Bewildering Stories

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Bewildering Stories Editorial

A Mixed Bag

by Jerry Wright

Things are getting tough around the ol' BWS corral. We now have an editorial board to take a look at stories. And they are tougher than I am. In the words of a fellow who shall remain anonymous, "I'm just a harmless ball of fluff." These guys are mean. They have standards.

Of course, they aren't MY standards, so I have the final say. Actually Don or I have the final say. For two guys who have never met, live a thousand miles apart, have only communicated by email and (I believe) two phone calls, we are scarily alike in taste and judgement.

Every week we get stories from new writers. Some are established writers, but new to us. Some are just new. Starting out. And they almost always say "Be gentle. Criticize me, but don't strip sections of hide off my back!" And I try not to. Often times they have an interesting story idea. Or at least it was interesting when Murray Leinster used it in 1942.

For the beginner it seems to be hard to come up with "an original idea". Of course it helps to read extensively in the field. Charlie Stross, in his interview in Locus, tells us that story ideas almost overwhelm him. Barry Longyear (who wrote "Enemy Mine") in his book It Came From Schenectady tells of person after person who would ask "Where do you get those crazy ideas?" and he would tell them of sending a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE) to an address in Schenectady which would come back filled with "those crazy ideas." Good luck in finding the address.

Robert Heinlein wrote an impassioned screed many years ago entitled "Who Are The Heirs Of Patrick Henry?" What I'd like to know is "Who are the heirs of Thomas Paine?" Paine wrote a pamphlet entitled "Common Sense" which should be required reading in the halls of grammar school academe. Of course it can't be, because it's "too hard" in the words of "Math Impaired Barbie", plus it might give the little angels (!?!) ideas that our good educators would be illy equipped to handle. Besides, "Common Sense? That is a concept that doesn't fly around here. And speaking of things that don't fly...

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) seems be determined to destroy passenger aviation. I know I don't like to fly any more. Actually, flying itself is fine, it's just the hideousity of getting on and off the plane.

I was listening to NPR this morning and they were talking about highspeed rail in France. Train travel is booming in France, and people actually love to use it. But in the US, train travel is dying, and the government seems to want to shove the financial burden of keeping AMTRAK going onto the already financially strapped states. Oh, yeah... Good move.

I know if I could get on a train travelling 185 miles an hour between Moses Lake and Seattle, I'd go to Seattle a lot more. Perhaps even commute. After all, they do it in France.

That's all for now. Later...


Copyright © 2005 by Jerry Wright for Bewildering Stories

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