SOL Rising
Number 4, December 1989

Speculative Writers Association of Canada
New Site Chosen For Library
Library Report
Report of the Executive
Unpublished Pasts and Futures
Letters Received
A Day in the Life
Recent Appearances at The Spaced Out Library
Awards for 1988 Fiction

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Speculative Writers Association of Canada

by Michael Skeet


The Canadian science fiction community has grown dramatically in the last few years, a growth amply demonstrated by the substantial increase in the numbers of SF novels and stories by Canadians that are being published, and by the creation by two Canadian publishers of specialist SF imprints. There are now over 100 Canadian writers of SF with at least one professional publication to their name.


Canadian SF writers live literally from one end of the country to the other, and the geographical reality of Canada has made it difficult for writers to meet regularly, to talk shop or deal with matters of mutual interest. Increasingly, there has been the feeling that a national organization was needed to facilitate communication between Canadian writers of speculative fiction.


The organization of a literary conference focused largely on Canadian SF provided the perfect opportunity. On the Canada Day weekend of 1989, ConText 89 was held in Edmonton. Among the attendees were some thirty writers, and on the final day of the conference they assembled to discuss the formation of a national organization. By the time the meeting ended, the Speculative Writers Association of Canada had been officially formed, a newsletter had been established, and five of the founding members had been formed into a Membership Committee to resolve questions of membership criteria.


SWAC exists primarily to bring Canadian writers together, to foster a sense of community. This will be especially important in furthering and strengthening the ties that have begun to form between the SF communities in Canada's anglophone and francophone communities. There is a small but thriving and very distinctive SF community in Quebec, and other Canadian writers have a lot to learn from the Quebec experience. Francophone writers from Quebec can likewise benefit from the association, since one of SWAC's primary goals is to increase the amount of SF available in translation from its original language. (This doesn't necessarily confine itself to English and French, either. The Association is also exploring the possibility of encouraging the translation of Native mythological writing.)


SWAC has already had two national meetings: the founding meeting, in Edmonton, and a second in October at the Canadian National SF Convention, held in 1989 in Ottawa. Members undertook to have at least one major meeting in east and west per year, but the chances of the whole membership attending any given meeting are remote, unless government assistance can be obtained to help offset the tremendous travel costs inevitable in a country of this size. Smaller meetings will be organized whenever large groups of SWAC members gather at Canadian SF conventions, and the minutes of those meetings will be reported to the membership at large through the newsletter, SWACcess.


This implies that the newsletter is the most important part of the organization. For the moment, as SWAC continues to recruit members and define its goals and objectives, that's certainly true, and SWACcess editor Robert Runte can justifiably be called the most active member of the organization. SWAC has set 1990 as the big year for getting committees and programs in place, and by the time the next major Canadian SF conference takes place—ConText in June, 1991—SWAC will be a major and active force in the Canadian literary community.


(Membership in SWAC is open to any Canadian citizen or landed immigrant with at least one professional publication credit, and in special cases to non-writers who nevertheless have a professional interest in SF. Annual dues are $10. For information, or to apply for membership, write to Speculative Writers Association of Canada, c/o The Alberta Speculative Fiction Association (TASFA),10015-100 Avenue, Edmonton Alberta, T5E 000.)

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New Site Chosen For Library

After ten years of searching, the Toronto Public Library's Building Committee has found a new site for The Spaced Out Library. The City of Toronto is endeavouring to expropriate the site at 239 College St. (currently a gas station) for a new library building which will include The Spaced Out Library, the Osborne Collection, Boys and Girls House and a full-service adult collection as well. It is hoped that the new building will be ready in 1992.


The Spaced Out Library's facilities will be considerably enlarged. The largest part of the reserve collection will be kept in a temperature and humidity controlled section, although all materials will still be available upon request. Many of the periodicals, especially those printed on cheap pulp paper, are aging badly; controlled temperature and humidity will extend their lifetime greatly.


While the architectural plans for the new building are still under discussion by the Building Committee, it is expected that patrons will enter the Library through a gallery section that in turn offers them a choice of entering the reference or the circulating sections of the Library. Seating for approximately thirty-five people will be available (an improvement over the current seating for fifteen). Carrels will be available for researchers and tables for people doing joint study projects.


Enhanced meeting facilities will be available for the Friends quarterly gatherings; a meeting room large enough to hold two hundred and fifty people is planned for the building.

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Library Report

by Lorna Toolis, Head of Collection

New Acquisitions

Often the most interesting acquisitions come at the end of the year. So far, in 1989 The Spaced Out Library has acquired first editions of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange and Jack Finney's House of Numbers. Staff continue to try and fill in the gaps in the pulps collection; in 1989 we were fortunate enough to be offered a number of issues of the Clayton Astounding. One set of the limited edition Hannes Bok lithographs entitled ‘The Powers’ was recently acquired for the art collection.


Among the most interesting of the Library's regular acquisitions are the Cheap Street publications. Printed on handmade paper, printed with hot metal type, signed by both writer and illustrator, each Cheap Street book is a work of art. Their most recent title is by David Brin, Dr. Pak's Preschool.


What Can We Do For You?

If you are a researcher, the Library provides over 22,000 volumes of fiction and non-fiction, over 16,000 periodical issues, and over 200 vertical files to provide information on your topic.

If you are a reader, we purchase one copy of every science fiction and fantasy title published within the year and we have been collecting on this basis for almost twenty years. One copy of each paperback release goes into the circulating collection, currently standing at approximately 6,000 volumes.


If you are seeking information at another institution we will photocopy necessary materials, copyright permitting.


If you are a teacher, The Spaced Out Library gives a half-hour class in science fiction, followed by a tour for grades 8 and older. The Library also maintains a file with materials listing curricula in courses given by other teachers teaching sf. Bibliographies may be provided upon request.


If you are a fan, The Spaced Out Library provides meeting facilities, a place to list your convention, referrals to fannish groups within the city or country, ranging from the Society for Creative Anachronism to a science fiction discussion group to the local Costumer's Guild.

If you need information about pricing of sf materials, the Library maintains a collection of catalogues issued by the major dealers in the field.


Staff at The Spaced Out Library

Loma Toolis has been the Collection Head at The Spaced Out Library since March 1986. She has a Master's Degree in Library Science from the University of Alberta and was formerly Head of Technical Services at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. She has been reading science fiction and fantasy since grade three, when she found a copy of Andre Norton's The Stars Are Ours! in her grandmother's closet. Favourite authors currently include Connie Willis, John Varley and Howard Waldrop.


Annette Mocek has been the reference librarian at The Spaced Out Library since March 1988. She has a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Toronto. She worked on the relief staff of the Toronto Public Library from 1986 until she transferred to The Spaced Out Library. She has been reading science fiction and fantasy since her childhood; favourite authors include C.S. Lewis, Orson Scott Card and Mary Stewart.


Nancy Soltys has been the Library Assistant at The Spaced Out Library since September 1989. She has been with the Toronto Public Library for 10 years. She has been active in the Toronto sf community for 9 years, working on Ad Astra's convention committee as registrar. She has been reading science fiction and fantasy since her early teens; favourite authors are Katharine Kurtz, Barbara Hambly and Orson Scott Card.

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Report of the Executive

We are full of good news as this issue of SOL Rising is being compiled. A new building for the library is on the horizon, our membership has reached numbers which we had never dreamed of and the Executive Committee of the Friends is making plans for a strong future for the organization.


The road to obtaining a new building for the library has been a hard one. It has taken ten long years of meetings, reviews, discussions, decisions, changes of decisions, selections, alterations, and on and on. Many members of the Friends have taken part in this process through their participation on the Building Committee, but John Millard must be particularly noted and commended for his efforts during the entire ten year period, including the distinction of serving as co-chairman of the Committee.


However the task of the Committee is still far from complete. The Committee must oversee the design and construction of the building. Anticipated move-in date for the library is 1992, but delays are possible.


Membership in the Friends organization is at an all time high of over ninety paid members. Even though all memberships expire in April (just before the next annual meeting in April or May, to be precise) we have been successful in selling new memberships to persons attending our fall programming events.


Our membership success is largely attributable to the quality of the guests whom we have presented at our fall programming events.


The Executive Committee of the Friends has been meeting every few months. At the last meeting, in early October, plans were discussed for programming in 1990. We hope to bring you more definite news in our next issue.

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The Spaced Out Library was featured in a full page article in the November 1989 issue of OMNI. The Library is also acknowledged as a resource in the closing credits of the new TVOntario program, Prisoners of Gravity which each week delves into the topics of science fiction and comic books. Rick Great and Mark Askwith, writers on the series, have made extensive use of the library. Loma Toolis has noticed a significant increase in the number of phone calls received as a result of these mentions.

