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EDatlow
Posted on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 08:52 am:   

Uh, I have nothing to say but here's the new thread!
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chance
Posted on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 09:09 am:   

Ellen -

Thanks for the change of the link for the BB.

>Since the chats aren't part of SCIFICTION I don't think I'd want to do that. It would be more clutter for the SCIFICTION pages. Since there >is a dedicated chat page I don't see that this would be necessary.

Ah, I guess I always mentally associated the author chats with SCI FICTION since they are also sponsored by Analog and Asimov's in addition to scifi.com

>I'll mention the complaints about slow loading of the sites but ads help pay for the site so they're not going to go away ;-)

*g* No, I didn't really expect they would, but hope springs eternal ...
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Luke
Posted on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 10:21 am:   

I am not sure if you have done this in the past or not, but a heads up when the rights on a particular story are running out would be nice. I often wonder what stories I have missed because I was behind on my reading.
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Luke
Posted on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 10:23 am:   

Oh, and if this is a formatting only discussion - I thought perhaps the archives could be storable, by date, (which they are now) or by author. But that is minor. I love the site, and I love the simplicity of it. Don't mess with it too much.

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EDatlow
Posted on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:48 am:   

Luke: The only ones that run out are the classics. And not all of those do. None of the originals have ever been taken down (except "Chip Crocket" temporarily, when Liz's collection first was published).

So... would you still want that for the classics?

Re: your second post. I'm confused. Do you mean accessible in a way other than they are now?
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Luke
Posted on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 05:05 am:   

Well, it would be nice to see, for example, all of the Terry Bisson stories you have published grouped together.

And my idea for a going off-site alert if for purely selfish reasons. To be honest, I think it could ruin the aesthetic of the site. Maybe a quick note here for the less casual readers would be sufficient.


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EDatlow
Posted on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 02:45 pm:   

Luke,
I think it's more useful to have the stories by date. You can always do a 'search' for the author on the archives page.

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StephenB
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 05:18 pm:   

I'm looking for a dark, creepy, well written modern horror story to read tonight. I figured Sci-Fiction would have something that fits that bill. Anyone have any recomendations in the archives?
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EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 05:52 pm:   

Try one of Glen Hirshberg's stories--we have two in our archives.
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StephenB
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:21 pm:   

Ok thanks, I will. Any recommendations on originals?
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Mike Bailey
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 07:30 pm:   

Jer,

I do agree with you that Pinky dies at the end, but I just got the impression that right before he finally gave up the ghost in mid-thought, he placed a few big blasts into old Hicks' brainpan (left-handed, of course).

I don't think we'll see the continuing adventures of our dark and self-destructive hero (unless Laird writes about him kicking some booty down in Hades...).
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EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 08:44 pm:   

StephenB: They're both originals.
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Mike Bailey
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 08:48 pm:   

"Left of the Dial" by Paul Witcover left me with more chills than I could count on my fingers and toes. This story is right up there with other SCIFICTION greats: quiet, yet compelling literary genre fiction. I wondered, more than a few times, while reading it whether Witcover had some biographical detail in that story, or if he was just really good at imagining things like losing a family member to cancer, idling away nights over D&D, and driving by moonlight through a maze of trails.

Most impressively, "Left" did not feel like fiction to me (and definitely not genre fiction), at least not until the time shift portion of the story. I was fully absorbed into the tale, suspending my disbelief and completely losing track of time. When I checked my watch after finishing, I thought maybe I had accidentally slipped an hour or so into the future while I was wandering the paths with Johnny, Eric, Lisa, and Craig.

I thought Witcover managed to successfully tie the subplot about Johnny's mother into the main story about him and his three friends. At first I regarded them as separate stories, and being a big believer in the "single effect" in short fiction, wondered what the mother had to do with the other, more chilling portion of the tale. But by the end of the reading I was pleased to feel that Witcover had, instead of diluting the story with two distinct threads, woven the threads together to create a stronger whole.

For what my opinion is worth, I felt "Left of the Dial" was a good write by Witcover, and a nice pick by Ellen, and should complement the other fiction on the site nicely.
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EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 08:51 pm:   

Mike,
I'll try to get Paul over here to comment on it himself --as much as he wants to.
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T Andrews
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 09:33 pm:   

Mike, I just finished posting at SCIFICTION in regards to Paul Witcover's story. It was a very moving read. I, too, felt the story depicted the mother's illness so well that it felt like nonfiction. All of the characters were so well-drawn.
Ellen, it's a great story. Thanks.
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T Andrews
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 09:37 pm:   

Mike and Jer~ It would be awesome to see Jonah in action again. That Hades idea is a good one. He's too good a character to let go of!
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StephenB
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 10:19 pm:   

Right Ellen, my bad. I'm printing off "Flowers on Their Bridles, Hooves in the Air" right now.
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paulw
Posted on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 03:05 am:   

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your comments. Glad you liked the story. It did indeed draw on some details from my life, such as my mother's death and my youthful addiction to D&D, but it's not a straightforward autobiography by any means, even without the fantastic elements. It was a very emotional story to write, cathartic in fact, and I'm gratified that some of that emotion seems to have translated successfully into the reading experience.

Paul
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StephenB
Posted on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 05:42 pm:   

I read "Flowers on Their Bridles, Hooves in the Air" last night. It was a good story in some ways. I like how it gives the sense of, how in complex human relationships there are always things going on underneath the surface, left unsaid. I also liked the dark surrealistic atmosphere, depicting the dirty realities of a big city. I didn't find this story scary, and although I can see it's merits, I was still a little disapointed because of that. Still I'm glad i read it.:-)
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EDatlow
Posted on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 08:36 pm:   

Sorry, you didn't find it scary. I thought it was nicely disquieting, which is what I look for in a good horror story.

Have you read Laird Barron's "Bulldozer" yet? that's horror. Here are some others: the Gerald Kersh "Me Without Bones" is really really scary and one of my favorites--it's in the classic section. Also Belling Martha, a classic by Leigh Kennedy, "Consider her Ways" by John Wyndham, "The Black Heart" (original) by Patrick O'Leary.
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StephenB
Posted on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 09:45 pm:   

I often find those subtle kind of unsettling, reality distorting, stories some of the best in horror too, but this story just didn't have that effect on me.

I read "Bulldozer" and commented on it in the last thread.
I'll check out some of the others.
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EDatlow
Posted on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 03:14 pm:   

Oops. Sorry that I forgot that you already read "Bulldozer."

Paul McAuley wrote a couple of horrific stories that are in the archives, too. And I think Nathan Ballingrud's "You Go where it Takes You" is weird and dark (I took it for YBFH #17 last year).
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stephenb
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 04:17 am:   

I read The Wolfman of Alcatraz by Waldrop, and liked it. It's apparently based on a real man, and I like how it gives the sense of reality to the fantastic. I also like how Howard keeps some mystery throughout the story, he doesn't directly show us the monster, or get into the man behind the monsters head. The timeing of the story was good, and it was only as long as it needed to be.

