Condolences to his loved ones.
Michael A. Burstein has spent much of the last several weeks digging his family out from blizzard after blizzard in Brookline, Massachusetts. However, he promises to emerge from winter’s frigid grasp in time to make his contribution to our Pangaea anthology.
For our readers, that’s a good thing.
Michael is one of the most compelling voices in science fiction. In 1997, he won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Since then, he has earned four Nebula nominations and no less than ten Hugo nominations for his short fiction. A short film based on Michael’s story I Remember The Future recently took top honors at an independent film festival…
At least four times in Earth’s history, the continents have come sliding together. Over millions of years, separate and distinct landmasses have crawled across the planet's surface on immense tectonic plates to form a single mass--a super-continent. Geologists have dubbed the most recent such formation Pangaea.
Of course, Pangaea broke up a long time ago, and because it did, mankind developed in drastically different climes and circumstances. But what if we twenty-first century types were living in one of the super-continental periods--those characterized by “lid tectonics” rather than “plate tectonics?” What would it be like if all of humanity was confined to a single landmass...and had been so confined for all of our recorded history?
That's the ever-so-tantalizing axis on which our Pangaea anthology turns.
It's an exciting and original idea, one that deserves the best world-building talent available. So to explore this world on your behalf, we've harnessed the word-smithing abilities of some of science fiction's most inventive writers.
I’ve mentioned in a few places that I am supporting Steve Grossman in his candidacy to be the new governor of Massachusetts. I know that some of my friends (and possibly others) are interested in my opinion and endorsement and where it comes from. So to that end, here’s a short article explaining why I support him. If you’re still undecided in this race, please consider reading it.
The short version is that having met Steve a few times over the past 12 years, I have seen that he is an intelligent man who also cares about the people around him and listens to the voters. He is one of those rare political figures who really does put other people’s interests and needs ahead of his own. Steve cares about making Massachusetts (and the world) a better place, and he has a lot of great ideas for doing so. Take a look here to see where Steve Grossman stands on the issues.
The longer version:
Obviously, Steve’s political leanings are consonant with my own, which is where my endorsement starts from. But here’s my personal experience with him, which is how my support for him crystallized.
Nomi and I first met Steve at a campaign event in 2002, when he first ran for governor. We got to know him a little bit then, even though we only had a few minutes of personal time with him. One of our concerns at the time (which is still a concern for us) was the lack of affordable housing in the state. We mentioned this to Steve, and he not only explained his plans to us for building more affordable housing, but when it came time for him to address the whole crowd, he brought up affordable housing specifically as one of the issues he had been asked about. It showed me that he not only thought this issue was important when talking with us but thought that it was important enough to bring up with the whole group.
We didn’t meet Steve again in 2002, but I did read a news article at the time that impressed me. The voters of the commonwealth had passed a referendum to reduce the state income tax rate, and the legislature put together a budget that kept the old rate in place, basically saying that they couldn’t make it work. When Steve was asked about this, he said that he disagreed with the voters on this issue, but then he went further and noted that this was something that the majority of the voters wanted, and so if he was elected, he would make it work. I too disagreed with the reduction of the income tax, as I know how important those revenues are for state and local services. That said, Steve impressed me with his willingness to listen to the voters on this issue. I suspect that had the income tax rate been reduced, we wouldn’t have had the later referendum on reducing it to zero (which, thankfully, the voters rejected).
Nomi and I met Steve again in 2006 when he ran for Treasurer. Once again, the personal touch showed me how genuine Steve is, as he remembered us and our concerns. Steve made a bunch of promises and commitments when he ran for Treasurer, and when elected, he fulfilled every single one of them. Although Treasurer is an important job, it’s not one of those that seems to be high-profile, and many of my friends seem unaware of Steve’s accomplishments in the job. So I encourage everyone to do some research and read about his achievements. Here’s an endorsement from The Bay State Banner that goes into details, including Steve’s commitments to diversity and to women. And here’s Steve’s own agenda as explained on the website of the Treasurer’s office.
Finally, I met Steve again this year as he traveled the state talking with voters about the issues (which he talks about much more often than his own accomplishments). Steve’s campaign is very well-run; when I got in touch with the office and asked for the Brookline coordinator to contact me, I heard back the very next day. How efficient a campaign is run is a pretty good metric for how well the governor’s office will be run. Steve is humble when meeting the voters while at the same time passionate about his public service. He has a vision for Massachusetts that will make it a better place for all of us (again, see where he stands on the issues, such as earned sick time and supporting science and the arts). Furthermore, he has the background and experience to make it work.
I would encourage all my friends to strongly consider voting for Steve Grossman in the Democratic primary next Tuesday.