Bob shares his version of the events leading to our collaboration on his own blog, but I thought I'd give my own version as well. A few years back, I had asked Bob to look over certain things I was writing, and I found that quite a lot of his comments were right on the money. He seemed to know exactly what issues I was having with certain works of fiction, and how to correct them.
About a year ago I saw an article in New Scientist magazine that I thought would be a good seed for a story. I wrote the story, but I was dissatisfied with how it turned out. I showed it to Bob, and he gave me some excellent constructive criticism. I now knew what I needed to do to fix the story, but I had moved on to another project and so couldn't quite get the impetus I needed to fix that one. Furthermore, I realized that fixing it properly would really require another writer's viewpoint.
So I asked Bob if he wanted to collaborate. He says he was surprised by my suggestion; to me it was obvious. Bob rewrote the story and sent me the new version, which was much improved over the original. I made a few more changes of my own, which I ran by Bob; and then, as always, Nomi read over it before she would let it leave the apartment. (She also gave the novelette its title.)
Knowing that it would be a good fit at Analog, I sent it to Stanley Schmidt, and shortly afterwards he replied with questions about our scientific extrapolation and a request for some more changes. Bob tackled most of those changes while I took care of justifying the science to Stan (since I'm the one with two degrees in Physics).
Last week he informed us that contracts are on the way. He also requested sequels, and I have a rule, called the Ray Stantz Rule -- when an editor asks you to write a sequel, you say yes. So Bob and I have started bouncing new ideas back and forth, and with a little luck we'll end up with a whole cycle of stories, based on that one original idea.
In the meantime, look for "Things That Aren't" by Michael A. Burstein and Robert Greenberger to appear in Analog sometime in 2007.
Copyright © Michael Burstein