Andy Weir was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. His first novel is the New York Times bestseller, The Martian, and was adapted into a 2015 film by Ridley Scott.

Austin Grossman’s first novel, Soon I Will Be Invincible, was nominated for the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize, and his writing has appeared in Granta, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He is a video game design consultant and a doctoral candidate in English Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, and he has written and designed for a number of critically acclaimed video games, including Dishonored, Ultima Underworld II, System Shock, Trespasser, and Deus Ex. His second novel, You, came out from Mulholland Books in 2012, and his short fiction has also appeared in John Joseph Adams’s anthologies The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination and Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom.

Catherynne M. Valente is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen works of fiction and poetry, including Palimpsest, the Orphan’s Tales series, Deathless, and the crowdfunded phenomenon The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Own Making. She is the winner of the Andre Norton, Tiptree, Mythopoeic, Rhysling, Lambda, Locus and Hugo awards. She has been a finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. She lives on an island off the coast of Maine with a small but growing menagerie of beasts, some of which are human.

Charles Yu is the author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, which was a New York Times Notable Book and named one of the best books of the year by Time magazine. He received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award for his story collection Third Class Superhero, and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award. His work has been published in the New York Times, Playboy, and Slate, among other periodicals. His latest book, Sorry Please Thank You, was named one of the best science fiction/fantasy books of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle. Yu lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife, Michelle, and their two children.

Charlie Jane Anders’ story “Six Months Three Days” won a Hugo Award and was shortlisted for the Nebula and Theodore Sturgeon Awards. Her writing has appeared in Mother Jones, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Lightspeed, Tor.com, Tin House, ZYZZYVA, The McSweeney’s Joke Book of Book Jokes, The End is Nigh, and elsewhere. She’s the managing editor ofio9.com and runs the long-running Writers With Drinks reading series in San Francisco. More info at charliejane.net.

Chris Avellone is the Creative Director of Obsidian Entertainment. He started his career at Interplay’s Black Isle Studios division, and he’s worked on a whole menagerie of RPGs throughout his career including Planescape: Torment, Fallout 2, the Icewind Dale series, Dark Alliance, Knights of the Old Republic II, Neverwinter Nights 2, Mask of the Betrayer, Alpha Protocol, Fallout: New Vegas, FNV DLC: Dead Money, Old World Blues, and Lonesome Road. He just finished working on inXile’s Wasteland 2, the Legend of Grimrock movie treatment, and the FTL: Advanced Edition and is currently doing joint work on Obsidian’s Kickstarter RPG: Pillars of Eternity and inXile’s Torment: Tides of Numenera. His story was inspired by the fine Infocom game, The Lurking Horror, one of the first games to ever frighten him.

Chris Kluwe is a former NFL punter, writer, one-time violin prodigy, rights advocate, and obsessive gamer. Kluwe graduated from UCLA with a double major in history and political science and played for the Minnesota Vikings for eight years. He is the author of the acclaimed essay collection Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football and Assorted Absurdities and has been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Salon. Kluwe has appeared at TED, discussing the topic of the future of virtual reality technology and its connection to building a more empathetic society, and he regularly makes presentations at major corporations, universities, and human rights organizations.

Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist, and blogger. He serves as coeditor of Boing Boing (boingboing.net) and is the author of several novels, including Homeland, For the Win, and Little Brother. He is the former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and cofounded the UK’s Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in London. Learn more about Doctorow’s work at www.craphound.com.

Daniel H. Wilson is a New York Times bestselling author and coeditor of the Press Start to Play. He earned a PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he also received master’s degrees in robotics and in machine learning. He has published over a dozen scientific papers, holds four patents, and has written eight books. Wilson has written for Popular Science, Wired, andDiscover, as well as online venues such as MSNBC.com, Gizmodo, Lightspeed, and Tor.com. In 2008, Wilson hosted The Works, a television series on the History Channel that uncovered the science behind everyday stuff. His books include How to Survive a Robot Uprising, A Boy and His Bot, Amped, and Robopocalypse (the film adaptation of which is slated to be directed by Steven Spielberg). He lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. Find him on Twitter @danielwilsonPDX.

