Data?1536446947

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 when they create a new story or post.

Subscribe

Subscribe to James to support their 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.

Fiction · Posts · Books

Free

Fiction

Parallel Highways

Published Jan 5, 2019 · 5,503 words (21 minutes) · 167 views

Fantasy Horror

I'm a small-town Colorado kid, so when I went to the LA WorldCon in 1996, the Los Angeles traffic startled me. On the second day, while trying to find my way to Anaheim and the convention, I started thinking about The Flying Dutchman and his poor, cursed crew. "Parallel Highways" rose out of that juxtaposition of traffic and legend. JVP

Free

Free

Fiction

Eight Words

Published Dec 28, 2018 · 2,721 words (10 minutes) · 158 views

Fantasy Horror Literary Fiction Love

Because I’ve written ghost stories, I'm often asked during panels at conventions if I've ever seen a ghost. At first I said that I didn't believe, but inevitably that meant that someone would wait in the hall to earnestly tell me of their encounters with ghosts. Now, I say I don't believe in flying saucers, but I want to see one. To see a flying saucer, an alien spaceship, would open the universe to possibilities that don't seem to exist. Seeing a ghost would do the same thing. JVP

Free

Free

Fiction

Deathlehem

Published Dec 20, 2018 · 888 words (4 minutes) · 160 views

Fantasy Horror Literary Fiction Strange

I worried that this story would bother my more Christian friends. No one said anything, but I get the occasional suspicious look. Someone told me once that the way to write a science fiction or fantasy story is to look at who the science fictional or fantastical change impacts the most. What bigger change has occurred in the world that could rival the Christmas story? JVP

Free

After waiting over a month, the moon was finally in the perfect position for me to be able to take the picture that I had imagined.

Free

Fiction

O Tannenbaum

Published Dec 16, 2018 · 1,981 words (8 minutes) · 155 views

Fantasy Love Strange

As a part of my writing group's Christmas celebration, we each wrote a seasonal story for the last meeting of the year. We'd read them aloud while sipping punch and eating cookies. Weird Tales published it in 1998. The math on people's ages in the story isn't accurate for 2018, but in 1998, this story was just possible. It is my favorite of the Christmas stories I wrote. JVP

Free

Christmas tree

Free

Fiction

Ark Ascension

Published Dec 8, 2018 · 2,504 words (10 minutes) · 146 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

Free

Featured December 5, 2018

Free

Fiction

The Stars Underfoot

Published Dec 2, 2018 · 2,994 words (11 minutes) · 5 likes · 369 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.

Free

Crack me up.

Free

Fiction

Nine Fingers on the Flute

Published Nov 24, 2018 · 4,413 words (17 minutes) · 1 like · 147 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

Free

Free

Fiction

Shark Attack: a Love Story

Published Nov 16, 2018 · 2,434 words (9 minutes) · 152 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

Free

Free

Fiction

Weaponized Ghosts of the 96th Infantry

Published Oct 31, 2018 · 1,212 words (5 minutes) · 140 views

Horror

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

Free

Free

Fiction

Origin of the Species

Published Oct 26, 2018 · 5,183 words (19 minutes) · 192 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

Free

It was a cloudy evening in Arizona on the night of the full moon. The clouds and the moon playing hide and seek really brought out the colors in the sky with the moon’s halo dispersing through the clouds. Perfect time for capture.