Author Archives: matt

Beauty Belongs to the Flowers

Art by Yuko Shimizu

My story, Beauty Belongs to the Flowers, concerns a classic love triangle in a near-future Japan: a girl, a boy, and his robot. Miho could certainly win back Ichiro. All she needs is a little hair dye. And some plastic surgery. A bit of pore-sealing, a touch of bone shaving, and she could be like Aimi, the perfect manga doll. If only Miho wasn’t a flat-broke teenager. But she needs to make a move fast. If her father, body ravaged by pharmaceutical nanos gone wild, dies, he’s going to take the whole family down with him.

Beauty Belongs to the Flowers received an honorable mention in Gardner Dozois’ The Year’s Best Science Fiction. Writing for Locus Magazine, Dozois called it “A sad and poignant story about generational conflict and culture shock.”

Read it for free!

Buy it in the collection, Some of the Best from 2011 (I get a little kickback!

Or put a few more shekels in my pocket and buy it on its own!

Rubble People

“Rubble People” by Matthew Sanborn Smith is simply amazing. Set in a world where the army uses a psychic equivalent of telepresence to allow soldiers to create amalgamated bodies for war, we are presented with the viewpoint of one of these soldier’s wives. The writing is tight and strikes a perfect tone for the world Sanborn Smith has created and the first person narrator used. The story itself shines as the logical progression of the narration takes us to an ending that feels correct and all too human. Read this story.

-Tangent Online

An impoverished young mother whose husband is fighting overseas struggles to help her sick daughter on a home front where the people have given away the best parts of their characters. A half-robot, half-plant cyborg vows to save the mind of a young boy who is his only friend. A couple slip into a nightmare realm of ancient clothing, human and otherwise, and the creatures that lurk there. An out of luck drug addict has less than three hours to pay his oxygen tax and save his own life as well as that of his son.

Rubble People and Other Stories collects five of Matthew Sanborn Smith’s short stories which have previously appeared at such venues as Apex Magazine, Aliterate, and See the Elephant. Stories include:

Rubble People
The Wardrobe
Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House!
Three Kingdoms
Stars so Sharp They Break the Skin

Also included is the author’s previously unpublished story, “Out of Breath in a Sharp Red Suit,” as well as afterwords discussing the making of each piece.

Get it free at Amazon

Get it free at Barnes and Noble

Get it free at Kobo

The Algebraic Woman

Darpana is a woman made of math, enslaved to the mathematicians who created her. People are her input, changing her personality and body with each new encounter. When no one is around, she disappears. How the hell is she going to escape?

In this collection, Matthew Sanborn Smith explores dark futures and fantasies of people merging bodies, the sky splitting open, and an artist’s asylum that houses deeply disturbing work.

Stories include:
The Algebraic Woman
Puppies for Sale
And the Midwives Their Faces Abloom
Maisy’s Many Souls
Red and Roxanne
The Cat in the Helmet Comes Back

Buy it at Amazon

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Buy it at Kobo

The Dritty Doesen

Art by Galen Dara

When the going gets tough, some get going, some get out, and some get a little odd in the head. These stories are what happens when I do that third one. Part of me said, “What the hell? Why not?” as I dove into the writing of each one of these twelve stories. These tales contain frogs used as public transportation! Stray thoughts captured in neural nets! Multi-gorillas! Electric feathers! People swap body parts, cities behave naughtily, and snails are sprayed all over the place. Why aren’t you already reading this book?

You tell those who take comfort in their fortieth reading of Pride and Prejudice, “I walk a different path. I shall read the Dritty Doesen. When I have emerged from the other side of it, I shall not be the person you once knew.”

The Dritty Doesen consists of twelve of the my least reasonable stories:

     Aborted Love With Chaos Motor at Lucky Pierre’s
     The Ones That Got Away
     About Face
     A City on the Move
     The Hard Philosophy
     Dritty Does
     A Splitting Head
     The Empire State Building Strikes Back!
     All Flesh is Glass
     A Body is for Driving
     Steve Sepp, Tasty! Tasty!
     Electric Ladyland

Each story is followed by an afterword that tells of “The Story Behind the Story,” describing the inspiration and process that went into its creation.