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Unpublished Pasts and Futures

by John Robert Columbo


"You are the one author I know who has never suffered writer's block," Richard Kostelanetz told me a few years ago. Richard may have the distinction of being the nephew of the conductor André Kostelanetz, but he will go down in American social history as an innovative poet, a brilliant editor, and an all-seeing cultural commentator.


Richard was right. I do not, as a rule, suffer the malady known as the writer's block. But, like all writers, I procrastinate. In the past, before I could begin writing, I had to sharpen all the pencils and clean the tips of all the ballpoint pens on my desk, as well as monkey around with the platen on the manual or electric typewriter. When I acquired a word processor, I had to run a short routine or check the directory of the floppy disk before commencing keyboarding in earnest.


Children know what to do with blocks: stack them up, then knock them down. But I am not completely free of the "block" sickness. What I do suffer from is something almost as lethal as a writer's block. I call it publisher's block.


Usually publisher's block is a short-term condition. But if it is permitted to persist, the condition becomes terminal. This type of blockage occurs when editors and publishers "decline the opportunity at this time" to publish the manuscript you have sent them, or "take a pass at this time" on the outline you have asked them to consider as the basis of a possible commission.


I have published over eighty books in Canada, and this fact is what Richard had in mind when he said I never suffer from writer's block. But he naturally had no idea of the number of unpublished manuscripts and uncommissioned outlines for future books that clutter up my files—projects that have not seen the light of day and may never do so.


I am sure readers of Sol Rising will be interested in learning about two full-length, unpublished manuscripts of novels by other people that are currently cluttering up my files—and have been doing so for the last five years. Both are full-length works of fiction and both were written by known authors of science fiction: Thomas P. Kelley and John Russell Fearn.


There is a biographical entry on Kelley in The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature. I know because I wrote it. Kelley was merely one of hundreds of contributors to Weird Tales, but he was the featured contributor to the "canpulps"—the pulp magazines edited, printed, and published in Canada during the years of the Second World War, when such popular American pulps as Weird Tales were embargoed "for the duration."


Kelley died in 1982. He is remembered—when he is remembered at all—for paperback originals about the Black Donnellys and for The Great Kelley, the spirited biography of his father who was known in his day as "Doc Kelley, Canada's King of the Medicine Men." According to the Oxford Companion, "He died in Toronto, leaving an unpublished fantasy-adventure novel set in A.D.7109."


I have the MS of that novel in my files, and I have grown tired of submitting it to publishers on behalf of the Kelley estate. The manuscript was the only unpublished work found among Kelley's scanty personal effects. It takes the form of a typescript of 80,000words—a convenient length to publish. The work is interesting in two ways: It focuses on ecological disaster, and it takes as its hero an adolescent heroine.


It is set on the American continent in the far future when the few elements of our civilization that have survived—such as limited use of technology—have long become the privileged possession of an exclusive priesthood, members of whom are far removed from the madding crowd. The plot concerns the plights and perils faced by an adolescent girl, Meg, the daughter of Thrago, who sets out across a devastated America in search of help for her people. It traces her maturation through youth, womanhood, motherhood, and widowhood. It takes on this difficult task with conviction and compassion if not insight.


Although no literary masterpiece, the novel is a "page-turner". It should appeal to readers in their late teens. It will certainly appeal to those who have a nostalgia for pulp literature. Meg's mission becomes the reader's concern. Faced with the effects of a series of nuclear wars on nature and on society, she becomes philosophical in the manner of H.G. Wells:


"In brief, human life on the planet Earth ended as it began. Under the domination of shaggy, beast-like, men armed with clubs and spears who sat around their campfires at night and glanced fearfully into the surrounding darkness. For they knew that somewhere in the impenetrable blackness, danger threatened."


Meg is not disillusioned because she retains her own illusions about the possibility of a better world:


"For I, alone of all mortals, could have saved my world, at least a small part of it, if it had not been for the presence of nine fanatical and cruel old men ...."


There is no need here to spell out the cruelties directed against Meg by the "nine fanatical and cruel old men." Suffice it to say the title of this work is My Story of the Last Days of the World and that in an ideal world it would be immediately accepted for publication by a specialty house and issued in a limited edition with my afterword. I hope we do not have to wait until the year A.D. 7109 for that to happen!


