Altered States


In stock

A collection of science fiction and fantasy short stories

Edited by 

Amy Locklin

280 pages, $14.95 cover price

($11 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-313-9

Released: 2011


E_CampbellEllen Prentiss Campbell, Rockville, MD.

Ellen Prentiss Campbell’s stories have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts Review, The Potomac Review, The Fourth River, Paper Street, and Iron Horse. An MFA graduate of The Bennington Writing Seminars, she lives near Washington, DC with her husband and retreats to write on her farm in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. She has completed a collection of stories set in the Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania near her paternal grandfather’s birthplace and is at work on a novel. As a writer and a social worker, she seeks the story between the lines and behind the words.

EDoak_PxEmily Doak, Greencastle, IN.

Emily Doak danced at School of American Ballet and North Carolina School of the Arts before receiving her BFA in film from NYU and her MFA in fiction from Indiana University. Her short stories have appeared in the Gettysburg Review, Barrelhouse, Inkwell, Yemassee, and Isotope and her poetry in Spoon River Poetry Review and Rhino. She teaches writing at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana and is currently putting the finishing touches on a novel called Dragon Boys of Indiana.


L_Fisher_PxLou Fisher, Hopewell Junction, NY.

Lou Fisher lives with his wife in downstate New York, from where he teaches fiction and nonfiction for the Long Ridge Writers Group. His stories have appeared in every type of magazine and journal, including The Mississippi Review and Other Voices, and have been selected for numerous anthologies like The Way We Work (Vanderbilt University Press 2008), Hunger and Thirst (City Works Press 2009), and Coming Home (MSR Short Fiction 2010). He has received the New Letters Literary Award for Fiction as well as a writing fellowship from his county’s arts council. His earlier genre novels were published by Dell and Warner.

MFortier_PxMardelle Fortier, Lisle, IL.

Mardelle Fortier has published 15 stories, about 10 essays, and nearly 100 poems. Her stories have appeared in Bibliophilos, Black Petals, Woman’s World, Crime Stalker Casebook, and other magazines. She writes sci-fi, mystery, horror, and literary stories. Fortier teaches creative writing at College of DuPage and Benedictine University. She has won many prizes in creative writing.


SGibney_PxShannon Gibney, Minneapolis, MN.

Shannon Gibney teaches writing, journalism, and African American topics at Minneapolis Community & Technical College. Her article on Octavia Butler recently appeared in the anthology Black Imagination, Futurism, and the Speculative, and her YA novel Hank Aaron’s Daughter is forthcoming.


TGoldstone_PxTim Goldstone, North Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK.

Backpacked and worked throughout the U.K., Western and Eastern Europe, including the former Yugoslavia. Also travelled in North Africa. Currently writing out of Wales, to where he always returns, despite being born in England. Currently lives in North Pembrokeshire with his wife, child and swamp-dog, in the heart of the marshy landscape between sea and mountains. Studied English and History at Lampeter University, Wales. Currently harvesting material from his memory for Peach Slices, a collection of short stories based on the events and characters he was involved with when employed as a mill-hand for a year and a day at Southampton docks.

THaskew_Px_bTerresa Haskew, Greenville, SC.

Terresa Haskew is truly “living the dream” with her appearance in this anthology. This is her first short story to be accepted for publication, and she is grateful for Main Street Rag’s warm reception. Terresa is a poet whose work has appeared in journals and anthologies such as Press 53 Open Awards (2010 First Prize for Poetry), Atlanta Review, Emrys Journal, Kakalak (2009 Honorable Mention), Fruit of the Banyan Tree and The Main Street Rag. Terresa was a Top 10 Finalist in the 2011 SC Poetry Initiative’s Single Poem Contest, and has work forthcoming in Pearl. She and her husband, Ben, have three children and two grandchildren.

PKobylarz_PxPhilip Kobylarz, Hayward, CA.

Philip Kobylarz has recent work in Connecticut Review, Volt, Visions International, New American Writing, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Salzburg Review and has appeared in Best American Poetry.




AKoscher_Px_bAdeline Carrie Koscher, Brewster, MA. Adeline Carrie Koscher earned her Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she wrote The New Woman Novelist and the Redefinition of the Female: Marriage, Sexuality and Motherhood ( 2010). She now lives and writes on Cape Cod, the home of many famous writers–she is not a famous one. Here, she daydreams and grows tomatoes with her partner, James. A high school English teacher, she is working on lots of projects all at once, throwing caution to the wind, to see what the wind will do with it. When not writing letters of recommendation, she writes fiction, poetry, literary criticism, and one-woman shows. The short story published here was written at the Nantucket Soundings Buzzards Bay Writers’ Retreat.

