It’s that time of year, once again, when writers set out to gently remind our faithful–but perhaps forgetful–readers as to what we published that is eligible for the Hugo and Nebula awards, as well as for the plethora of other literary awards.
For me, it’s simple: most of my work was either nonfiction, like my 2 Analog guest editorials, or reprints of previously published stories. However, I did have one novelette published in the April 2016 issue of Analog. It’s title is, “Diamond Jim and the Dinosaurs.” I’d be honored if you’d give it a look-see because who doesn’t need to read about dinosaurs roaming around Antarctica?
As for next year, I’ve got a passel of new dinosaurs, with extra ferocity, ready to serve up to my readers!
I have a new guest editorial in Analog’s latest issue: November 2016. I give some thought to placing a scientist and/or inventor on United States currency. Give it a read and find out who might merit this honor. Do you have suggestions of your own — someone I don’t mention, perhaps? Let me know in the comments.
And hey, look at the other great stuff in this issue. I’m really pleased to be sharing a table of contents with these talented folks. As always, my thanks go to Trevor Quachri for giving me this opportunity and for unleashing his first-rate editing abilities upon this piece.
Hey look–Stan Schmidt (former Analog editor and author), Trevor Quachri (current Analog editor), Alec Nevala-Lee (Analog author) and me at MidAmeriCon 2. Stan, Alec and I read stories from our stories in recent and forthcoming issues of Analog. Also participating but eluding the cameras was long-time Analog writer James Van Pelt. My thanks go to Trevor for moderating the panel and to my fellow writers for such entertaining readings.
I have to say that I was a bit dubious when I saw that those in charge of convention programming had organized several of the author readings by the various magazines in which their stories had been published. Well, I sure changed my mind in this case. The room was packed and people had some interesting questions.
MidAmeriCon 2 was an all-round terrific World Con for me this year. Rather than ramble about this and that, I’m doing a series of retrospectives on some personal highlights, in no particular order. One was connecting up with writer buddies Cath Schaff-Stump and Christopher Cornell, whom I met at Paradise Lost. They’ve been putting out a podcast, Unreliable Narrators, that’s ridiculously good. For example, they’ve brought on some very talented SF writers like Ann Leckie and Charlie Finlay, who now edits F & SF.
So I was thrilled when Christopher squeezed my MidAmeriCon 2 dinosaur panel into his hectic schedule and mentioned our panel on the podcast. The ebullient Frank Wu led the panelists in a discussion of cool new developments in paleontology plus our conjectures as to courtship and mating strategies for enormous critters that have a row of spikes running down their tails. That’s a subject I’ve tackled in Dino Mate, an Analog story that’s been reprinted by Digital Science Fiction.
What can a non-dinosaurphile learn from a journey, however brief or prolonged, into the Mesozoic? How many dinosaur species existed? How can we extrapolate so much about dinosaurs and so much about the history of the Earth based on, well, a handful of decayed carcasses? Or do we have other clues? What do we not know about dinosaurs and need to know and why do we need to know?
These were a few of the thought-provoking questions that Carl Slaughter asked when he interviewed me for SF Signal. While I pondered my answers, I learned a couple of things, myself. First, it’s a lot more fun to be interviewed about a topic that you love, particularly when the interviewer’s comes at the subject in a way that you hadn’t quite considered before. I hope you’ll check it out, particularly if you’re like me in that you’ve never lost your love for dinosaurs. And while you’re at it, I hope you’ll read Diamond Jim and the Dinosaurs in the April 2016 Analog.
One of my favorite protagonists, Marty Zuber, returns to the pages of Analog (April 2016) to discover that the slipperiest of creatures may not be a Cretaceous dinosaur but rather is Diamond Jim, a fellow time traveler. Worse yet, Diamond Jim has teamed up with Marty’s rival, Derek Dill. The story is set in Antarctica. Yes indeed, our southernmost continent teemed with all manner of dinosaurs, to say nothing of other exotic critters. The April issue of Analog should go on sale any day now. I hope you’ll continue to follow Marty’s Mesozoic adventures with Julianna, which began in “Not With a Bang,” (Analog, July/August 2013) and continued in “Dino Mate” (Analog, December 2014). If you missed those earlier stories, you can still obtain single issues. Also, check back later as I’ll have more news on where you can read about Marty, Julianna, and Mesozoic dinosaurs.
