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May. 20th, 2016


Reunion #harvard91


"Andrew Eliot's Diary

"May 12, 1983

"My Harvard Twenty-fifth Reunion is next month and I am scared to death.

"Scared to face all my successful classmates, walking back on paths of glory, while I have nothing to show for my life except a few gray hairs.

"Today a heavy, red-bound book arrived that chronicles all the achievements of The Class of ’58. It really brought home my own sense of failure.

"I stayed up half the night just staring at the faces of the guys who once were undergraduates with me, and now are senators and governors, world-famous scientists and pioneering doctors. Who knows which of them will end up on a podium in Stockholm? Or the White House lawn?

"And what’s amazing is that some are still married to their first wives...."

-- Erich Segal, *The Class* (1985)

May. 13th, 2016


Deal of the Day: I Remember the Future

See that link below? That's a link to the ebook of "I Remember the Future" at drivethrufriction.com. Right now (Friday, May 13) the ebook is $4.99, but tomorrow starting around 11 am EDT the ebook will be their Deal of the Day at $2.50!

So...mark that link now, and grab it within 24 hours of the deal going live, in case you don't have it yet.

May. 5th, 2016


In Honor of Yom HaShoah - Kaddish for the Last Survivor

In observance of Yom HaShoah, I link to my short story "Kaddish for the Last Survivor." (Continued thanks to Apex Publications for continuing to keep it available for anyone to read on their site.)

Mar. 25th, 2016



Many years ago, there was a teacher named Tim Lynch who was a big Star Trek fan. I got to know him through the Star Trek newsgroups on Usenet, where he would review every episode of each new Star Trek series with respectful and insightful criticism.

I remember the day when he announced in the middle of the show's run that he would not be watching Star Trek: Voyager anymore. He cited a lot of issues with the show, such as how they were supposedly low on resources and yet kept running through shuttlecraft, that made no sense. (From what I understand, one of the show's own writers had his own, similar, objections to the show as they were making it, and so went on to create other shows that acknowledged reality better.)

Now, personally, in retrospect, I think Voyager was a good show, but what you need to understand was that Tim Lynch's words sent shockwaves through the Usenet Star Trek community. The idea that such a dedicated and intelligent fan would make the decision to stop watching Star Trek was unthinkable to many of us. It pointed out to a lot of us how deeply flawed aspects of the franchise had seemed to become by that time.


I have been a fan of Superman since before I can remember. Yes, I'm a fan of many characters and stories from popular culture, but Superman is the first one I remember and the one that has stayed with me for my whole life. Except for a short period of about six years, my whole life I have been an avid collector and reader of Superman comics. I went to the three Christopher Reeve movies when they came out (yes, I said three), and I've always been eager for any new Superman TV show or movie.

Today, the new "Supeman" movie comes out, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It's exactly the sort of movie that should make me want to drop everything and see it the first chance I have. I should be moving heaven and earth to try to see a new Superman movie, in the way I did to see the new Star Wars movie last year.

But I find I have no enthusiasm for it. I was on the edge of my set for the release of Man of Steel, and the film disappointed me. For this new film, I have heard mixed reviews from all quarters. Perhaps I would find it entertaining. At the very least, I'd be delighted to see Wonder Woman up on the big screen. But this Superman, whoever he is, is not *my* Superman, and so I shrug off this opening weekend and wonder if I'll even bother to seek out the movie when it is finally released to DVD and streaming.

Perhaps this is not as significant to the rest of the world as I think it might be; I'm not someone who has been writing about Superman for years for websites, nor am I someone who has even written the character for DC Comics and then pointed out the flaws in the first new film. I'm just a fan, someone who has loved Superman and what he has stood for my entire life. But I'm sad to say that *my* Superman is not the one on the big screen today.

Maybe one day, he will be again. For now, I will let the movie pass me by, and instead continue to enjoy and share the character in the other media in which he is still who he should be.
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Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (1911) - 105th Anniversary

Today is the 105th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

Wikipedia has a pretty good discussion of it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_Shirtwaist_Factory_fire

Cornell University also has a good site devoted to the tragedy: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/trianglefire/
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Mar. 20th, 2016


Michael A. Burstein for Library Trustee


I'm delighted to announce that I'm running for re-election to the Board of Library Trustees of the Public Library of Brookline. This would be my fifth term if I am re-elected.

As it turns out, though, I'm facing a contested race this year (yes, again). Two challengers have chosen to run along with the four incumbents (including me) who are running for re-election.

Having been on the Board longer than anyone else running this year, and as I am currently serving as chair of the Board (and have been for almost two years), I have the experience our town needs. You can find out more about my experience and accomplishments on the Burstein for Brookline website.

