MABFAN NEWSLETTER # 15 (March 1999)

Michael A. Burstein's "Friends Across the Net" Newsletter

Hello, everyone! I hope this missive finds you looking forward to warmer weather, as spring approaches. As it is, I'm sending it out during the latest of Boston's snowstorms, which fortunately hit on the weekend so they don't have to cancel school. Well, maybe that's not so fortunate. Anyway, on to the news.

Probably the most important news to report is that, sadly, my short story "Cosmic Corkscrew" did not make it to the Nebula final ballot. However, there's still a chance for it (and my novelette "Absent Friends") to make it to the Hugo ballot, and if anyone who missed either story would like to see a copy to judge for yourself, let me know and I'll gladly send one by e- mail. Even if you're not planning to nominate my stories, don't forget that this year the Hugo ballots must be mailed to Australia, so if you're planning to fill one out get it into the mail as soon as possible. Also, don't forget that you are eligible to fill out a nominating ballot if you were a member of last year's World Science Fiction Convention, Bucconeer, even if you have not joined this year's, Aussiecon Three.

And now, on to better news.


I'm pleased to note that since the January issue of this newsletter I've sold three stories.

The first story, "Vanishing Tears," has sold to the SFF-NET anthology THE AGE OF REASON, which is to be published this summer. "Vanishing Tears" is actually a story I started many years ago, but kept rewriting and rewriting until I got it right. The anthology is scheduled to be published this summer, but as it comes from SFF-NET it may not be available at your local bookstore. However, it should be available from and other such places, and I'll be sure to let you know how to get a copy.

The second story, I am pleased to note, is my very first novella, "Reality Check," which sold to ANALOG. There's a lot in this story that should interest everyone. For one thing, it's set in the "Broken Symmetry" universe, and forms another chunk of my novel in progress. For another thing, the protagonist of the story, David Strock, is an MIT physicist who grew up in New York City, and an Orthodox Jew. I've been wanting to deal with certain Jewish issues for a while, and in the story Strock's Jewishness is an important part of him. It's especially interesting to see how he deals with having to live in Waxahachie, Texas for an extended period of time, where things like kosher meat is hard to come by. Even if you're not Jewish, I think you'll find him an interesting character.

I return to MIT for my third story, a novelette called "The Quantum Teleporter," which has also sold to ANALOG. A murder takes place at the Media Lab, involving the creator of a teleportation machine, and FBI agent Drew Cutter is sent to investigate. The victim was found in a locked room, which doesn't seem so intractable, as the murderer could have used the new teleportation device to get in and out. Except that the room's walls are lined with cavorite, and one cannot teleport through cavorite... Cutter is a new character whom I hope to start using on a more regular basis (can you say, "series character?"), along with his division head, Rachel Rotstein, and his Media Lab contact, Jon Andover (based on a friend of mine at the lab).


No fiction, again, is currently out, but I do have three articles out.

The first one is called "Babylon 10," and it appears in the April 1996 SCI-FI UNIVERSE. I mentioned this article in last issue; basically, it's comments from fans on the top ten episodes of BABYLON 5, as voted upon in the Internet poll run by fan Mike Hopkins.

The second article is in the May 1999 SCIENCE FICTION AGE, which published my article on the science fiction community's reaction to the end of BABYLON 5 in their January 1999 issue. This new article is similar; it's about the SF community's reaction to the impending conclusion to STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE. If you're a fan of the show, you might want to check it out. Oh, yes, it also happens to be the cover story.

The final article, I'm pleased to note, is actually my first column for the SF review 'zine TANGENT ONLINE. I took over the column "The Heart of the Matter" from Catherine Asaro, a column on the science in science fiction. My first column is on "Black Holes," and you can find it at


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-- Michael A. Burstein