What Makes Us Human, the Challenges of Writing Cultures in Deep Time, and Important Skills Learned as a Party Clown: An Interview with Benjamin Rosenbaum

What Makes Us Human, the Challenges of Writing Cultures in Deep Time, and Important Skills Learned as a Party Clown: An Interview with Benjamin Rosenbaum

Benjamin Rosenbaum has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards and is the author of the short story collection The Ant King and Other Stories. (The Ant King was the first story of his I ever read.) He also created the Ennie-nominated Jewish historical fantasy tabletop roleplaying game Dream Apart and is the co-host of the podcast Mohanraj and Rosenbaum Are Humans. His stories have been translated into 25 languages.

He and I were in the Clarion West class hailed as the future of science fiction. Three Black women, three Asian women (including me), three Jewish men (including Ben), people from five different countries altogether: nowadays that may seem quaint, and that’s part of what we talk about in this interview. The world has changed a lot and as an author always exploring the limits of what it is to be human, Ben has gotten a front row seat to the challenge of asking questions that are relevant not just now, but ten years from now. Edgy questions about gender in one decade can become absurdly sexist by the next. Gender is one of the many concepts he explores in his upcoming novel, The Unraveling.

Fift has

  • 3 bodies
  • 9 parents
  • 50 million viewers
  • 1 (?) forbidden love
  • 1 chance to change the world

Here’s the chat we had, looking back on his career so far, the history of science fiction we’ve lived through, and the party clown anecdote.

And here is the promised link to his bibliography once again.


Emily Mah is a writer and the owner of two companies: E.M. Tippetts Book Designs, which provides formatting and cover design services for independent authors and publishers, and WorkHorse Productions, an audiobook production company. Her last post for Black Gate was about a Kickstarter by Kymera Press.

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Aonghus Fallon

Is this Rosenbaum’s first full-length novel? I remember reading ‘The Ant King & Other Stories’ a few years back and enjoying it (‘Start the Clock’ still sticks in my mind for some reason) but don’t remember seeing any longer fiction by him.

Benjamin Rosenbaum

Yep! First one. Thanks for the kind words!

Aonghus Fallon

Have just bought it and look forward to reading it, Benjamin!

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