I've been busy with school so I haven't gotten around to reading some of your recomendations Ellen, but I will.:-)
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DaveE
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 08:46 am:   

stephenb: "It's apparently based on a real man,..."

Huh? I'm curious what made you think that. I must have missed something.

I did enjoy the story, but not as much as his classic, "God's Hooks!"
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stephenb
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 03:42 pm:   

Dave I'm probably wrong because i know very little on the subject. He references a movie that I vaguely remember being a real movie. I guess in my own imagination I pictured a crazy murderer who thought he was a werewolf, that was locked up in Alcatraz. A real lunitic I guess. I really don't know if this guy or movie ever existed. It just goes to show how good of a writer Howard is, and how my imagination can get the better of me.
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datlow
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 06:40 pm:   

He's written a "parody"/homage/whatever to The Birdman of Alcatraz starring Burt Lancaster and put his own spin on it.
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JeremyT
Posted on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 08:02 am:   

Really dug Howard's story. Thanks for giving us another of his, Ellen.
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EDatlow
Posted on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 08:53 am:   

Jeremy, I'm delighted to.

Btw, can't remember if it was this thread where the discussion of Nightshade publishing all our stories every year as an antho. If so, I counted up the originals per year and the wordage (with novellas) is too large for one volume anyway. We're still hoping to get a deal for a Best of very soon now. ;-)
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EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 10:07 pm:   

Just bought Matthew Claxton's second story, "Changing of the Guard." It'll be coming out in December.
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Jeff Lyons, The Prison Guy
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 09:41 am:   

I thought Harold Waldrop's "Wolfman of Alcatraz" was a pretty good story. I was ready to correct a number of prison operation inaccuracies until I figured out it was set between the 1930's-1950's. So I forgave some of the obvious guffaws once I realized that.

Today...no matter what you see in movies or TV: Prisons ARE NOT bars & cement. They're steel doors with rooms that look like college dormitories.

Correctional Officers LOATHE being referred to as Guards. They correct offender behavior and don't just stand there like mindless macho lumps of cement.

Correctional Officers DO NOT carry firearms inside a prison. They use communication skills and/or defensive tactics if an offender acts up. Most prisons arm only the officers in the towers and occasionally those that patrol the outside perimeter.

But none of that mattered in the 30's, 40's, & 50's. However these are some thoughts for writers who view this post and are thinking of setting a story in a modern prison.
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chance
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 04:29 pm:   

September was a very good month for SCI FICTION.

Just finished reading "Left of the Dial" sad and lovely and the ending reminded me of the redemptive penance at the end of The Night Country (and made me a bit weepy.)

I particularly liked the portrayal of the petty side of the protagonist, lashing out to cover his own pain, yet never really intending to hurt and forever marked by his actions. All very realistic and true.

All too often stories of novella length seem encumbered by their length, either stretched too long, or jammed into too short a space. "Left of the Dial" seemed perfectly suited to this length.

And "The Wolfman of Alcatraz" is a lovely imaginative followup to the last Waldrop story published at SCI FICTION. Howard has a unique ability to construct stories with the seeming structure of a game of pick up sticks, and yet all the pieces fit together solidly into a seamless whole.
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EDatlow
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 05:56 pm:   

JeffL: thanks for the update on modern prisons. I've actually spoken several times at the Tehachapi prison in southern California. Not the most comfortable experiences.

chance, I'll see if I can get Paul W to check out your comments. I'm sure he'd like to know.
Howard, as we know, does NOT get online if he can help it, although I'll suggest he have someone check out the discussion for him :-)
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 07:07 pm:   

Ellen,

Paul Witcover's "Left of the Dial" was a powerhouse piece. Thank you very much for publishing it!

:-)

Vera
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 09:10 pm:   

Glad you liked it Vera.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 11:22 am:   

I've bought a new story by Bruce Sterling. Lightweight, funny (IMO)--about bugs.
It'll be out mid-December.
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Luke
Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 08:03 am:   

Great! I love his stuff.
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chance
Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 08:59 am:   

Hi Ellen,

I tried to get to the new Kim Newman story and it doesn't appear to be up yet.
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Mark Shiney
Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 09:57 am:   

Ellen, you mentioned speaking several times at the Tehachapi prison. How did this come about? And on what subject did you speak?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 06:11 pm:   

Chance,
I have a new producer working with me on the fiction (this changed the day I got to Maine) and had to scramble to get the new one up to speed on laying out what is a pretty complicated story (long novelette with glossary and popups). The story was supposed to go up this afternoon but I was flying home and Marlon--not having gotten the "ok" from me--hadn't realized he was supposed to get it live anyway. He'll be getting into the office 10:30 am tomorrow and hopefully the story will go "live" then.

Sorry about this.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 06:19 pm:   

Mark: I'm friends with Mikey Roessner-Herman. Her husband teaches art there and he invited me.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 08:28 am:   

"Soho Golem" is up but hasn't been proofread yet and the blurb on the SCIFICTION page is wrong (sigh). It will be fixed.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, October 18, 2004 - 04:46 pm:   

So anyone been reading the last few stories on SCIFICTION? Any opinions? Alyx Dellamonica is thinking of dropping by and I want to give her a good reason :-)
Ellen
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Not Tribeless
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 02:22 am:   

'Alyx Dellamonica is thinking of dropping by '

Jes, how hard can it be.

:-) sorry couldn't resist (its 10.21pm down here, I'm going to be working through to midnight and I'm just a little cranky.

Haven't had a chance to read the story yet; I have it booked in for this weekend ... so, if Alyx is thinking of dropping by after the weekend, so long as its not too much lifting those fingers to the keyboard an all.


I mean, really, if I actually got one of my stories on Scifi I'd be all over these bloody boards. Alyx must be an absolute paragon of self restraint.

Or perhaps he just has dignity I guess.

Right, back to it.
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Not Tribeless
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 02:24 am:   

... she! she has dignity.

One thousand hail Marys.

And now I really must get back to work.
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Not Tribeless
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 02:33 am:   

Oh, and I just got another rejection. Number four now. I'd never even heard of the rejecting publication before I submitted.

That's gratitude for ya

:-)

Right, back to work ... concentration all shot to bits.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 08:20 am:   

Hey Tribeless,
She didn't know about this particular BB (although I could have sworn she's been here before). She posted on SCIFI.COM's BB.

Writers are shy until someone brings up their work.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 09:46 am:   

I read the beginning of Alyx Dellamonica's story, and found the club setting and characters to be engaging and cool ... I will read the rest soon (promise!)

Though it's not terribly recent, I did read Matthew Claxton's 'The Anatomist's Apprentice.' I enjoyed it very much. I thought it was a very satisfying story, and especially liked the 'alternate British Columbia' he created. He did a great job with the setting. I'm looking forward to his next story.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 10:14 am:   

Just want to let everyone know that there was a major screw up with Gardner's reprint but it should now be fixed (an uncoded version was sent to be made live) arghh.
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alyx dellamonica
Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 11:35 am:   

Nope, never been here before. But I've found my way here now. Thanks, Ellen, for clueing me in to this board's existence.

