James Van Pelt

An interviewer asked the author if he wanted to be the next Stephen King: he said, "No, I want to be the first James Van Pelt."

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James Van Pelt fell in love with Zenna Henderson, Ray Bradbury, Ursula le Guin, Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey and a host of others when he started reading. In elementary school, he told his mom he wanted to grow up to be a Ray Bradbury, like Bradbury was a job instead of a person. His work has appeared in Asimov's, Analog, Clarkesworld and many other venues. Stories have been reprinted in Year's Best anthologies and gathered in five of his collections. He has been a finalist for the Nebula, the Sturgeon Award, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He recently retired from teaching high school English (37 years), to write full time.

Stories · Posts · Books


Savannah is Six

Published May 11, 2019 · 6,935 words (26 minutes) · 1 like · 53 views

Fantasy Horror ghost swimming lake

Poul, Leesa and their daughter Savannah vacation at the lake every year, but the waters there are deep, cold and hold memories as toothy, dark and silent as the pike who glide just out of sight. The story received an honorable mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. Contains adult content.

Small lake pier


The Yard God

Published May 3, 2019 · 4,616 words (17 minutes) · 45 views

Fantasy Family insects

The creatures in Demi's backyard love her, and she loves her mom. Life should be good with the love that surrounds her, but Demi has challenges too: Mom is sick, the neighborhood is rough, and what's a good daughter to do?

This barn owl was very jumpy…not quite used to humans yet.  It was injured by a car and is now being cared for by the rangers at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park.


The Death Dwarves

Published Apr 27, 2019 · 5,075 words (19 minutes) · 1 like · 69 views

Fantasy Horror death Mortality

John Minor suffered a brain injury that left him with physical disabilities and a really wicked scar. He didn't die, though, and now he sees the world uniquely. He can't function the way he did before the accident, but maybe he can still make a difference.


Flying in the Heart of the Lafayette Escadrille

Published Apr 21, 2019 · 4,675 words (17 minutes) · 47 views

Fantasy Literary Fiction Historical war WWI Flying

Some bars try to create an atmosphere to transport their patrons to other worlds. After a few drinks, they might even succeed. Poor, lonely Eddie, adrift in a Denver singles bar, experiences two worlds that look like they shouldn't have anything to do with each other, until they suddenly do.



Published Apr 12, 2019 · 4,814 words (18 minutes) · 50 views

Science Fiction Social Commentary education teaching

People often say that teaching is a noble profession, and it is. It also has a huge dropout rate as teachers walk away from their jobs. Whatever positive pressures that keep teachers working and the negative ones that push them out, the future is unlikely to change. Chaucer once said of a character in his stories, "Gladly would he learn and gladly teach." Maybe that's the quality that keeps teachers going, that sense of gladness in the giving and taking.


The Infodict

Published Apr 5, 2019 · 3,375 words (13 minutes) · 1 like · 64 views

Science Fiction Romance data mining

They say that you can't know the mysteries of the heart, but that's only because you don't have enough data. If you had enough information, surely you could tell what someone else felt about you. If only you had access to all the information.

Oversight 2


The Time Travel Device

Published Mar 30, 2019 · 820 words (3 minutes) · 1 like · 77 views

Classic Fantasy Horror Literary Fiction Science Fiction poe plath hemingway time travel Historical

Imagine the joy of an inventor who has learned to travel in time. But what if he can only go where his subconscious directs the machine? What will he learn about himself as he careens from time to time?

Eventually everything hits the bottom, and all you have to do is wait until someone comes along, and turns it back again. ⌛️


That He Might Yet Find the Unknown

Published Mar 22, 2019 · 8,867 words (33 minutes) · 77 views

Science Fiction marathon running athletics

Epic athletic achievements are the stuff of legend, starting with Pheidippides running from the Battle of Marathon to announce the Greek victory over the Persians. Since then, athletes have pushed harder and harder to break records and stand on top the awards podium. In the future, with technology's help, the records will become breathtaking, but the contest will still be within, and the athletes will still compete for themselves.

Trail running


The Comeback

Published Mar 15, 2019 · 4,473 words (17 minutes) · 1 like · 84 views

Humor Science Fiction Romance baseball

Baseball is a game of unlikely stories, of fortunes turned on a wild pitch or a bad hop or a miracle play. A lot has changed in the game from the early 1900s, but in 2051, its nature is still the same. As said in the movie, Bull Durham: "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains."

Well worn


Happy Ending

Published Mar 8, 2019 · 4,927 words (18 minutes) · 64 views

Fantasy Horror Literary Fiction metafiction

A creative writing teacher, a gifted but rebellious student, and an examination of which way the arrow of time points.

A Clock