KKovacik_PxKaren Kovacik, Indianapolis, IN.

Karen Kovacik is Director of Creative Writing at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including a guest fellowship at the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Creative Writing, an Arts Council of Indianapolis Creative Renewal Fellowship, the Charity Randall Citation from the International Poetry Forum, and a Fulbright Research Grant to Poland. She spent the 2004-05 academic year in Warsaw, translating contemporary Polish women’s poetry. Her latest book of poems is Metropolis Burning (Cleveland State, 2005). Her poems and stories have appeared in Salmagundi, Chelsea, Glimmer Train, Massachusetts Review, and Indiana Review, and her translations of contemporary Polish poets in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Southern Review, and West Branch.

ELangston_PxEva Langston, Washington, DC.

Eva Langston is a native of Roanoke, Virginia and a recent MFA graduate of the University of New Orleans. Her short stories have appeared in Blood Lotus and Talking River Review, and she has forthcoming stories in The Normal School and The Sand Hill Review. She also won third place in the 2010 Playboy Fiction contest, but unfortunately they do not publish third place. She recently moved from New Orleans to Washington, DC. She lives in Capitol Hill and teaches high school math.


L_Lefkowitz_PxLarry Lefkowitz, Modiin, Israel.

His stories, poetry and humor have appeared in many publications in the United States, Israel, and Britain. Among the publications: Thema, A cappella Zoo, Third Wednesday Magazine, Yellow Medicine Review, Silver Boomer Book, The Vocabula Review, Runes, The Literary Review, Crimespree; many online publications; anthologies. Self-published booklet: Humor for Writers. Lefkowitz is currently hoping to find a publisher for his novel manuscript Lieberman.

BLeung_PxBrian Leung, Louisville, KY.

Brian Leung is the author of the historical novel Take Me Home, which centers around the historical event of a massacre of Chinese Miners in 1885, Wyoming Territory. He is also the author of the novel Lost Men as well as the story collection World Famous Love Acts, a winner of the Asian American Literary Award and the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. His poetry, creative nonfiction, and short fiction have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He was born and raised in San Diego County and is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Louisville.

ALocklin_PxAmy Locklin, Indianapolis, IN.

Amy Locklin is the editor of Altered States. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared inQuarter After Eight, Maize, and Dots on a Map: Stories from Small Town America. Poems are forthcoming in And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana and The Main Street Rag. Her work has won honors in the Robert J. DeMott short prose contest, the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Associated Writing Program’s Intro Journal Project, and the Lois Davidson Ellis Literary Award for fiction. A recipient of Indiana Arts Commission grants and former director of the IU Writers’ Conference, she currently teaches literature and writing at IUPUI and DePauw University, and sings jazz around Indianapolis at such venues as the Artsgarden.

TSMacQueen_PxT. Shontelle MacQueen, Charlotte, NC.

T. Shontelle MacQueen was born in London, England and lived in Europe, Scandinavia, and an assortment of U.S. states before settling in North Carolina where she is a licensed psychologist. In addition to professional publications, Dr. MacQueen enjoys writing short stories that often defy traditional categorization. She enjoys a variety of interests including music, martial arts, and spending time with her two young children. She is currently at work on her first full length novel.



JMcBrearty_PxJenean McBrearty, Danville, KY.

Jenean McBrearty is a semi-retired political science and sociology community college instructor for military education programs, and a self-employed administrative representative/alternative dispute resolution facilitator. Her areas of expertise include the Americans With Disabilities Act and Housing/Employment Discrimination. She is currently pursuing an MFA Creative Writing at Eastern Kentucky University, and focuses on creating social science fiction for teaching across the curriculum. She hopes to expand the market for relevant and entertaining higher education materials by demonstrating how effective teaching through the short story is. A native of California with a particular love for the desert where she raised two children, she now shares her residence Danville with the most lovable tabby in the world: Mr. Baxter.

AMcOmber_PxAdam McOmber, Chicago, IL.

Adam McOmber is the Assistant Director of Creative Nonfiction at Columbia College Chicago. He is the associate editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika, and his fiction has recently appeared in Conjunctions, Third Coast, StoryQuarterly and Arts and Letters. His short story collection This New and Poisonous Air will be published by BOA Editions Ltd. in June 2011. His novel Empyrean will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, in August 2012.

AMiller_PxAlyce Miller, Bloomington, IN.

