Alexander Jablokov


I'm a writer, mostly of science fiction, with a new novel, Brain Thief.

The name is pronounced Yablokov, and the legal name is Jablokow.  My best friends can't spell or pronounce it, so you shouldn't worry about it either.

More here

Write me at alexjablokow [at]

I'd love to hear from you.





"How Sere Picked Up Her Laundry", Asimov's Science Fiction July/August 2017(out now)

"The Forgotten Taste of Honey", Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2016

"The Return of Black Murray", Asimov's Science Fiction, April/May 2016

"The Instructive Tale of the Archeologist and His Wife", Asimov's Science Fiction, July 2014

"Bad Day on Boscobel", The Other Half of the Sky.

"Feral Moon", novella, Asimov's Science Fiction, March 2013

"Since You Seem to Need a Certain Amount of Guidance", Daily Science Fiction, November 6, 2012

"The Comfort of Strangers", short story, Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January/February 2012

"Blind Cat Dance" reprinted in Gardner Dozois's Best Science Fiction of the Year 28

"The Day the Wires Came Down", novelette, Asimov's Science Fiction, April/May 2011

"Plinth Without Figure", short story, Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November/December 2010

"Warning Label", short story, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine August 2010

"Blind Cat Dance", short story, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine March 2010

Brain Thief, a novel, Tor Books, January 2010


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Reboot blog



On Rereading

In my early years as a reader (through high school, say), I reread constantly.  There were books I read over a dozen times--not on any regular schedule, like annually, but whenever I was in the mood.  Robert Heinlein was a particular favorite.  His rationality and structure served as a calming influence on my poorly organized mind.  For all I know, Door Into Summer served to send me into my career as an engineer.  I'll just have to forgive Heinlein for that.

But, in my older years, I had a greater goal orientation in my reading, as if I had to get through some chunk of the literature.  Rereading seemed like it was retarding my progress in comprehensive understanding.

I've recently found myself rereading more.  That's partially because I've been disappointed in a number of the books I've picked up, particularly novels. OK, particularly science fiction novels, my supposed field.  So much so that I was beginning to worry that I had lost my taste for reading.

So I decided to reread a book that I'd liked in the past.  Now, this can be dangerous, if you pick the wrong one.  My tastes have definitely changed since my adolescence, so Heinlein just wasn't going to cut it.

I pulled out an old paperback of Death of an Expert Witness, by P. D. James and took it on a weekend in Maine.  In the morning and in the evening, I was back in reader heaven.

I really don't remember what I've read that well, so rereading a book is pretty much like reading it for the first time--except that I'm sure I'll like what I'm reading. I won't find myself choking on the prose or getting irritated when a promising plot falls apart halfway through.

Dalgliesh and his team:  rationality and structure.  Architecture, the 39 Articles, a good claret.  My poor overheated brain is thanking me.  It's a relief to realize that I still like reading after all.



The Weight of Literature

Some hikers think it’s stupid to bring a book on a long hike. You’re there to connect with nature, they say. Once you’ve set up camp, you should observe, feel, and relate with the wonders around you.

I can’t argue with that. But I like to read, and reading in the sun by the side of a mountain lake is, for me, as good as it gets.

These hikers also point out, with more justice, that the damn things are heavy. Aren’t we all ultralight hikers now?

So the whole thing comes down to an unfamiliar literary calculus: reading value per ounce. Good books that are too heavy are out, as are less than good books at any weight.

But sometimes a heavier book can save your life. When caught by a sleet storm up near the divide in Jasper and forced to hole up for twenty four hours, I read Neil Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon and didn’t even notice the hours go by. At home, I’d had trouble with the book partway through (I had young kids at the time, and thus a reduced attention span—and the man could sure use a more assertive editor), but confined to a tent with nothing but sodden morrass outside, I followed the escape from New Guinea with total attention. A bit heavy and bulky, but that time it was the right choice.

On another Canadian Rockies hike I’d hauled Bed Gadd’s magnificent Handbook of the Canadian Rockies. Make no mistake, this is one of the best guide books to a wilderness area you’re going to find. But the thing is printed on coated paper and weighs over two pounds. That was just a symptom of greater overloading, and I was miserable that whole hike.

I read Stephen Jay Gould’s Panda’s Thumb in Dark Canyon, and Orwell’s essays in Bandelier.

I’m just back from the Sawtooths, where, after some internal debate (15 oz!) I brought Dorothy Dunnett’s Niccolo Rising, and didn’t regret it for a moment.

I presume the Kindle and its descendants will eliminate this entire critical metric—you can carry hundreds of books weighing only a few ounces. I won’t be able to resist for long.

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