mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)
mabfan

[IRTF] The Order of the Stories: A Question

So, as most of you are probably already aware, Apex Books will be publishing my short story collection I Remember the Future: The Award-Nominated Stories of Michael A. Burstein in September. The cover has already been put together; my new user icon is a miniature version of the cover, which I'll probably try to use for book-related posts.

Pretty soon, we're going to have an announcement about pre-ordering the book, including a special possibility for people who pre-order the autographed hardcover edition. In the meantime, though, I've been thinking about some of the mechanics of the book, and I thought I'd throw out my question to the world and see if anyone wanted to share their thoughts.

The book will consist of 15 stories, thirteen previously published ones and two new ones. Here's the list, in chronological order:

1. "TeleAbsence" (Analog, July 1995)
2. "Broken Symmetry" (Analog, February 1997)
3. "Cosmic Corkscrew" (Analog, June 1998)
4. "Absent Friends" (Analog, September 1998)
5. "Reality Check" (Analog, November 1999)
6. "Kaddish for the Last Survivor" (Analog, November 2000)
7. "Spaceships" (Analog, June 2001)
8. "Paying It Forward" (Analog, September 2003)
9. "Decisions" (Analog, January/February 2004)
10. "Time Ablaze" (Analog, June 2004)
11. "Seventy-Five Years" (Analog, January/February 2005)
12. "TelePresence" (Analog, July/August 2005)
13. "Sanctuary" (Analog, September 2005)
14. Empty Spaces (original to the book)
15. I Remember the Future (original to the book)

Now here's the question. How should I order the stories?

One school of thought suggests that I should set the Table of Contents to be chronological. That way, people reading the book from beginning to end could track my growth (or possible lack thereof) as a writer.

But another school of thought suggests grouping the stories more thematically. For example, "Empty Spaces" is the fourth story in the "Broken Symmetry" series, and it might make sense to place it directly after "Absent Friends" and "Reality Check" (and to move "Cosmic Corkscrew"). And how should I open and end the book? I could bookend the collection with "TeleAbsence" and "TelePresence," since they are a story and a sequel that represent my first ten years in Analog. Or I could open the book with "Kaddish for the Last Survivor" and close with "Paying It Forward," which seem to be my most popular stories.

At the moment, I'm leaning towards keeping the chronological order, especially since I'm writing an original Afterword for each story. But the thematic grouping calls to me as well.
Tags: books, i remember the future, personal, science-fiction
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