--alyx dellamonica
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 11:46 am:   

It's a good one. If you like, you can ask Jason and Jeremy to give you your own topic :-)
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004 - 08:18 am:   

A few months ago we had a debate about my use of the term "magical negro" in a review of a Mary Rosenblum story. I didn't define it terribly well, but if anyone's interested, there's a good article about the character type and the term in this week's Strange Horizons:

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2004/20041025/kinga.shtml

Patrick
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004 - 08:32 am:   

Thanks for the pointer, Patrick.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004 - 09:34 am:   

Good article. But the first point in Okorafor-Mbachu's definition for the magical negro:

1. He or she is a person of color, typically black, often Native American, in a story about predominantly white characters

is not borne out by the characters in Rosenbloom's story. All the characters are persons of color. There are no whites in it. So if a culture is stratified by something other than color can there still be a "magical negro" in the story?
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004 - 10:53 am:   

I think it's possible, because you are still talking about the "other" to the normal society. The girl (forgotten the name, sorry) being genetically engineered and part of, effectively, a societal underclass, takes the role that the person of color would otherwise take in a white society. That's my interpretation, at least. However, the undertones of racism aren't there in Rosenblum's story.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 12:03 pm:   

re: Ruby, in the Storm

I enjoyed this one. It's always nice to see aliens-in-our-world stories done on a 'micro' level, showing how they would fit in, or not fit in. I thought Ms. Dellamonica painted the bigots realistically. A nice spin on "aliens solving our problems." The self-anger and outrage rang very true.

Groll's religion was shown with just enough spookiness to keep the reader slightly ill-at-ease. I was also pleased that there was some ambiguity about the stormcloud and Ruby's fever. At first, I thought the two might be related explicitly, but the ambiguity really adds texture. I like self-examining protagonists, and Helena's reaction to the aliens saving Ruby was truthful.

The setting was also vivid. Winter's the perfect season for the story. I especially liked the description of the snow crystals biting into skin. The climax with the scaffolding outside the university building was a good motif for the addition of the aliens to this society, and that things would be building for some time to come.

---

Anyway, welcome to the board, Ms. Dellamonica. Hope you stick around, and I look forward to reading more of your fiction!
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Alyx Dellamonica
Posted on Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 07:33 am:   

Thank you, Mahesh--it's a great board. And I'm very glad you liked "Ruby." The snowstorm is one of my favorite things about it, strangely--it starts out nasty, and then evolves into one of my favorite kind of blizzards.

I grew up hating the snow and the cold, so it was a surprise to me when I wrote something that showed such a nostalgic interior pull for bad weather.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 08:56 am:   

If anyone emailed me through the link on the SCIFI.COM website (in the guidelines section)
in the past four weeks, please do so again.

Because of tech reasons I can no longer access the account without major
problems (like downloading software I do NOT want on my new computer) and
have had the contact email changed to a yahoo account.
Thanks
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StephenB
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 09:23 am:   

Hey has anyone read the story Soho Golem? How is it? It's too long to read on screen and is a lot of pages to print off, but I'm curious about reading this Kim Newman story. Is it a paticularily strong piece by him?
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T Andrews
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 02:13 pm:   

I read it. Loved it. It moved nice and quick. Personally, I've yet to regret spending reading time on any of the stories there, so I say go for it, Stephen. You'll likely be hooked after the first couple of paragraphs.

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StephenB
Posted on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 08:13 am:   

I started reading Soho Golem the other day but I couldn't really get into it. I found that all the footnotes kind of interupted the flow, and the lingo was more for show then actually putting down a style of talk; for example, he uses different slang repeatedly for the same word, it doesn't seem as natural. Maybe I'll try it again later.

I read Hulla Villa by James Blaylock and thought it was alright, but not as good as some of his other stories. Actually my favorite peice by Blaylock is the novel I read by him, The Paper Grail.

I just read the first part of Paul W's Left of the Dial and I'm really digging it. I'll comment more on his board when I finish it.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 08:54 am:   

You can ignore the footnotes if they really bother you.
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StephenB
Posted on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 09:59 am:   

I'm not totally against footnotes Ellen (sometimes they're good), but I think if they are excessive or unnecessary they can be annoying. Sometimes I like footnotes. In this story in paticular they seem more of a novelty that starts wearing thin and interferring with the story, but maybe I'm wrong in this case, afterall I didn't finish reading the story. I have read stuff by Kim that I;ve liked before so...
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 12:26 pm:   

Stephen,
You can ignore the footnotes that you think excessive :-)
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StephenB
Posted on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 02:26 pm:   

Yes, I guess i could Ellen.:-)
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Tanya
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 10:04 am:   

He made a good point. The footnotes should have been edited out.
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StephenB
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 11:19 am:   

Tanya: That wasn't exactly my point. I just felt that the author was a little exessive and inconsistent with his use of slang and footnotes. An example would be useing the words fuzz, filth, rozzer, plods, all as slang for cops, some of those are rather well known british slang words anyway. Actually when I think of it most of the footnotes are actually good, describing a setting and time many readers would not be familiar with. I think if I would have stuck with the story and actually read it all, I would have a different opinion.

Also, I think both Ellen and Kim are experimenting with the online form; doing things that you couldn't really do in print. There's nothing wrong with that. Clicking and getting a pop-up is better than flipping through pages. Plus, I doubt that many print markets would want to publish something of that length, with that many footnotes. So I don't really think it was a bad call or anything. At the time I was reading it online, I think it just contributed to me, personally, not really getting into the story, based on my mood and mindset at the time. That's all.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 12:22 pm:   

Yes, Stephen, you absolutely get it. And we've made the footnotes as unobstrusive as possible by putting them at the end of the story and creating pop-ups that can be used or not used. This is one of the fun things that can be done on the web that cannot be done in print.

We've done it in several stories (one by Howard Waldrop) and frankly, Tanya is the first reader who has complained about their existence.

Kim is an expert in pop movie and tv culture and a lot of his references are about 60s tv shows that today's readers won't automatically get. Some are definitions for British slang.
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Luke
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 01:25 pm:   

I really appreciate the footnotes. When I am reading, sometimes, when I am being particularly attentive, I will go and look up each of the words I do not know the meaning of. More often though, I will try to understand them in context, and get the general idea of their meaning. But to have the word right there is just great. Maybe, just maybe, it is a little excessive here, but I do not mind. I will gladly put up with a blue “guv’nor” to have “Carnabethan’s” definition right at my fingertips.

If there is a serious problem with it, I would advise copying and pasting into a word processor. (I know sci-fi discourages it, but I do it when I am reading a lot on screen. I sometimes even take it so far as to convert the document into a PDF, which I find a bit easier to read. I even double space it and put it into Courier font.)

I also wanted to point out how much I liked "Super 8," which is to say, very much.


