I’m pleased to announce that I had several articles published in 2020, all of which you can read for free:
- Monumental Thinking, which is in the January/February issue of Analog, is my take on suitable replacements for statues being torn down these days.
- Elections Past, Present, and To Come is a reprint plus update of an article from the March 2016 issue of Analog talking about what it’s like to serve as an election official/poll worker. I’ve done this a bunch of times, including the 2020 Presidential primaries. (Do those ever seem like a lifetime ago!).
- What I know about writing about dinosaurs was posted on Cath Schaff-Stump’s Fantastic History blog.
My year end retrospective would normally include a list of my fiction that also appeared in print. Alas, 2020 has not been kind to the publishing industry. I was slated to have three science fiction stories make their print and/or on-line appearances. None of them did. Writers: This is why it’s important to make sure your contract addresses rights reversions and provides a kill fee if publication doesn’t happen within a stated time period. Sigh. These stories are all out to other markets once more.
Most Unexpected Pleasure: Serving as a judge for the Endeavour Award. It’s great to have a role in recognizing fine work by my colleagues who don’t make the choice easy!
Best Trip: Philadelphia Flower Show in early March. Have a look at some of my photos from it.
Best Educational Opportunities: Smithsonian classes went on line. You don’t even have to be a member (a/k/a Smithsonian Associate) to take them. I loved learning about how birds talk, parent, and think. I also sank into lectures on Paleolithic Cave Art, Santorini, Apollo 13, the Etruscans, Machu Picchu, and the Art of India.
Best Pandemic Antidote: Monthly flower deliveries for Zoom arranging with friends. If you are interested, check out revased.com. Or just have a look at some of my creations on my Flowers page and on Instagram.
Late to the Party: This summer I read and binge watched Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
Most Fun New Series: The Queen’s Gambit. This show reminded me so very much of my own days as a kid and high school student when I threw myself into the world of competitive chess tournaments. While my experiences took place somewhat later in time, the gender disparity had not changed much from the 1960s depicted in the series.
Guilty Pleasure: Tiger King. The less said the better.
Things to Come: What will the weeks and months ahead bring? Watch this space for announcements of:
- The Next Frontier: my novelette forthcoming in Analog.
- My first flash fiction (under 1000 words) to be published in a horror anthology.
- My first blog post on a different site aimed at professional writers.
- More good things I can’t disclose yet!
Seeing my work published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact never gets old and especially not when I have an opportunity to write about a timely topic from my perspective as an archaeologist. The January/February 2021 issue features my guest editorial about efforts to remove statues and monuments dedicated to various prominent historical figures whom many believe have committed reprehensible acts sufficient to disqualify them from such honors. I’m mindful that these monuments, as well as the names we give highways, plazas, and public buildings, reveal our values to those who will come after us. Thus, I’ve come up with a different approach to creating worthy replacements.
I hope you’ll read the editorial, entitled Monumental Thinking, and then check out all the wonderful fiction and articles in this issue of Analog.
Four years ago, Analog Magazine readers had the chance to read my thoughts as to what it’s like to serve as an election officer or poll worker or judge helping to make democracy in the United States run smoothly. Today I am pleased to say that Analog has posted my guest editorial on its blog for free. I’ve also added a quickie update as to what’s changed since 2016 and what hasn’t. This topic is near and dear to my heart as I spent over 25 years as an election lawyer. Hope you’ll have a look at my thought, maybe even while you are in line to vote.
Every year, the readers of Analog and Asimov’s Science Fiction get to vote on the best stories and poems that appeared in these venerable fiction magazines. I remember the thrill when I got an email a few years back saying that my novelette, “Diamond Jim and the Dinosaurs,” was a finalist. I was deeply honored to be among such talented writers. This year, I am exceedingly pleased to see the list of winners for 2019!
Analog Science Fiction and Fact Analytical Laboratory Winners
Best Novella–The Gorilla in a Tutu Principle or, Pecan Pie at Minnie and Earl’s—Adam-Troy Castro (September/October 2019)
Best Novelette–Bonehunters—Harry Turtledove (May/June 2019)
Best Short Story–All Tomorrow’s Parties—Phoebe North (July/August 2019)
Best Fact Article–The Venus Sweet Spot: Floating Home—John J. Vester (May/June 2019)
Best Poem–Sequoias and Other Myths—Stanley Schmidt (September/October 2019)
Asimov’s Science Fiction Readers’ Award Winners
Best Novella–Waterlines—Suzanne Palmer (July/August 2019)
Best Novelette–In the Stillness Between the Stars—Mercurio D. Rivera (September/October 2019)
Best Short Story–Sacrificial Iron—Ted Kosmatka (May/June 2019)
Best Poem–A Street Away—Jane Yolen (January/February 2019)
Better yet, this year you can watch astute editors Trevor Quachri and Sheila Williams announce the winners and watch the finalists acceptance speeches and letters. What could be better? Well, reading these insightful and engaging works! You can do that too!
Check out all the Asimov’s finalists!
Check out all the Analog finalists!
