First of all, I am somewhat flabbergasted to discover that I'm mentioned in the latest edition of the Encyclopedia of American Jewish History. The editors of that encyclopedia had asked shsilver to write their article on "American Jews and Science Fiction," which runs from page 507-511 of volume 2. shsilver has given me permission to quote the relevant passage here:
Similarly, "Kaddish for the Last Survivor" (2000), Michael Burstein's tale of a Holocaust survivor's granddaughter who is struggling with issues of assimiliation, reflects on what it means to be Jewish, perhaps as no other story since William Tenn's "On Venus Have We Got a Rabbi" (1974).
While the Holocaust is often at the core of stories of wish fulfillment, it has also been used to highlight questions of Jewish identity. Burstein's "Kaddish for the Last Survivor" indicates that the Holocaust has created a new urgency in the maintenance of Jewish identity, for, if Jews forget who they are, the Nazis will have won.
Burstein's "Kaddish for the Last Survivor" and Carol Carr's "Look, You Think You've Got Troubles" (1974) both take a serious look at intermarriage, one of the major issues of American Jewish identity. Both address the issue of a Jewish woman marrying a non-Jewish man, and, although they come to very different conclusions, both reaffirm a sense of Jewish identity.
I've known for a while that I had a Wikipedia entry, but to be mentioned in a print encyclopedia...it boggles my mind.
My second mention has little to do with me and much more to do with someone else. Yesterday's Boston Globe ran an article, True Stories by Kathleen Burge, all about the Boston paramedic who writes the blog Other People's Emergencies: Random Thoughts of an Urban Paramedic. I've been interested in the work of paramedics and EMTs for a long time, since my older half-brother Danny worked for many years as a paramedic on the night shift out of Harlem Hospital. The Globe reporter noticed that I'd commented a few times in the Urban Paramedic blog, and so she contacted me to ask why I read the blog. Here's what I said:
"I keep being fascinated by his stories," said Michael A. Burstein, a writer and editor from Brookline who says he reads Urban Paramedic nearly every day. "I'm probably one of his many readers who thinks that some publisher out there ought to offer him a book contract immediately."
Finally, the most personal mention I've had recently was by a good friend, scarlettina, who just published a brilliant story called After This Life in the science fiction webzine InterGalactic Medicine Show. She comments on the story over on the associated webzine blog, at Side-Show Freaks: "After This Life" by Janna Silverstein, and she notes the following:
It was science fiction writer Michael Burstein who led me to reading more thoroughly about the theory behind real teleportation. If I was going to write science fiction, he insisted (and quite wisely), the science had to be there. Part of me rebelled; I just wanted to write the story, dammit, and not bother myself with all that pesky research. He was right, of course. The reading was fascinating. In the end, the horror of what I discovered—that every teleportation would be a death—took me that last step toward making this story what it ultimately became when I submitted it to IGMS. Edmund’s insightful revision requests made me think about who would be willing to sacrifice lives to develop such technology.
So, all in all, it's been a good day for my ego. :-)