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."

Follow James to get notified about new stories and posts.


Subscribe to support James's work and read subscriber-only content.

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

Ark Ascension

Dec 8, 2018 · 2,504 words (10 minutes) · 67 views

Science Fiction

An orbiting habitat fights to keep alive all that made Earth a wonderful place to live before a devastating mutagen darkened its hopes. But life is more than just surviving as this Christmas story shows. JVP

selective focus photography of gray wolf

Featured December 5, 2018

The Stars Underfoot

Dec 2, 2018 · 2,994 words (11 minutes) · 5 likes · 258 views

Fantasy Strange

This is a December story, not quite a Christmas tale, but one of the winter season. Did you ever walk on thin ice? Did you ever consider how close you were to breaking through to another world? Of course not. You all are sensible.

Nine Fingers on the Flute

Nov 24, 2018 · 4,413 words (17 minutes) · 1 like · 77 views

Fantasy Love

People have told numerous stories about love spells, but I don't think they have considered the implications of them. If you could make someone love you, would you want to? JVP

Shark Attack: a Love Story

Nov 16, 2018 · 2,434 words (9 minutes) · 77 views

Fantasy Love Strange

When I wrote this piece, many of my friends were academic/literary. They were interested in the metaphorical meanings in the story. They didn't believe me when I told them it was just a childhood fantasy of mine transplanted into the adult world. Sometimes a shark is just a shark. JVP

Weaponized Ghosts of the 96th Infantry

Oct 31, 2018 · 1,212 words (5 minutes) · 76 views


Happy Halloween, everyone! This story completes my spooky-themed pieces for the Halloween season. I've written a few ghost stories. Here the justice is most poetic. JVP

Origin of the Species

Oct 26, 2018 · 5,183 words (19 minutes) · 100 views

Fantasy Horror Humor Love

This is the 4th of the Halloween-themed stories for October.  David Hartwell reprinted it in The Year's Best Fantasy 3, and the story was honorably mentioned in Datlow/Windling Year's Best Fantasy and Horror.  Anyone who attended an American high school should understand why werewolves and bad moons are a part of "Origin of the Species." JVP

full moon and gray clouds during nighttime
Late Homework

Oct 18, 2018 · 859 words (4 minutes) · 1 like · 108 views

Fantasy Horror

Miss Hathaway's Spider

Oct 11, 2018 · 4,568 words (17 minutes) · 170 views

Fantasy Horror Humor Literary Fiction Satire Strange

The Experience Arcade

Oct 5, 2018 · 1,094 words (4 minutes) · 1 like · 148 views

Horror Science Fiction Strange

What Weena Knew

Sep 27, 2018 · 6,933 words (26 minutes) · 1 like · 156 views

Classic Literary Fiction Science Fiction