April 20th, 2005


This Day in History, 1999: Columbine

On April 20, 1999, two teenage gunmen killed 13 people in a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. At 11:20 a.m., Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, dressed in long trench coats, began shooting students outside the school before moving inside to continue their rampage. By the time SWAT team officers finally entered the school at 3:30 p.m., Klebold and Harris had killed 12 fellow students and a teacher, and had wounded another 23 people. Turning their guns on themselves, Klebold and Harris then committed suicide.

Personal note: At the time, I was a teacher at the Cambridge School of Weston. School shootings were in the news a lot, and this was the worst of them all. I remember a lot of discussion among the faculty about how to deal with the issues brought up by the shooting, and we ended up having a community meeting where students could discuss the issues that concerned them. I can only hope that it was helpful for them.

These past few days of April haven't been good ones in recent history. So let me also add that on this day in 1841, Edgar Allen Poe's story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" first appeared in Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine. The tale is generally considered to be the first detective story. The story describes the extraordinary "analytical power" used by Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin to solve a series of murders in Paris. Like the later Sherlock Holmes stories, the tale is narrated by the detective's roommate.

(cf. http://www.historychannel.com/tdih/tdih.jsp?category=leadstory)

When Aliens Attack!

I've just had a new story, "Pedagogy," published in the anthology I, ALIEN edited by Mike Resnick (DAW Books).

The theme of the anthology is stories written from the first person point of view of an alien, and I wrote the story back in February 2003. (Anthologies often have a lot of lead time.) The publication of the book started me thinking about aliens. Aliens are a staple of science fiction stories, but to be honest, I'm not that comfortable writing about them. And so the publication of "Pedagogy" prompted me to survey the aliens I've created, to see what I've done with them.

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