays and short stories from Russian. Some of those stories have appeared in Clarkesworld, Tor.com, Asimov’s, and F&SF. He’s the editor of over a dozen anthologies, including The Cackle of Cthulhu, Humanity 2.0, and the Unidentified Funny Objects series, as well as of the Future Science Fiction Digest.
Find Alex on his website or follow him on Twitter, @AShvartsman.
- The Conradverse ChroniclesThe Middling Affliction (#1)Alex Shvartsman
- The Conradverse ChroniclesKakistocracy (#2)Alex Shvartsman
- StandaloneEridani’s CrownAlex Shvartsman
- Short StoryThe Golem of Deneb Seven and Other StoriesAlex Shvartsman
- Short StoryExplaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other StoriesAlex Shvartsman
- AnthologiesThe Cackle of CthulhuAlex Shvartsman
- AnthologiesHumanity 2.0Alex Shvartsman
- AnthologiesUnidentified Funny Objects (#1)Alex Shvartsman
- NovellasH. G. Wells, Secret AgentAlex Shvartsman
The Conradverse Chronicles
The Middling Affliction (#1)
"[Shvartsman] delivers a laugh-out-loud, snarky adventure, throwing out pop culture references and wry observations with dizzying frequency.... His supernatural New York City is vibrant and authentic, and Conrad fits right in with wisecracking fan favorite heroes like Harry Dresden and Simon Canderous. The result is a thoroughly satisfying romp."
“Few books strike that balance so well, delivering laughter and smiles inside a story that feels like it matters. . . . Readers looking for an entertaining read that will stick with them afterward will not be disappointed.”
"In a magical world of demons and wizards, only the Watch exists to make sure that everyone plays nice. But our hero is the only member of the team with no magical abilities; just guns and tricks and an endless supply of nerve and bluff. The Middling Affliction is a fine mixture of magic and mayhem, topped up with enough movement to keep the plot boiling. It's always a pleasure to find a fantasy that hasn't forgotten how to have fun, while still employing bad guys ready to play for all the marbles, and a hero who knows how to be the real thing when the chips are down."
Simon R. Green, New York Times bestselling author of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
"This book never goes where I expect it to, and that's a good thing. It is utterly charming, which I mean in several ways."
Steven Burst, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Jhereg and Dzur
"There's nothing middling about The Middling Affliction. Shvartsman delivers real magic, action and surprise twists, nicely seasoned with laughs. You're going to want more."
Esther Friesner, Nebula-award winner and bestselling author of Warchild
"For a completely enjoyable fantasy this novel satisfies on all counts. Exceptional writing and a bristling imagination bring Alex Shvartzman to the forefront!"
"All in all, this was a great started to a promising series, and I’ll be counting down the days to the next installment."
"This is a fun book if not a deep one. It moves forward at a relentless pace"
Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine
"The Middling Affliction is a strong entry in the urban fantasy genre, one that I greatly enjoyed the whole way through. It is perfect for anyone looking for more of that type of book."
"The Middling Affliction kicks off a new urban fantasy series, The Conradverse Chronicles, steeped in the tropes of the genre but also subverting/tweaking them. The mix of standard UF components – snarky but genuine narrator, city’s character playing a key role in the way the story unfolds, lead and supporting characters with secrets to reveal – with Shvartsman’s trademark humor make for a package that feels familiar but new at the same time."
"Full of humor, magic, and suspense – I didn’t want this one to end. And the finale was exciting and unpredictable."
"The Middling Affliction by Alex Shvartsman is a wonderful opening to the Conradverse Chronicles....Shvartsman’s world begs to be explored to see more magical creatures, more vampires, more wizards, and more middlings."
"Shvartsman skillfully confronts the ways power can corrupt in this smart political fantasy. ... Tight plotting and an intricately crafted universe will keep readers hooked."
"In the world of Eridani’s Crown, there are no handy crutches for the reader to rest on. From its earliest pages, Alex Shvartsman’s novel subverts many of the tropes of high fantasy."
"An impressive expansion of range from Shvartsman. Worth looking for."
"With a world as intricate as the titular magical artifact and a cast of characters as morally complex as figures from real history, Eridani’s Crown is a nuanced examination of the drive to acquire power and its distorting influence on our ideals. This epic fantasy will have you turning the pages deep into the night and move you in the manner only the grandest of tragedies can."
Ken Liu, Hugo Award-winning author of The Grace of Kings
"I loved this smoothly written story of an intelligent, resourceful young royal who has to grow up fast after treachery and tragedy put her in mortal danger. Eridani must summon all her courage and cunning, as well as some newfound ruthlessness, to survive and steer her own fate. Action, intrigue, personal conflicts, and plot reversals will keep you turning the pages of this tightly-woven tale."
Laura Resnick, Campbell Award-winning author of the Esther Diamond series
"Full of complicated characters and moral ambiguity, Eridani's Crown is a fascinating and haunting exploration of one woman's quest for power. Shvartsman gives us a compelling and nuanced look at the tragedy of Eridani's success that will keep you riveted."
Tina Connolly, Hugo Award-nominated author of Ironskin
"A gripping tale of empire and conquest and the crumbling of good intentions in the pursuit of power. Shvartsman takes all your expectations and turns them on their head."
David Walton, Campbell Award-winning author of Three Laws Lethal
"Neither grimdark nor heroic, Eridani's Crown is a unique mix, with just as much heart as it has pitiless depiction of human failings and foibles."
Charles E. Gannon, Nebula and Dragon Award-nominated author of Marque of Caine
"Eridani’s Crown is an enjoyable exploration of the rise and fall of a noble, just monarch. It is a thought-provoking look at the human heart in conflict with itself. The immersive world-building and character-driven plot makes this an excellent read for anyone who wants a satisfying taste of the fantasy genre."
The Golem of Deneb Seven and Other Stories
"There was not a single story that didn’t make me laugh, utter a soft gasp at the twist or provoke strong emotions in the way the tale was told. The thoughtful way each tale presented its characters and situations plunged right into the heart of it immediately in a way that I wanted to see where it would take me. Being full of heart is also how I would describe each one as well because the emotions on display by all the different characters are easily relatable and made me think about how I would feel if I was placed into any of these unusual situations."
"The stories bounce across, and often combine, genres and frequently have a humorous aspect (sometimes subtle, sometimes slapstick). There’s a winking tone to even the most serious of these stories, a “we’re in this together, dear reader” style that immediately tells you it’s a Shvartsman story. I count this recognizability as a good thing, much in the way you pretty much always know if you’re reading a Neil Gaiman or Seanan McGuire story.... Highly recommended."
Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories
"At any length, Shvartsman is an entertaining writer who can take on many voices and make them his."
"Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories is a solid, quality collection worthy of a speculative fiction fan’s bookshelf. Shvartsman is a prolific author whose stories continue to impress."
"Wit, sentiment, imagination — Alex Shvartsman's got them all."
Mike Resnick, Hugo Award-winning writer
"His stories feature tightly constructed, intricate, puzzle-like plots with clever banter and plenty of fresh, twisted pop culture references."
Ken Liu, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author
"Full of intriguing ideas and wit."
Jody Lynn Nye, bestselling author
"A wonderful collection of short stories that will make you laugh, think and feel."
Gini Koch, bestselling author of the Alien series