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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 08:48 pm:   

NOVELETS
Sweet Trap -5- Matthew Hughes
An Eye for an Eye -41- Charles Coleman Finlay
Wizard's Six -75- Alex Irvine
First Was the Word -109- Sheila Finch
Lázaro y Antonio -141- Marta Randall

SHORT STORIES
Elegy -63- Mélanie Fazi

DEPARTMENTS
Books to Look For -30- Charles de Lint
Musing on Books -35- Michelle West
Plumage from Pegasus: It's All Goodkind -71- Paul Di Filippo
Films: Perfume: The Story Of a Murderer -103- David J. Skal
Coming Attractions -140-
Curiosities -162- Bud Webster

Cartoons: Arthur Masear (40), Bill Long (70).
Cover by Mark Evans for "The Master Miller's Tale"
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 01:23 pm:   

Gordon, a minor correction to the online June listing. You have:

Cover by Mark Evans for "The Master Miller's Tale", which is for the May issue.

Dave
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S. Hamm
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 04:28 pm:   

The June cover is a Manzieri and it's a beaut.
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Charles Coleman Finlay
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 05:15 pm:   

I love Manzieri's work.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 06:31 pm:   

I love Maurizio's work as well. I can't help but feel proud of him, for I ran an original cover by him (his very first in the U.S.) for the Special 50th Anniversary of F&SF issue I put together for the SFWA Bulletin back in 1999. Not too long after that cover, he was on the cover of F&SF for the first time (and obviously not the last). I'm happy to see his work again graces the cover of F&SF.

Maurizio is bursting at the seams with enthusiasm for SF/F, and his work continues to get better and better. If he were more prolific, maybe some folks would get him on a Hugo ballot down the line.

Dave
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 05:57 am:   

Thanks for spotting that error. It's correct in the issue itself.

Dave, I think you also introduced me to Kenn Brown's work. His first F&SF cover was on the April 07 issue. (Though I don't take credit for getting Maurizio to do covers for F&SF---that was Ed Ferman's doing.)
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 05:35 pm:   

Hmm. While I have all my F&SF's moved into the new house, they're still all in boxes and I could only get to the past few years of them. Maurizio had covers (all for April, coincidentally) in 2002, 2005, and 2006. Couldn't find the Kenn Brown cover you refer to, though I only looked at April issues for the past few years. The April 07 issue was done by Mondolithic Studios, natch.

Ah, well, it's no big deal, and not worth your spending time looking it up. :-)

Dave
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 08:41 pm:   

Dave, Kenn Brown is part of Mondolithic Studios.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 08:45 pm:   

Mondolithic Studios, it sez here, is a collaborative effort between Kenn Brown and Chris Wren.

I think Manzieri's first F&SF cover was May 2000 (for "Bird Herding").
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 03:04 pm:   

S. and Gordon,

Thanks for enlightening me. :-)

Dave
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Saturday, April 21, 2007 - 08:59 am:   

Is "An Eye For An Eye" a troll story?
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Saturday, April 21, 2007 - 11:08 am:   

No, it's a near-future SF story.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Saturday, April 21, 2007 - 07:17 pm:   

That works too. :-) Thanks!
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 09:04 am:   

The early subscription copies that we mailed to ourselves arrived in Hoboken today. I'll report when the main subscription copies arrive.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Monday, April 30, 2007 - 03:10 pm:   

Tangent Online posted their review of the June issue:

http://www.tangentonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1036&Item id=259
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John William Thiel
Posted on Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - 04:24 pm:   

Just saying hello, I got the issue. The cover everyone's talking about looks like a Borg standing in front of a wormhole, which is overdone on ST spinoffs, but it was well-done.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, May 03, 2007 - 10:15 am:   

Checking copies of the issue in Hoboken, NJ arrived today.
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Alan Kellogg
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 06:10 pm:   

I got the June issue a couple of days ago. Which included a review of a book set in the town of Los Vegas New Mexico. I mention this because today my blog, Mythusmage Opines, got a visitor from Los Vegas New Mexico. This is entirely too suspicious to be planned.
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Daniel Avrin
Posted on Friday, June 01, 2007 - 11:41 pm:   

Hi, All! I'm new to the message board. Just wanted to say I think this month's cover story, Lazaro y Antonio, is a sure thing to make this year's Hugo ballot. I really enjoyed the many "big" SF themes that were touched on in an otherwise intimate story of tragedy and friendship. Kudos to Marta Randall for the story and to Maurizio Manzieri for his cover art of Ms. Randall's "Fibonacci Dancer."