Alyce Miller’s most recent book is Water, winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize. Previous awards include the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, Kenyon Review Award for Literary Excellence in Fiction, and the Lawrence Prize. She has published more than 200 stories, poems, essays, and articles, and teaches creative writing, literature, and special topics courses at Indiana University-Bloomington. In addition, she leads a double life as an attorney specializing in animal rights and family law.


CO'Hara_PxCraig O’Hara, Muncie, IN.

Craig O’Hara grew up in Southern Indiana, spending most of his time reading books pilfered from his father’s bookshelves. After attending Indiana University, he lived and worked in Vietnam and the Northern Mariana Islands. He later received his MFA from the University of Arizona, and since then his stories have appeared in a number of magazines and journals, including Confrontation, Spork, and The Sonora Review. He currently lives with his lovely wife in Muncie and teaches writing at Ball State University. The piece appearing here is part of a collection of short fiction about places that no longer exist and probably never did.

MPearson_PxMark Pearson, Houston, TX.

Mark Pearson attended the University of Michigan on a wrestling scholarship, and then returned to his home state, Pennsylvania, where he worked as a journalist and pursued his interest in fiction. He earned a Ph.D in English from the University of Georgia and an M.A. in English and creative writing from the University of California, Davis. His fiction and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming in The Best American Sports Writing 2011, Aethlon, Blueline, Broken Bridge Review,Carve, Gray’s Sporting Journal, The Main Street Rag Publishing Company Sports Fiction Anthology, 2011, North Dakota Quarterly, Short Story, Sport Literate, and Stories. He currently lives in Houston with his wife and two daughters.

VFPrescott_PxVivian Faith Prescott, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Vivian Faith Prescott was born and raised in Wrangell, Alaska and lives in Sitka, Alaska and Puerto Rico at the USCG. Borinquen Air Station. She holds a Ph.D. in Cross Cultural Studies. Vivian is the co-director of a non-profit called Raven’s Blanket based in Wrangell, Alaska and she facilitates adult and teen writers’ groups at the Air Station Borinquen. Her poetry has appeared in Drunken Boat, Permafrost, and Turtle Quarterly. Her first book of poetry The Hide of My Tongue will be published by Plain View Press in Spring 2011. Vivian’s website is and she blogs at

N_Reid_PxNicole Louise Reid, Newburgh, IN.

Nicole Louise Reid is the author of the novel In the Breeze of Passing Things (MacAdam/Cage), fiction chapbook Girls (RockSaw Press), and forthcoming story collection So There! (Stephen Austin University Press). Her stories have appeared in Sweet, The Southern Review, Quarterly West, Meridian, Black Warrior Review, Confrontation, turnrow, and Crab Orchard Review. Recipient of the Willamette Award in Fiction, she teaches creative writing at the University of Southern Indiana, where she is fiction editor of Southern Indiana Review and editor of RopeWalk Press, and directs the RopeWalk Visiting Writers Reading Series.

MRigney_PxMark Rigney, Evansville, IN.

Mark Rigney is the author of the play Acts of God (Playscripts, Inc., 2008) and the non-fiction book Deaf Side Story: Deaf Sharks, Hearing Jets and a Classic American Musical (Gallaudet University Press, 2003). His short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appears in The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review, Realms of Fantasy, andLady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, with upcoming work in Black Gate, Sleet, and Birkensnake. Two collections of his short stories are now available at Amazon, Reality Checks and Flights of Fantasy. His website is


IRutledge_PxIvy Rutledge, Greensboro, NC.

Originally from Rhode Island, Ivy Rutledge lives and writes in the Piedmont of North Carolina, where she shares her life with her husband and two children. Since earning her BA in English Education and History, she has taught writing in high schools and in home school writing classes. Her work has appeared in The Sun and Home Education, as well as several local and statewide publications, and she was a semi-finalist in the 2005 NC State Poetry Contest. This is her first published piece of fiction.

JSeltzer_PxJoanne Seltzer, Schenectady, NY.

She earned her B.A. in English from the University of Michigan and her M.A. in English from The College of Saint Rose. Her poems have been published in a variety of journals and anthologies, including Lilith, The Village Voice, The Minnesota Review, Waterways, The Muse Strikes Back, and When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple. Seltzer has also published short fiction, literary essays, translations of French poetry, and three poetry chapbooks. Her most recent poetry book, Women Born During Tornadoes, was published in 2009 by Plain View Press. Seltzer has won prizes in competitions sponsored by The World Order of Narrative and Formalist Poets and some of her poems are set to music and used as classroom texts. Her website is

L_Skullklapper_PxLucille Gang Shulklapper, Coral Springs, FL. A prize-winning author of fiction and poetry, Lucille’s work appears in many publications as well as in four poetry chapbooks: What You Cannot Have, The Substance of Sunlight, Godd, It’s Not Hollywood, and In The Tunnel. Living up to traditional expectations led to work as a salesperson, model, realtor, teacher, and curriculum coordinator throughout schooling, marriage, children, and grandchildren.