There is a longish entry on John Russell Fearn (1906-1960) in The Science Fiction Encyclopedia. The entry, written by Brian Stableford, rightly stresses the volume of work produced by this Liverpudlian writer. It draws attention to the "Golden Amazon" series of futuristic adventures starring a superwoman (touchingly named Violet Ray). The series delighted a generation of Canadian women readers when it appeared between the years 1944 and 1961 in the Toronto Star Weekly (and apparently nowhere else).


Feam is a particular interest of the British agent Philip Harbotile. He kindly sent me a photocopy of an original, unpublished science fiction novel by Fearn. It is 50,000 words long and it is called Land's EndLabrador. It was written some time after 1949, the year Newfoundland and Labrador came into Confederation. Certainly it has all the verve and excitement of the action-adventure pulp fiction of the nearly 50s. I submitted it to a number of publishing houses but with no success. Clyde Rose, the head of Breakwater Books in St. John's, Nfld., said he enjoyed "the swish and tang of it all," but declined to publish it.


The novel is topical in a sense because it describes the hazards and happinesses of the construction of a submarine tube-tunnel. The tube-tunnel of the novel dwarfs the "chunnel" that is currently under construction beneath the North Sea that will link Britain and the Continent. That one is a mere matter of twenty-odd miles. Fearn's tunnel is an altogether different matter. It is 2,500 miles in length, for it will link Britain and Canada. The year of construction is 1963. (Harbottle wants to update this to 1994.) It is being built by a consortium of Anglo-American interests. Construction is contingent upon the proper use of a phenomenal new discovery, Steel-X, a metal of incredible strength.


Like other novels by Fearn, Land's End—Labrador tells the reader more about daring deeds and daring-do than it does about the properties and possibilities of Steel-X (a discovery made from a hitherto "unknown element"). The tube-tunnel may be an engineering marvel but it is being constructed for good-old patriotic and pecuniary purposes, as is apparent from the following dialogue:


"'You're wondering—why Labrador?" Lovelace asked presently, and Astley nodded.


"Frankly, yes. Why not LondonNew York, and link America with Britain?"


"For two reasons. Firstly, Canada has all the potentialities of the United States, and is also of British root; and secondly, from the engineering aspect, it will be easier to drive a Tunnel under the so-called Telegraphic Plateau between the British Isles and Labrador than it will under the vasty deeps of the Atlantic proper. Either way the job will be gargantuan, but I can visualize that it will succeed. l want geologists and engineers to report on the possibilities and let me study them. And I want you to sketch out drifts of drills and tunnels, made of Steel-X and calculated to stand the ultimate of pressure and strain."


Astley smiled rather wryly. "And what of my other work?"


"Other work? "


Needless to add, Astley's "other work" is swept aside in the race to complete the tube-tunnel before the money runs out and the bankers take over.


Suspense is sustained by having construction commence at once on both Atlantic shores. Will the subterranean miners meet, according to plan, at mid-point? Read on! Will the chief engineer foil the spy and saboteur to complete construction? Read on! Will the beautiful Judith succumb to the charms of the villain—or the virtues of the hero? Read on!


Readers of Sol Rising will never know the answers to these rhetorical questions as long as Land's EndLabrador remains in its unpublished state. Like the Kelley novel, it should be issued by a small specialty publishing house and sold in a limited edition. My feeling is that it will be successful in this format and will appeal to numerous readers of pulp literature.


Richard is right: I do not suffer writer's block. But I do suffer publisher's block. If readers are interested, I will devote my next column to the subject of two more projects for possible or future publication in the field of fantastic literature ...long-finished but nonetheless languishing for want of a publisher's interest. My kingdom for a publisher. Well half, anyway.


John Robert Colombo is a Toronto editor and author with a taste for fantastic literature. Among his publications in this field are Other Canadas, Not to Be Taken at Night, Friendly Aliens, and Windigo. His recent publications explore psychical research and parapsychology: Mysterious Canada, Extraordinary Experiences, and Mysterious Encounters (due out in March 1990).

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Letters Received

I feel constrained for the sake of historical accuracy to observe that the Ontario Sci­ence Fiction Club (OSFic, may she rest in pieces) was founded by Peter Gill, Maureen Bournes, myself and John Mansfield. Ken Smookler was the first President but he was not a Founding Forebear.