David Barr Kirtley’s short fiction appears in magazines such as Realms of Fantasy, Weird Tales, Lightspeed, and Intergalactic Medicine Show, on podcasts such as Escape Pod and Pseudopod, and in books such as The Living Dead, New Cthulhu, The Way of the Wizard, and The Dragon Done It. His story “Save Me Plz” was picked by editor Rich Horton for the 2008 edition of the anthology series Fantasy: The Best of the Year. David is also the host of The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast on Wired.com, for which he’s interviewed more than 100 authors, including George R. R. Martin, Richard Dawkins, and Paul Krugman. He lives in New York.

Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books. When not writing, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts. He is the author of military fantasies The Thousand Names and The Shadow Throne, and middle-grade fantasy The Forbidden Library. His website is djangowexler.com.

Hiroshi Sakurazaka was born in Tokyo in 1970. After a career in information technology, he published his first light novel, Modern Magic Made Simple. With 2004’s All You Need Is Kill, Sakurazaka earned his first Seiun Award nomination for best Japanese science fiction. His 2004 short story, “Saitama Chainsaw Massacre,” won the 16th SF Magazine Reader’s Award. In 2009, All You Need Is Kill was the launch title for Haikasoru, an imprint dedicated to publishing Japanese science fiction and fantasy for English-speaking audiences. The book also formed the basis for the international hit film Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise. Sakurazaka’s other novels include Characters (cowritten with Hiroki Azuma) and Slum Online, which was published in English by Haikasoru. In 2010, Sakurazaka started an experimental digital magazine AiR with Junji Hotta. He remains one of Japan’s most energetic writers of both light novels and adult science fiction.

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare) and The Darkest Part of the Forest. She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.

Hugh Howey is the author of the acclaimed post-apocalyptic novel Wool, which became a sudden success in 2011. Originally self-published as a series of novelettes, the Wool omnibus is frequently the #1 bestselling book on Amazon.com and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller. The book was also optioned for film by Ridley Scott, and is now available in print from major publishers all over the world. Hugh’s other books include Shift, Dust, Sand, the Molly Fyde series, The Hurricane, Half Way Home, The Plagiarist, and I, Zombie. Hugh lives in Jupiter, Florida with his wife Amber and his dog Bella. Find him on Twitter @hughhowey.

Jessica Barber grew up in Tennessee, but moved to New England to attend MIT, where she studied physics and electrical engineering. After a brief stint building rocket ships in southern California, she returned to Cambridge, where she now spends her days developing open source electronics, with a focus on tools for neuroscience. Her work has previously appeared in Strange Horizons and Lightspeed Magazine.

Ken Liu (http://kenliu.name) is an author and translator of speculative fiction, as well as a lawyer and programmer. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards, he has been published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among other places. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts. Ken’s debut novel, The Grace of Kings, the first in a silkpunk epic fantasy series, was released in April 2015. Saga will also publish a collection of his short stories later in 2016.

Marc Laidlaw is best known as one of the creators and lead writer on the Half-Life videogame series, but he initially got that gig on the strength of his short stories and novels of fantasy, horror and science fiction. His novel The 37th Mandala won the International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel. A writer at Valve since 1997 (currently working on for the online game, Dota 2), his short stories continue to appear in various magazines and online venues.

Nicole Feldringer holds a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington and a Master’s degree in Geological Sciences. In 2011, she attended the Viable Paradise Writer’s Workshop, and her first published short story appeared in the Sword & Laser anthology. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she is a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology. Find her on Twitter @nicofeld.

Marguerite Bennett is a comic book writer from Richmond, Virginia who currently lives in New York City. She attended the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2013. She has worked for DC Comics, Marvel, BOOM Studios, and IDW on projects ranging from Batman and X-Men to FOX’s Sleepy Hollow. She loves Disney movies, superheroes, and body horror. She has been fortunate enough to see over a million copies of her work published.