Dan
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 07:23 pm:   

What was your favorite story in the June 2007 issue of F&SF? Cast your vote in the favorite story poll!

http://www.tuginternet.com/jja/journal/archives/005719.html
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Elizabeth L
Posted on Sunday, June 24, 2007 - 04:15 pm:   

I want to agree with Daniel Avrin above on Marta Randall's "Lazaro y Antonio" -- what a gem! One of the best I've read in a long time. This is the kind of story that justifies the price of the issue (or subscription) alone. If I find one such story in every issue, I feel it's worth it. Please -- more of Ms. Randall's work in the future!

I've been using my Sunday mornings to read short fiction and make comments on them and all I had beside "Lazaro y Antonio" was "Fabulous! Excellent! Worth much more than the price of the issue!" Masterful revelation of the world, of the character's identity and very poignant finale. Writing that was a delight to read.

I did find three other stories worth commenting on:

Second in line from Ms. Randall's offering was "Wizard's Six" by one of my favorite writers, Alex Irvine. I loved the voice in this, the worldbuilding and the way the story unfolded to reveal the underlying truth.

Third in line -- "An Eye for an Eye" by Charles Coleman Finlay was a great laugh and well done. It reminded me of those "America's Stupidest Criminals" videos I've watched before . . . The origin of the story makes this even more delicious -- to see how he finished the story starting with such an amazing first line -- priceless.
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Elizabeth L
Posted on Sunday, June 24, 2007 - 04:15 pm:   

That should have been two other stories worth commenting on. Need more caffeine. :-)
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Monday, June 25, 2007 - 05:07 am:   

Thanks for the feedback, Elizabeth. Marta's story knocked me out, too.
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Steven Pearce
Posted on Monday, June 25, 2007 - 06:10 am:   

A strong issue: the Hughes, Irvine & Finch being the standouts, with the Finlay not far behind. If any of the four got into any of Years Best covering 2007 they would not seem out of place.

I enjoyed Sheila Finch's story too, but Melanie Fazi's didn't work for me.
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Monday, June 25, 2007 - 11:42 am:   

Began reading my june copy.

Great cover art.

I enjoyed Mathieu Hugues' "Sweet trap", a light and funny story. The relationship between Hapthorn and his assistant is full of humor. Made me smile reading it.
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Monday, June 25, 2007 - 01:24 pm:   

Whoa! Read "Lazaro y Antonio". Sad, intriguing, bittersweet, poetic, deeply touching. It's a haunting tale. I will remember that one. A gem.

Now for the bad news: I discovered Gordon is a sadist! To announce in the june issue that a Ted Chiang story will appear in the ... september issue! Spoiler! I'm already salivating, and now I will be for three months... grrrr....
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Monday, June 25, 2007 - 02:10 pm:   

Well yes, I'm a sadist. (And probably a masochist also, given my choice of career.) But if you want to know more about Ted's story, I'm going to post a link to the page on Amazon.com promoting the chapbook edition of the story. The page will tell you a lot about the story, so you might think I'm even crueler for bringing it to your attention.

Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/Merchant-Alchemists-Gate-Ted-Chiang/dp/1596061006/
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Monday, June 25, 2007 - 02:29 pm:   

Oooh, Gordon, you're so cruel!

btw, congrats fot your Locus award for best magazine (apparently, masochism has its rewards...).
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 05:07 am:   

An Eye for an Eye: good entertainment, pleasant and readable, but nothing outstanding there, the characters are shallow (at least IMO)

Elegy: poignant but a too heavy style, I found that the story turned in circles, could have had more impact being shorter. (probably fits the situation and the obsessive character, though).
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Jeff Stehman
Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 07:33 pm:   

Sweet Trap: Matthew Hughes is my favorite regular contributor, and the Henghis Hapthorn stories are usually my favorite from him. This one, however, seemed to be missing something.