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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 07:05 pm:   

I don't think I posted the December line-up

December 1
The Dragons of Summer Gulch by Robert Reed 11,000
Two Weeks in August Frank Robinson 2500

December 8
Changing the Guard by Matthew Claxton 5600

December 15
Clownette by Terry Dowling 5400
Transfer Barry N. Malzberg 3500

December 22
Luciferase by Bruce Sterling 5100

December 29
holiday
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Matthew
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 06:36 am:   

I read "The Dragons of Summer Gulch" by Robert Reed. Liked it a lot. I wonder if he is planning to write more stories in the same mileu?
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JJA
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 08:24 am:   

I haven't read Reed's new story yet, but can I assume that it's set in the same milleu as his F&SF story, "The Dragons of Springplace" (F&SF, Feb. 1997)?

If so, then you've got at least one more story to read, Matthew.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 08:45 am:   

Dunno. I'll ask him.
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Robert Reed
Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 07:25 am:   

The two stories share nothing but dragons, and even the dragons are totally unrelated.

Thanks.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 12:54 pm:   

Well I suppose I would have figured it out when I read the story, but good to know! At least now I know I shouldn't bother to dig up my copy for F&SF to re-read the other one.

The titles were so similar, they sounded like a series, which is why I'd assumed they were related.

Either way, I look forward to reading it (when I get a chance), and good to see you here, Bob.
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Mike Bailey
Posted on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 02:59 pm:   

When I read "Super 8" by Terry Bisson, I was stuck by the notion that the words were written in a similar fashion to the camera work in the tale.
I was visualizing the camera work done at odd angles, strange lighting, sometimes in a herky-jerky manner, like the "Blair Witch Project" or some other non-traditional filming method.
Then I noticed that the words seemed to flow the same way. First, a one word sentence. Then, a long gasp of words, chopped up with commas; a deluge of scenes. I thought the style of narration was a nice complement to the recurring home-movie dream that drove the characters back together.
I was wondering if Bisson intended the parallel, or if it was a happy accident.

(Sorry to have been gone so long, Ellen.)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 08:05 pm:   

Welcome back, Mike.

I don't know I'll ask Terry to come by.
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Tribeless
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 02:54 am:   

Goodness, I just noted a few posts up there's a Bruce Sterling coming up on the 22nd. Yippee.

But Bruce, if you glance this way, I've had your novel 'The Zenith Angle' on my wishlist at Palm eReader for months, waiting for a Lotto win so I can afford the $16.15 price. Perhaps tell your publisher a lower price allows more people to buy the book so you still make more profit. Now my initial enthusiasm has waned I may just wait for it to come to the library ... about 2020 here in New Zealand.

Terry Bisson is really growing on me. I loved 'Super 8'.

But looking forward to that Sterling. Want to give us a bit of a trailer Ellen: is it cyber punky, what, which, why, where ?

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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 04:02 am:   

Tribeless --

I understand your concerns about pricing, but let me tell you, the Sterling novel is totally worth $16.15. It's easily one of the best novels of the year; in fact, is one of Sterling's best.

And speaking of Sterling stories, there's one in the January F&SF too.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 08:23 am:   

Tribeless,
I hope you're not disappointed in the Sterling. it's not cyberpunky at all. It's about a lovelorn firefly and his search for happiness in the bug world. Really :-)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 08:24 am:   

A partial schedule for January:
January 5
Nocturne by J. R. Dunn
Gather Blue Roses by Pamela Sargent

January 12
Follow Me Light by Elizabeth Bear

January 19
The Five Cigars of Abu Ali by Eric Schaller
Beam Us Home by James Tiptree, Jr.
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Tribeless
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 05:46 pm:   

Fireflys ?

oh

JJA, you've made me think a bit harder on purchasing Zenith Angles, but I can purchase 48 bottles of beer for that price. Plus your judgement is a bit suspect; you keep rejecting my stories after all :-)

No problem parting with the money for F&SF though, so I'll pick up a copy of the January (2005?) edition from Ficitionwise.com

(Just love the ability to purchase e-versions for instant gratification.

But fireflys? I wonder where Sterling is going (I guess you have to grow - but to fireflys and bug worlds?)

Are blokes in for a hard time in the upcoming Tiptree Ellen?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 06:07 pm:   

Tribeless,
Yup--fireflies...interestingly Gardner hated it but Jonathan Strahan and Nick Gever loved it....

Regarding the Tiptree--nope. Different kind of story--just as grim but different.
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Jonathan
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 06:48 pm:   

Hey Ellen - I do like "Luciferase", but then I'd had years of trying to work out Howard's "Scientifiction" as practice. On THE ZENITH ANGLE, I'd describe it this way. It's a lousy novel, but a great book. It has the attention span of an accute sufferer from ADD, but everything in it is fascinating and timely. Wonderful stuff, if not necessarily wonderful novel writing. - Jonathan
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 08:11 pm:   

Jonathan--I thought it a nice change of pace for Bruce and for the site.Instead of a xmas story (which I published early in the year :-) )
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Jonathan
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 09:45 pm:   

Ellen - I agree. It's a good story, and seemed different for SciFiction, which is always a good thing. I don't expect it, particularly, to be up for awards or such, but it's a definitely worth reading and shows Bruce trying other things - J
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JJA
Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 09:12 am:   

Tribeless--

If you think fireflies are a strange subject for Sterling, wait til you read about the Blemmye. And yes, it's in the Jan. 2005 issue (sorry I neglected to mention *which* Jan. issue I was talking about).
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JJA
Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 09:14 am:   

Er... that's not quite how I wanted my post to look. Good thing I'm an editor, not a web designer.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 02:50 pm:   

What the heck is that picture? I love it!
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JJA
Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 04:41 pm:   

That's a blemmye. Ellen, if you love that image, you must read Bruce's new F&SF story! It's got one of 'em (it's called "The Blemmye's Strategem").

In my errant post, I now realize I also neglected to post the link from where that image was derived. Here 'tis: http://publish.uwo.ca/~mjtoswel/heather/species_of_monsters.htm. Also has much information about blemmyes and other weird creatures.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 09:32 pm:   

Very cool.
Thanks for posting it.
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Terry Bisson
Posted on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 08:06 am:   

Mike & Others Kind Enough to Show and Interest in my Story:

A happy accident, I guess. I did try and make the camera eye more garrulous and the 'people' (the present narrative) more minimalist, and then toward the end blend the two.
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chance
Posted on Friday, December 17, 2004 - 02:14 pm:   

I really enjoyed "The Clownette" this week. (Well except for the bad dream it gave me, that not so much.)

I wrote up a longish discussion of it for my journal which I'll excerpt here:

I'm not much of a fan of horror, but I found a lot of things to like in this piece. The language had a careless ease that drew me into the story. It opens with the narrator being forced to take a room that is only used when the motel is full. He says it isn't a bad room and he makes a point of telling us there are far worse rooms. But it is with a sense of dread that he is offered "the Clownette or nothing." He tries to make light of the clownface that appears in the wall "Peekaboo! Bozo in the Wall!" Dowling does a nice shift at the end of this scene, where the anxiety of the narrator isn't focused on the clown, but on the reception clerk who is treating him with an odd formality. He is "Mr. Jackson" and "sir" and you can feel that the narrator is far more troubled by this than the prospect of sleeping in the Clownette.

