mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

MABFAN Newsletter #37

MABFAN NEWSLETTER # 37 (July 2003)

Michael A. Burstein's "Friends Across the Net" Newsletter

Welcome to another issue of the MABFAN Newsletter! I know it's been a long time since I sent out my last newsletter, which was back in January, although some of you may recall a few quick emails sent out to this list for some general announcements. A few people wondered why I hadn't sent out news about the Hugo Awards back in April; well, the simple reason was that none of my stories were nominated this year. I try to keep this newsletter relevant to the topic of my stories and other writings, so as to keep the amount of email sent out as little as possible. I think all of us on the Internet are getting more and more concerned with the scourge of spam.

That said, let's get right to the relevant news. For more personal items, including news on our fanzine BURSTZINE, feel free to read all the way to the end.


The September 2003 issue of ANALOG has hit subscriber mailboxes and bookstores, and on page 54 you can find my new novelette, "Paying It Forward." Those of you familiar with the field of science fiction may recall that as far as many of us know, writer Robert Heinlein first used the phrase when someone asked him how to pay him back for his advice on writing. "You don't," Heinlein replied. "You pay it forward." The tag line for my story reads, "Legacies can take many forms..." and it is indeed the story of how a deceased science fiction writer manages to pass along his legacy to a new writer, just out of college.

The story is dedicated to the memory of Charles Sheffield and Damon Knight, two SF writers who passed away last year. Charles was always generous with advice and ideas for stories, and Damon taught me at his last Clarion workshop, in 1994. I like to think that the two of them would have appreciated this story.

In other news, I want to remind everyone that my first published story, "TeleAbsence" (1995), is still available in print form in the anthology WONDROUS BEGINNINGS, edited by Steven H. Silver and Martin H. Greenberg, and published by DAW Books at the beginning of the year. And also, as always, much of my backlist of stories can be purchased in electronic format from


One of the reasons I've been so busy is that I've been writing. Here are three stories on the horizon:

  • "Decisions." Why is a deep-space astronaut locked away in a plain room and allowed no contact with anyone as soon as he returns from his mission? This story will be published in an upcoming issue of ANALOG.
  • "Lifeblood." What happens when a vampire threatens a Jewish family? This story will appear in the DAW Books anthology _NEW VOICES IN SCIENCE FICTION_ edited by Mike Resnick, scheduled to be published at the end of 2003. (Apparently, even with the 1997 Campbell Award, I'm still considered new...)
  • "Pedagogy." How does an alien fare as a teacher of human children when the Interspecies Teacher Training recruits him to teach Science? This story will appear in the DAW Books anthology _I, ALIEN_ edited by Mike Resnick, scheduled for early 2004.


This may be short notice, but this weekend, July 11-13, 2003, I will be at the Readercon convention in Burlington, MA. For more information, you can check out their webpage at And if you're looking specifically for me, here's my schedule as far as I know:

  • Friday 6:00 PM. Panel: "Adventures in Other Dimensions."
    Panelists: Michael A. Burstein, Kurt Engfehr, Paul Levinson (+M), Rudy Rucker, Ian Randal Strock. Description: Radical shifts in perspective can be gained from imagined worlds having a different--usually greater--number of spatial dimensions than our own boring three. Yet such stories, centering on the perception and physics of higher dimensions, are rare. Too hard to write? Asking too much of the reader (but surely not of Readercon regulars)? Come help us strike out in new dimensions.
  • Saturday 10:00 AM. Discussion: "Mathematics and SF."
    Panelists: Catherine Asaro, Michael A. Burstein, Donald Kingsbury, Rudy Rucker (+M), Diana Reed Slattery. Description: A discussion touching on the very particular, specialized character of the mathematical subgenre of sf. By its very nature as a cousin of hard science, sf affords a unique fictional outlet for mathematical ideas and themes. What are some successful examples, old and new? How well can technical arcana be integrated (no pun intended) into good storytelling? And is truly outre mathematics actually explicable in this medium?
  • Saturday 4:00 PM. Event (45 min.): "Hal Clement Interviewed." Panelists: Michael A. Burstein (M), Hal Clement. Description: Michael Burstein interviews Guest of Honor Hal Clement.
  • Sunday 11:00 AM. Panel: "Why We Love Buffy." Panelists: Mark Bernstein, Michael A. Burstein (+M), Craig Shaw Gardner, Connie Hirsch, Donald G. Keller, Resa Nelson. Description: By our next convention, all seven seasons of _Buffy the Vampire Slayer_ should be available on DVD. If you're not already in the process of buying them all and watching them several times, then you need to come hear why folks who read high-falutin' postmodern literary Readercon-correct imaginative literature widely regard _BtVS_ as _the_ greatest TV show ever.


Back in April, we finally managed to publish the second issue of our fanzine. I didn't send out a newsletter about it, because technically, it doesn't fall under the category of writing news. However, as it is SF-related news, I thought I should let you know that if you're interested in getting a copy of BURSTZINE #2, please let me know and we'll mail you a copy. We also make the articles available as a PDF file at the BURSTZINE webpage, The theme of issue #2 is "fans and our parents," and the articles included are:

  • "Napoleon, Tucker, and Me" by David B. Williams
  • "...And in This Corner, the Florida Health Care System" by Mike Resnick
  • "My Parents and Fandom: A Personal Alternate History" by Janna Silverstein
  • "Xenogenesis" by Stephen H. Silver

BURSTZINE #3 should be out in August.


As I mentioned last issue, I now have a LiveJournal, at To be honest, I haven't posted a lot on it, and especially not recently, but if people start clamoring for more of my thoughts and comments, I may make it a more active place.


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For more frequent news, or to read some of the stuff I've
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-- Michael A. Burstein


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