An Eye for an Eye: Read the first two pages, asked my wife what she had thought of it, and skipped the rest.

Elegy: Read the first two pages and skimmed the rest.

Wizard's Six: Loved the first half, but not the second. I think I needed a better understanding of the villain to appreciate it.

First Was the Word: This one's okay. I suspect I would have enjoyed this more if I'd have read some of the other Lingster stories first.

Lazaro y Antonio: This gets my vote for Best in Issue. Predictable ending, but well worth getting there.

All in all, a disappionting issue for me. Great Plumage, though.
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 01:35 am:   

Wizard's Six: didn't like the first part (a villain killing children, it's difficult to connect with such a character, even if there are inklings that he has some hidden history), the second part was better, as the character got more complex and human. Still a hard sell for me...
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 08:48 am:   

I enjoyed "Wizard's Six" because it set up a moral dilemma for the protagonist. He is a man of principle, of duty. The first part of the story highlights this for the reader as children are killed in a merciless adherence to this duty, this principle.

But it all hits home in the second part of the story when the protagonist's duty conflicts with his having to decide whether to kill one of his _own_ children. Questions implicit in the tale therefore and that come to mind are: when can a fast and hard principle be bent or ignored, and for what legitimate reason(s)? Can one's duty be ignored on a personal level when it may cause personal sorrow, but not ignored when no personal harm is done, but only harm to others?

Did the protagonist's resolution of his personal conflict work for the reader? Was it just, or fair? Or not.

These questions are why I liked the story; it made me ask myself what I would do if placed in the same situation.
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John William Thiel
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 03:42 pm:   

The circumstances, though, are circumstances of total evil, so the morality is just a mulch, or the ethics and whatnot, if you will. It's rather boring when there is no recourse to good.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 04:13 pm:   

Fair enough, John. By the same token, I grant the author's "setup." By that I mean the rules he's framed for the story he wants to tell. I give him that, and then go from there.

In this case, it's a rather bleak, or grim, set of paramaters with which the main character must deal. As you say, the "circumstances [are] of total evil." His choices are limited by the way the story's rules are set up, with the moral dilemma the author sets in front of him coming to a head at the end. Which, in my humble opinion, still boils down to a moral choice the main character has to face. Which is, if his code of ethics (i.e. his duty) dictates that he kill the children of others for whatever godawful reason that he seems bound by, then shouldn't that same code dictate the slaying of one of his own children?

Regardless of any culture's specific set of rules for behavior or "ethics," there will always be that case where a person finds himself caught between that society's code of conduct as a general principle, and how that code affects him on a personal level.

Granted, in this story there _may_ not be a "recourse to good," but these are the paramaters the author has set for the particular world he's writing about. I can see where one might find it boring, but for me it enhanced the main character's choice. The author gave us a regimented world to begin with, where the rules _must_ be obeyed...or great harm could befall the populace. Therefore, the breaking of these rules is a great no-no (in this specific story instance, anyway). This aspect heightened the choice the main character eventually had to face. This, for me, made the story even more tension filled as I wondered how he would resolve the dilemma.

But I can certainly see where you're coming from. :-)
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Elizabeth L
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 07:46 pm:   

Dave, OMG we agree on something! :-)

As you point out, what's important is that the world Irvine has created has its parameters and the story works within those very well. Individual readers may not like the parameters of this particular world, but that's a matter of taste.
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Daryl Gregory
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 09:02 pm:   

I just want to echo Elizabeth L and others above -- "Lazaro y Antonio" is a beautiful story.

--Daryl
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S. Hamm
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 02:26 am:   

Dave reminds me of a point I'd meant to make a couple of weeks back. We were discussing what I called the "demographic cynicism" of "The Cold Equations"; I didn't know that JW Campbell had advised Tom Godwin to change the sex of the stowaway, who was in the original draft a young man. GVG and Sheila Finch both argued that making the stowaway a young woman heightened the tragic aspect of the story by arousing the reader's protective instincts.

