Chandler Klang Smith

BA, Bennington College. MFA, Columbia University. Smith’s new novel The Sky Is Yours (Hogarth/Crown, 2018), was listed by Entertainment Weekly as a Best New Book”; and Lit Hub compared it favorably with Infinite Jest; The Wall Street Journal called it mesmeric...a great and disturbing debut; Locus wrote, It’s weird and it’s creative and it is full of heart”; and NPR described it as a wickedly satirical synthesis that underlines just how fractured our own realities can be during periods of fear, unrest, inequality and instability.”  Smith has served twice as a juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards. She has worked in book publishing and as a ghostwriter. SLC, 2018–

Previous Courses

Speculative Fiction Craft: Lost in the Maze: Unseen Forces, Conspiracies, and Fate


Worldbuildingin speculative fiction often brings to mind the maps on the endpapers of fantasy novels, showing the terrain that characters will traverse on their journeys. But in many great novels and stories, characters start out embedded in the heart of a labyrinthand never find their way out. In this course, we’ll look at fictive universes that trap and delude their inhabitants, sending them on twisting routes to dead ends or keeping them in ignorance of the powers-that-be who are secretly determining the shape of their lives. We’ll closely read stories and novel excerpts from authorsincluding Manuel Gonzales, Kelly Link, Victor LaValle, Jonathan Lethem, Kazuo Ishiguro, Samantha Hunt, Mark Z. Danielewski, Thomas Pynchon, and othersin order to reverse-engineer the all-encompassing systems they present in their fiction. Ultimately, we’ll ponder how writers can use systems to convey meaning and how characters can find meaning within those systems.