Congratulations to Cory and Catska Ench for winning the Chesley Award for Best Magazine Cover Illustration for the March 2007 issue.
Although we’ve used the URL of www.fsfmag.com for a decade, we’re going to let it expire in January and switch to www.fandsf.com.
If you have fsfmag.com bookmarked, please update your computer so it uses our new URL. Thanks.
Tell us a bit about the story. What’s it about?
“A Foreign Country” is about a third-party presidential candidate who inexplicably wins with huge majorities. Then he sits behind his desk and apparently does nothing but eat. He says he likes the food here. Crime stops, criminals (among others) disappear, peace and quiet descends, and a lot of people lose chunks of their memories. But they’re happy in an impaired kind of way. Of course, there’s a little romance, attempted assassination, madness… the usual. The story is told from the point of view of a very ordinary, unimaginative pool reporter who trails the candidate around, goes to the White House with him, and spends most of his time being bewildered.
What’s the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?
Two identifiable sources: First, the question, “What if a flaky third-party no-chance candidate won?” And, second, a mean-spirited party game called “Extermination,” where the goal is to reduce the population of the earth by half (or a third or whatever—it’s all approximation) by selecting groups (with no exceptions within that group) that will cease to exist, like people who have killed other people (soldiers and policemen have to be included here), people who’ve killed anything for fun, etc. But how I got from those two things to the final story is a mystery to me. It’s no mystery to me that the ancient Greeks believed the muses whispered their poetry into their ears.
Advertisers use this gimmick all the time—come to our store for offers that are so good we can’t say them on TV or radio.
I never thought I’d use the gimmick myself, but right now, F&SF is offering a bonus to anyone who takes out a lifetime subscription with us for $1,000.00.
Unfortunately, I can’t say in public what the bonus is, but I can tell people in private. What I can say in public is that the bonus is part of a longterm project that will interest many people.
Sorry I can’t say more right now, but if you’re interested,use the Contact Us (http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/contact.htm) page on our Website and we’ll let you in on the details.
This month’s online reprint is by Eugene Mirabelli: