Advisory Board

Ray Nayler

Ray Nayler is the author of The Mountain in the Sea and dozens of critically acclaimed stories in venues ranging from Asimov’s to Clarkesworld.

The Washington Post called Mountain a poignant, mind-expanding debut and Slate called it a wondrous novel. David Mitchell, the author of Cloud Atlas, said, “I loved this novel’s brain and heart, its hidden traps, sheer propulsion, ingenious world-building, and the purity of its commitment to luminous ideas.

The New York Times said Nayler’s charm lies in his belief in the very human qualities of attentiveness and self-doubt. The result is a novel that is alert, intelligent, and open. The novel was also recommended by The New Yorker, The Guardian, Publisher’s Weekly (starred review), and many others.

As the best book of the year at Amazon (2022) and Slate, The Mountain in the Sea was a finalist for the Nebula Award and for the LA Times Book Awards’ Ray Bradbury Award for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Speculative Fiction.

Born in Quebec and raised in California, Ray lived and worked abroad for two decades in Russia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, and Kosovo. A Russian speaker, he has also learned Turkmen, Albanian, Azerbaijani Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Ray is a Foreign Service Officer and previously worked in international educational development, as well as serving in the Peace Corps in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. In Vietnam, he was Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer at the U.S. consulate in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ray currently serves as the international advisor to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Beginning in August 2023, he will take up a residency at the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy at George Washington University.

Called “One of the up-and-coming masters of SF short fiction” by Locus Online, Ray began publishing speculative fiction in 2015 in the pages of Asimov’s with the short story Mutability. Since then his critically acclaimed stories have seen print in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, Analog, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Lightspeed, Vice, and Nightmare, as well as in many “Best Of” anthologies, including The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of the Year’s Best Science Fiction.

In addition to his speculative fiction, Ray has published in many genres, from mainstream “literary” fiction to comics. His short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen, Crimewave, Hardboiled, Cemetery Dance, Deathrealm, Queen’s Quarterly, and the Berkeley Fiction Review, among other journals. His opinion pieces have appeared in New Scientist and at LitHub. He is a widely published poet, (sometimes publishing under his full name, Raynald Patrice Desmeules Nayler), with work in the Atlanta Review, the Beloit Poetry Journal, Weave, Juked, Able Muse, Sentence, and many more.

As Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer at the United States Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, he led a series of environmental conservation projects on the Con Dao Archipelago, the setting for The Mountain in the Sea. He dove into its reefs daily, working with an international team of scientists, park rangers, and local youth on a project to preserve the archipelago’s biodiversity.

Read Yesterday’s Wolf, winner of the 2021 Clarkesworld Reader’s Choice Poll, and Sarcophagus, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award Finalist.

Ray currently lives in Washington, DC with his wife Anna, their daughter Lydia, and two rescued cats — one Tajik, one American.

Watch An Interview with Ray Nayler (The Mountain In The Sea)

Listen to Ray Nayler’s tale “The Shadow of His Wings,” read by the author himself.

Read The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler – how to speak octopus and Let’s talk humanist science fiction: An interview with writer Ray Nayler. Read Fostering, Rain of Days, and The Summer Castle.

Read Refusing Categorization: A Conversation with Ray Nayler, Governments should use speculative fiction tools to predict the future, and How to Dive with Octopuses from 5,000 Miles Away: An Unlikely Craft Essay.

Visit his Homepage and his ISFDB profile. Follow him on SFADB, Good Reads, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.