“Strobe Effect” sold to Analog magazine!

Alastair Mayer and I have known each other since we first met at the “Kris ‘n Dean Show” workshop in Lincoln City, Oregon, in 2009. We were both unpublished at that point, but we’d also both been working at it (to varying degrees) for many years. Al and I discovered we were at that workshop for largely the same reasons: to re-orientate ourselves, shake the rust out, gather new professional information, and basically get things moving in the right direction. Being fans of hard science fiction in general, as well as admirers of the long-lived science fiction magazine ANALOG in particular, we both quipped that it would be fun to share a table-of-contents in ANALOG some day.

We did that last year.

Now we’ve done something ever better.

I am pleased to announce that Al and I have sold our collaborative novelette, “Strobe Effect,” to Stanley Schmidt of ANALOG.

It’s been said that the sign of a good collaboration is a story which could not have been told without both authors bringing their strengths to the table — to create a tale neither of them could have done very well on their own. When Al and I sat down to talk about this story (both in person and over e-mail) it seemed he’d crafted a delicious “scientifiction” conceit which only needed some character arc “oomph” to take it from a story which Stan already liked, but could not buy, to a story Stan liked and most definitely would buy.

I won’t give away the goods. Hopefully the story shows up some time later this year, so interested folk can read it then. For my part, I think it’s absolutely the “hardest” science fiction story I’ve ever put my hand to, and this I owe entirely to Al Mayer — whose technical and scientific chops are much superior to mine; and I am no slouch! It was a delight being able to combine Al’s ideas and my ideas into a coherent whole. I think both of us will be trying to do it again in the not too distant future.

After all, it’s hard to argue with results.

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5 thoughts on ““Strobe Effect” sold to Analog magazine!

  1. Thank you. I am a broken record on this, but really, after so many years of unpublished futility, the magic of selling stories never gets old. And when it can be done with friends, it’s double the fun!

  2. I think it all comes down to fit: do you get along with your collaborator and do you and your collaborator generally enjoy and/or write the same kinds of stories? If the answer to these is “no” I am not sure it can work, though there are times when working with someone very different from you can be advantageous and/or provocative.

  3. I chaired a panel on collaboration at MileHiCon last October. Two of the panelists, Dani and Eytan Kollin (The Unincorporated Man, among others) I’ve seen at work (we shared a suite at Worldcon). They go over everything, a lot (where “go over” can include shouting matches, grin). Interestingly, though, one (Eytan) tends to concentrate on the action and visuals, the other (Dani) on the sounds of the words themselves and best word choice. Kevin Anderson and Rebecca Moesta (also on the panel) tend to work the same way regarding action vs word choice, when they’re collaborating.

    Brad and I don’t tell stories the same way, but we each “get” what the other is doing, and we have similar tastes. We approached this project in a different way than we might some others in future, because this on started from a (shorter) story I’d already written. Next time it’ll likely be more from scratch. (And we’re both still relatively new writers — we’re both getting stronger in areas we’ve been weak in.) I’m looking forward to whatever’s next.

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