Lincoln Michel

MFA, Columbia University. Author of the science-fiction novel The Body Scout (Orbit) and the short-story collection Upright Beasts (Coffee House Press). Michel is the former editor-in-chief of Electric Literature and the co-editor of the Shirley Jackson Award-nominated anthologies Tiny Crimes (Catapult) and Tiny Nightmares (Catapult). His essays and criticism have been published by The New York Times, BOMB Magazine, The Guardian, and Lit Hub. His short stories appear in The Paris Review, F&SF, Lightspeed, Granta, Pushcart Prize Anthology, and elsewhere. SLC, 2022–

Previous Courses

MFA Writing

Speculative Fiction Workshop


There’s nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns. —Octavia Butler

This speculative fiction workshop will be a home for those strange stories that grow outside the manicured gardens of the real. We will interpret “speculative” broadly, welcoming stories of science fiction, fantasy, horror, magical realism, weird literature, and anything in between. Student work will be the center of class, but we will also spend time honing our “imaginative literacy”—our understanding of different genre conventions and traditions. We’ll discuss worldbuilding, horror vs. terror, fairy-tale structures, and other concepts to deepen our appreciation and craft. Because genres are, in a sense, large conversations between artists, we will also discuss outside readings from authors such as Ray Bradbury, Kelly Link, Julio Cortazar, Gene Wolfe, Franz Kafka, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ted Chiang, Shirley Jackson, and more (including writers that you love and recommend).


Technologies of the Fantastic—Speculative Fiction Craft


How do authors construct science-fiction worlds? Which psychological effects can horror produce? What systems power the surreal? This craft course will examine the inner workings of speculative fiction genres by pairing craft and theory with fiction from around the world. We’ll read essays by authors such as Karen Russell, Sigmund Freud, and Charlie Jane Anders, along with fiction by Carmen Maria Machado, Angela Carter, Brian Evenson, the Brothers Grimm, Ted Chiang, Yoko Ogawa, Iain M. Banks, and Octavia Butler. Classes will involve regular in-class exercises. Our goal will be to study the inner workings of various speculative forms and use our findings as models, toolkits, and inspirations for our own strange and original stories.