I'd argue exactly the opposite. Campbell had made a pretty good living peddling stories in which, at the last minute, Johnny Ramjet of Space Academy comes up with an ingenious plan, usually based on some bit of arcane scientific lore, that prevents his ship and crew from falling into the star/missing the launch window/melting upon reentry. JWC was plainly drawn to the "message" of Godwin's story, but had to figure out a way of selling his genre-savvy audience (of engineers) on a tale that hinges on the failure of ingenuity, one in which the central problem could not be solved.

The answer? Make the audience root not for the stowaway, but for the Cold Equations, and the only way to do that is by choosing the right victim: a girl, a well-meaning, overemotional, good-looking ninny who did not pay attention in class and who therefore does not "get" the Cold Equations. (And who, by extension, does not "get" the engineer-types who DO get the Cold Equations -- that is to say, the primary readership of Astounding.) The story tacitly encourages our condescension toward the female stowaway, but masks it, quite cleverly, as chivalry, a sort of scientific noblesse oblige toward those hapless souls less slide-rule-savvy than ourselves.

There is a Randian subgenre of SF stories in which the reader is invited to experience the vicarious thrill of doing something genuinely awful that is not only 100% necesary, but 100% morally justified: Dave T. writes about a couple of them here. "The Cold Equations" is one such: it's constructed so that the shuttle pilot, a Rational Man, has no choice but to eject the dewy-eyed naif. Nor is he subject to second-guessing after the fact: there is nothing to suggest that the grim expedient of ejecting-the-ninny might have been avoided, had the pilot tapped into that vein of scientific ingenuity which the genre traditionally afforded to Johnny Ramjet. There's no emotional aftermath because there's no real choice, which means there is no wrong choice, which means there is no tragedy. In fact there's barely any drama. It's one life against many; what can you do but shrug? Ooh. Pity the kid fucked up. Nothing much to do for it, though.

If you doubt the cynicism of "The Cold Equations," the ease with which it allows us to chuck the chick overboard, consider the one obvious variation that JWC somehow, cannily, managed not to suggest: the stowaway who must be jettisoned in order to save the space colony is the pilot's own child.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 05:46 am:   

Damon Knight had a funny letter in THE NY REVIEW OF SF years ago in which he guestimated the girl's weight and then came up with common shipboard items that could be jettisoned instead. I remember that he included the pens in the pilot's pocket in his calculation.
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Elizabeth L
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 06:32 am:   

S. Hamm, good point about "The Cold Equations" and the Campbellian era in general. Changing the gender of the stowaway was clearly manipulative. Glad that era is long over.

*whew*

But wait . . . didn't I read a recent story in F&SF that had a perfunctory dumb chick in it who f's things up? Yeah . . .

Guess which one?
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John William Thiel
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 06:58 am:   

I always thought "The Cold Equations" was Alpha-prime as far as its subject matter being worthy of attention. The story tends to permeate the STAR TREK series shows on TV and to be a consideration sf in general has never gotten over, because it points out that science may become robotically dominant, with the result of becoming an evil, and where does that leave its value, and where does that leave scientists? So it's still being discussed among readers and writers of sf. Cylons, by the way, one of the main sf menaces of today, have that outlook. Of course, users of a computer system would tend to favor that scientific outlook for all its faults, because a computer system is robotic, functioning in terms of the cold equations.

A definition of parameters is exactly what's involved; we need not be subject to Irvine's story, but it does dictate the circumstances. I note Dave says it made him consider matters; he's voluntarily subjected himself to its conditions, apparently because he does find some analogy to the circumstances of the story in life. He might like Oscar Deadwood's THE PERFECT REVOLUTION, too, from Silverthought Press.
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Sheila Finch
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 09:49 am:   

That's an interesting reading of "The Cold Equations," S.Hamm, and one I wouldn't disagree with. I think both readings work well for the reader. Good stories usually have more than one sub-text, often more than the author consciously determined.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 09:57 am:   

John: "I note Dave says it made him consider matters; he's voluntarily subjected himself to its conditions, apparently because he does find some analogy to the circumstances of the story in life."

Hi, John. When I said it "made" me consider matters, what I meant and what I was doing was projecting myself into the mind of the protagonist--and his plight--as closely as I could. You know, to play along and pretend that if I were him, What would I do given the world and its rules Irvine had set out for him.