Mike Glicksohn

Toronto, Ontario



Since I wrote my article on Electronic SF a few things need to be updated. First, the Bunch of Seven BBS in Toronto has a new phone number. It can be reached at 947-­9946, and for those trying to reach it via Fidonet, the network node number is 250/ 620. Second, the Source is no longer in business. Earlier this year it was purchased by and merged with CompuServe.


In the San Francisco area, there's the San Francisco Science Fiction BBS, (415) 458‑4069, which is run by ex‑Torontonian Michael Wallis. Also in San Francisco is Sci‑Fido, (415) 841‑9481 and a very active multi‑line board called The Well (Whole Earth `Lectronic Lounge).


Other boards include Light Artists in LA, Fire Opal (run by Scott Ruan) in Min­neapolis, Terraboard (run by David Dyer ­Bennet) in Minneapolis and Lightspeed in Ottawa run by Andrew D. Farmer.


PAGAN/SFnet is permanently down according to the sysop, Farrell McGovern.


Club Cave BBS at (416) 452‑9498 has a science‑fiction message area, linked across North America (not Fido/Opus but Forum for the Atari ST).


Readers should note that bulletin boards are unstable operations. Old ones disappear without notice and new ones are constantly appearing.


Some computer magazines and com­puter club newsletters publish lists periodi­cally. In the Toronto area the monthly newspaper, Toronto Computes, is a good source of BBS numbers.


Keith Soltys

Toronto, Ontario


(Information which Mr. Solyts had pro­vided concerning the Bunch of Seven BBS was edited out of his article as published in Issue 3 because the telephone number pro­vided at the time was incorrect and there was uncertainty as to whether the bulletin board still existed.)

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A Day in the Life

by Toni Weisskopf


Publishing is supposed to be a "glamour" industry. This is what they tell you when you are going on job interviews. The young and eager applicant hears the jaded interviewer ask in a cynical tone of voice, "So, you really want to join the glamorous world of publishing, hey, kiddo?" Well, I had been in fandom for almost ten years when I started looking for a job in publishing, and none of the editors I knew were very glamorous. I didn't quite understand, but I sort of smiled when they said this, even the fifth time around, and tried to look sincere. Later, after I started working at Baen Books, I started to find out what all this talk of "glamour" meant. But before I could appreciate glamour, I had to learn how to be an editor.


Just what is it that editors do anyway? There's the myth/archetype of the intense yet urbane professional, devoted to the word, to the artists who use words. These people breeze into the office at about ten a.m., spend their morning having deep and meaningful conversations on the phone with authors and agents, glance at a few manuscripts that have come in from favored authors, check out for a glamorous power lunch with a power agent, flit off to a glamorous party, and occasionally rewrite novels for future Nobel prize winners just to keep in practice. I can't vouch for everybody, but I don't believe that's what SF editors are all about. Let me tell you about my day...


On average I work nine hours in the office weekdays, and put in equal time over the weekends and in the evenings at home. Weekends and evenings are about the only time I get to read manuscripts (or anything else for that matter). It's impossible to read in the office: there just are not enough uninterrupted blocks of time. I find it a struggle to sneak in a short story over lunch!


My mornings are a bit different. I like something routine to get me started in the mornings: so I process my mail. I spend a lot of time with the mail, answering correspondence, filling out forms, "ego-scanning" magazines for reviews, and so forth. I get to see anything involving one of our authors, anything to do with promotion and advertising, and everything the front desk person can't easily categorize. After that calming exercise I proceed onto the crisis left over from the day before...


"Front desk", by the way, is the entry level position at Baen, and is similar to the traditional "editorial assistant" job. Being an editorial assistant is something like taking Chemistry 101 in college; it's designed to weed out those who aren't absolutely dedicated. The work is essentially uninteresting (filing, answering the phone, writing other people's letters, routing the mail, lots of xeroxing...) and you can get paid more doing word processing free lance. The perks consist of free books (not a bad one that, really), the opportunity to mail letters to your literary idols, and the shot at upward advancement into—glamour. (I'll always remember getting to talk to Robert Heinlein on the phone while I was an editorial assistant. I almost fainted.) Most people don't stick it out. Some of us do. And we get to play with manuscripts!