Over the weekend, the science fiction and fantasy community lost Gardner Dozois, writer and editor extraordinaire. I’ve known Gardner for decades and wanted to share with you a single instance illustrating how remarkable he was.
Gardner did a stint as the editor-in-residence for the Clarion Writers Workshop the year I attended. Over the four-day period he not only lectured and extended his own unique brand of friendship to every one of us. It was apparent that he wanted us to become the best writers we could be. To that end, he read all the stories we submitted when applying to Clarion plus every single story every one of us had written in the four weeks we’d been there. This had to total around 80-100 stories and he read them during those four days! Then he held one-on-one conferences with each of us in which he critiqued our stories, gave suggestions for what needed work, how to tackle problematic aspects of those stories, and even told us which ones were not worth any more work. His help was above and beyond what any of us had expected, all the more so when I stop and think back on what he could and did accomplish in a mere four days.
When Gardner took his leave of us, my head was spinning! And yet, what he did not do was tell any of us that he wanted to buy our stories for Asimov’s Science Fiction. While disappointing, it wasn’t surprising that none of us had written an Asimov’s-worthy story—yet. Naturally, Gardner could see more clearly than we could that writing is a long game. He did buy from some of us later and/or gave us an honorable mention in one of his year’s best anthologies.
I came away from Clarion vowing to sell Gardner a story. Alas that never happened. But here’s what did occur: Gardner’s advice helped me sell some of my Clarion stories once they had been rewritten from start to finish. A couple of those eventually went on to find homes in Asimov’s sister magazine, Analog. So in closing, I want to thank Gardner for helping to make me the Analog writer I became.
Calling all Moms and Dads: Would you send your kids to colonize Mars? I tackle this subject in my guest editorial in the July-August issue of Analog. Available now. Hope you’ll give it a read. I’m always happy to hear from my readers what you think.
And while you’re at it, check out some first-rate new fiction by my writing buddies, Martin L. Shoemaker and C. Stuart Hardwick. These hot new writers are ones to keep your eyes on, and to read! Here’s the complete Table of Contents for a terrific double issue:
“Birch Glow,” my first story to be published in Analog, is back in print! You can get it as part of Celestial Beans, a hot new anthology by the marvelous folks at Digital Fiction Publishing. And the good news keeps on coming: For a limited time, the whole anthology is on sale for 99 cents. Check it out!
I was interviewed on today’s episode of the Scott Edelman’s podcast, Eating the Fantastic! That in itself is pretty fantastic. In case you don’t know, Scott’s a writer, editor, foodie, and the driving force behind the podcast, Eating the Fantastic. Over scrumptious meals (and you ALWAYS want to go to restaurants he picks out), Scott interviews science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers, as well as editors and other creative types about how they got their start, what they’re working on now, and whatever else comes up. I’ve been enjoying his interviews for well over a year.
Now it was my turn to be interviewed over lunch at Momofuku. This relatively new restaurant in downtown D.C. has made a big splash. I get what the fuss is about. We’d both highly recommend it. Such fond memories of these pork buns:
But anyway, I hope you’ll listen to the podcast as it was my chance to talk about attending Clarion and Taos Toolbox, writing for Analog, doing readings, and other topics before unveiling my major new writing project involving dinosaurs. I hope you’ll listen. I’ll blog more about my latest project in a few days. Until then, Scott has the exclusive.
ZOMG! Look! My novelette, “Diamond Jim and the Dinosaurs,” is a finalist for the AnLab Readers’ Award! It was published in the April/May issue of Analog, the one featuring this gorgeous Bob Eggleton cover. For a short period of time, you can read it for free here. And who wouldn’t want to read about Antarctic dinosaurs?
I want to extend my gratitude to all those Analog readers who thought my story was worthy. I am deeply honored to be among such talented writers including my pal C. Stuart Hardwick, who made the finals with his Analog debut novelette, “Dreams of the Rocket Men” and Effie Seiberg with her Analog debut, “Rocket Surgery.” Also, my thanks go out to astute editor, Trevor Quachri for doing vital behind-the-scenes work to improve stories way more than many readers ever suspect.
To my surprise, several people have asked if I intend to blog about what I’ve had published in 2016. Well, alrighty then, since a few of you asked …
Diamond Jim and the Dinosaurs– This novelette (3rd in the series) appeared in the April issue of Analog. Not only am I rather fond of it, but I’m also totally in love with the Bob Eggleton dinosaur cover on the magazine.
Not With A Bang-My first time travel story featuring Marty and Julianna was reprinted in the anthology Time Travel Tales.
Dino Mate – The sequel to Not With a Bang was reprinted in Ctrl Alt Delight.
Zombie Limbo Master – My sole zombie story was reprinted in Quickfic Anthology 1.
Our Right, Our Duty, Our Privilege was the March Analog guest editorial.
On the Money: Scientist of Inventor Wanted – This guest editorial appeared in the November issue of Analog.
All in all, this hasn’t been a bad year by any means. In fact, it’s been a better year for me than this list might lead one to suppose. The reason I say this has to do with several things I’ve written that will be unveiled next year.