Micky Neilson is the Lead Writer in Publishing at Blizzard Entertainment, where he has worked since 1993. Micky’s game-writing credits include World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Warcraft III, and Lost Vikings 2. Micky’s first comic book, World of Warcraft: Ashbringer, hit #2 on The New York Times bestseller list for Hardcover Graphic Books, and World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria reached #3. In 2014, his Diablo III novella, Morbed, was published, as well as his long-awaited novella Blood of the Highborne. With the support of his wife, Tiffany, and daughter, Tatiana, Micky looks forward to continuing his writing adventures for years to come.

Rhianna Pratchett is an award-winning, sixteen-year veteran of the video games industry who has wrestled the wild beasts of narrative for companies such as Sony, EA, SEGA, 2k Games, Codemasters, and Square Enix. Her titles include: Heavenly Sword, Mirror’s Edge, the entire Overlord series, and the recently rebooted Tomb Raider. Rhianna also works in comics (notably Mirror’s Edge for DC and Tomb Raider for Dark Horse), film, and TV. She’s currently on scribing duty for Square Enix’s Rise of the Tomb Raider, Rival Kingdoms for Space Ape Games, and two novel-to-screen adaptations. Rhianna is co-director of the Narrativia production company and lives in London with her fiancé and a pair of neurotic tabbies.

Robin Wasserman is the author of The Waking Dark, The Book of Blood and Shadow, and the Cold Awakening trilogy. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies, including Oz Reimagined, Robot Uprisings, and The End is Now, and she has published nonfiction in Tin House, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The New York Times. She is a former children’s book editor who lives and writes in Brooklyn, New York and has fonder memories of elementary school than this story would suggest. Find her at www.robinwasserman.com or on Twitter at @robinwasserman.

Seanan McGuire was born and raised in Northern California, resulting in a love of rattlesnakes and an absolute terror of weather. She shares a crumbling old farmhouse with a variety of cats, far too many books, and enough horror movies to be considered a problem. Seanan publishes about three books a year, and is widely rumored not to actually sleep. When bored, Seanan tends to wander into swamps and cornfields, which has not yet managed to get her killed (although not for lack of trying). She also writes as Mira Grant, filling the role of her own evil twin, and tends to talk about horrible diseases at the dinner table.

S.R. Mastrantone writes and lives in Oxford in the UK. His short fiction has won The Fiction Desk Writer’s award, and featured internationally in venues such as Shock Totem, Lamplight and carte blanche. He is currently working on his first novel. His favourite games are Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, and all of the Oliver Twins’ Dizzy games (except Fast Food Dizzy, give that one a miss); he is painfully aware of just how old school he is on this matter. You can find him at srmastrantone.com and @srmastrantone

T.C. Boyle is the author of twenty-four books of fiction, including, most recently, After the Plague, Drop City, The Inner Circle, Tooth and Claw, The Human Fly, Talk Talk, The Women, Wild Child, When the Killing’s Done, San Miguel, T.C. Boyle Stories II, and The Harder They Come. He received a Ph.D. degree in Nineteenth Century British Literature from the University of Iowa in 1977, his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1974, and his B.A. in English and History from SUNY Potsdam in 1968. He has been a member of the English Department at the University of Southern California since 1978, where he is Distinguished Professor of English. His stories have appeared in most of the major American magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, The Paris Review, GQ, Antaeus, Granta and McSweeney’s, and he has been the recipient of a number of literary awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Prise for best novel of the year (World’s End, 1988); the PEN/Malamud Prize in the short story (T.C. Boyle Stories, 1999); and the Prix Médicis Étranger for best foreign novel in France (The Tortilla Curtain, 1997). He currently lives near Santa Barbara with his wife and three children.

Yoon Ha Lee was introduced to video games by way of a Commodore 64, became the world’s worst FPS player in high school after encountering Wolfenstein 3D, and is currently in extended mourning for the Crysis Wars mod Mechwarrior: Living Warriors. (Favorite mech: Shadowcat A.) Lee authored the Storynexus game Winterstrike for Failbetter Games, wrote the IF game Moonlit Tower in Inform 6 after being sucked into the genre, and outsources CRPG min-maxing to their husband. Lee’s collection Conservation of Shadows came out from Prime Books in 2013. Other works have appeared in venues such as Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Tor.com, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Lee lives in Louisiana with family and has not yet been eaten by gators.