Science fiction is one of the last genres that does more than return unread unsolicited manuscripts, the so-called slush. Even within genre, most houses when they look at slush dump it off onto the editorial assistant, i.e. the least experienced member of the staff. At Baen we do it a little differently. Unsolicited manuscripts are logged by the front desk person and held for our Consulting Editor, Josepha Sherman. Her sole task is to read these manuscripts and queries, and pass on to Jim Baen (editor-in-chief as well as publisher) and myself those she regards as publishable, and to actively recommend those few manuscripts that meet her rigorous standards. Thus, at any given time I'll be reading two or three unsolicited manuscripts that Josepha has passed on, and two or three works that have been solicited and have arrived in house.


This is my first point of contact with the authors (and usually the last). I do work closely with a few authors, suggesting revisions and so forth. It's not just reading a manuscript, but analyzing it. Finding its weak points, seeing how to emphasize its strengths, making the all-important decision: is the story good enough to publish? This is that part of my job that is editing as understood by those who are not editors. I would make one revision to the stereotype though—this is hard work. It's not like a bull session at college, awash with beer and b.s., but two people, editor and author, working together to refine the author's creation into something others can use. To me editing well, just as much as writing well, is a craft, one with it's own special mysteries. It is at once the hardest and most satisfying aspect of my job.


When I work with authors it's usually over the phone or through the mail; no time for glamour lunches for me! There's also the inconvenient fact that none of our authors live in New York and no one wants to fly in just for lunch. I do get to meet authors at conventions though, and try my best to be glamorous then. But a large part of my job, and most of my time in the office, is taken up with the "non-editorial" aspects of editing a book, and this is the stuff that make the older types so cynical about "glamour". For instance, I'm the person who makes sure the authors (or their agents) receive contracts and payments—it's a monotonous, paper-pushing function that must get done. It takes up a good hunk of any week and it's not the favorite part of my job.


The rest of the non-editorial work comes from working in a small office, not a mega-corporation. My job description is somewhat atypical, but it evolved out of my particular abilities, not from some business school droid's organizational pyramid. While the job as it's evolved is tailor-made to my specs, and is thus very satisfying, it keeps me pretty busy as well.

A large part of it could be described simply as running around the office making sure things get done. Jim is the art director for the company, but I'm the one who makes sure sketches and completed paintings get turned in on time by the artists, and who makes sure that the art assignments are made in the first place. Jim and I confer on the schedule for upcoming books, but I'm the one who makes sure it gets printed up and sent to the right people. The front desk person sends promotional materials off to our sales force, but I'm the one who makes sure everything she needs is in the office on time. And so on, for just about everything that isn't strictly book production.


And I write copy. All of the promotional material associated with a book, including the brochure, advertisements, fact sheets that go to the distributor's sales force, bookmarks, sample booklets, even the ads in the back of the other books, are my responsibility. Either I write it, or I make sure it's written, on time.


Some days I take a break from promotional copy, and prepare manuscripts to go to the typesetter. Once we have a satisfactory manuscript in the house this editor's job is not yet done. If a map is needed, I assign a map maker to prepare one for us (from the author's rough). If any of the pieces are missing I have to track them down. I then assign the manuscript to a copy editor, and check the copy edited manuscript page by page when it comes back into the office. I confer with the author over the copy editor's queries. All of this is traditional managing editor (as opposed to glamorous acquisition editor) territory that became my territory as a result of my fanaticism about making sure every aspect of a book goes correctly.


I also create a good proportion of the cover copy (with Jim's input and final approval). Then comes the fun part. I get to choose the "teaser" page at the front of the book. I had always wondered why the stuff on the first page wasn't necessarily to be found in the actual text. Now I know: limited space. You try to find an exciting part, something to tease the reader into the story, and the niftiest scene hardly ever fits neatly onto one page. So you cut an extraneous line or two here, elide a couple of scenes there, and voila, the perfect teaser. One always tries to be true to the spirit of the text, however. Doing it right can take half a morning.

Once the copy edited manuscript, complete with teaser, is given to the production manager I stop worrying about it. I look over the galleys as they come in, but proof-reading and seeing the work through to finished book is not my department. I do get to play with the galleys in one way though: I send it out to reviewers and write a nice cover letter explaining to them why they should read this book that has appeared in their mailbox today, instead of one of the ten or twenty other books that have also appeared. Between promotional copy and copy associated with the book itself, a good half of my time is involved with writing in one way or another.


Now all of this copy-writing and schedule-keeping is peculiar to me at Baen. What a good many editors at other houses, part of mega-corporation conglomerates with three or four names, will tell you they do more often is attend meetings.


At Baen this process is simplified by having a lot of the other departments embodied in my own person—one of the advantages of working in one of last independently owned publishing companies. I do attend a few meetings, however, those involved with our distributor, Simon & Schuster (itself a large part of a large mega-corporation—can't really escape them!). And I work with Simon & Schuster's sales force to promote authors and books on a local level. If someone wants to do a bookstore signing, for instance, I'm the one who tries to organize it, coordinating the author, the bookstore, and the sales representative.


I also find myself doing things that can only be classified as "miscellaneous": changing light bulbs, moving stock from one storage place to another, creating "an urchin toss" for a street fair dedicated to publishing (this will only make sense to you if you've read Dydeetown World by F. Paul Wilson, which you should do anyway, because it's a good book), sending free books to inmates, making travel arrangements, throwing parties, acting as the designated word processor consultant, and hanging artwork.


Or course, the upshot is that the reward for all of this labor, miscellaneous and otherwise, partially is the glamour of it all. I get to see books years before everyone else, the chance to mold the face of science fiction and work with some of the most exciting and stimulating authors and artists around today, and an honorarium just enough to keep me going and not be distracted by too many luxury items. Which is fine, because the heart of my job is all that reading I do at home—and for me making science fiction happen, glamour or no, is a dream come true.


As you may have already gathered, Toni Weisskopf is an editor with Baen Books in New York City.

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Recent Appearances at the Spaced Out Library



Mr. Haldeman was the guest of the Library on the afternoon of December 2. He read excerpts from his book, The Hemingway Hoax, which will be published in April by William Morrow (McMillan, in Canada). Following the reading the Friends held a special Christmas reception which was well attended.




On the evening of November 16, Mr. Card read from a forthcoming sequel to Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead (both of which won the Hugo and Nebula Awards). Seventy-seven people came to listen to Mr. Card read, ask questions, and get books autographed. Mr. Card's reading is preserved on tape and a partial copy of his manuscript is on deposit at the Library.


Mr. Card was brought to Toronto by H.B.Fenn, Tor's Canadian distributors, to promote the paperback release of Prentice Alvin.




Mr. Delany addressed The Friends of The Spaced Out Library on the evening of October 23. Sixty-one people listened to his speech, which dealt with the evolution of science fiction as genre fiction.


Mr. Delany was the Guest of Honour at Boreal, the Quebecois sf convention held the previous weekend in Ottawa.




On July 27, Mr. Robinson was the first guest speaker at The Spaced Out Library after our annual meeting. He read from his humourous novella "The True Nature of Shangri-la" which has now been published in the December 1989 issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and which will appear in Mr. Robinson's Escape From Kathmandu, on sale as a hardcover in December from Tor.

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Awards For 1988 Fiction



The 1989 Casper Awards for the best Canadian science fiction and fantasy of 1988, were awarded at CANVENTION 9 in Ottawa as follows:


Best Long-form Work in English

  • Mona Lisa Overdrive, William Gibson

Other Nominees

  • Machine Sex and Other Stories, Candas Jane Dorsey
  • Memory Wire, Robet Charles Wilson
  • The Silence City, Elisabeth Vonarburg
  • Time Pressure, Spider Robinson


Best Short-form Work in English

  • "Sleeping in a Box", Candas Jane Dorsey

Other Nominees

  • "The Fruit Picker", Jo Beverly
  • "Golden Fleece", Robert J. Sawyer
  • "(Learning About) Machine Sex", Candas Jane Dorsey
  • "The Paranoid", Spider Robinson


Meilleur Livre en Français

  • Temps mort, Charles Montpetit

Other Nominees

  • Les Gélules utopiques, Guy Bouchard
  • La Plage des songes, Stanley Péan
  • Le Temps de migrations, Francine Pelletier
  • Le Traversier, Esther Rochon


Meilleure Nouvelle en Français

  • "Survie sur Mars", Joël Champetier

Other Nominees

  • "Geisha Blues". Michel Martin
  • "L'Intrus", Jean Dion
  • "Sans titre", Yves Meynard
  • "SGV", Jean-François Dubé





