MABFAN NEWSLETTER # 2 (February 1997)

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


Once again, welcome to the MABFAN Newsletter! As you can see from the subtitle above, last issue's "Name the Acronym" contest found a winner. I am pleased to announce that Leslie Turek, who among her other achievements once chaired a World Science Fiction Convention, came up with the best newsletter title as far as I was concerned. As promised, Leslie was awarded a free autographed copy of the February 1997 ANALOG with my story "Broken Symmetry." I even corrected the error on page 37, where chapter 11 should be headed Spin Up and not Spin Down.

Not to say that I didn't have many other well-thought entries. I'd like to thank everyone who entered: Jon Orwant, Tamie Fogle, Ian Randal Strock, Jon Brown, Stephen Frug, Will Glass-Hussein, Ian Soboroff, Steve Orso, Anton Smirnov, Zvi Siegel, and Doron Avizov. Entries ranged from the close runners-up (Friends and Associates; from Jon Brown) to the weird (Freaks Au Naturel; from Doron Avizov) to the downright insulting but meant in jest (Making A Big Fuss About Nothing; from Will Glass-Hussein). Ah, the slings and arrows of being a short story writer!

By the way, the number of subscribers to this newsletter has now broken one hundred. We've got no international subscribers, but we do have a correspondant as far flung as Kodiak, Alaska! (Hello, Tamie!)


The February 1997 ANALOG has come and pretty much gone (although I do have copies to sell in case anyone missed it), but the March 1997 issue follows right on its heels with my humorous short-short "Heisenberg's Magazine." I gave a little blurb about it last issue, but essentially, I came up with the idea when I had lunch with Stan Schmidt shortly after Dell Magazines moved offices, and he had trouble locating the restaurant he wanted to try out. So I wrote a story about us going to lunch, and he bought it. (I seemed to have cornered this particular subgenre of science fiction...) The story is (drumroll, please) OUT RIGHT NOW (as this section is called), and if you're interested, you can find it in the same place you found the February ANALOG.

After that, it's a bit of a dry spell, folks. Only things scheduled for the moment are stories in three anthologies, and I have no idea what the publication dates of those books are, as neither do the editors. Stock up on Burstein short stories to get through the spring!


I've had some weird cool stuff come my way since last issue. First of all, I got e-mail from a fan in France named Jirtme Baud. He had read "TeleAbsence" on the web and was interested in translating it into French and reprinting it in his fanzine, Une Possihre Nommie Terre. Well, although I've been warned not to give stories away for free, the thought of this international exposure intrigued me and so I gave him permission for one time use, if he'd send me five copies of his fanzine. I know this information is useless for most of you, but I hope you find it as cool as I did.

Secondly, I've started writing software reviews for COMPUTER SHOPPER magazine. I'm not going to bother advertising those appearances here, because frankly I'm mostly doing them for the money. If anyone really wants to read my computer reviews, let me know by e-mail and I'll point you towards the appropriate issues.

Thirdly, and most importantly, I made a sale of a psychological horror/SF story to the Angelus Press anthology DIMENSIONS OF MADNESS. I'm really excited about this sale, as the story, "Collape" is one I first wrote at Clarion in 1994 and I'm very fond of it. Only problem is, there was never an appropriate market for it. Well, now there is. Unfortunately, the book won't be out until 1998 at the earliest, but don't worry -- when it comes out, I'll let you know.

Interestingly enough, I found out about the sale just before Nomi and I went to Arisia, and when I got tapped for the Dueling Easels panel, I chose to read the end of "Collapse." What's Dueling Easels, you ask? Essentially, a writer is chosen to read a scene from his or her work, and four artists -- in this particular case: Jael, Courtney Skinner, Bob Hobbs, and finally, convention Guest of Honor (and multiple Hugo Award winner) Bob Eggleton -- do impromptu sketches based on the scene. I'm always thrilled when I see what artwork my words have managed to inspire, and in this case Nomi and I even got to bid on and take home one of the sketches. I'd love to do this again sometime.