I find this a valuable intellectual exercise and one readers perform internally all the time when they come across moral or ethical dilemmas, or choices, characters are asked to make in stories.

I've never been placed in circumstances like those in Alex's story, nor the horrible one I posit in my review of "First Days in May" from the column I wrote and which S. Hamm linked to above, but if I should ever find myself in such a horrible set of circumstances, at least I'll know ahead of time whether I'll be a weakling chicken or a brave hero sort of fellow--or maybe something in between, where I can do the Right Thing and still save my Own Neck at the same time. :-)

Either way, I really like these sorts of stories that make me think about what I would do. It allows me to question what I believe and who I am--and if I don't like the answers I give myself, I then delve deeper into why I believe either this or that and again _why_ I believe in certain things. It can be a great introspective learning experience *IF* you can be honest enough with yourself and don't simply rationalize all of your previously held beliefs, but honestly question why you believe the way you do.

Sometimes the answers can be quite satisfying; other times they can be quite troubling.

As far as "The Cold Equations" is concerned? I think JWC made the right choice in switching to the female for the sympathy angle. When all is said and done, guys are always going to have a soft spot for the helpless gal (some things about human nature aren't about to change, no matter how much some folks would like them to). Can you imagine when the Titanic sank if the shout were Captain, Crew, and all the Guys into the Lifeboats First! ...instead of Women and Children first??

That last was for you, Elizabeth. You scared me by agreeing with me upthread, so I thought I'd ease my own fears by saying something with which you'd probably disagree, and get us back on our usual, familiar, footing. :-)

And lest we're careful here, we'll be replaying the entire heated controversy which took place in NYRSF some years ago about "The Cold Equations." It got quite heated and lasted at least two or three issues. I think Gordon might still have been with NYRSF when this argument took place, but I can't recall. But it was a real doozy! Fascinating to be sure, but it sure got folks riled up but good, including a bunch of the Big Names. It was a real slugfest there for awhile.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 12:02 pm:   

Good lord, I'm turning into Andrea Dworkin. From my first hasty glance at Gordon's post above, I thought Damon Knight's inventory of disposable items included "the PENIS in the pilot's pocket."
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 03:49 pm:   

Gives a whole new meaning to Pocket Rocket, doesn't it? ;)
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Charles Coleman Finlay
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 04:45 pm:   

S. Hamm: but of course, that's a disposable item -- in only five more years, the penis will be obsolete.
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Elizabeth L
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 07:13 pm:   

Charles, it may be obsolete in terms of reproduction, but there's always pleasure. Even with the advent of, ah, more mechanical and/or latex substitutes, most still choose the real thing and all that comes with it. :-)
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Elizabeth L
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 07:14 pm:   

No pun intended. :-):-):-)
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 09:00 pm:   

Thanks for the warning, Charlie. I'll try to get the most out of mine before it's recalled. Or will it just be that, five years from now, I won't be able to get parts?

Matt Hughes
Majestrum
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 09:20 pm:   

I'm selling my stock in Viagra. Or, as they say in financial lingo, selling long.
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John William Thiel
Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2007 - 05:45 am:   

"Comes" isn't a pun. The term "pun" means a word combined with another word to be used with a new significance, or implying such a change, as in "a pun my word it is," implying "upon" changing into "a pun".

Why does a discussion of an issue of F&SF change into a discussion about genitals, though? F&SyPH would be a pun.
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Elizabeth L
Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2007 - 06:59 am:   

All right then, no double entendre intended.

(sheesh)
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2007 - 07:15 am:   

S. Hamm: "a girl, a well-meaning, overemotional, good-looking ninny who did not pay attention in class and who therefore does not "get" the Cold Equations. (And who, by extension, does not "get" the engineer-types who DO get the Cold Equations -- that is to say, the primary readership of Astounding.) The story tacitly encourages our condescension toward the female stowaway, but masks it, quite cleverly, as chivalry, a sort of scientific noblesse oblige toward those hapless souls less slide-rule-savvy than ourselves."

This sounds very reasonable and may be true. But condescending or not, chivalrous or not, it doesn't alter the cold equations of the story. The girl effed up and paid for it. To play devil's advocate for a moment...

