MABFAN NEWSLETTER # 4 (August 1997)

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

HEADLINE: Michael wins Campbell Award! Read all about it in the section on award news.


It's been quite a few months since the last issue of the MABFAN NEWSLETTER, but that's mostly because I like to wait until I have one big piece of news to share. I promised all of you from the beginning that I didn't want to clutter your electronic mailboxes, and so consequently when I do send out these newsletters, they'll probably be longer than your usual piece of e-mail. But, I hope, they will continue to remain interesting enough that you will forgive me their length, and the lateness in some of the news.

Rest assured, though, that the primary purpose of the newsletter -- to let you know when a story is currently available -- will not be sacrificed in the interest of keeping your mailboxes uncluttered. If I find myself with a story being published every month, you will receive more frequent, but shorter, newsletters.

Summer has just ended, and the one big piece of non-writing related news is that Nomi and I moved near the beginning of the summer, to a much larger, much nicer apartment. We now have an extra room set aside as an office, and that's where I've been doing most of my writing. In fact, over the summer I wrote and sold a novelette, completed a bunch of short stories, and sent off over a hundred pages of a novel proposal. Now we just have to wait and see.


First of all, the big news as you can see from the headline is that I won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, voted upon by the members of this year's World Science Fiction Convention, LoneStarCon2. I'm still a little dazed by this, but very happy about it as well. As I said in the remarks I prepared for my acceptor to read, I hope I'll be able to live up to everyone's expectations.

The second news is preliminary, but I'm proud of it so I figured I'd share it with everyone. I am extremely pleased to note that my novelette "Broken Symmetry" (ANALOG, February 1997) has made it to the Nebula Award preliminary ballot for next year. The Nebula Award is voted upon by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. To get onto the preliminary ballot means that at least ten other writers out there have to think highly of the story.

What this means now is that I have to wait for the beginning of 1998, when they send out the preliminary ballots. If "Broken Symmetry" does well, then it will end up on the final ballot -- meaning that it will have been nominated for the Nebula Award. If it doesn't do so well, at the very least, it will get listed in a future Nebula Awards anthology as being a recommended work.

If it gets nominated, there is a chance it will be reprinted in the anthology even if it loses the award. And if it wins... Well, let me get back to reality here.


I had a bunch of things appear over the summer, but none of them were fiction nor were any of them urgent items. In other words, all these articles can either be found on my webpage or ordered through the mail.

* "Selling to the Godfather: How to Join the Analog MAFIA" appeared in BROADSIDE #3, the newsletter of the 1998 World Science Fiction Convention, Bucconeer. Stan Schmidt will be one of their Guests of Honor, and they asked me for this humorous article on how to sell to his magazine. The article is on my webpage, or if you want a copy of the BROADSIDE, you can join Bucconeer as a supporting member for $30 (which will allow you to nominate and vote in next year's Hugo Awards). I believe they still have copies to send out to members who join now. Their address is Bucconeer, P.O. Box 314, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701, or check out their webpage at http://bucconeer.worldcon.o rg.

* TANGENT, the Hugo nominated fanzine which reviews all the short science fiction out there also has other regular columns. Last year, Dave Truesdale, the editor, asked me to provide an Author Profile, which I mentioned in a previous MABFAN. Well, for the Spring 1997 issue (#18) he asked seven of us ANALOG regulars to do a round robin discussion on email about the role of science in science fiction and the world in general. My comments open the discussion, and you can order the issue for $6 by sending a check made out to Dave Truesdale to him at 5779 Norfleet, Raytown, MO 64133. Also, in the Summer 1997 issue (#19), which is only $5, I have a piece in the "SF by Starlight" section, a rotating forum for people to praise stories they've really enjoyed. In this case, I have some wonderful words for Paul Levinson's novella "Loose Ends" (ANALOG, May 1997), which is a time travel story about a man who tries to prevent the Challenger tragedy. If you order copies of TANGENT from Dave in order to read my stuff, do tell him I sent you; I'm trying to convince him to give me a regular column (oh, hi, Dave! ). If you want more information on TANGENT, their webpage is at http://www.sff .net/people/Dave.T/index.htp

* Finally, let us not forget to plug the local fanzine, PROPER BOSKONIAN. The latest issue, PB 41, has a filk song I wrote in collaboration with Harold Feld at Lunacon in March 1996, called "The Neo's Lament," which makes fun of the different types of rejection slips a neopro writer might receive from some of the major magazines. This song also bears the prophetic line "Some day I'll win a Campbell but today I am unknown," prophetic because we put it down on paper even before the nomination last year. Copies of PB 41 can be ordered by sending a check for $3 to NESFA, P.O. Box 809, Framinghman, MA 01701. Their webpage is at


In just two months, probably sooner, Baen Books will be publishing the anthology URBAN NIGHTMARES, edited by Josepha Sherman and Keith R.A. DeCandido. This is an anthology of stories based upon urban legends, and I am pleased to note that my story "The Spider in the Hairdo" has been given a place of honor in the book -- it's going to be the third story in the anthology, ahead of stories by quite a few other more well established writers.

The book is scheduled for November 1997 publication, but you can probably find it sometime in October if you look. For those of you who want more information, you can check out my webpage for the opening scene to my story, and links to other webpages describing the book.

Also, the December 1997 ANALOG will have my short-short "The Cure," in which a werewolf decides to have his condition fixed, with interesting results. Look for this issue sometime in November.


The most exciting recent sale is a sequel to "Broken Symmetry," called "Absent Friends." Those of you who read "Broken Symmetry" may recall that the story opened with two math teachers, Jack and Daniel, riding their bicycles when an explosion kills Daniel. Well, in "Absent Friends," Jack decides to see if he can find his friend Daniel an alternate universe. "Absent Friends" has sold to ANALOG and should be appearing sometime next year.


Nomi and I are considering a trip to Phladelphia for Philcon in November, but we're not sure yet if that'll happen. We'll definitely be at Arisia in January and at Boskone in February (we have to be there, we're running Logistics again). After that, Lunacon is a possibility, and Bucconeer, the 1998 World Science Fiction Convention in Baltimore, is a definite.

One place I will NOT be is Albacon in Albany in October. I mention that here because when I thought I would be able to attend, they put my name on their flyer. Well, despite the fact that I can't attend, they haven't taken my name off their flyers yet, and believe it or not, two people have already told me that they intended to attend Albacon because they thought I would be there. So for the record: I won't be there, sorry.


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-- Michael A. Burstein