How Amazing Could This Ukrainian SFF Anthology Get?

On September 4, 2023, we reached a landmark $10,000 goal for the Embroidered Worlds anthology Kickstarter. Thank you! Now we work to spread the word far and wide about this collection of Ukrainian authors, many of whom have never been translated into English before.

The more people we can reach during the Kickstarter campaign, the more incentives we can unlock to make this book even more special!

If we reach our $30,000 goal, we will hire three Ukrainian artists to create interior illustrations, and include those in all editions of the book.

At $50,000 we will make available a limited-edition, numbered hardcover, with art prints of the cover and illustrations that can be framed.


We raised $10,000 in 4 days. Can we double that in a week?

Embroidered Worlds is scheduled for publication in December 2023. Anyone wishing to join in supporting the book has until Sept. 30 to do so, at levels ranging from a $1 ebook order to a $1,000 benefactor gift.

In the Kickstarter video that launched our project, my segment follows the two Ukrainian editors. I wanted to share it here.

I invite you to follow the link below and order your copy of Embroidered Worlds, and please spread the word to other readers who might like to add it to their libraries. For $20 you can order a paperback edition and also get an e-book copy!

Between readers of imaginative fiction and supporters of Ukraine, the potential audience for this book is large and diverse. Please support and share as you can!

Thank you to everyone who has pledged and shared so far! (If you have ideas how to spread the word, reach out. I welcome your ideas!)


Find Embroidered Worlds on Kickstarter: 

Embroidered Worlds Meets First Kickstarter Goal in 24 Hours!

We reached our first Kickstarter goal of $5000 in less than 24 hours! That’s amazing!

Thank you thank you thank you!

Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far! Щиро дякуємо! 

Someone asked me a question about the stretch goals, so I wanted to take a moment to explain.

The way Kickstarter is set up, if a project does not reach its funding goal, none of the rewards are processed and the money is not charged. So instead it encourages creators to establish a series of goals, starting small and building step by step toward the most ambitious version of the final product.

In planning the Embroidered Worlds Kickstarter campaign, we were able to set different goals along the way. We would love to achieve all of them, but we started modestly. That way, no matter what, once we were funded we would be able to publish the book of stories by Ukrainian writers published in English for the first time!  We have now achieved this!

This means we can turn our attention to the next goals, and share the project with more people. Hopefully we can broaden our audience of readers!

  • With our base funding of $5000, we will be able to produce and print the book, with, at a minimum, the stories funded by the grant, as well as translations into English for a story written in Ukrainian by Tatiana Adamenko and stories written in Hungarian by Károj D. Balla and Éva Berniczky.
  • At $7000 we can commit to adding a selection of diaspora stories including ones by R.B. Lemberg, Valya Dudycz Lupescu, and Natalka Roshak, and also pay all three editors for their work.
  • At $10,000 we will produce a completed collection, including stories by Elizabeth Bear, Anatoly Belilovsky, David Demchuk, Halyna Lipatova, Askold Melnyczuk, and Mikhailo Nazarenko, Stefan O. Rak, and A.D. Sui.
  • At $20,000 we will hire a Ukrainian artist to design custom bookplates for this campaign only that will show that your copy is an original Founder edition. These bookplates will be sent with all print copies (for some international shipments, in separate packaging).
  • At $25,000 we’ll provide all backers a swag pack of cool, exclusive digital rewards from Atthis Arts.
  • At $30,000 we will hire three Ukrainian artists for interior illustrations, and include those in the book, all editions.
  • At $50,000 we will make available a limited-edition, numbered hardcover, with art prints of the cover and illustrations that can be framed.

Each level allow us to enhance the reading experience for our backers. (How amazing would it be to be able to make a limited-edition, numbered hardcover edition! Art prints!)

Achieving these stretch goals also means that more books are being ordered and shared! In turn, that makes it possible for our publisher to continue producing more wonderful projects in the future. I’ll keep posting updates and information here, and if you’re a backer, you’ll be receiving updates from me and others on the Kickstarter page as we go through this campaign.

Thank you again for your support, generosity, and enthusiasm!

Neil Gaiman delivered a commencement speech that was published in a book, “Make Good Art.” I’ve quoted from it before, because Neil is wise and there are a lot of good gems in there. I’d like to leave you with this:

And remember that whatever discipline you are in, whether you are a musician or a photographer, a fine artist or a cartoonist, a writer, a dancer, a designer, whatever you do you have one thing that’s unique. You have the ability to make art.

And for me, and for so many of the people I have known, that’s been a lifesaver. The ultimate lifesaver. It gets you through good times and it gets you through the other ones.

Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.

Make good art.

Thank you again. We are able to make good art because of your support. Thank you.

Let’s keep making good art. Together!

Embroidered Worlds — A New Anthology of Ukrainian Fantastic Fiction

I am excited to share with you the news that I am editing an anthology of Ukrainian speculative fiction, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, magic realism, and alternate history!

The title of the anthology is Embroidered Worlds: Fantastic Fiction from Ukraine and the Diaspora, and it will be published by Detroit publisher Atthis Arts. Thank you to E.D.E. Bell and Chris Bell of Atthis Arts for believing in this project.

