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Letters to the SF Site

With an ever-growing readership at the SFSite, there has come an ever-increasing chorus of readers asking to be heard; to voice their opinions, to find help in looking for that lost book title, and to keep us informed.

It's been getting busy here -- this issue we have two writing contest announcements from TTA Literary Press and the Salivan short story contest, a few of the usual updates and requests, and one interesting letter about the nature of editing. So, this is what came over the wires to us at the SFSite over the last two weeks. If you have anything to add to the discussion yourself, mail us at We'd like to hear it.

Salivan Short Story Contest Winners and Information

From: Tammy Mackenzie

Hello. This is just a note to let you know that the winners of the October short story contest are up on the site.

Also, the deadline for the current contest is February 28th. If you have time to send out a quick reminder, I'd appreciate it. There's no more entry fee and a large cash purse has replaced the 40% 1st prize, so it's a fair opportunity for your writers.

Anyhow, thanks for your help on this and the anthology. We're getting an incredible response and reading some truly fantastic work.


Thank you for your letter, and my apologies for not seeing the deadline in time. If you can send me the next deadline, I promise to post it much more promptly.

Categories in the Salivan Short Story are science fiction/fantasy, horror, and romance. Winners are published for 90 days on the Salivan site until the next contest winners are posted and announced. Visit their main website at Salivan Writing Works for information about contest rules and submission guidelines. And, of course, to read what previous winners have written.

Another Important Contest Announcement:
the TTA Literary Prizes

From: Andy Cox, TTA Press

Here are the details of a major new development for short story writers: The TTA Literary Prizes. The first TTA Literary Prizes are open to entries NOW, and the prizes on offer total £2,000.


There will a first prize of £1,000, a runner up prize of £500 and five second runner up prizes of £100 each.


There is no official entry form, and writers may enter as often as they wish provided each individual story is accompanied by an entry fee of £5/US$8. Cheques (including dollar checks), postal orders, etc should be made payable to "The TTA Literary Prizes".

Stories will be considered within the categories of Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Slipstream and Cross-Genre fiction.

Entries must be no longer than 6,000 words in length and must be original work in English which has not been previously published. Entries must not be under consideration for any other competitions, under consideration for publication or currently awaiting publication.

Stories must be typed double spaced on single sheets of A4 paper. The title page must carry the entrant's name, address and a contact telephone number and/or email address. The title of the story must appear on each subsequent page, but no other author details must be shown. Pages must be clearly numbered.

Entries should be sent to the Prize Administrator at 9 Henry Cross Close, Shipdham, Thetford, Norfolk IP25 7LQ, Great Britain, and must be received by the closing date of 31 December 2000. Proof of posting will not be declared proof of receipt.

Manuscripts cannot be returned, so please retain a copy for your records. Stories should be accompanied by a stamped self-addressed postcard if acknowledgement of safe receipt is required (postcard plus International Reply Coupon in the case of entries from overseas).

Entries failing to comply with these criteria will not be considered.


A shortlist of stories will be forwarded by the Prize Administrator to an independent panel of judges who will make the final decision. The membership of the judging panel will be confirmed at a later date, but it is envisaged the panel will consist of a professional author, a publisher's representative and a literary agent. The judges' decisions are final and TTA Press will not enter into any discussion regarding them.


Details of the winning entries will be announced in the March 2001 issue of The 3rd Alternative print magazine, published on the TTA website and elsewhere. A full list of winners can also be obtained by sending a stamped self-addressed envelope to the editorial address: TTA Press, 5 Martins Lane, Witcham, Ely, Cambs CB6 2LB, Great Britain (email:; website:


The TTA Literary Prizes will operate under the auspices of TTA Press, who reserve the right to cancel them at any time subject to full refund of entry fees. The TTA editorial staff will take no part in the judging procedure. The competition will not be restricted to the type of material that appears in The 3rd Alternative magazine and entries are not being considered for publication in that magazine. Peter Tennant will act as the Prize Administrator.

This is the first time that this particular contest is being held, and it is something that Andy Cox says they hope will be an annual event. TTA Press publishes the print magazines The Third Alternative, Crimewave and Zene.

Looking for Colin Kapp books

From: seanch

I wonder if you can help. For the last 15 or so years I have been trying to get hold of copies of two books by the author Colin Kapp. The books are called The Tyrant of Hades and StarSearch. I would be most grateful if you could put me in touch with someone who may have copies of these books. I have tried amazon and bol.

To the best of our knowledge, both are out of print, which is why you're not having much luck with Amazon. Perhaps your best bet is with out-of-print search services. The two best are:

but there are many more. Ebay may also get them once in a while, and many fine used bookshops are now up online and willing to help you find what you are looking for.

Time Police

From: Akeel Ahmad

recently i read the time police series by warren norwood. it seems to stop abruptly at book 3. is there a book 4 on the way?

Unfortunately, it seems that the publisher stopped after book 3. We would recommend writing to the publisher or to the author, care of the publisher, to let them know that you want to see more.

End of an Age

From: Annalee Call

I assume that you are already aware of it but just in case you are not. I read on the SciFi newswire that the magazine Science Fiction Age is discontinuing publication in May. Is this so?

Sadly, yes, it is true. Declining circulation (according to rumour) was the cause.

Frank R. Paul

From: Frank Wu

I saw on your website a letter from Bill Meier looking for information on the great SF artist Frank R. Paul. It just so happens that I recently set up a Frank R. Paul art gallery in which I am attempting to collect large images of all 150+ magazine covers that Mr. Paul did in his career. I am about 1/3 of the way there. Please visit the gallery at my website. Thanks.

We've also added a link to Mr. Wu's website on our site.

Aramaya and the Art of Editing

From: Catharine Richardson

Jeri Wright's review shows the difficult of reviewing a book which is so dependent on the previous novels in the series. Much of Dion's emotional problems do become more understandable in light of the events in the previous novels.

However ...

I've been following this series since the beginning and when I read Mage Heart I felt the series had a lot of promise. I think it's interesting the way Routley has positioned the Demon Bedazzer as a sexual predator and shown the effects of his seduction/manipulation of Dion. Unfortunately, this has made Dion an unpleasant character, and one that is difficult to develop sympathy for or indeed spend time with. In fact, by mid-novel her emotional problems are used as a motivator for every plot twist regardless of consistency - or the other characters.

I honestly hope that this is the final book in the series and that Routley will be free to start again on another book.

A final comment ...

I purchased this book as a trade paperback ($19.50 Canadian), this continues to seem to me to be an outrageous price for a paperback. So the final annoyance in the book were the last few paragraphs which were SO disconnected with the previous few pages that I actually read backwards in the book trying to decide where they actually belonged (copy & paste error?). I finally gave up, asking myself where the book's editor was. In fact, I think an editor could have helped this book enormously by looking at plot and characterization - not to mention paragraph dyslexia.

I'd sure like to see the SF Site do an article on the trade of the SF Editor (and convince me it's not a lost/dying art).

Catharine Richardson

Thank you very much for your additional thoughts on the novel, Catharine, as well as for your rather provocative comments near the end. The price of books is always an issue guaranteed to get backs up on both sides of the fence, and you raise some interesting questions about the role of the editor in the creative writing process.

How much is the editor responsible for the final outcome? If you don't like a book, do you blame the writer; or do you blame the editor for not doing a good enough job in directing or editing the writer? As a non-fiction editor, I have my own ideas on the subject. I'll be intrigued to hear what others think about this issue.

Busy? Whew. As you can tell by the size of this issue's column, that's not the half of it. We're starting to get more letters than we can publish in an issue, and are replying privately to those that don't make it onto this page. This kind of busy we like.

Until next time.

Kristen Chew
SF Site

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