And Dowling plays this well, by the time he opens the door into the Clownette and describes the anticipation of stepping into the room I was hooked.

"Both parts of the 516 experience for me. First the "Rush of Weird," as I called it, the deep-anxiety, almost-dread stab of whatever it was I felt whenever I first opened the door on any visit. More than the Motley itself, it was that feeling that struck the brain, poleaxed the spirit, made me want to turn and run. It only happened on that first opening of the door during any stay.

Then there was the face."

I liked the way he ties back the reaction of the clerk into the mysterious clownface, or the motley as he calls it right at the time we start learning the truly weird things the clownface can do - like move if blocked by furniture.

This story plays into the classic horror mode where the reader can sense that something very bad is going to happen, and the narrator is trying to convince himself that his fears are unfounded, so he acts foolhardily. Jackson decides he wants to provoke the motley, perhaps as a method of laughing at his fears and enjoying the thrills we get when we do something that is dangerous, and to prove himself a better man than George.

Soon the story takes a surreal turn and I thought some of the nicest writing occurred. At one point he wakes up in the middle of the night and decides that he should go down to the desk to get a sleeping pill and to give the motley a chance to reappear, since it has disappeared from the wall. He describes part of his walk down the corridor

"Almost at the lifts, I noticed Room 502 with its double spy hole: one at the usual eye level, one lower down for guests in wheelchairs, children, shorter people.

My rational mind understood, but the night terrors had me.

Being watched by something doubled over, folded on itself."

By the time he reaches the desk I am begging him in my mind not to go back up, even though I know he will.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, December 17, 2004 - 03:07 pm:   

Hi Chance,
I saw (I think on the SCIFI.COM BB) that you were disappointed by the ending --sorry to hear that. I thought the ending was one of the more imaginative ways it could have been dealt with. ;-)
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chance
Posted on Friday, December 17, 2004 - 04:04 pm:   

I saw (I think on the SCIFI.COM BB) that you were disappointed by the ending

Yes that is true (though unless someone pasted my comments to the scifi.com bb, you didn't read it there) My complete comments can be found <a href="http://www.cmorrison.com/writing/2004/12/thoughts-on-this-weeks-story-at-sci.htm l">here</a>.

I decided not to include my comments about the ending here mainly because as I said at the start of my review - I am not a fan of horror. And I expect that colors my reaction to the ending. (Not that it isn't a valid reaction, but I think when people who are outside the genre review stuff that they are predisposed to dislike, it is hard to separate the genre dislike from what they disliked about the story. And when I say people, I obviously mean me. And I did like this story quite a bit)

When I write up reviews in my journal it is more to codify my reaction to craft issues in a story and to clarify how I feel about it as a writer; whereas, when I post here I am mainly posting as a reader, and I generally perfer not to comment negatively on things that are outside my bailiwick, if that makes any sort of sense.

(Ok, I also hate to publish negative things about a writers work in a forum I know there is a good chance they will read it unless I am feeling pretty confident about what I am saying.)
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chance
Posted on Friday, December 17, 2004 - 04:05 pm:   

hmm i dunno why the html tag didn't work right. i really should preview stuff
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 12:00 am:   

I do that too Chance :-) (screw up the tags)

Hmmm. Maybe it was on the short form? and that linked to your review?

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chance
Posted on Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 06:55 am:   

ah short form - of course that's where you read it.
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chance
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 07:58 am:   

Oh this week's story is fun! I'm still laughing.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 10:12 am:   

Glad you liked it. I really wasn't sure about how it would be received--I know at least one other editor who hates it :-)
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chance
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 12:04 pm:   

One technical note - on the main sci fiction page - http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/ - if you click on Bruce Sterling's name it still brings up Dowling's bio. (Though it works properly when you are on the story page.)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 03:18 pm:   

Oooh. Thanks for catching that. I hope I've reached someone at the office before they've left for the day.
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T Andrews
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 11:03 am:   

I loved Sterling's story, too!
Clownette, by Terry Dowling was very good, as well.
Looking forward to January.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 12:51 pm:   

Here's the whole January schedule and the first week of February:
January 5
Nocturne by J. R. Dunn
Gather Blue Roses by Pamela Sargent

January 12
Follow Me Light by Elizabeth Bear

January 19
The Five Cigars of Abu Ali by Eric Schaller
Beam Us Home by James Tiptree, Jr.

January 26
A Man of Light by Jeffrey Ford

February 2
Matricide by Lucy Sussex
Familiar Pattern by A. Bertram Chandler writing as George Whitley
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 12:22 pm:   

If you haven't seen Gardner's post in the F&SF section (and my response) then I'll repeat my own here:

I'm appalled that the recommendation period for the Nebula award is almost over for 2004 and there are hardly any stories, novelettes, or novellas that have enough recs (10) to make the preliminary ballot. I urge members of SFWA to recommend short work that you enjoyed this year (from any venue) NOW!!! You can do it online.

IMO the quality of sf/f short fiction is as good as if not better than ever.
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alan resnick
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 08:41 pm:   

IMO, the quality of sf/f short fiction was rather poor this year, hence the low amount of recs. Acually, the quality of sf/f short fiction may not have been poor--just those that were selected for publication. This problem has been addressed before, Ellen. However, the editors-that-be continue to publish the same quality of stories by many of the same authors (sorry).
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 09:33 am:   

Yup. And of course I and my colleagues believe we published terrific stories this year ( I know I believe that) many of which deserve recognition if not actual awards.

As Jonathan Strahan mentions in the F&SF topic, he and Charles Brown got over 400 recommendations of short fiction from various editors working in the sf/f field today and from that they'll have to prune it down to about 100 stories. And yes, of course they're our favorite stories among those we've published, but hey, we're readers too.

Don't be sorry. As you say, it's your opinion.
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BenjaminG
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 07:15 pm:   

I'm appalled by the lack of quality of sf/f fiction being published. So much hackneyed writing is coming from the same authors over and over again. The sales numbers of the pro sf/f pulps are continually dropping, yet the editors can't seem to put their fingers on the problem. They keep blaming everything from illiteracy to video games, but never their own 'terrific' choices. I think it's fortunate, Ellen, that you have no real method of tracking exactly how much readership you have at SCIFICTION. Trust me: It's the stories, stupid.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 09:01 pm:   

Benjamin, I've finally gotten recent figures on our readership and they're quite good, thank you. So you're wrong ;-)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 09:03 pm:   

By the way, Benjamin what exactly have you read recently and where? What didn't you like about the stories you've read. Have you liked any short fiction you've read in the last year? What storise and by whom.