My latest guest editorial for Analog is in the March 2016 issue, which just came out. It concerns elections, voting, and maintaining our democratic self-governance in the United States. This is a topic near and dear to my heart as I spent 25+ years as an election lawyer. Several experiences that made the biggest impression on me, however, took place not in a courtroom but rather in my own local polling place where I serve as an election officer whenever they need me. Actually, they almost always need me as there is a shortage of people willing and able to volunteer for one day to help local officials run the polling places. It’s such a worthwhile thing to do that I hope you’ll all give it some thought if you are able to devote a day to helping our country maintain democracy.
Lastly, I just gotta say, man-oh-man this guest editorial writing gig never gets old!
Here’s Analog editor Trevor Quachri rocking the Analog/Asimov’s party at WFC 2015 in Saratoga Springs, NY. This annual gathering of the clan of fiction writers, editors, artists, and agents focuses on mainly on fantasy, though horror and science fiction have been known to creep into the discussions. Happily, a wonderfully warm Indian Summer has put us all in fine spirits. Then too, Trevor and Sheila and Emily know how to throw a party.
Thus far, I’ve participated on a panel about the origins of fantasy stories in myths and legends, which had a variety of interesting perspectives. I’ve also enjoyed panels and readings by several of my writer friends, all of whom were well prepared, entertaining, and generally terrific. I have another panel today about archaeology in fantasy literature. As a former archaeologist, this is a topic close to my heart.
I’m happy to see one of my favorite time travel movies (the original, not the sequels) getting so much attention today. Not only is it a fun story, but it also happens to be the reason why I named my own time-traveling protagonist “Marty.”
Analog’s December issue features my second guest editorial, “The Future is Prologue.” Astute readers will recognize my reworking of Shakespeare’s line from The Tempest, “Whereof what’s past is prologue; what to come, in yours and my discharge.”
Unlike a Shakespearean play, dinosaurs have managed to tromp into my editorial. But hey, they’ve been good to me and my writing, and who am I to say no to them? I hope you’ll pick up a copy of the Dec. 2015 Analog either electronically or in print, as it has the latest work by several fine Analog regulars such as Ed Lerner, Bud Sparhawk, Kristine Kathyrn Rusch and esteemed Editor Emeritus Stanley Schmidt
When my last guest editorial was published in the July/August 2015 issue of Analog, I got several questions, which I’ll answer here.
1. How did you come to write a guest editorial? My thanks go to Trevor Quachri for suggesting that I try my hand at writing this guest editorial. It concerns the refinement of scientific hypotheses over time. As a one-time archaeologist, I’ve always been fascinated by the ways in which scientific thought ebbs and flows over the decades,
2. How is writing an editorial similar to writing fiction? I see several similarities. Everything begins with an idea that caught my interest and which I suspect may intrigue readers, too. Next comes the search for specific incidents to propel the editorial or story forward. In addition, both forms of writing benefit from an opening hook, rely on compelling prose to keep the reader turning the pages, and must have a central theme.
3. How does writing an editorial differ from writing a story? Two ways. First, an editorial can be more didactic, as readers are expecting the writer to put forth a set of viewpoints accompanied by cogent reasoning. In contrast, when reading fiction, people don’t want to be subjected to a sermon, which they’ll skip over to get to the “good stuff.” Or they might abandon the story entirely and hunt up something more interesting. Second, editorials are subject to a pretty strict word count. The writer must select a topic that can be addressed well in 1800 to 2200 words. In contrast, short fiction will vary from under 1000 words to 20,000 words or more.
4. Can your readers expect to see more guest editorials instead of stories? I hope the answer isn’t either/or. I have fun w both. In fact, my next appearance in Analog will be a novelette featuring several characters my readers have seen before plus some new ones to keep things interesting.