Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories News

Old Home Week

Issue 103 is just too good to exclude from the “year-end party”; that’s why it’s been heralded on the Analog and Asimov’s forums as the official early start on our Second Anniversary.

If asked what I enjoy most about Bewildering Stories, I might say it’s welcoming new contributors. And yet all the authors in issues 103 and 104 are “oldcomers.” Well, it’s time that Jerry and I told you something: Thank you. We’re proud to put your names in the Index and Readers’ Guide. We think of you fondly as family. And if “family” seems just a little too cozy for you, then think of Bewildering Stories as a community. And issue 104 underscores “community” as a very powerful and portentous word indeed. Forming a community of writers and readers is our ideal.

Our Second Anniversary Retrospective is intended to give both new and veteran readers of Bewildering Stories easy access to stories, poems and articles we think you’ll enjoy. Are they the “best”? No, we’re not saying that. Since there’s no accounting for taste, a list of the “best” would include everything. We’ve relied mostly — but by no means exclusively — on our own taste. If you think something deserves to be included, please write, as we always say, and tell us why. We like to publish letters!

Speaking of which, here’s a kind word received from Sherry Smith Gray just in time for July 4th:

BTW, BWS just looks fabulous. It's come a long way from that silly conversation on the Analog board :)

Thank you, Sherry. And I know you’re speaking facetiously about that conversation. It was silly on the surface, but I knew even then that the opposite was the truth. And the very first thing I sent to Bewildering Stories was my translation of Rabelais’ introduction to his Gargantua and Pantagruel. He says that laughter is natural to man; and with it he set out to change the world. We can do that, too.

Far more than a year ago, Kate Bachus politely but correctly objected to our original, frivolous mission statement, which I confess we’d forgotten about. We changed it to reflect what we were actually doing. And our second year has been marked by an achievement that took enormous effort: discarding the frames that made Bewildering Stories inaccessible to Net finders. By issue 90 we were ready to “go public.” Now anyone can look us up and find our stories. And Jerry has been saying in his editorials that our new openness to the Net has begun to pay off in many ways.

What else have we done? Look at issue 1 and then issue 53 (Go ahead; they’ll open in separate windows, so you won’t lose your place). Number 53 is a lot more readable, isn’t it? (Provided your browser preferences are set to display a readable font!) The official Challenge and the Readers’ Guide were forming as ideas and would take shape in our second year. The official welcome messages were still in their infancy, and the biographies with linked bibliographies were yet to come. We have them all now, and I like to think they help make us a community.

But it’s the future that interests us. What can we do better? What shall we do next? We have our Big Projects, which I’ve alluded to from time to time, and they’ll be accomplished in due course. The rest is an adventure. At the cost of answering my own official Challenge, what do we learn about Tala Bar’s undersea creatures? They know who they are and what they’re about; and their community is open and friendly. May the same be said of Bewildering Stories.

Copyright © 2004 by Don Webb for Bewildering Stories

Home Page