Prove to me you're not actually trolling and let's have a disucussion.
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 11:38 pm:   

^I've been finding multitudes of short stories in the good to great range this year. I'm not a SFWA member, but I would certainly nominate "Leviathan Wept" if I was. There was lots of other stuff I enjoyed, too, though I still haven't read the Witcover story or "Shadow Twin." And as for new writers, wasn't "The Anatomist's Apprentice" Matthew Claxton's first published story, and "Changing the Guard" his second?

My suspicion is that anyone who hasn't found at least a few gems in 2004 either needs to broaden their reading, or has some vested interest in not finding anything worth their time.
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terry
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 06:54 am:   

I don't think the stories are "hackneyed", I think most are boring.
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BenjaminG
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 06:58 am:   

Ellen, likewise, why not post those 'quite good' readership figures with the rest of us...?
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Diana Rowland
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 08:47 am:   

I posted this on the F&SF board, but I'll repost it here since it certainly fits this thread:

I think it is far too easy to look at the past through rose-colored glasses, and the same goes for comparing and evaluating the quality of genre fiction from twenty years ago (or more) and now. On a recent visit to the homestead, I stumbled across a stack of old Analogs from the eighties. I thumbed through a number of them and discovered that not only did I not recognize the names of 90% of the authors, but about a third to half of the stories just didn't really grab me. That correlates almost exactly to the present day when I pick up any sf/f magazine--I tend to like about half of the stories.

The problem with saying that sf/f stories have decreased in quality, is that the stories that one remembers from bygone decades are, of course, the most excellent standouts in the field. Therefore you're comparing the present days' entire field of stories to the cream of the crop from the past.

I do not think that the stories have decreased in quality. I do think that the style and tenor of stories has changed throughout the years, which is perfectly normal and expected as a natural evolution of the genre. Stories that are hailed as masterworks today would have no doubt been poorly accepted twenty years ago. Evolution and change are good for the field as a whole, though of course there will always be those who bemoan any change from the classic forms.

Diana Rowland

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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 09:56 am:   

Because I'm not allowed to as per corporate policy.

>>>Ellen, likewise, why not post those 'quite good' readership figures with the rest of us...?

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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 09:59 am:   

So Terry, what kind of fiction do you like? Again, name some stories (not on SCIFICTION --anywhere). It's awfully easy to be negative. Make suggestions as to what kind of fiction you'd like to see?

<<<I don't think the stories are "hackneyed", I think most are boring.

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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 10:07 am:   

Diana,
I agree with you. I've read or reread a lot of "classics" over the past five years looking for stories to publish every other week in our classics section --some hold up, others don't.

Some are so boringly written that the ideas don't matter to me because I can't get past the prose.

Some are dated in their treatment of male-female relationships but are interesting as artifacts of a different age.

Some are so dated in their worldview that they're offensive.

If sf/f didn't evolve it would be dead in the water. And despite the negative waves pouring off some readers, I don't think it is.

Yes, the traditional sf magazine circulations have declined but sf and fantasy has infiltrated the also see more and more little magazines starting out and experimenting--some successfully, others not.
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Vylar Kaftan
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 06:29 pm:   

Isn't that part of the idea behind the essay "The Golden Age of Science Fiction is Twelve" by David Hartwell?

We tend to remember past years more fondly than they perhaps deserve, because we mature as readers.

I know I've gone back to stories I thought were incredible ten years ago, only to find they didn't really hold up. The reverse happened too: stories I "didn't get" then are intriguing now.

Like Diana, I've found that the quality of stories published today is no better or worse than the past.

On another note: Ellen, with the holidays/end of year madness, should we expect a longer response time for manuscripts? Thanks.

--Vy
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 07:33 pm:   

Vy, the holidays aren't the problem. The real problem is that January 9th I leave for three weeks in NZ and then Australia and won't be back till the 31st....

I'm trying to catch up with my reading as much as possible and Kelly should be able to pick up the current slush mid-January, when she comes to NYC for the KGB readings.

I've set it up that a friend will come in a few days before I'm home to open and sort all my mail from the time I'm away --including mss. So hopefully, I'll be able to get back up to speed fairly quickly when I get back.

I'm currently up to November 10th of my own non-slush pile and plan to read and buy some more in the next week and a half.
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Vylar Kaftan
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 07:36 pm:   

Thanks. I hope you have a wonderful time at Clarion South. When you go to New Zealand, try not to step on any hobbits.

--Vy
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 08:50 pm:   

If I can I'll stomp on a few :-)
I've been told by the person I'm staying with in Tasmania that his neighbors have platapods (plural of platapus) in their trout pond !!

And I'm hoping to hug a koala outside of Brisbane.
As long as the poisonous snakes and other critters don't get me.
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rick bowes
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 09:04 am:   

Hi Ellen

To go back to an earlier thread, the recent lack of Nebula recs has little or nothing to do with the quality of the stories being published and a great deal to do with the internal politics of SFWA. Most SFWS members don't bother to rec items. This is especially true of newer/younger members. A few years ago when as many as 30-40 works would qualify in certain catagories, certain members complained about log-rolling. A set of guidelines was instituted that seemed to discourage recs. I notice that in the final weeks of the year there's been more activity.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 09:23 am:   

Hi Rick,
Yeah...I've been reading the back and forth on sff.net. I hadn't realized the new etiquette suggestions had had such an impact on the recommending process.
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rick bowes
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 02:21 pm:   

That's the most recent thing to push the numbers down. The declining importance of SFWA, the move away from New York and L.A. for the ceremony, the flawed qualification rules, have all tended to marginalize the Nebulas. Good stuff can still win, though.
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Jason D. Wittman
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 11:15 pm:   

Hi Ellen,

Jason Wittman here. I just got your rejection notice for my story. Thanks for pointing out the grammatical errors, and for your comments. I've been told by other people that my stories tend to be a bit longish. Knowing how my mind works, it will be a while before I figure out how to make them shorter. Oh well, back to the salt mine.

Thanks again,

Jason
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 08:55 am:   

Hi Jason,
You're welcome. Send another :-)
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StephenB
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 09:55 am:   

I think current SF is good and I'm optimistic about the field. I think the quality of writing has gone up a lot since the golden age. SciFiction is currently publishing some of the best SF. For those who view things in terms of econimics, remember that SciFiction is the top paying market and will attract a lot of good fiction.
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chance
Posted on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 01:09 pm:   

I really enjoyed this weeks story. I've written up some thoughts, but since they are pretty spoilery, I'll just link to them - http://www.cmorrison.com/writing/2005/01/nocturne-by-j.html
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T Andrews
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 07:11 am:   

Ellen:
Hope you're having fun.
Elizabeth Bear's "Follow Me Light" was absolutely 100% fantastic. I Loved It.
Thanks!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 10:26 am:   

Hi Chance,
I missed your note above when I checked earlier so just got to your review. I disagree with your judgment that the choice was made with the full knowledge of Carey. But since the final answer to this is not in the text we can only continue to speculate.

T.Andrews.
glad you liked the Bear story. I'll see if I can get both Jeff Dunn and Elizabeth Bear to come by.