And, as much as I hate to say this, political campaigns cost money. I am once again actively fundraising. If you are so inclined, please visit the Burstein for Brookline Contributions page to find out how to donate. You can mail us a check or use PayPal. Either way, no donation is too small, and all donations help in getting me re-elected to the Board.

Mar. 3rd, 2016


I Remember the Future EBook - 99 cents in March

March is the month in which Apex Publications has put the ebook of my collection I Remember the Future on sale for only 99 cents!

In case you don't have it yet and would like it.

Feb. 25th, 2016


Pangaea II - Almost There!


With only about $850 and 2 hours to go, the Pangaea II project needs you! Anyone who buys my second Tukcerization offer will get TWO names for the price of one!

Follow this link to back the project: Pangaea II.

Want to read what I said about this project when the Kickstarter started? See my blog post: Pangaea II - A New Kickstarter.

Feb. 1st, 2016


Louis Cohen (July 1, 1905 - February 1, 1956)

It's hard for me to believe, but 60 years ago today my maternal grandfather Louis Cohen died of multiple myeloma far too young.. (On the Hebrew calendar, Louis died on 19 Shevat 5716, so his yahrzeit was a few days ago.)

Sadly, I never knew him. I'd like to share his story.

Louis Cohen was born in Ukraine. I've seen his birth certificate; it's in Russian.

Louis emigrated to the United States when he was around the age of six or seven years old, with his parents, Jacob Cohen & Yetta Sokolovsky, and his younger sister, Molly Cohen. The family settled in Brownsville, a neighborhood in Brooklyn that was attracting a lot of Jewish immigrants and was considered a nicer place to live than the Lower East Side. Jacob got a job delivering canisters for soda water, and eventually he bought the business. My mom remembered that he made his deliveries driving a green truck.

Although Louis did not know English when he emigrated, he picked it up very quickly. Apparently, as a child he started school in a special class in which the students mostly did arts and crafts. But with his ability to learn English quickly he soon moved into a regular class. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, went on to Pace Institute for two or three years, and became an accountant. He began keeping the books for his father Jacob.

In 1929, his parents bought a house in Flatbush for the whole family, located at 817 East 45th Street between Avenue D and Foster Avenue. On June 1, 1930, Louis married my grandmother Clara Baker in Boston. They were fourth cousins; either their grandfathers or great grandfathers were brothers. After they got married, they moved in with his parents. Furthermore, my Mom's aunt Molly married Irving Bell, a dentist who went to Tufts Dental School, and they also lived in the Jacob Cohen house. Apparently it was not uncommon for a large extended family to stay under one roof for such a long time.

Louis and Clara had two children. My Mom was born in 1936 and my uncle Robert was born a few years after.

Sometime in the 1940s Louis joined the Masons. As he was in his thirties, he was a little too old to be drafted into World War II. In fact, he kept missing the window to be drafted, for which he was very grateful.

Around 1945 Louis joined the law firm of Morrit & Eisenstein and did their accounting and the accounting for their clients. Later on, lawyer Fred Johnson also joined the firm, and the four of them worked very closely together. Mom tells me that Fred Morrit was a State Senator and a songwriter, but I haven't been able to find much information about him, or about Morris Eisenstein.

One thing that makes me proud of my grandfather has to do with his support for my mom. In the 1950s, there was no major emphasis on women's education, but Louis supported Mom's education wholeheartedly. He was very proud of her, and even though he didn't want her to leave home he did support her decision to attend Mount Holyoke college. Mom only spent a year there, though, because soon after she started college Louis died. When that happened, Mom came home and transferred to Barnard so she could live with her family.

Louis died of multiple myeloma at age of 50, knowing that he had helped raise and support two wonderful children. Sadly, both of Louis's parents were still alive when he died. They passed on themselves in the early 1960s, while my mother was in law school.

I remember him.

Jan. 31st, 2016


Podcast: Take Me To Your Reader - Featuring Me

Take Me To Your Reader #36: I Remember the Future (Interview With Michael A. Burstein)

So, if you'd like to spend an hour and a half listening to me talk about the KAS Creations Film & Media production of "I Remember the Future" here's your chance! The folks at the podcast were really cool, and I had a blast doing the interview. Here's some of what I talked about, as noted on their website:

• Michael’s history as a writer and a science fiction fan
• The history of the I Remember the Future collection of Michael’s award-nominated fiction (featuring, naturally “I Remember the Future”)
• How to best preserve the legacy of the Big Three (Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein)
• High Energy Physics! (yes, we’re nerds)
• The vagaries of forgetting one’s had a story optioned for a film.

(That last one is actually amusing. I had forgotten that I had licensed the film to KAS Creations until 530nm330hz called me up and asked if I had granted a license to an Australian filmmaker. At first I said no, and then said, "Wait a minute! Yes!" And I'm very glad I did grant the license.)

If you do listen, enjoy.

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