Check Out My Favorite Bit of January Fifteenth

Hey everyone, 

It’s been about six weeks since my novella, January Fifteenth, came out. I can hardly believe the amazing and generous reception it’s getting. Thank you to everyone who’s read and/or written about it.

Recently, I wrote about “The Voices of January Fifteenth” as part of My Favorite Bit, a feature on the blog of the awesome Mary Robinette Kowal where authors talk about some of the pieces of their projects they love most. 

graphic with text on the left and front cover of January Fifteenth on the right. text reads: My Favorite Bit, What Authors Love About Their Books. book cover of a person walking down an alley with an umbrella and the following text: January Fifteenth, “Money Changes everything–except people.” Rachel Swirsky, “One of the best speculative writers of the last decade.” –John Scalzi

What I loved most? Developing the characters’ voices.

January Fifteenth is written from the perspectives of four different women as they go through the day when they collect their Universal Basic Income payments that will help support them through the year. Each character has a different way of thinking about and interacting with the world. I love figuring out how to embody that in prose.

Here’s a couple snippets from what I wrote at Mary Robinette’s:

HANNAH

Hannah’s on constant high alert. If fear causes fight, flight, freeze or fawn, Hannah’s in the freeze camp… Anxiety makes some people terse, but Hannah’s sentences are long and detailed. She’s too nervous to decide at a glance whether something is a threat or not.

JANELLE

Janelle and Nevaeh are a blast. They’re quick-witted chatterboxes. Even inside her head, Janelle plays with words, goes on dramatic tangents, and trawls for jokes… Itried to balance the lengths of the novella’s threads, but it’s definitely not split into perfect quarters. Janelle and Nevaeh are part of the reason why. They want to talk forever. 

book cover of a person walking down an alley with an umbrella and the following text: January Fifteenth, “Money Changes everything–except people.” Rachel Swirsky, “One of the best speculative writers of the last decade.” –John ScalziThe full piece has more about Hannah and Janelle, as well as about the other two characters–Olivia and Sarah. 

Once again, here’s a link to my post. Check it out, along with the other wonderful content on Mary Robinette’s blog.

January Fifteenth is available in stores and through several online booksellers, including Powells, Booksamillion, Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Bookshop.

Announcing my novella, January Fifteenth

I am excited to announce that my debut novella, January Fifteenth, is coming out from Tor.com on June 14, 2022. 

Twelve days away! I can hardly believe it.

image of person walking through snowy woods with the following text: January Fifteenth. A new novella from Tor.com. by Rachel Swirsky. Follow four women through January fifteenth, the day when they get their Universal Basic Income. Hannah, an abused mother on the run with her two sons. Janelle, an activist-turned-reporter raising her orphaned sister. Olivia, a wealthy college student celebrating “Waste Day”. Sarah, a child bride in a fundamentalist cult. Money changes everything—except people. “a fascinating thought experiment” - Caren Gussoff, Locus Magazine

January Fifteenth—the day all Americans receive their annual Universal Basic Income payment.

For Hannah, a middle-aged mother, today is the anniversary of the day she took her two children and fled her abusive ex-wife.

For Janelle, a young, broke journalist, today is another mind-numbing day interviewing passersby about the very policy she once opposed.

For Olivia, a wealthy college freshman, today is “Waste Day”, when rich kids across the country compete to see who can most obscenely squander the government’s money.

For Sarah, a pregnant teen, today is the day she’ll journey alongside her sister-wives to pick up the payment­­s that undergird their community—and perhaps embark on a new journey altogether.

In this near-future science fiction novella by Nebula Award-winning author Rachel Swirsky, the fifteenth of January is another day of the status quo, and another chance at making lasting change.

It’s gotten some very kind reviews, including one from Publisher’s Weekly and a starred review from the Library Journal

book cover of a person walking down an alley with an umbrella and the following text: January Fifteenth, “Money Changes everything–except people.” Rachel Swirsky, “One of the best speculative writers of the last decade.” –John Scalzi

“[A] thoughtful novel comprising four interwoven stories framed by the near-future implementation of Universal Basic Income. . . .Fans of plausible political speculative fiction should check this out.”—Publishers Weekly

“Swirsky’s slice-of-life UBI stories present just a few possible effects of this hotly debated topic. Without either political rhetoric or exhortation, these brief glimpses of other lives give readers the chance to see what might be in a world with a social safety net. Highly recommended for readers of political and social science-oriented SF.”—Library Journal (starred review)

You can pre-order the book right now! It’s at several different locations, including Powell’s, Amazon, Macmillan, and Barnes and Noble.

It took me a really long time to write this so I’m happy to see it get out into the world. It is the longest thing I’ve ever published by more than two times. (Which is funny because some of the reviews are considering the piece as a novel and found that it was too short for their tastes. It’s almost exactly as long as a novella can be without becoming a novel–but by novel standards it’s definitely puny!)

I hope folks continue to read and enjoy it. I spent a lot of time with these characters. Now I get to send them out to spend time with readers.

January Fifteenth, My Forthcoming Novella, Front Cover

I’m still really excited about my upcoming novella, January Fifteenth. It’s coming out from Tor.com in just a few months.

I really like the cover:

book cover of a person walking down an alley with an umbrella and the following text: January Fifteenth, “Money Changes everything–except people.” Rachel Swirsky, “One of the best speculative writers of the last decade.” –John Scalzi

I really like the cover! It reminds me of one of my favorite paintings,”Paris Street; Rainy Day” by Gustave Caillebot.

image of oil painting "Paris Street; Rainy Day" by French artist Gustave Caillebotte with several people in walking the street of 1800s Paris
January Fifteenth tracks four points of view, each in a different part of the United States of America, on the day when the government disburses Universal Basic Income. There’s a young mother in upstate New York; a freelance journalist in Chicago; a wealthy college student at a resort in Colorado; and a pregnant teenager who is part of an FLDS cult in Utah. None of them quite look like this gentleman in the rain, but he could be part of their world, a page or two away.