You are so lucky.

Buy it here!

Fluff and Buttons

Ridiculous and poignant, frightening and hopeful, Fluff and Buttons on the Teddy Bear Range tells the story of Jack, a bear with little left to live for, but driven on by hate for the dark race that lives just beyond the villages of his people. Having lain dormant for some time, the creatures have returned to feed. Jack’s last hope is to protect the life of Froo Froo, the she-bear who once loved him. But Froo Froo doesn’t want protection, least of all from him.

Brett Alexander Savory, Co-Publisher of ChiZine Publications says of Fluff and Buttons, “This is one of the best stories I’ve read, period.”

This edition features an afterword on the making of the story, including the original flash fiction version and the alternate origin version which is now seeing print for the first time

Buy it from Amazon

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Buy it from Kobo

Beware the Hairy Mango

Photo by Matthew Sanborn Smith (Is his talent limitless?)

The funniest podcast you’ve never heard! Join me for five minute installments of downhill racing through Crazytown. I speed through incomprehensible intros, absurdist flash fiction, and an ever-changing list of credits that some listeners feel is the best part of the show. We’re three-hundred shows strong and you can dive in on any episode! You’ll have plenty of time for regrets later.

Listen to Beware the Hairy Mango

The One-Thousand

In October of 2005, our hero had a dream. Inspired by Julie Powell, author of Julie and Julia, Matthew Sanborn Smith decided to bite off more than he could chew in front of the largest audience he could find at the time. He vowed to write 1,000 stories by the time he was fifty years old and began his unlegendary blog, The One-Thousand, to chronicle his occasional victories and steady procrastination.

In October of 2005, our hero was thirty-six years old and had written 45 stories. As of this writing he is fifty years old and has written only 169 stories. Dive in now as the author races to write 831 stories while watching his deadline grow increasingly smaller in the rearview mirror of his life.

Read the One-Thousand.

Other Stories & Audio



Bleeding is Easy if You Know How to Open Up: Stories (Get it on Amazon)


Their Heads Filled to Bursting (Kaleidotrope, Autumn 2023)

Turf War 2200 (simultaneous Times podcast 60 02/15/23)


That Feeling You’re Feeling (StarShipSofa 700 12/01/22)


By Any Other Form (Kindle Vella, 11/15/21)

The City Tongue (The Drabblecast Episode 453, 10/20/21)

Between Worlds (Nature, 08/20/21)


The Shallow One (The Drabblecast Episode 437, 12/12/20)

You Will Find Yourself Buried Beneath Rubble (Daily Science Fiction, 11/20/20)

Life and Times and Sometimes I’m a Chair (The Drabblecast Episode 427, 07/04/20)


Aborted Love with Chaos Motor at Lucky Pierre’s (Walk the Fire)

Beauty Belongs to the Flowers (

Better than Anything (Barnes & Noble Anthology, Between the Leaves)

A Cold Day in Crisis (Electric Spec)

Electric Ladyland (StarShipSofa Stories, Vol. 3)

Fluff and Buttons on the Teddy Bear Range  (Chizine)

Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House (Diabolical Plots)

The Golem (Everyday Weirdness)

I Was Meant to Live Another Thousand Years (Kaleidotrope)

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Diplomat (Blood, Blade and Thruster 4)

Losing Touch (Polluto 8)

Maisy’s Many Souls (GUD Magazine 6)

Marissa, Marissa (Albedo One 33)

Mr. Mellon Puts on his Fingers (Antipodean SF 76)

Passions in Orbit, a Stirring in the Pants (Antipodean SF 105)

Rubble People and Other Stories

Simon Says (Baby Teeth: Bite-sized Tales of Terror)

A Spork in the Road (Antipodean SF 128)

Stars so Sharp They Break the Skin (Apex Magazine 108)

Steve Sepp, Tasty! Tasty! (Nature 7342)

A Tale of New Hope City (Maelstrom Speculative Fiction 4)

His Thaumatrope stories (Thaumatrope (Duh!))

