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October/November 2006
Book Reviews
Charles de Lint
Elizabeth Hand
Michelle West
James Sallis
Chris Moriarty
Plumage from Pegasus
Off On a Tangent: F&SF Style
Kathi Maio
Lucius Shepard
Gregory Benford
Pat Murphy & Paul Doherty
Coming Attractions
F&SF Bibliography: 1949-1999
Index of Title, Month and Page sorted by Author

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"Haunted by the Ghostwriter"

FOR competition #72, writers had to perform the task of "ghostwriter" of well-known authors. The entrants were most haunted by H. P. Lovecraft, his specter inspiring a healthy percentage of entries. Other frequent poltergeists included Dr. Seuss, A. A. Milne, and Philip K. Dick.

Some submitters did not specify the authors they were sending up. Unless they were screamingly obvious (see Lovecraft), I had to shoot them down.

Thanks to all the people who submitted. Many of these pieces were extremely funny, and it was a difficult competition to judge. Here are the ones I enjoyed the most.

First Place
Stephen Hawking ghostwrites for Dr. Seuss:
I do not like this wobbly thing,
this wriggly ring, this wiggly string.
I do not like it, Albert E.,
for now you're obsolete, you see.
Our world is all Kaluza-Klein
and oozy, foamy, weird spacetime,
where quantum tunnels, funnels, sleds
let apples slide through Newton's head!
—Mariam Kirby
Mineola, TX

Second Place

Stephen Baxter ghostwrites for Louis L'Amour:
Sheriff Hawking stared down his nemesis, the Singularity Kid. His mind raced through the variables. What small permutation in space-time was required to make him victorious? As the hot lead entered his chest, he was consoled by mathematical Providence that somewhere, in some time, he was paying more attention.
—Coy Blair
Thomasville, NC

Alfred Bester ghostwrites for The Home Distillation Handbook, by Ola Norrman:
Drunker, said the Drunkard.
Drunker, said the Drunkard.
Fermentation, distillation, dissipation has begun.
—Matthew Herreshoff
Detroit, MI

J. R. R. Tolkien ghostwrites for William R. Gibson:
Once, in his parents' basement, there lived a nerd. This was not a neat and tidy basement, with the dishes clean and the books and clothes all neatly put away. This was a nerd basement, and that means squalor.
—Alan Kellogg
San Diego, CA

Edgar Allan Poe ghostwrites for Isaac Asimov:
Once again, a meeting dreary
stalls our catalogues of theory,
our great work here on Trantor.
Hari Seldon's constant yapping
wastes our time. I should be napping.
I'd doze now, except, of course, I
Anacreon proclaims defiance.
What's that have to do with science?
Hari's meetings! Bah and Nevermore!
—Pat Scannell
Framingham, MA

Steven Brust ghostwrites for Jane Austen:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a lithe and skillful bodyguard to watch his back.
—Michael Cavallo
Brookline, MA

J. G. Ballard ghostwrites for Arthur Conan Doyle:
 Yes, Watson, it's clear: the dead astronaut in the empty swimming pool was killed by psycho-analysis. The cerise tunnel of the sunset and the tangled wreckage of the lunar perambulator are absolute proofs. It's murder, Watson, and what's more, I can name the sociologist who did it!
—Stephen McGarrity
N. Yorks, United Kingdom

J. K. Rowling ghostwrites for Dan Brown (or visa-versa):
The Wizarding World—a European secret subculture founded in 4000 BCE—is a real society. The Ministry of Magic has just completed construction of a 47 million Galleon school called Hogwarts somewhere in England.

All descriptions of magic, architecture, wizardry, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.
—Timothy Hulme, Jr.
Union, NJ


Merge and Converge:

Take at least one genre book (or short story) and merge it with another name. Then describe the plot of your new creation. (Thanks to Richard Bleiler via Gordon Van Gelder for the suggestion.) Limit your description to fifty words, and submit no more than six entries. Remember to include your name and address.


Example: Foundation and Empire Strikes Back
(from Foundation and Empire and The Empire Strikes Back)

Hari Seldon goes to Dagobah to learn the ways of the Jedi and become powerful enough to defeat the Mule. Unfortunately for Hari, the Mule is his father.


Email entries to carol [a-t] cybrid [d-o-t] net.

Be sure to include your contact information. Entries must be received by May 15, 2006. Judges are the editors of F&SF, and their decision is final. All entries become the property of F&SF.


First prize will receive a signed, limited edition of Majestrum by Matthew Hughes (published by Night Shade Books).
Second prize will receive advance reading copies of three forthcoming novels.
Any runners-up will receive one-year subscriptions to F&SF.

Results of competition #73 will appear in the April 2007 issue.

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