Speaking of conventions, again, if you're looking for us on the convention circuit, we plan to attend:

Boskone 34 (Framingham, MA; February 14-16, 1997)

Lunacon '97 (Rye Brook, NY; March 7-9, 1997)

Balticon 31 (Baltimore, MD; March 28-30, 1997)

Readercon 9 (Westborough, MA; July 11-13, 1997)

Rebelcon (Taunton, MA; August 8-10, 1997)


This particular section is not news, but a reminder. As a lot of you know, last year I was nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the Hugo Award for my first short story. Well, according to the Campbell rules I am considered a new writer for two years after first publication, which means that (important point here) EVEN THOUGH I DID NOT PUBLISH ANY STORIES IN 1996, I AM STILL ELIGIBLE FOR THIS YEAR'S CAMPBELL AWARD. In fact, this is the last year in which I shall be eligible for this award. If any of you out there are members of this year's World Science Fiction Convention (LoneStarCon2 in San Antonio, Texas), or were members of L.A.con III last year, please note that you are eligible to nominate in the Campbell Award category and I am eligible to be nominated. (And I'd be happy to provide ballots to anyone who thinks theirs is lost in the mail...)

(As for Hugo Awards, well, although I had no professional publications out in 1996, I did have some fanzine publications, and last year I somehow got onto the Honorable Mention list for the Best Fan Writer Award. If people are reading my articles on-line, or in MIMOSA or PROPER BOSKONIAN, and they feel like nominating me for this honor, I'm not going to stop them.)

For informational purposes only, it is too late to join LoneStarCon2 in time to nominate in the Hugo Awards, but if you are interested in joining so you can vote in the final ballot, their address is LoneStarCon2, Box 27277, Austin, TX 78755 and the cost of a Supporting Membership (publications, right to vote, but not to attend) is $25. (URL: Note that as opposed to many other awards, anyone is eligible to nominate and vote in the Hugos. All you have to do is consider yourself a serious enough science fiction fan to be willing to cough up the money for the privilige of voting. But hey, you get lots of neat publications, too!


It occurred to me last time that I missed an obvious point here, which is that this is an electronic newsletter and a lot of the authors or magazines I'm plugging have an on-line presence. So this time, besides telling you about some great stuff out there, I'm also going to list web addresses when appropriate.

First of all, in the last issue I plugged the author Robert Sawyer, the publications of the New England Science Fiction Association, and the writing magazine SPECULATIONS. Well, you can check out their webpages at the following URLs:

Robert Sawyer:

NESFA and NESFA Press:


Now on to the new plugs. Oddly enough, although I am plugging things other than my own work, I have a connection to both of the following.

Last issue, it somehow slipped my mind to plug TANGENT, which was really idiotic of me, because TANGENT is the first magazine which put my picture on the cover. (I had to share it with a lot of other pictures, I must admit.) TANGENT is the only magazine devoted to reviewing the short fiction of the science fiction world, and last year, after I got nominated for the Hugo, editor Dave Truesdale called me up and asked if I would write an Author Profile about myself for the Summer 1996 issue, TANGENT #15. Well, I did, and Dave tells me that despite how incredibly well that issue sold, he still has some copies left. If ayone's interested, you can order a copy for a $5 check (payable to Dave Truesdale, _not_ to TANGENT) mailed to Dave Truesdale, 5779 Norfleet, Raytown, MO 64133. Tell him which issue you want, as others have come out since. (Or send him $10 and request both the Summer 1996 issue and the latest one as well!) And while you're at it, consider subscribing. As I noted above, this magazine not only does the most complete job of reveiwing short SF -- it also does the best job. Even when a story gets a bad review, it's always both well thought out and gentle criticism which clearly shows that the reviewer actually read the story. (URL:

My second "other plug" of the issue is related to the sale of "Collapse" I mentioned above. Angelus Press, the publishers who bought that story for their DIMENSIONS OF MADNESS anthology, have just released their second anthology, a 240 page trade paperbck titled NEW ALTARS. (Their first, VISION QUESTS, came out in late 1995.) This is an incredible book. It's a lavishly illustrated collection of science fiction and fantasy stories about religion, and among other things it has an introduction by Katherine Kurtz and the first fantasy story by Shamus-nominated mystery writer Charles Ardai, an event not to be missed. As I write this, the book is at the printers and expected to be out soon, but it may be a little hard to find at your local bookstore at first. If this is the case, you can always order a copy directly from the publisher. Send a check made out to Angelus Press for $16.95 ($14.95 for the book and $2 shipping and handling) to 1021 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02174. And you can check them out on the web at (In my own self-interest, I wish to point out that the more copies of NEW ALTARS Angelus Press sells, the sooner they can publish DIMENSIONS OF MADNESS, which has my story "Collapse" in it, as noted above.)


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-- Michael A. Burstein