The 1988 Nebula Awards, presented by the Science Fiction Writers of America for the best science fiction of 1988, were awarded as follows:


Best Novel

  • Falling Free, Lois Bujold McMaster

Other Nominees

  • Deserted Cities of the Heart, Lewis Shiner
  • Drowning Towers, George Turner
  • Great Sky River, Gregory Benford
  • Mona Lisa Overdrive, William Gibson
  • Red Prophet, Orson Scott Card
  • The Urth of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe


Best Novella

  • "The Last of the Winnebagos", Connie Willis

Other Nominees

  • "The Calvin Coolidge Home For Dead Comedians", Bradley Denton
  • The Devil's Arithmetic, Jane Yolen
  • "Journals of the Plague Years", Norman Spinrad
  • The Scalehunter's Beautiful Daughter, Lucius Shepard
  • "Surfacing", Walter Jon Williams


Best Novelette

  • "Schrödinger's Kitten", George Alec Effinger

Other Nominees

  • "Do Ya, Do Ya, Wanna Dance", HowardWaldrop
  • "Ginny Sweethips' Flying Circus", NealBarrett, Jr.
  • "The Hob", Judith Moffett
  • "Kirinyaga", Mike Resnick
  • "Peaches for Mad Molly", Steven Gould
  • "Unfinished Portrait of the King of Pain by Van Gogh", Ian McDonald


Best Short Story

  • "Bible Stories for Adults, No. 17: The Deluge", James Morrow

Other Nominees

  • "The Color Winter", Steven Popkes
  • "Dead Men of TV", Pat Murphy
  • "The Fort Moxie Branch", Jack McDevitt
  • "Mrs. Shummel Exits a Winner", John Kessel
  • "Voices of the Kill", Thomas M. Disch





The 1989 Hugo Awards, presented by the members of the Noreascon 3, the World Science Fiction Convention held in Boston, for the best science fiction of 1988, were awarded as follows:

Best Novel

  • Cyteen, C.J. Cherryh

Other Nominees

  • Falling Free, Lois Bujold McMaster
  • Islands in the Net, Bruce Sterling
  • Mona Lisa Overdrive, William Gibson
  • Red Prophet, Orson Scott Card


Best Novella

  • "The Last of the Winnebagos", Connie Willis

Other Nominees

  • "The Calvin Coolidge Home For Dead Comedians", Bradley Denton
  • "Journals of the Plague Years", Norman Spinrad
  • The Scalehunter’s Beautiful Daughter, Lucius Shepard
  • "Surfacing", Walter Jon Williams


Best Novelette

  • "Schrödinger's Kitten", George Alec Effinger

Other Nominees

  • "Do Ya, Do Ya, Warma Dance". Howard Waldrop
  • "The Function of Dream Sleep", Harlan Ellison
  • "Ginny Sweethips' Flying Circus", Neal Barrett, Jr.
  • "Peaches for Mad Molly", Steven Gould


Best Short Story

  • "Kirinyaga", Mike Resnick

Other Nominees

  • "The Fort Moxie Branch". Jack McDevitt
  • "The Giving Plague", David Brin
  • "Our Neural Chernobyl", Bruce Sterling
  • "Ripples in The Dirac Sea", Geoffrey A. Landis
  • "Stable Strategies for Middle Management", Eileen Gunn





The 1989 World Fantasy Awards, presented by the members of the World Fantasy Convention held in Seattle, for the best fantasy of 1988, were awarded as follows:


Best Novel

  • Koko, Peter Straub

Other Nominees

  • The Last Coin, James P. Blaylock
  • Sleeping in Flame, Jonathan Carroll
  • Fade, Robert Cormier
  • The Silence of Lambs, Thomas Harris
  • The Drive-In, Joe R. Lansdale


Best Novella

  • "The Skin Trade", George R.R. Martin

Other Nominees

  • The Devil's Arithmetic, Jane Yolen
  • "The Gardener", Sheri S. Tepper
  • The Scalehunter's Beautiful Daughter, Lucius Shepard


Best Short Fiction

  • "Winter Solstice, Camelot Station", John M. Ford

Other Nominees

  • "Life of Buddha", Lucius Shepard
  • "Metastasis", Dan Simmons
  • "Night They Missed the Horror Show", Joe R. Lansdale

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