Leaving for NZ in a few minutes. On to Brisbane and Clarion.

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Elizabeth Bear
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 01:16 pm:   

T. Andrews:

Thank you! What an unexpected gift your compliment is.

I had another story at SCIFICTION in April of last year--"This Tragic Glass," which is also something of a romance, if it interests you.

--EBear
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T Andrews
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 02:33 pm:   

Ms. Bear: I will certainly add "This Tragic Glass" to my must-read list. Thanks!
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chance
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 03:37 pm:   

Hi, Ellen

I disagree with your judgment that the choice was made with the full knowledge of Carey. But since the final answer to this is not in the text we can only continue to speculate.

Well, I wasn't actually convinced she was a willing participant, but I wasn't convinced she wasn't.

And I guess part of what bothered me is that Mallon allowed Talwar to be killed when I found there to be ambiguity there. (It's not like he ever meets her, so his decision is based off of second- and more hand information.)

My comments on the ending are more musing on my own societal biases (and by extension other readers') - would we have bought into the ending of the story if Talwar and Carey's sexes had been reversed? - my personal inclination is to say no. (But obviously something I can't prove without writing my own story :-) )

*g* and speculating is fun - that's part of why it is an interesting story - there are so very many ambiguous moral choices made.
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JJA
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 06:30 am:   

Ebear --

See, this is when you take a page from Matt Hughes and you mention that, oh by the way, if you liked that story, I also have a new novel out from Bantam called Hammered, and it's in stores now!
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Elizabeth Bear
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 11:46 am:   

JJA--

I see there's no subtlety around you! (And thanks for the plug, man.)

--EBear
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J.R. Dunn
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 07:11 pm:   

Chance:
Ambiguity --yeah, there always is in moral questions, that's what makes them so difficult. But here it's more apparent that real. Nobody knows what really occurred between Talwar and Carey, and nobody's ever going to know. But consider the circumstances: an obsessive billionaire v. a young music student. Who comes out ahead? The question answers itself.

And doesn't Talwar's final tirade to Mallon have the slightest touch of a guilty conscience about it?

On to your fine review. Would reversing the sexes of the protagonists change the results? I dunno --maybe it would alter the progression of events; women do things differently than men, after all. But... la belle dame sans merci is a literary figure with a long history, from Lady Macbeth to the Jane Greer character in "Out of the Past" (noir is crawling with them, in fact), and most of them don't end up very happily. I think the woman as transgressor gets clocked the same as the men do. But that does bring up the question of what a woman's abuse of biotech would look like, as opposed to Talwar's "she is mine, and I will do what I want with her" attitude.

So thanks for a potential story idea, as well as a first-class review. Always good to know somebody's reading out there.

--JRD
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 03:11 pm:   

I'm delighted to announce that "The Wolf-Man of Alcatraz" by Howard Waldrop, has been nominated for the British SF Award. Yayyy Howard. Winners will be announced at Eastercon in the UK in March.
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AndWat
Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 06:22 pm:   

I also enjoyed "Follow Me Light" very much. I did a rather clumsy job of explaining why at my blog:
http://andwat.blogspot.com/2005/01/friday-update.html

In the interests of plugging Elizabeth Bear's work, and of lacking subtlely, I'll add another link, this one to "Two Dreams on Trains," an other story of hers recently published online.
http://www.strangehorizons.com/2005/20050103/dreams-f.shtml

Andrew
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 11:59 am:   

Really liked "Five Cigars," Ellen -- it's got a slightly Canadian feel :-)

And I'll add a couple more plugs for Elizabeth Bear's work: the evocative "Seven Dragons Mountains" in All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories, and her first novel, All the Windwracked Stars, which she is reprinting on her journal.
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EricS
Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 07:36 am:   

Robert--

Glad to read that you enjoyed "Five Cigars." You'll have to explain to me what you mean by a "slightly Canadian feel." Anything more than bitterly cold winters?

Thanks for posting.--Eric
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 11:52 pm:   

^Bitter cold is enough to make anything Canadian :-)

I've been reading a lot of Canadian short story cycles recently (Gabrielle Roy, Margaret Laurence, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood), and "Five Cigars" shares a certain tone with some of these stories -- although the uplifting (even sentimental) ending is all-American.

I tend to see Canada as something of a tabula rasa when it comes to stories and myths from other cultures because we don't really have strong national myths of our own such as the American notion of "manifest destiny." It seems to me that America appropriates and adapts stories (melting pot), while Canada transplants whole and relatively unchanged (cultural mosaic) -- though perhaps the Americans here disagree?

The "slight Canadian feel" I detect in "Five Cigars" stems from the passive, almost outsider perspective of the main character, but I suppose "Five Cigars" ultimately becomes an American adaptation of the Ali Baba cluster of myths and therefore -- given my musings above -- is quintessentially American.
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EricS
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 10:06 am:   

Robert--

Hmmm..some interesting ideas to chew on.

I hadn't thought about the ending as being all-American, but it is true that I wanted some balance of happiness in the story.

The concept of the outsider viewpoint is also interesting, and is certainly an appropriate vantagepoint from which to consider the action, although I hadn't thought about it that concretely when working through the narrative. The main character is put into a situation where he is an outsider, even though he is in his own home. The discomfort in that position ultimately results in him giving up his passivity to take some action.

So the story begins north of the border and then moves south, if one wants to adopt the Canadian/American distinction :-)

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JV
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 10:26 am:   

Sounds racy, Eric.

JeffV
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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 02:46 pm:   

Hmm. I didn't feel the story felt Canadian at all.
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 09:35 pm:   

^I suppose I just tossed the "Canadian" thing out there and didn't expect to get called on it. Who expects the author to show up and question your vague pronouncements? -- it's like something out of a Woody Allen movie!

:-)
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chance
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 09:43 am:   

I quite enjoyed "The Five Cigars of Abu Ali" - especially since we are enjoying quite the weather described in the opening up here in Boston this week.

I loved the leisurely roll into the meat of the story, and the story within a story within a story.
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 08:20 am:   

I've put up a review of Jeffrey Ford's A Man of Light here:

http://www.journalscape.com/sfreviews/2005-01-28-15:37

I had slightly mixed feelings about the story, but enjoyed it nonetheless.
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JeremyT
Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 02:08 pm:   

I read "Matricide" today. Between the stories you publish, Ellen, and Nick Mamatas sending me interesting things, I have to admit that I am slowly becoming a fan of horror fiction.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 05:17 pm:   

Glad to hear it Jeremy. The best of horror fiction is really really wonderful. (IMHO) :-)
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JeremyT
Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 08:30 pm:   

I hate things that scare me, but I find that the best horror fiction for me isn't about fear, it's about something a little different... disquiet, maybe? I'm not sure I can put my finger on it just yet.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 08:35 pm:   

I like being creeped out in a subtle way, myself. Fear, while maybe not overt, is a part of it.
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T Andrews
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 07:41 am:   

Hi Ellen~ On the SCIFICTION page, under Marc Laidlaw's title, "Jane", the blurb is still from last weeks's story.
Now to read it!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 08:46 am:   

I know I know. There were several problems. I hope they'll all be taken care of soon.
Thanks for the alert.
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T Andrews
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 08:34 am:   

Well, I really enjoyed Marc Laidlaw's JANE. I thought the people in his story were very well-drawn with an economy of words. A little went a long way. The tension was almost painful and the ending, which surprised me at first, seemed on second-glance perfectly fated. A very culturally interesting setting.
(BTW MarcL, we crossed paths on Ford's synchronicity thread. When you revealed your upcoming Jane story, I was working on a story about a Jane, too...I was thinking of making it my first submission to SciFiction. Yours is nothing like mine, and, I suspect, far superior to boot.)

