Sue Burke

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Sue Burke

Goodreads Author

in Milwaukee, The United States



Member Since
February 2012


I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, lived briefly in Austin, Texas, y'all, and moved with my husband to Madrid, Spain, in December 1999. Then back to the US, specifically Chicago, in July 2016.

I've worked for forty years as a journalist, both as a reporter and editor, and I translate from Spanish to English.

I also write poetry, essays, and fiction, especially science fiction.

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Popular Answered Questions

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Sue Burke Hi Ben,
Yes, I see now I missed the chance for a good plot twist.
The Glassmakers left because they were failing to thrive and hoped that returning to…more
Hi Ben,
Yes, I see now I missed the chance for a good plot twist.
The Glassmakers left because they were failing to thrive and hoped that returning to their nomadic lifestyle would solve the problem. If they had hung on a little longer, Stevland would have figured out how to help them, but they didn't know that, and they didn't understand him well enough even to say goodbye. Besides that, nomadic life didn't solve the problem.
But now that you mention it, I could have made it more dramatic....

Sue Burke My sister-in-law invented the fippokat in grade school, and she gave the imaginary animal its name. She no longer recalls why she gave it that name --…moreMy sister-in-law invented the fippokat in grade school, and she gave the imaginary animal its name. She no longer recalls why she gave it that name -- it's one of those things lost to childhood. I first learned about it one Christmas when she made a cookie in the shape of a fippokat, sprinkled with green sugar, and she graciously gave me permission to use and abuse the animal in my story.

So I'm sorry there's no reason for the name besides childhood whimsy.(less)
Average rating: 3.91 · 2,895 ratings · 527 reviews · 31 distinct works
Semiosis (Semiosis Duology #1)

3.92 avg rating — 2,518 ratings — published 2018 — 13 editions
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Normalized Death

3.33 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 2008
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Interference (Semiosis Duol...

0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — expected publication 2019 — 3 editions
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Year's Best SF 14

3.75 avg rating — 216 ratings — published 2009 — 10 editions
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3.82 avg rating — 39 ratings — published 1994 — 4 editions
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SuperSonic #5

3.96 avg rating — 27 ratings — published 2016
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Asimov's Science Fiction, D...

3.65 avg rating — 20 ratings — published 2014
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Clarkesworld Magazine, Issu...

3.55 avg rating — 20 ratings — published 2017 — 3 editions
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Broad Spectrum: The 2012 Br...

4.31 avg rating — 13 ratings — published 2012 — 2 editions
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The Darkest Thirst: A Vampi...

3.40 avg rating — 15 ratings — published 1998
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More books by Sue Burke…
Here are my award-eligible works published in 2018:

“Life From the Sky”
Novelette. This isn’t a good time for alien life forms, no matter how simple and harmless, to land on Earth.
Asimov’s Magazine, May/June 2018.

Novel. A first contact, multi-generational story about colonists on a planet where plants are the dominant life forms — and they see animals, including humans, as their pawns.
Tor... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on January 09, 2019 07:09 • 22 views
(2 books)
3.92 avg rating — 2,507 ratings

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Rejoice, A Knife to the Heart by Steven Erikson
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La moderna Atenea by Mª Concepción Regueiro Digón
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El lector es un detective en esta novela. Empieza con un artículo en una pequeña revista cultural en Galicia que examina una mujer insólita que vivía en el siglo XIX, y de repente la autora del artículo se muere. Pero hay los que saben un poco más ac ...more
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La moderna Atenea by Mª Concepción Regueiro Digón
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How to Clone a Mammoth by Beth Shapiro
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Summary: It might be impossible to clone a mammoth, or, for that matter, to clone any other extinct animal. And it might not be necessary.

