MABFAN NEWSLETTER # 17 (September 1999)

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



Well, let's get this out of the way first.

For the third time, I lost the Hugo.

"Cosmic Corkscrew," my tribute to Isaac Asimov published in the June 1998 ANALOG, was nominated for Best Short Story, and although it did respectfully in the first place balloting (ranking third), there wasn't enough support from below, and in the end, it placed fifth out of six stories.

There was some nice news on the list of almost-rans, however. "In Space, No One Can Hear" got 16 nominations (it would have needed 17 to make the ballot for Short Story), and "Absent Friends" also got 16 nominations (and would have needed 19 to make the ballot for Novelette). "Cosmic Corkscrew" got 22 nominations, which placed it nicely in the middle.

In any event, I would like to thank any and all of you who took place in the Aussiecon Three Hugo Award balloting and voted for my story. I very much appreciate it. And there's always next year!

Speaking of which-- I'm pleased to note that of this writing, the short story "In Space, No One Can Hear" and the novelette "Absent Friends," neither of which made it as a Hugo finalist, are both on the preliminary ballot for the next Nebula Award. Because of this, I decided to make these two stories available on my webpage. So if you haven't read them yet (and why not?), now's your chance.


My most important piece of recent sale news is one of which I am extremely proud. I sold a story to ANALOG called "Escape Horizion," about a black hole diving competition. I am thrilled beyond belief to report that for the first time, ANALOG has decided to give me the cover. In other words, they are commissioning a painting based on my story to grace the cover of the magazine for that month. What's even better is that they have asked Hugo Award-winning artist Bob Eggleton to do the painting. (Bob won a Hugo again this year...)

I've also sold another story to ANALOG, a short piece called "If Ben Franklin Had Gotten His Way." Now get this. I consider it a 60 word story, so at 6 cents per word I'd get $3.60 for it. Not much. However, ANALOG considers it a filler piece, because it's so short, so I get paid $25...which means my word count is 42 cents per word, the highest word count I've ever received. Of course, it's balanced with the lowest payment I've ever received, but you can't have everything. And it won't be listed in the Table of Contents as a story, but hey, it's my own personal count that matters.

And, last but certainly not least, you guessed it--another sale to ANALOG! I am pleased to announce that I have sold "Debunking the Faith Healer," a collaboration with my friend Lawrence D. Weinberg (hereafter referred to as Larry). Larry started this story a while ago, and I loved the idea behind it so much that I asked him if we could collaborate. And so we did, and it has resulted in his first science fiction sale. I'll tell you all more about the story as we approach publication.


In the realm of fiction, there are two stories which are now currently available. Well, the second one will be out shortly, so I figured I'd list it here.

The first newly published story is "Vanishing Tears," which is in the SFF-NET anthology THE AGE OF REASON edited by Kurt Roth. This book was published just last month. SFF-Net works like a small press, so although the book is available, it's probably not going to show up in your local bookstore unless you're very lucky or dealing with a specialty bookstore. However, it can easily be ordered directly from the publisher by going to, and it costs $14.95 including shipping. The book has a whole bunch of good stories in it, and the theme of the anthology concerns things that the human race might have to deal with in the next millennium. There's also a special numbered hardcover edition, autographed by every contributor, limited to about 55 copies, and costing $75. So if you're a major collector, go for it. (Oddly enough, I have to admit that I can't afford this special edition myself.)

The other story out now is my first novella, "Reality Check." This is the third story in the "Broken Symmetry" series, and it's in the November 1999 ANALOG, which will be available at your local bookstore/newsstand in about a week and a half. (Yes, I know it's only September. But remember how publication dates of magazines work--the date was originally the month the newsstand was supposed to remove the magazine and expect the next issue to arrive. The November 1999 ANALOG is scheduled to show up on September 14.)

Finally, although it's not fiction, I have an article on the best and worst episodes of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," in the October 1999 SCI-FI ENTERTAINMENT magazine, on newsstands now. The article, titled, "It Was the Best of Nine, It Was the Worst of Nine," is sprinkled with quotes from fans about why they liked or hated certain episodes, so if you were a fan of the show as well, you might want to check it out.


I was pleasantly surprised to discover that if you look at my upcoming stories for ANALOG, there certainly are a lot of them:

And this is not to mention the few stories that are in submission, ready to be accepted at any moment. (Right, Stan?) Why am I bothering with this whole list? Well, if you like to read my stories, and you've been thinking of getting a subscription to the magazine, now may be a good time to do it. With luck, I've reached the critical mass where I'll be appearing in ANALOG often enough for a subscription to be a good investment, and you can easily place an order via the ANALOG webpage, at If you do go the subscription route, feel free to write a letter to the editor explaining how it was my frequent appearances that tipped the scales. :-)


Nomi and I won't be making any official public appearances until the year 2000. However, we will be appearing at the wedding of my younger brother Joshua on October 17, 1999. Josh is marrying Rachel Rotstein, whom, as you all may recall, heads up the Special Investigations division of the FBI in my upcoming story "The Quantum Teleporter."

Well, no. The real Rachel Rotstein is a lawyer. But one can always dream...


I've already mentioned the two stories I've added to my webpage, and a while back I added a link to my very first fan page, the Michael A. Burstein Worship Page, put together by Michael "the Admiral" Zecca. (As those of you who have already visited it know, the page is less a worship page and more of an albatross.) But one other thing I've decided to do is include a list of "Works in Progress" by title. It's a little more for my own benefit than anyone else's; by having that list on my webpage, I am constantly reminding myself of stories that need to be written, work that needs to get done. And, admittedly, putting the titles up just might whet the appetite of some visitors to the webpage.


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-- Michael A. Burstein