Ellen: I also loved MK Hobson's HELL NOTES. Nice gorey visuals and satisfying conclusion.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 08:37 am:   

I'll tell Mary H to drop by to look at your nice note about her story. I'm sure Marc will be here :-)
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 10:45 am:   

Lurk lurk lurk.

Thanks for the feedback on "Jane." I carried around the nugget of this story for a long time, but I'm glad to finally have it out of my head. It originally came out of research on modern Cambodian history and the Khmer Rouge that I was doing for THE 37TH MANDALA. Last summer I finally wrote one sort of satisfactory draft that felt incomplete. I didn't know what was missing. Then we happened to go to a state fair where there was a raptor demonstration, and a lot of information about falconry. The falcon was in the story, but not a critical element until that moment. It's interesting how you can start a thought and then eventually the universe finishes it for you. Quite elegant, really.
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M.K. Hobson
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 02:12 pm:   

I thank you also, T. Unlike Marc, I didn't do any research, except for regular lunchtime trips to this really horrible Chinese buffet near my work. I guess my story is a form of revenge for all those bouts of heartburn.

;-)

Mary
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 02:36 pm:   

I wondered why you hadn't supplied the usual disclaimer: "No Chinese food was harmed in the writing of this story."
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M.K. Hobson
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 08:40 pm:   

The Chinese food at that place definitely harmed me more than I harmed it! I took a gastrointestinal bullet for that story, I tell you what ...

M
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chance
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 07:47 am:   

Really enjoyed "Little Faces" by Vonda N. McIntyre.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 12:06 pm:   

Hi Chance,
Glad to hear it. I think it's a very strong piece of sf and hope it gets some award attention this year.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 07:31 pm:   

March 2
Invisible by Steve Rasnic Tem
They Don’t Make Life Like They Used To Alfred Bester

March 9
The Spear Carrier by A.M. Dellamonica

March 16
Hidden Paradise by Robert Reed
Space-time for Springers by Fritz Leiber

March 23
Vanishing Act by E. Catherine Tobler

March 30
Holiday—fifth Wed of the month

April 6
Rocket Fall by David Prill
The Sea Was Wet as Wet Can Be by Gahan Wilson


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chance
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 03:14 pm:   

I think it's a very strong piece of sf and hope it gets some award attention this year.

Me too. I think it has some of the delightful originality of worldbuilding that excites me in the way "The Voluntary State" excited me last year.

I posted some more detailed thoughts on it here:

http://www.livejournal.com/community/shortform/16446.html
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 03:55 pm:   

Hi Chance,
I saw that and sent Vonda over to look :-)
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JeremyT
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 08:37 am:   

I agree with Chance. This kind of really deep worldbuilding turns my crank, just like the "Voluntary State" did. I relish that sense of being completely lost in the opening of a story and feeling that I finally understand how the world works and what has happened by the end. To coin a term, I'll call it the SFFE or siffy moment: "scales falling from eyes." The siffy moment is what defines SF/F as different from other genres for me, as a reader.

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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 08:56 am:   

I had hoped that's what WOULD happen to readers. That they'd be patient enough to go with the flow of being in the middle of an "incident" and get carried on until they got caught up in the world. Glad it worked for both of you.
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 11:28 am:   

Damn, I am way behind on my Sci Fiction this year. And it looks like a ton of great stuff coming up. I guess I'll get to it all eventually.

:-(

JK
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - 08:44 am:   

A bit behind everyone else, I've finally read and reviewed Little Faces:

http://www.journalscape.com/sfreviews/2005-03-01-16:15/
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - 09:17 am:   

Patrick,
Thanks for the review. I've passed your url on to Vonda.
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chance
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 09:19 am:   

I see Carol Emshwiller's "All of Us Can Almost..." made the Tiptree shortlist and Elizabeth Bear's "This Tragic Glass" made the Tiptree long list.

Congratulations to both.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 12:12 pm:   

Hi chance,
Yes, I'm very pleased to see them on the lists.
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Michael Kingsley
Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 08:07 pm:   

Just wanted to let everyone know that "Elvis in the Attic" by Catherine Morrison recently won the Darrell Award for Best Short Story on April 2, 2005, at MidSouthCon in Memphis, TN.

http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.com/~timgatewood/sf/darrell/2005_results.html
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 02:03 pm:   

Wow!!!! Terrific.
Congratulations chance! Where are you?

Thnaks for letting us know, Michael.
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Elizabeth
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2005 - 07:34 pm:   

Ellen, I'm a lurker here but just want to say how much I have enjoyed reading SCIFICTION over the past year or so since I discovered it. Truly I am always pleased with the quality of the stories. I read the big 5 sf mags and the most memorable stories for me have been at SCIFICTION. Have to mention the recent "Guys Day Out" by Ellen Klages that actually had me all mimsy, "Invisible" by Steve Rasnic Tem, "Leviathan Wept" by Daniel Abraham (which I still think about) "Child of the Stones" by Paul McAuley, and "The Empire of Ice Cream" by Jeffrey Ford to name just a few.

Keep up the great work and thanks as well to the writers!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2005 - 08:53 pm:   

Elizabeth,
Thank you so much for delurking temporarily! Thank you thank you and all the writers thank you.

In fact, our next month's stories are:

April 20
The Passing of the Minotaurs by Rjurik Davidson 7500
Brown Robert by Terry Carr 1400

April 27
Heads Down, Thumbs Up by Gavin J. Grant 5500

May 4
And the Deep Blue Sea by Elizabeth Bear 7500
Black Country by Charles Beaumont 8500

May 11
The Girl in the Fabrilon by Marly Youmans 7200

May 18
Song of the Black Dog by Kit Reed 6000
The White King’s Dream by Elizabeth A. Lynn 2500

May25
The Scribble Mind by Jeffrey Ford 11,400

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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 04:55 pm:   

Looking good.

I'll mention that I read Space Time for Springers a while back, which I liked quite a bit. It reminds us how we are just creatures who are limited in our understanding of the world and universe by our own perceptions.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 07:44 pm:   

I looooove "Space-Time For Springers." But I love cats and know that they're pretty smart creatures--they may just not show it sometimes. :-)
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 08:14 pm:   

Yeah Ellen, I'm a cat person too. I love the little guys.:-)

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