SSterling_PxSusan Sterling, Waterville, ME.

Susan Sterling received her MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and has taught fiction and nonfiction in the creative writing program at Colby College. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, the Best American Sports Writing, The North American Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Down East,Crab Orchard Review and the French journal Etudes, and have been anthologized in The Berkeley Women’s Literary Revolution: Essays from Marsha’s Salon; The Way Life Should Be: Stories by Contemporary Maine Writers; and in A Healing Touch: True Stories of Life, Death, and Hospice (edited by Richard Russo). She lives in Waterville with her husband, Paul Machlin.

JTomscha_PxJennifer Tomscha, Ann Arbor, MI.

Jennifer Tomscha was born and raised in the Great Plains. She has a master of theology from Harvard Divinity School, and an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she has taught composition and creative writing. She is also a 2011-2012 Zell Fellow in Creative Writing. Her work is forthcoming in Glimmer Train.



JWeintraub_PxJ. Weintraub, Chicago, IL.

J. Weintraub has published fiction, essays, and poetry in The New Criterion, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Crab Orchard Review, Chicago Reader, and many other reviews and periodicals. He has received awards for writing from the Illinois and Barrington Art Councils, was an Around-the-Coyote poet, and is currently a network playwright at Chicago Dramatists. He has recently performed his “Investigation into the Life of the Screenwriter, Henry Frank” at the Uptown Writer’s Space and the Twilight Tales Reading Series at The Mix.

EWillison_PxEsther K. Willison, Niskayuna, NY.

Esther K. Willison is one of the founders and teachers of an alternative ungraded public school in Schenectady, New York. She served as the assistant director of a teen theater bringing AIDS education into the public schools in the tri-city area. Her work has appeared in The Stories We Hold Secret (The Greenfield Review Press), Common Lives, Lesbian Lives, in a collection of essays, Small Town Gay, 13th Moon, The Litchfield Review, Peeks and Valleys, and White Pelican Review, among other journals. In July, 2010, she received second place, for Memoir, in the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association Annual Literary Contest. She is currently on the staff of The Open Door Bookstore in Schenectady, NY.

LYaffe_PxLauren Yaffe, Brooklyn, NY.

Lauren Yaffe holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College. Her stories, poems and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies as Alaska Quarterly, Cottonwood Review, Calliope, Frigate, English Journal, Voices from the Spectrum and others. Her story “The Evolution of Tulips”, which appeared in Fiction Weekly, was nominated for a 2008 Pushcart Prize. She lives in Brooklyn and is currently working on several screenplays and children’s books about worms–the earthy kind.

Change defines us. Time ticks another moment lost thrusting us forward even when we would prefer to look back. Some folks call for change; some become lost within it; some seek control, some abandon, some denial, and some merely witness, when facing it; some have adapted to change in the distant past.

Science fiction and fantasy genres dramatize the human response to change with heightened symbolic meaning. In this way they are most like poetry. When experiencing realism we can feel comfortable in a literal reading, even when a narrative overflows with metaphors and subtext that warn us against such complacency. In contrast, fantastic genres force us to feel discomfort, to see the unfamiliar in the previously familiar. Things are not as they appear, or not only as they appear.

The stories in this collection will make every reader a detective. The process of discovery will please, not just for glimmers of truth perceived, but also for the artistic choices made, at times subtle, flamboyant, risky, mysterious, and outright funny.

I became interested in seeing a theme of change represented in sci-fi and fantasy short fiction in part because of popular debates concerning politics, psychology, socioeconomics, and the environment. Many fights are more about keeping things the same than about finding the best answer and too often in real life the anxiety of influence trumps making necessary change. I had long known the power of fantastic literature to address those realms of experience we deny, for instance the power of dreams. Dreams can exert an influence over us whether we remember them or not. Fantastic literature forces us to remember.

The thirty sci-fi and fantasy stories in Altered States will push our understanding of human nature and change to surprising new levels. Organized in five subsections, “On Reality,” “On Place,” “On Family,” “On Romance,” and “On the Body,” the short stories here speak to each other and challenge our definitions of these essential categories of experience.

–Amy Locklin, Editor


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