The author leads the reader through the problems and reasons why it might not be a good idea even to try in some
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Identical Strangers by Elyse Schein
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Twins who were separated at birth for unethical reasons meet as grown women. Each had no idea she had a sister, and although they’d followed somewhat different paths in life, they shared a sensitive personality. It’s not quite love at first sight, an ...more
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The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
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This novel starts with a horrifying disaster and ends with joy and hope. In the middle it zigzags in a fascinating way between anger and fear, which are overcome through grit and competence. I could tell you about the plot, but that’s easy informatio ...more
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Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
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Murderbot becomes more comfortable in its human disguise. It sits on human furniture (something forbidden to SecUnits), looks people in the eye, and even gives a hug! It also realizes that it’s learned a lot about a wide variety of things, and it put ...more
More of Sue's books…
“You must control bugs,” I say. “Bugs no eat fruit,” it answers. In other words, how can you control an animal except with fruit? “Change sap for bugs. Like this.” I show a chemical. “Sap will control animals.” “Bugs no eat fruit.” “Bugs drink sap.” “Yes,” it says. “Bugs no eat fruit.” “Change sap for bugs because bugs drink sap, no eat fruit.” “Bugs no eat fruit.” I realize that we are related plants, both bamboos, in fact, and our shared physiology is the only reason I can have a conversation of any complexity. The hedge along the river is too small to have many sentient roots. The presence of other snow vines triggers an aggressive growth, but this hedge has lived alone and is content to lead a manicured little life parasitizing its aspens and putting down more guard roots than it needs, thus serving the humans without realizing it. It has no need for intelligence, none at all. “Change sap for bugs,” I repeat, hoping that repetition will of itself prove persuasive. “Big animals eat bugs.” “Bugs no eat fruit.” “Big animals eat bugs.” “Big animals eat bugs,” the snow vine repeats. I have made progress. “Yes,” I say. “Change sap for bugs.” “Big animals eat bugs.” “Yes. Change sap for bugs. Like this.” “Bugs eat sap,” it says. “Bugs are pests.” “Bugs are good. Big animals eat bugs like fruit.” The snow vine stammers some meaningless chemical compounds and finally says, “Bugs are like fruit.” This is very significant progress. “Bugs are like fruit,” I agree. “Bugs eat sap. Change sap. Sap will control two animals.” “Sap will control bugs. Big animals eat bugs.” “Yes. You must change sap for bugs and animals.” “I will change sap for bugs and animals.” At last! “Yes. Change sap like this.” I deliver some prototype chemicals.”
Sue Burke, Semiosis

“I am the biggest and most powerful creature on Pax, and the most dangerous, and I have made mistakes I cannot rectify. But I meant well. I meant greater happiness for all. I meant to create a new and different and better life. I thought I would not repeat the past. I failed.”
Sue Burke, Semiosis


June 2018 Science Fiction -- Final Poll. The following poll decides which book will be our June 2018 Book of the Month in Science Fiction.

  30 votes, 54.5%

  25 votes, 45.5%


Topics Mentioning This Author

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Beyond Reality: Welcome to April 2018! 2 20 Apr 09, 2018 06:18PM  
Play Book Tag: Announcing the April tag 123 214 Apr 30, 2018 08:33AM  
Beyond Reality: Welcome to May 2018! 1 17 May 01, 2018 10:08AM  
Beyond Reality: Nominations for June 2018 21 63 May 28, 2018 04:46PM  
The Seasonal Read...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Completed Tasks: PLEASE DO NOT DELETE ANY POST IN THIS THREAD 2282 329 May 31, 2018 09:01PM  
Beyond Reality: Welcome to June 2018! 1 18 Jun 01, 2018 05:21AM  
Beyond Reality: Semiosis -- -- Roll Call and First Impressions **NO SPOILERS!** 12 26 Jun 16, 2018 07:55AM  
“Stories only happen to those who are able to tell them.”
Paul Auster

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness. ”
Michel de Montaigne

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Sue Burke Win a free copy of 140 And Counting, a book of Tweet-length poetry, including work by me:

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