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May/June 2013
 
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Editorial - May/June 2013
by Gordon Van Gelder


A few unrelated notes for our readers:

 

Over the past few months we have been busy incubating electronic books for your Kindles. The first two of them should be available by the time you read this. They are a revised edition of Fourth Planet from the Sun, the collection of F&SF Mars stories that first came out in 2005, and Lonely Souls, an anthology of four original SF/fantasy novellas by Chris DeVito, Jan Lars Jensen, Rand B. Lee, and Eric Carl Wolf. You can find the books by going online to the Kindle store and searching on "Spilogale, Inc."

We aim to follow these two in short order with more reprint anthologies.

Those of you who don't use an e-reader are probably wondering if there will be print editions of these books. I don't yet know the answer to that question. Stay tuned.

 

Longtime readers of F&SF may remember Anne Devereaux Jordan as our managing editor in the 1980s. I'm sorry to report that Anne passed away from lung cancer in February.

She was the managing editor here at at F&SF from 1979 to 1989. As such, I came to know her as the name on those rejection slips I accumulated in the 1980s. Then when I started working as an editor for St. Martin's Press, she was the coeditor of The Best Horror Stories from F&SF. I gather the book was her idea.

When she submitted a proposal for an anthology of sf/fantasy stories about hometowns, the proposal somehow wound up in the company's general slush pile. Then it wound up in my hands and eventually Fires of the Past became the first book I commissioned and edited.

I wish that every book I worked on was half as pleasant to edit as that one was. It seemed like we were on the phone every day, discussing some aspect of it. Anne was a joy to work with—funny, smart, and rather irreverent. When I think about that book, the first thing that comes to mind is the sound of Anne's laughter over the phone.

The book came out to mostly good reviews. I recall one of the reviews said it was "like a very good issue of F&SF." At the time, it struck me as a bit odd that someone would offer that comment as a complaint. Now, after putting together more than twelve dozen issues myself, I find that comment even odder. If only I could routinely publish an issue with the likes of "Cibola," "Buffalo," and "Who Dat" in it.

Anne was also very active in the field of children's literature, having founded the Children's Literature Association in the early 1970s, and she was teaching part-time at Eastern Connecticut State University in 2009 when she contributed to our sixtieth anniversary celebrations.

I miss her.

 

We here at F&SF don't employ as many fact-checkers as they do at The New Yorker, but we try nonetheless to get all our facts right. Recent inquiries around here have delved into such matters as when were the Jesuits founded, what was the date of the Tunguska meteoroid event, and how much waste does the average person have in their intestines? Despite our best efforts to get everything right, it's not always easy.

In the Jan/Feb. 2013 issue, I wrote that David Gerrold is the writer who has given us the term "computer virus." And it's absolutely true that he wrote about a computer program called VIRUS in his 1972 novel When HARLIE Was One.

But after the issue came out, I heard from Phil Stephensen-Payne, who runs the wonderful Galactic Central site at www.philsp.com. He pointed out an article Gregory Benford published in which Greg laid claim to being the first fiction writer to use the term.

What's more, Phil went and checked Greg Benford's story "The Scarred Man" from the May 1970 issue of Venture as well as David Gerrold's serialized sections of When HARLIE Was One that ran in Galaxy from 1969 to 1972 and concluded that Greg Benford has a fair claim to having published a fictional computer virus before David.

I haven't looked closely at the stories myself, but I read some discussion of the subject in Wikipedia's online entry for computer viruses and I want to assure readers that if the header notes contained an inaccuracy, it was not intentional.

As the old saying goes, nobody's peffect.

Gordon Van Gelder

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