Things That Aren’t

Writers, it has been said, are a superstitious and cowardly, lot. As a result, most of us refuse to submit anything to anyone without having some trusted peer review it. Many writers belong to small groups that meet in person or on line and trust one another to be brutally honest with their feedback.

I’ve never belonged to such a group, more through happenstance than design. Still, I have come to rely on selected folk for their feedback for most of my work and return the favor whenever asked.

Back at DC, maybe a year or so ago, Michael A. Burstein, good friend and frequently nominated writer of short stuff, showed me a link to an article that caught his fancy. He thought it would be an excellent jumping off point for a story. I agreed and he went off and wrote something and showed it to me. I gave it a read, offered a series of constructive comments and he thanked me.

Time passed and Michael got busy and did other things and never quite got back to the story.

When he learned that Stanley Schmidt at Analog was looking for novellettes, Michael remembered the story. By then, he had a day job and other projects he was working on, and he couldn’t seem to find the time to get back to it. He then surprised me by suggesting I take a crack at the revisions using my old notes.

This came during those long, lonely months in the basement office so I grabbed at the chance to work with a pal. I did a quick draft, he tweaked, I tweaked; his delightful and patient wife Nomi then edited it. Michael dubbed it swell and sent it in.

Weeks passed and finally Stan wrote back that he was pleased with the story and wanted to buy it, but it needed some more tweaks. Michael asked me to take a stab, which I did. I rewrote, he tweaked. We mailed it off.

Last week Stan deemed himself satisfied and confirmed that he was buying the story, “Things That Aren’t” for a future issue of Analog.

He then wanted to know what we had in mind for the sequel.

“Sequel?” we asked one another in shock. Then I had an idea. Then Michael had an idea. Now we have to figure out which one works best.

News on the publication date to follow but as you might imagine, I am thrilled and delighted Michael thought enough to invite me to share in the creation. Additionally, getting into one of the most respected SF magazines around is something I never imagined happening. Trés cool!

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