Volume 17, Number 03, Fall 1999

News and Notes

In response to last issue's Book Reviews, Brad Linaweaver writes:
Dear Bill,

There is merit in your proposal to return NONE OF THE ABOVE to the ballot. Not every year will produce a work meeting all the criteria of the Prometheus Award. Even when works do measure up (as I hope the anthology Free Space earned its Special Award) the overall impact is often less than might be desired.

For example, in his review of James P. Hogan's Rockets, Redheads and Revolution, Lynn Maners writes the following: "The only piece of fiction which hasn't appeared elsewhere, 'Madam Butterfly,' is an interesting extrapolation of small changes and the title does have a double meaning relevant to the story, if you remember your Arthur C. Clarke."

Indeed. Memory is a good thing. How excellent it is to remember things. Jim Hogan produced a fine story. Ed Kramer and I certainly thought so when we bought it for Free Space, a book covered to the point of exhaustion in the pages of a publication I seem to remember; it's just on the tip of my tongue. Oh, yeah, Prometheus.

Jim Hogan sent me an e-mail about the oversight of his new story collection not having any reference to Free Space in the section devoted to attributions, copyrights and suchlike. The omission was pure oversight and Ed and I are perfectly satisfied with the explanation.

The only mistake I made was in assuming that Free Space had such a powerful impact in libertarian land that everyone would remember the original appearance of Jim's fine story. Especially someone like Lynn Maners who told me at Loscon last year that he had either read or was going to read Free Space. If the latter, maybe he'll read it in the next century. We know that he didn't read the coverage of the book in the pages of Prometheus. And if that doesn't qualify him to review books in these pages, what does?

Here's my vote for Lynn Maners to review NONE OF THE ABOVE as soon as it is returned to the ballot.
Brad Linaweaver
Los Angeles

Lynn Maners replies:
Dear Editor,

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to respond to my friend Brad's curious letter to you. Upon reading it, I am drawn rather ineluctably to ask two questions. (A) What was he smoking when he wrote it? and (B) Where can I get some?

Brad rightly points out that I was in error when I did not cite that Hogan's "Madam Butterfly" had appeared in Free Space. When I read it in Hogan's anthology, I recall having an apprehension that it seemed familiar. Thus motivated, I went to the publication data page, but did not find a reference to this story's previous publication. Brad notes that Baen has acknowledged that this error was theirs. Had Brad called me or e-mailed me, noting that this story had appeared in Free Space, I would have been happy to send a notice of correction to the editor for inclusion in the next issue of this newsletter. In fact, if we wish to cast the net of responsibility as widely as possible, we should certainly include the editor of Prometheus, who must have read my review before he published it and might have remembered that 'Madam Butterfly" had appeared in Free Space.

Then, springing as if fullblown from the head of Zeus, Brad embarks upon a remarkable conflation, using this inadvertent error to assume that I have not read Free Space and somehow relating this thematically to Ye Olde Editor's comments on the None of the Above choice for the Prometheus Award. In his fit of pique, Brad omits the following:

  1. As a libertarian s/f fan, I strongly supported his efforts to bring Free Space to fruition, inquiring after its progress at every opportunity.
  2. After I received (and read) my review copy of Free Space, I discussed it extensively with him at a con we both attended. I pointed out its strengths (manifold) and weaknesses (a few), citing specific examples. At that time, he took the book from my hand and autographed it on the title page, by his name as editor.
  3. At a regular meeting of the LASFS, I reviewed Free Space before the membership assembled. I gave it a very strong and enthusiastic recommendation. A number of LASFSians later told me they purchased the book, based on my review.
  4. As a Prometheus Award judge, I felt that we should have awarded Free Space the Prometheus itself, bending the rules to do so. I maintain that opinion today.
In summation then, I can only assume that this perhaps substance-induced state of cognitive discontinuity, to which his letter renders mute testimony, will soon abate and that he will revert to the Brad we all know and admire, dapper gent, multitalented writer and passionate defender of liberty. (Now, about that Sliders novel ...)
Best Free Wishes
Lynn D. Maners Ph.D.
Tor Books has announced publication of three books of interest to Prometheus readers:

Lodestar, by Michael Flynn, will complete the series that includes Firestar and Rogue Star (Prometheus Award nominee, 1999).

Genesis, by Poul Anderson.

The Stone Canal, by Ken MacLeod (Prometheus Award winner, 19), will be the first American publication of this novel.

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