Story Time: Our Lady of 47 Ursae Majoris

Today’s Story Time was written about the time astronomers were first piecing together convincing proof of other planets in the universe. Something we all had just assumed to be true before, but now some bright soul had the idea (and equipment sensitive enough) to detect the faint drop in brightness a distant sun displays as an orbiting planet passes between it and us. All I remember about writing this story was the news that at least one planet was detected orbiting  a sun in the constellation of the Great Bear. As for where The Lady or the Gan came from, your guess is as good as mine.

Our Lady of 47 Ursae Majoris was first published in Third Order, vol.2 #1, Winter 2008, an online zine that specialized in stories concerning religion, which this story doesn’t. Except it sort of does, too.

 

As always, this piece will remain online until next Wednesday, June 27th. Then not.

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Hiatus

When I consider that the most interesting thing happening this week and for several others is the struggle to co-ordinate and light a fire under the electrician, the plumber, and the contractor we need to get a (final?) home project done, it’s time to take a hard look at where I am and what I’m doing.

I have a novel project hanging fire, I’m way behind in my reading, and the only thing I’ve managed to produce consistently is this blog and a weekly piece of flash fiction, and I’ve gotten to the point where the only thing I feel like talking about is political. I just can’t go there.

As much as I hate to admit it, something has to give, at least temporarily, and it has to be the Monday blog post. I hope I can get back to it in a few weeks. Meanwhile, Story Time will continue on schedule, and if I have anything to say worth hearing I’ll post it there.

Stay Safe.

Nellis Tavern

In our continuing efforts to learn more about the history of our new home, yesterday Carol and I attended the Rhubarb Festival at the Nellis Tavern. The Nellis Tavern sits between St. Johnsville and Nelliston on HWY 5. It was originally built by the Nellis family, Palatine Germans who had fled to this country after repeated invasions from France. The house was built as a block (fortified) farmstead something like Fort Klock, with a stone house and mill on the site, around 1747. The original buildings were replaced by the current structure in the early 1780’s and it served as a tavern and inn along the Mohawk River. It remained a tavern and private home through most of the 19th century before the building was abandoned around 1950. It has since been taken over by the Palatine Settlement Society, which is overseeing its restoration.

This picture shows the restoration of the original wall stenciling that decorated the tavern. The right side of the picture shows the original stenciling over plaster, sort of like wall paper without the paper. As you can see, the restoration follows the original very closely.

Here’s a closeup of the exterior, front. I don’t have any good pictures of the interior, but it was crowded and difficult to get any good shots. We plan to go back and have a regular tour of the place now that the Rhubarb Festival fundraiser is over. As for that, we had Raspberry-Rhubarb upside down cake. It was delicious.

 

 

Story Time: Laying the Stones

In acknowledgment of the recent passing of Gardner Dozois, today’s Story Time is “Laying the Stones,” the very first story Gardner ever bought from me (and my second ever pro sale), breaking a long and very burdensome drought on my part. It appeared in the November, 1994 issue of Asimov’s SF and, as you can see, in very good company.

Gardner Dozois 1947-2018

As many of you may or may not know, the writer, editor, and reviewer Gardner Dozois passed away yesterday (May 27th). Of course, anyone involved at all in the field of Science Fiction knows that he was a lot more than that. He was the center. If the field had a heart, he would have been it. People who were closer to him personally will have to talk about Gardner Dozois the man. I can only speak to his effect on me.

I actually “met” Gardner online back in the early 1990’s, in the relatively early days of what was almost but not quite the internet. Before FB and Reddit there was Genie and Delphi, “bulletin board” sites where you logged in through an analog modem to argue and chat with friends. A lot of the sf/f field hung out on Genie, but on one night a week a smaller, very lucky group came together on the sf/f board on Delphi. Membership varied, but at one time or another there was Janet Kagan, Pat Cadigan, Lawrence Person, Jack L. Chalker, Eva Whitley, Mike Resnick, Susan Casper and yes, Gardner Dozois. And me. I wasn’t the only nobody there, of course, but on the other hand there weren’t any nobodies there. It was a friendly group and everyone felt welcome. I certainly did. At the time I had only sold one story, several years earlier, to Amazing SF, and while I was still working hard, I was beginning to think that was it. And even though talking business was generally frowned on, it was there that Gardner broke the news that he was taking a story of mine, “Laying the Stones,” for Asimov’s SF. Now imagine yourself drowning, not for a minute or two but for months, years, and somebody finally throws you a lifeline.

For me, that somebody was Gardner Dozois.

It was the same for a lot of other people who Gardner plucked from the slush pile and helped make their starts. He was unfailingly enthusiastic and generous as an editor. Not in the sense that he would take a second-rate story, of course—he was picky. It was more that he loved the field and it showed, and you knew when he chose a story from you it was because he enjoyed it, and believed his readers would too. He made you want to be a better writer, just to know you passed that test and belonged in that place you wanted to be.

I don’t pretend to know what, if anything, happens when our time on earth is up. I have my beliefs, as I’m sure you have yours. I still think of Susan and Janet and Jack and now Gardner holding court and swapping stories and wit for as long as it suits them.