April 7th, 2009

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Special Issue of Apex Magazine Now Out

I'm delighted to announce that the April 2009 issue of Apex Magazine, the issue for which I served as Guest Editor, is now available.

I'm very proud of this issue. As I discuss in the editorial, the stories I selected for the issue struck some very personal chords with me. "The Last Science Fiction Writer" by Jamie Rubin and "Waiting for Jakie" by Barbara Krasnoff both explore themes that I've also explored in my own fiction.

I was also pleased to be able to support science fiction poetry by publishing two poems: Michael Ceraolo’s “Message in a Bottle” and Elizabeth Barrette’s “Fallen Gardens." Apex Magazine doesn't usually publish poetry, so this was a departure for them. I'm glad they were willing to go along.

Editing the special issue of Apex also allowed me to reprint one of my favorite stories of all time: "Love, Dad" by Jeffery D. Kooistra, which originally appeared in the March 1992 Analog. It's also a bit of a departure for Apex, as it's more touching and moving and perhaps less dark than their usual fare, but I think Apex's readers will like it nevertheless.

Finally, the cover art by Stephen Rider does a wonderful job of illustrating "The Last Science Fiction Writer." You can see it for yourself if you check out the catalog page for the PDF version. And while you're there, maybe you'll consider buying the PDF; it's only $2, well worth the cost to support great short fiction online.

In addition to editing this issue, I also wrote a blog entry for the Apex Blog, Thoughts on Professionalism and Guest Editing, in which I discuss the process of serving as guest editor for the issue. I actually had a few surprises in store for me when I took on this task, and I encourage anyone who wants to know what happens on the other side of the desk to check it out.

Once again, many thanks to Jason Sizemore, the publisher of Apex, for allowing me this opportunity.

(Permalink to the April 2009 Apex Magazine)
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Birkat HaChamah

A friend of mine asked me what the deal is about Birkat HaChamah, which is taking place tomorrow. So for those of you who are interested, here's a very basic primer.

Basically, Jewish tradition holds that the sun was created on the fourth day of creation, which was a Tuesday night leading into Wednesday morning. (Remember that Jewish days start on sundown the night before.) The theory as I understand it is that every 28 years, the sun returns to its position in the sky where it was when it was created. When this happens, tradition calls for us to recite a standard blessings of experiencing wonders of nature, which in English says, "Blessed are you, Lord our God, ruler of the universe, who does the work of creation." This blessing is also supposed to be recited when one experiences an earthquake, sees lightning, witness a comet, etc. (The Transit of Venus also counts.)

Anyway, tomorrow morning Jews all over the world will be reciting Birkat HaChamah, connecting us with generations past and generations to come. We last recited this blessing on April 8, 1981, and we won't do it again until April 8, 2037.

This year is even more special, as the blessing is being recited on Erev Pesach, or the day before Passover. According to one of the references I found, the only previous years in which this happened were 609, 693, 1309, and 1925 (C.E.). The same reference says that there's a tradition that the final redemption will occur after an Erev Pesach Birkat HaChamah, so who knows? Maybe Elijah will bring special tidings on the night of the first seder.


For more and probably better information on Birkat HaChamah, please see:
Birkat Hachamah: Blessing the Sun
Wikipedia: Birkat Hachama
Quick Guide to Birkat Hachama
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[IRTF] Winner, Best Anthology, 2008 Chronic Rift Roundtable Awards

The Chronic Rift has announced the winners of the 2008 Roundtable Awards on their latest podcast, and I am delighted to be able to announce that I Remember the Future is the winner of the Best Anthology award.

My thanks to all listeners to the Chronic Rift who voted for the book. If you listen to the podcast, you can hear my recorded thanks as well.

I'm also delighted to announce another win that took me by surprise as I was listening to the podcast. Back in December, I entered a radio script adaption of my story "Decisions" into the contest that the Chronic Rift was running. They were looking for a script to perform on the show. Well, they've chosen to produce "Decisions" as an audio play. I'm very much looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

(The Chronic Rift: Spotlight - The 2008 Roundtable Awards)