...couldn't the story also be seen as a cautionary tale for _all_ who read it (not just girls) to _become_ aware of the harsh cruelty of working or living in space? I think it made all "casual" readers of the story (not the physicist types who were already hip), both male and female, realize, up close and personal, that space is a dangerous and deadly environment, and not just fun and games and adventure. Remember too, that when the story first saw print (the 50s), that not too many in the general population knew all that much about space and its hidden dangers (fuel consumption vs. payloads, etc.), and this story brought it home to them in no uncertain terms. That it _also_ played the emotional card by having the stowaway be a female just adds to the impact for the (yes) predominantly male readership of the magazine.

I think the story works on a number of levels, some intentional, some not. But just as a storytelling device alone, having the stowaway be a girl only heightened dramatic effect. It played to the societal beliefs of the time (and which still exist today) where it concerns protecting females first (the male protective instinct?)--only in this case it couldn't be done because of the "cold equations."

This third, hypothetical possibility doesn't negate other interpretations, only adds another layer of possible interpretation.

And yes, it would really have made the story even more dramatic if the stowaway had been the pilot's daughter. Excellent point, S. What an ethical dilemma _that_ would have been, which brings us back to the original dilemma posed in "Wizard's Six."
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S. Hamm
Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2007 - 01:33 pm:   

Merriam-Webster rules in favor of Elizabeth L.:

pun noun

:the usually humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest two or more of its meanings or the meaning of another word similar in sound
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2007 - 02:34 pm:   

":the usually humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest two or more of its meanings or the meaning of another word similar in sound"

This is more or less how I always understood the term too. Hence Elizabeth's inadvertant use of the word "comes" in the particular sentence in which it was used was definitely a pun.

Imaginary scenario: a man and woman, members of the Mile High Club, rent a plane to go do their thing. At altitude the engine conks out and the plane enters a nose dive. Co-pilot to pilot: "Pull out! Pull out now!" he ejaculated.

Sorry. :-) :-)
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John William Thiel
Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2007 - 03:36 pm:   

The dictionary is wrong. "Comes" as used is indeed a double entendre.

Puns originate in London where a history is kept and purists there won't have the dictionary's usage. The original puns were "portmanteau words".
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S. Hamm
Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2007 - 03:43 pm:   

JWT,

It is good to know that English usage never changes. I hope you will contact Merriam-Webster and apprise them of their mistake.

Oh, wait. You can't contact Merriam-Webster, because "contact," as any purist will tell you, is not a verb.

Wearily,
SH
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John William Thiel
Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2007 - 03:53 pm:   

The Brits evolved words to apply to other forms of wordplay. A sort of coalition of humorists existed at the time. PUNCH backs the tradition.
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2007 - 08:04 pm:   

Why does a discussion of genitals have to turn into a discussion about puns?
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Elizabeth L
Posted on Sunday, July 01, 2007 - 06:28 pm:   

The dictionary is wrong!

*laughs head off*

All right then. :-)
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Sheila Finch
Posted on Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - 09:58 am:   

"... a recent story in F&SF that had a perfunctory dumb chick in it who f's things up...."

LOL. That was probably my story. I thoroughly enjoyed writing a "perfunctory dumb chick" for once, after so many tough, smart female protagonists who save the day. Plus, I even got to write a sex scene!
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Elizabeth L
Posted on Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - 04:43 pm:   

Of course, SF is sorely lacking in dumb chicks who f things up, making it possible for the square-jawed man of science to save the day whilst flying a rocket and performing a fourier transform . . .

:-)
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PM
Posted on Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - 05:37 pm:   

Well. What are you waiting for?

Where's Paris Hilton and the Space Patrol?
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - 06:49 pm:   

Naw, Elizabeth, these days it's square-jawed lesbians* with tramp stamps who try to save the day (even though most of them wouldn't know a Fourier Transformation from a Chandrasekar Limit). This is SF's Age of Aquarius. Where ya been? ;)

*I actually read such a story in an Asimov's a few years back. The lesbian saved the day by putting her ear to the ground and getting a message from the "living planet" that helped win the day.
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John William Thiel
Posted on Friday, July 06, 2007 - 06:39 am:   

Okay, I'll lighten up. I'm going to concoct a wordplay that is not a pun, but has the spirit of making a pun to it overall...indeed, there may be a general attitude of punning. The materials are as follows:

"Mr. 'Arris Goes to Paris", a best-seller plus a film you may have seen on your television screen.

"Flight To Arras", a book by Antoine de Sainte-Exupery.

STAR TREK: VOYAGER.

Not so long ago on a Voyager re-run I saw Tom Paris taking off on a flight of his own choosing, during which, of course, he got in trouble. The following alternate title for the episode occurred to me:

"Mr. Paris Goes To Arras".

Very neat, I think; the whole of it has the looks of a pun. But "Arras" is a substitution, as written out; "Arris, France" would be a pun. There is one potential pun, thereby, in the materials: "'Arris" instead of "Harris" is a pun if used as such.

No pun intended. Not by me, anyway.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2007 - 04:19 pm:   

Here are the results of the June favorite story poll:

Sweet Trap - Matthew Hughes 10% 3
An Eye for an Eye - Charles Coleman Finlay 17% 5
Wizard's Six - Alex Irvine 10% 3
First Was the Word - Sheila Finch 0% 0
Lazaro y Antonio - Marta Randall 45% 13
Elegy - Melanie Fazi 7% 2
Plumage from Pegasus: It's All Goodkind - Paul Di Filippo 0% 0
I wasn't impressed with any of them. 10% 3


So, your winner is "Lazaro y Antonio" by Marta Randall. Congrats to Ms. Randall, and thanks to all who participated!
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, July 20, 2007 - 12:09 pm:   

Issue reviewed at BestSF.net:

http://www.bestsf.net/reviews/fsf0706.html
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Blue Tyson
Posted on Friday, August 17, 2007 - 12:36 am:   

I'll go for the Sheila Finch story to get her off the duck there. :-)

With Eye for an Eye tiebreak second.

http://notfreesf.blogspot.com/2007/08/fantasy-and-science-fiction-662-gordon.htm l
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Sheila Finch
Posted on Friday, August 17, 2007 - 09:46 am:   

Thanks, BT. I like your work too!

(Seriously. A book dealer pressed one on me at a convention in Tasmania. I read it overnight and went back and cleaned him out of the rest the next morning.)
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Blue Tyson
Posted on Friday, August 17, 2007 - 06:29 pm:   

You mean Terry Dowling?


Yes, a fabulous writer. Obviously one of my favorites. :-)
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Blue Tyson
Posted on Friday, August 17, 2007 - 06:40 pm:   

He has a new one coming out, too, Sheila, if you are interested :-

http://www.coeurdelion.com.au/
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Sheila Finch
Posted on Friday, August 17, 2007 - 08:41 pm:   

BT: LOL! (I suggested that SFWA amend the Nebula rules to include English language publications anywhere in the world, not just US, after reading your work. People hate to tinker with the Nebs rules, but that's one gross unfairness that should be rectified.)

And I'll put an order in for the new one right away.

btw, "First Was the Word" isn't one of the greatest lights in the lingster series, but it is -- at this late date 20 years after starting the series -- the explanation of how it all began.
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Blue Tyson
Posted on Friday, August 17, 2007 - 09:05 pm:   

I am not Terry Dowling, btw, it is just one of those internet userid things, using a favorite character when I had to think one up a while ago.

Here is the man himself :-

<a href="http://www.asif.dreamhosters.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=244">

He has a website, too, with the obvious url.

Making those things less insular has to be good, for sure. :-) To me he is clearly one of the best writers in the world, but did write collections that basically never mentioned Americans at all. This sort of dump them in there Smithesque style of thing perhaps never going to be massively popular, anywhere.

Do you have a website with a list of those lingster stories then? Every time I come across that sort of story I seem to like them.
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Sheila Finch
Posted on Saturday, August 18, 2007 - 10:35 am:   

Okay. (I'd adopt Dowling's monicker and his work too as my own if I thought I could get away with it! {g})

My web site is:
www.sff.net/people/sheila-finch
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Blue Tyson
Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2007 - 08:36 am:   

Thanks. :-)

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