Three Kingdoms (Kaleidotrope)

To What It May Concern (Antipodean SF 90)

The Wardrobe (See the Elephant 3)


Cyborg Giraffe Cleans House! (The Drabblecast, Episode 378)

The Empire State Building Strikes Back! (The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine)

Listen to Fluff and Buttons on the Teddy Bear Range at the Cossmass Infinities podcast! Cossmass Infinities is now defunct, but the files are here. Fluff is the first one on the page.

Now let’s jump on the Sofa!  I also do some stuff on the StarShipSofa podcast. Here are links to my Fiction Crawler pieces on that very show. Fiction Crawler is all about me recommending free stories on the internet that I love:

Fiction Crawler 18 (Episode 637)

Fiction Crawler 17 (Episode 490)

Fiction Crawler 16 (Episode 422)

Fiction Crawler 15 (Episode 346)

Fiction Crawler 14 (Episode 306)

Fiction Crawler 13 (Episode 281)

Fiction Crawler 12 (Episode 222)

Fiction Crawler 11 (Episode 180)

Fiction Crawler 10 (Episode 159)

Fiction Crawler 9 (Episode 132)

Fiction Crawler 8 (Episode 98)

Fiction Crawler 7 (Episode 87)

Fiction Crawler 6 (Episode 80)

Fiction Crawler 5 (Episode 68)

Fiction Crawler 4 (Episode 60)

Fiction Crawler 3 (Episode 51)

Fiction Crawler 2 (Episode 45)

Fiction Crawler 1 (Episode 40)

And I’ve also had one non-crawling article on the show:
Jim Sawgrass and the Family Bulbs (episode 36)

In addition to all of that, I’ve had some of my fiction featured on the show (listed alphabetically):

About Face (Episode 362)

Brothers and Sisters All (episode 68)

A Hard Rain (episode 54)

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Diplomat (Episode 89)

The Ones That Got Away (episode 158)

NEWISH! Stars so Sharp They Break the Skin (Episode 677)

Sunday Dinner (episode 31)

And if that’s not enough, here’s an interview Tony C. Smith did with me on the StarShipSofa podcast. We talk about some behind the scenes action at Beware the Hairy Mango, convention fun, and what was happening with my writing at the time, including his collaborative project with Cerberus! (It starts at the 30 minute mark) StarShipSofa episode 335


Art by Eleanor Clarke


Cerberus is an ongoing writing collaboration which pastes together the minds of Dan Rabarts, Grant Stone, and myself. When we get together, incredibly crazy stuff comes out. So crazy, most editors refuse to buy it from us. You can, however, read our story “Dada,” in issue #60 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.

The British Fantasy Society says about “Dada”:

Writing collective Cerberus (Matthew Sanborn Smith, Grant Stone, and Dan Rabarts) give us ‘Dada’ which would be easy to simply describe as Dieselpunk, however further explanation is required to do this story justice. ‘Dada’ places us in a battlefield during a steam / diesel punk alternative First World War and we follow a robot who seeks to protect a young boy in his charge. At times ‘Dada’ is marked by a mournful beauty that extends this story beyond being just a dieselpunk rehash of known history. The story’s title hints at its influences: early to mid-twentieth century modernism, and the impact of Franz Kafka and Herman Hesse are evident. There’s also a childlike naivety to the narration which gives the story a flavour of Ted Hughes’s Iron Man.

Grant and Dan have done a multitude of interesting things on their own and you can learn about those by clicking on their names above, but below are a couple of highlights.

Grant’s got a brand new collection of stories you should check out called Everything is Fine, for which I wrote the introduction. Check out the cover!



And Dan co-edited the Baby Teeth anthology in which all three of us have non-Cerberus stories. Buying a copy raises money for books for kids who need them!



If you’re even on this website, you probably like my work. Here’s a way to get even more of it! By pledging your support at, you can get access to episodes of my patron only podcasts, Beware the Patronizing Mango and Beware the Elitist Mango! You can also get short stories, flash fiction, weekly updates, and sneak previews of my upcoming work.

Furthermore, your pledge helps me to make more time for my creative work so I can share cool stuff with the world at large. And guess what? You’re already part of the world at large! You can pledge as little as a dollar a month. I get to do more of the work I love, you get more goodies! Why are we still discussing this? Click the link!