In 2004, I served as a final round judge in the NESFA Short Story Contest along with writer and well-know fan Tony Lewis. One of the stories we had to consider in the final round was "The Welsh Squadron."
I don't want to speak for Tony, but my memory of this story was that we both thought it had a really neat idea at the core. We liked it immensely, but it suffered from some basic flaws in story structure. In the end, we decided that it deserved an Honorable Mention, and we gave it such.
The Contest awards were announced at Boskone 41 on Saturday night, and it turned out that author, Margaret Ronald, was actually at the convention. (Judges in the contest have no idea who the authors of the stories are when we're judging.) Ms. Ronald was grateful for the Honorable Mention, and on Sunday, I took her aside to tell her what Tony and I thought of the story. This was a case of a story that I really liked, and wanted to see work better, so I explained what we thought were the flaws in the tale, and I made some modest suggestions for improvement.
I was delighted to discover a few months ago from Ms. Ronald that the story had been bought by Strange Horizons. The final version is much improved, for which she deserves full credit. To be honest, I can't even recall what I told her about the previous version, and I suspect the role of my advice was mostly to inspire her to fix the story.
To tell you what the story is about would give away the surprise, but by the end of the first part you'll know what it's all about, and I dare anyone to stop reading after finishing part one.
The first link below will bring you to part 1 of the story. Go read. Enjoy.
"The Welsh Squadron" (part 1 of 2) by Margaret Ronald
"The Welsh Squadron" (part 2 of 2) by Margaret Ronald