Chris Roberson (author)

Chris Roberson is an American science fiction author, trombonist, and publisher based in Portland, Oregon, best known for alternate history novels and short stories.

Early life and career

Roberson grew up near Dallas, Texas, and attended the University of Texas, Austin. Graduating with a degree in English literature and a minor in history, he held a variety of jobs - including seven years as a product support engineer for Dell computers - before quitting his job in 2003 to launch small press MonkeyBrain Books.
He cites his upbringing in the 1970s and 1980s, as his major inspiration, since science fiction was particular commonplace in America at that time, saying:
"Everything from Saturday-morning cartoons to comic books to late-night B-movies to pulp novel reprints to blockbuster summer movies--it was all science fiction, in one form or another."

After college, he has suggested that he leaned towards becoming a more literary, post-modernist writer, even writing a couple of novels to that end, which he says will never see the light of day, after realising that he simply "wasn't depressed enough for that line of work". In his twenties, he wrote a couple of mystery novels, seeing them as a commercial venture, but found himself skirting around turning them into 'genre' titles, falling between the two camps of mystery and science fiction, and interesting publishers of neither. Ultimately he settled on writing science fiction, saying:
"My brain tends to work along the lines of science fiction tropes. Whenever I run into an odd little bit of trivia, some obscure historical fact or odd scientific principle, I can't help but start thinking of ways I could use it in a story."

His writings have received positive reviews from Locus Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's Science Fiction, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Infinity Plus and RevolutionSF. After many years in Austin, Texas, he relocated to Portland, Oregon, with his wife and their young daughter, Georgia.

Clockwork Storybook

From 1998 to 2002, Roberson was part of writer's collective Clockwork Storybook, alongside noted comics author Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges and Mark Finn.
Starting as a writing group, CWSB became an online monthly anthology, and then a publishing imprint of the same name. Roberson produced four novels under CWSB, as the collective attempted to capitalise on the Print On Demand revolution. This ultimately fell through, and the four went their separate ways.
Two of Roberson's CWSB books have been subsequently expanded and reprinted. Any Time At All became Here, There & Everywhere, and Set The Seas On Fire was expanded for its April, 2007 release by Solaris. Voices of Thunder has been revised to become Book Of Secrets for upcoming publication by Angry Robot in August, 2009.

Post-Clockwork works

Focusing, after the demise of Clockwork Storybook, on his writing, Roberson sold a short story to Roc anthology Live Without a Net, under the editorship of Lou Anders. It was published in 2003, and paved the way for future sales to Asimov's Science Fiction and other anthologies. In 2004, Anders, by now an editorial director at Prometheus Books' new SF imprint Pyr, bought an expanded version of one of Roberson's CWSB books Any Time At All, which was published in 2005 as Here, There & Everywhere.
In 2003, having "discovered.. in the few years of helping run the CWSB imprint, that really enjoyed being a publisher," Roberson started up his own imprint. Partly this move was inspired by the dissolution of CWSB, and Roberson having discovered a few projects by writers that he had wanted to bring out under that banner. He decided, however, that MonkeyBrain Books would deal exclusively in "traditional offset trade-paperbacks and hardcovers," distributed internationally, rather than printed on demand.
He has also contributed several stories to the annual Tales of the Shadowmen anthologies.
He is preparing a series aimed at the Young Adult audience, entitled [|Celestial Empire], with the first collection subtitled Fire Star.
Roberson has also written short stories for such magazines as Asimov's Science Fiction, Postscripts, Black October, Fantastic Metropolis, RevolutionSF, Twilight Tales, Opi8, Alien Skin, Electric Velocipede, Subterranean and Lone Star Stories.
He is editor of the Adventure anthology series, first published by MonkeyBrain in November, 2005.
Roberson is also writing books for Black Library publishing; Dawn of War II, published March 2009, and Sons of Dorn, which came out in early 2010.


Since 2003, he is the publisher of MonkeyBrain Books, an independent publishing house naturally based in Austin, Texas, which specialises in genre fiction and nonfiction genre studies.
In November, 2005, Roberson edited the first volume in a projected annual series of Adventure anthologies, comprising "original fiction in the spirit of early twentieth-century pulp fiction magazines" across the genres, featuring contributions from Lou Anders, Paul Di Filippo, Mark Finn, Michael Moorcock and Kim Newman.


In July 2008, at the Comic-Con International in San Diego, it was announced that Roberson will be working on a comic book miniseries set in the universe of the DC/Vertigo series Fables, created by fellow-former-Clockwork Storybook author Bill Willingham.
Roberson's miniseries is titled , and described by the author as featuring "spies, sex, and shoes." Illustrated by Shawn McManus and released in late 2009 / early 2010, it "answer the question of what happened to Cinderella's fairy godmother."
Roberson was selected by DC Comics to finish the "" story arc in the Superman monthly title, which he worked on in addition to his current Vertigo titles, iZombie and Cinderella: Fables are Forever. 2015 wrote for Legendary Comics the thriller graphic novel Black Bag, which features arts from JB Bastos.

Awards and nominations

He has been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award for times - once each for writing and editing and twice for ,. On two occasions he has been a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History Long Form in 2009 for The Dragon's Nine Sons. He has also been nominated twice for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History Short Form, which he won in 2004 with his story "O One".
His novel Paragaea was included in Waterstone's Top Ten SF list for 2006.

Novels and short stories

Roberson has written several novels and short stories and self-published some of them himself. '
Roberson also has two ongoing series:


Similar to the Wold Newton family by Philip José Farmer, is about a family of adventurers that has many far-flung descendants.
Short stories
Celestial Empire is about an alternate history world where, using its Treasure Fleet, Imperial China was greatly expanded in size and role by later emperors to the point that the Chinese Empire is a space-faring superpower.
Short stories
Titles published by DC Comics and the Vertigo imprint include:
Titles published by Boom! Studios include:
Titles published by IDW Publishing include:
Titles published by Dynamite Entertainment include:
Titles published by Dark Horse Comics include: