Links (2018-06-27)

Instead of my previous practice of putting off posting these for as long as I could, which resulted in massive, partly out-of-date links posts, I’m going to try posting smaller ones (ironically, this one is not much, if any, smaller) more frequently, aiming for every Wednesday. This may not last, but we’ll see how it goes. (Tempted to rename this the Hump Day Link Dump or the Hump Dump. No? How about Week Links?)




Science Fiction


  • Uncanny #18, September/October 2017 | SF MAGAZINES. A “fine wine” review, I suppose. Not prompt, but of high quality. It particularly notes the Prasad and Cooney stories on the positive side of the ledger (as I did individually, without writing up the entire issue) and the counter-productive ideological excesses on the negative side.
  • Tyrannosaurus Ranch: In Praise of Form Rejection Letters. Some may appreciate this generally, but I was particularly struck by one element: “Now, some personal rejections can, in fact, help you revise the story into something more publishable. However, in order to give advice of that caliber and with that great detail, an editor is going to have to do some thinking–and thinking takes time. Time that editor could spend on reading more stories.” We certainly wouldn’t want editors thinking would we? What if John Campbell had spent time composing multi-page letters to authors? What if diamonds in the rough were polished rather than just being rejected (or, worse, accepted)? Why, we might have a Golden Age! I think Afsharirad is confusing editors with anthologists. Not every thing in this fast-paced world is better with speed and editors should take time to make authors and stories better. And there should be good proofreaders, too!
  • Gardner Dozois Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and F&SF – Locus Online. Speaking of a guy who was both an anthologist and an editor. (Joe Haldeman has a great comment (seen at File 770) on what a real editor can do. Speaking of  “The Hemingway Hoax,” he said Dozois “cut [the novel version] to shreds so he could run it as a novella in Asimov’s. He did so much damage to it that it won both the Hugo and Nebula.”) And Dozois was a reviewer, too! I’m not sure what the backlog on these is like, so don’t know if this is the first posthumous one or also the last ever, but reading it produces a weird feeling, either way. We certainly didn’t have the same taste but he just as certainly influenced me and it’s interesting to see that, in this particular review, he recommends a Clarkesworld story I was less impressed by but thought was clearly the most significant tale of the issue, the two stories he notes in Lightspeed were the ones I gave a recommendation and an honorable mention to, and my favorite story in the F&SF is the one he names the best. It all differs by degree and he’s much more positive about much more than I was but the point is that he influenced me (and a generation or two of readers) in many pervasive, indefinable ways.
  • Black Gate » Black Gate Book Club, Downbelow Station, Fourth Discussion. The Union/Alliance conflict is growing and the panel is getting more excited.


  • 1957-06-21 Berkeley Breathed
  • 1977-06-21 Maria Dahvana Headley
  • 1947-06-22 Octavia E. Butler
  • 1936-06-23 Richard Bach
  • 1964-06-23 Joss Whedon
  • 1916-06-24 John Ciardi
  • 1903-06-25 George Orwell
  • 1935-06-25 Charles Sheffield
  • 1954-06-26 James Van Pelt

Charles Sheffield wrote one of my favorite SF novels with Between the Strokes of Night. I know it’s been revised, but I only know the original version. He also wrote one of my favorite connected collections with The Compleat McAndrew. You can get started with “Killing Vector” and “Moment of Inertia” along with many other fine stories listed in the link. Butler is famous for her many novels and didn’t actually like to write stories much but she was extraordinarily good at it. Bloodchild and Other Stories is a masterpiece. Van Pelt has also written scads of  noteworthy stories, including “Of Late I Dreamt of Venus.” I haven’t loved everything I’ve read by Headley, but, among those I have, “The Scavenger’s Nursery” made the biggest impression.

This is the week for stretches, too. Whedon is more visual but has created some of the best SF/F shows (and movies) around. Breathed‘s also a stretch, but Bloom County‘s among my top three comic strips. While Ciardi was a poet who wasn’t above writing limericks with Isaac Asimov and pseudonymously contributed two stories to F&SF, I appreciate him most as translator of Dante’s Divine Comedy, which is  a giant medieval poem of epic fantasy. Bach is another who doesn’t seem “part of the club” but gets a mention anyway. He’s probably most famous for the talking animal fable Jonathan Livingston Seagull but Illusions was also a fantasy of interest. And, of course, Orwell‘s Orwell.


Former Pantera Drummer Vinnie Paul Dead At 54 – Sympathies to the Abbott family, again. Continue reading