The majority of stories included in the anthology will be from writers in Ukraine, and for most of them it will be the first time their work will be translated into English. Writers of the Ukrainian diaspora have contributed stories as well, drawing from varying degrees of connection to their heritage and ancestral homeland, illustrating the complex and diverse ways we celebrate and re-imagine culture.

Most of the work soliciting stories from writers in Ukraine can be credited to the perseverance of my Ukrainian co-editors, Olha Brylova and Iryna Pasko. This anthology would not exist without them. Also instrumental were members of the science fiction community who began exploring this idea after Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, 2022. They shepherded this project through many stages until it came into my hands. I am so grateful to them for all their hard work. 

This anthology is important to me because it represents a collection of possibilities. It is an expansive experience of the Ukrainian imagination, which dares to remember history and dares to dream of freedom, justice, and peace.

Largely due to Russian colonial imperialism and russification policies,  a few decades ago it was nearly impossible to find Ukrainian literature in the United States, especially translated into English.

Kazky was my favorite of the children’s readers and workbooks (Tut I Tam series) published by Alberta Education in Canada in 1977.

Growing up in Chicago in the 1970s and 80s, my sources for Ukrainian stories were either my grandparents or the stories I read for Ukrainian School on Saturday mornings. Some were Xerox-copied from books that our teachers owned, others were smuggled overseas or purchased from Canada.

Nowhere outside of the Ukrainian spaces we inhabited (church, school, folk dancing, scouts), nowhere in the American spaces of my life, did I hear about anyone like me or my family. I have no doubt that my love of world mythology came from my scouring books of myths from around the world trying to find any that came from Ukraine.

In my “American life,” I was instead asked if a teacher or a new acquaintance could shorten my name to Val, because it was “easier to pronounce” or “sounded more American.”  I was told that Ukraine “isn’t a real country” or it’s “a part of Russia” or I’m “practically Polish.”

So we clung to any mention of Ukraine or Ukrainians on the news, in the Olympics, in popular culture. From a very young age, I loved the Beatles for giving a lyrical shout out to “Ukraine girls” in “Back in the USSR.” Even though they included the problematic “the” before Ukraine, still, here was proof. We existed! Someone thought we were real and beautiful.

A Ukrainian man and women in their 60s wearing Ukrainian folk costumes and holding a Ukrainian flad in their Chicago backyard. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Ukraine declared its independence, and there was so much celebration and hope. My grandparents, Baba and Dido, had feared they would not live to see an independent Ukraine but they did. Ukraine and her people were free!

In the thirty years since, there have been many stories and books written in Ukrainian, and some have been translated into English. For anyone who is interested in reading more about modern Ukrainian speculative fiction, I recommend reading “SciFi in Ukraine” by Michael Burianyk, in Locus magazine.

This week I was talking with my parents about the ongoing atrocities in Ukraine, and my father repeated something he has said many times since the war began: “I’m just glad Baba and Dido are not here to see this.” I cannot even fathom how much it would hurt their hearts to see the land that they loved so much, that they raised their children and grandchildren to love and cherish and celebrate, being ravaged in such a horrible way. Again.

How many stories will never be written? How many voices have been lost forever, both in battle and in Russia’s senseless attacks on civilians?

Members of the Ukrainian diaspora have been trying to help in any way we can: financially, emotionally, and politically, in public and private spaces. More than ever, it is important for us to amplify the voices of the Ukrainian people, to share their stories and art and poems and songs.

Culture is the container for everything that the diverse populations of Ukraine hold dear. It contains the ideas and ideals, the history and future that the Ukrainian people are fighting and dying for.

“Often ignored, or relegated to marginal status, the cultural front is nonetheless foundational. The wars of this century are wars over meaning. As American forces learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, if you lose on the cultural front, military and economic dominance swiftly erode. The terrible battles for Kyiv and Kharkiv, the destruction of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, Europe’s struggle to heat and feed itself this winter, spiralling inflation, the brutal material horrors of the struggle, might make any cultural reading of the conflict seem fantastical or glib. But at its core, and from its origin, this Ukrainian conflict has been a war over language and identity.” 

Stephen Marche, Our mission is crucial’: meet the warrior librarians of Ukraine” in The Guardian

Today, there is more Ukrainian writing translated into English than ever before. I’m proud that our new anthology, Embroidered Worlds, will be adding to that canon. These writers and their stories are wildly diverse: there are ghosts and monsters, there are space ships and ancient gods, there are battles — real and imagined — as well as time travel adventures, post-apocalyptic settings, magic and folk motifs. 

Smiling brown-haired woman with gray in her hair standing in front of a window in an orange paisley dress.

Over the next few months, I’m going to share updates about our progress here and on social media. At this time, we have 26 stories in our table of contents. Nineteen of those are from Ukrainian writers, seven are confirmed from the diaspora with a few still under consideration. We have enlisted the services of translators, and soon we’ll announce our Kickstarter pre-order campaign!

Anyone who would like to lend support to the project in any capacity, please email me: [email protected] or the publisher: [email protected]

Thank you. Дуже дякую.

“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie