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 We were both unpublished at that point, but we’d also both been working at it (to varying degrees) for many years.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.