1996 – 1999

 

MS MANAGEMENT is an article on managing the inventory of writing articles and pieces that are in circulation. This is nothing more than keeping track of what goes where and when it is due back, something that many writers seem to have difficulty doing efficiently or well. The result is, sadly, editors angry at duplicate submissions or writers unhappy because they’ve forgotten how long is reasonable for an editor to hold a manuscript.
Appeared in Speculations issue #21 June 1999
Created October 1997, Sold December 1997, Words 1,000

OLYMPUS MONS began as a story about an amazing rescue by a meterologist on top of Olympus Mons. This idea survived in the final story as the name of the race and the spot, Rescue Point. Of course, my idea for downhill skiing on the tallest mountain in the solar system –Mars’ Olympus Mons– dissolved when I discovered that 90% of the mountain extends above most of Mars’ atmosphere. I joked at a Balticon Session that maybe I could do it as a mountain biking story and then forgot about it.
But Sarah Zettel heard me, became intrigued, and later suggested that we collaborate. After a flurry of exchanges of outlines and ideas we finally put together a sketch of the characters and some key scenes. At that point Sarah had to drop out due to her book commitments so I continued on my own.
This story required a lot of research, including a large map of the mountain itself, upon which I plotted the route described in the story. I even had to invent a bike that would work on Mars, and a reason for it evenbeing there to begin with!
For fun, I included some references to other of my stories to join several stories (HURRICANE, PRIMROSE AND THORN, PRIMROSE RESCUE) within a single universe – and a single family as well!
Appeared in ANALOG January 1998
Created November 1996, Sold March 1997, Words 14,900, Illustrated by Vincent DiFate

THE ICE DRAGONS SONG started out to be Hans Brinker but took a turn when I considered what life would be like on Europa, with ruddy Jupiter hanging overhead and miles of ice beneath. As facts about Europa appeared on the NASA web site the story changed to accomodate those facts.
The character of Paul emerged as I tried to recall what it felt like to be a young teen-ager, fighting hormonal rages, battling for identity, resenting parents (one or both) and torn between independence and dependency. The story is about Paul’s battle with his self, and how he reaches an understanding of his own motivations and needs.
This story represents a stylistic breakthrough for me. I wanted that feeling of wonder to come through, that fascination with what might be, even though you know it is false. I do hope that you like it.
Appeared in ANALOG July 1998
Created June 1997, Sold October 1997, Words 21,500, Illustrated by Bob Eggleton, AnLab Award cover by Bob Eggleton

MERCENARY is an attempt to write a story in which a mercenary soldier is continually recreated anew, with no memories of his previous reincarnations save those of his immediate past. I hope that the readers are able to keep that firmly in mind and not get too confused.
I wrote another version of this as a hypertext story using the Microsoft Help engine and found that it makes a great deal more sense than the printed version, for, as the reader navigates through it, he will experience the same sort of revelations and confusion as the protagonist. Perhaps some day somebody will turn this tale into a game.
Appeared in [tbd] Summer 1998
Created July 1978, Sold August 1996, Words 3,400

LOVE’S LABORS LOST concerns maintaining a safe copy of your manuscripts, both paper and soft copies. This fact was brutally brought home to me when literally dozens of stories in development were stolen, along with the computer and the rest of my electronics. Be warned: BACK UP!
Appeared in Speculations April 1998
Created September 1997, Sold December 1997, Words 1,000

SAM BOONE’S TEACUP CONUNDRUM yet another part of the early years of SAM BOONE as he finds his calling. This story was sparked by a remark by David Powers on the Compuserve SF forum shortly afterRational Choice appeared.
The story takes place immediately after the events of Rational Choice and was originally scripted to take place in DisneyWorld. When this hit Analog the lawyers said there might be a problem with satirizing anything related to Disneyworld, so Stan suggested the events could take place in Orlando, but in a similar theme park of the future.
Appeared in ANALOG August 1998
Created March 1997, Sold October 1997, Words 7,500, Illustrated by Shirley Chan

BERYL’S RUN is based on the premise that what chem labs did for kids back in the 60′s to create the basement drug labs, biology will do for the kids of today.
Beryl’s is set in the near future when a more fundementalist, reactionary culture has taken over the United States. Everyone is quite frightened by the possibilities that biological science presents and wishes the entire mess to go away. Naturally there are those who feel otherwise, and those who are willing to serve, providing there is a profit to be made. Beryl only wants to get away so she can pursue her talent, her interests, and her freedom.
This is an expansion of an idea discussed with Nancy Kress at ICON. We wondered if someone should do for biology what the cyberpunks did for virtual reality. I hope the readers of that someone likes the result.
Appeared in ABSOLUTE MAGNITUDE Winter 1999
Created November 1997, Sold April 1998, Words20,000, Illustrated by Emille Harman

HIGH FLIGHT is an expansion on the idea first put forth in PRIMROSE AND THORN – that people can live, work, and explore the atmosphere of Jupiter.
High Flight began when I considered that in the upper portions of Jupiter’s atmosphere it might be entirely possible to use something like a sailplane to explore the atmosphere. Due to the force of the winds there would be no need for propulsive systems, engines, etc. All you need is a good feeling for the wind patterns and the desire to fly forever.
This story was sparked when one of Tangent’s reviewers commented that it was a pity there was no Jupiter scenery described in the story and that sounded like a challenge.
Appeared in ANALOG, December 1998
Created March 1998, Sold April 1998, Words 6,800, Illustrated by George Krauter

SAM BOONE’S DRY RUN is another chapter in the perigrinations of the hapless SAM BOONE as he wanders the galaxy. This story marks the second in which I have tried to develop an actual plot, which some say ruined the fun of it all.
This is sort of a detective story and, as usual, I have attempted to poke gentle fun at a few of my friends in the sf community in general, and the staff of Analog in particular. I have also enlarged the cast of characters quite a bit, enough so that I am starting to lose track of them.
Appeared in ANALOG July 1997
Created November 1996 Sold January 1997, Words 16,700, Illustrted by Kelly Freas

FIERCE EMBRACE arose because, in 1993 I asked Mike Resnick what it would take to get into one of his anthologies. He told me to send some samples, among which was IRIDIUM DREAMS. He called in September 1996 and asked if I could write another dinosaur story for him and, oh, by the way, could I have it back in six weeks? I did it in three and this is the result.
This story is designed to work on several levels. I deliberately did not make the sections of the interwoven stories directly parallel, but did make them analogous to each other in a deeper sense. The scenes and locations were based on an article in the July 1996 issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, which included a nice map of the Gobi.
This was the first story that I wrote to spec and deadline and was surprised to find how nice it was to work under pressure. The story got a favorable review in Tangent as the only hard science story in the entire collection.
Appeared in Return of the Dinosaurs (DAW Books), Editor Mike Resnick
Created September 1996 Sold October 1996, Words 7,000

PRIMROSE RESCUE is the sequel to PRIMROSE AND THORN , a story about sailing on Jupiter. At the end of the earlier story I left the group of rather smashed-up atmospheric sailors stranded somewhere in the middle of Jupiter’s stormy seas.  This story describes the problems they face when they discover that the storm that damaged their ships also moved the floating stations away from their predictable tracks. The three of them must combine their knowledge and sailing expertise to bring Primrose to safety.
PRIMROSE AND THORN was originally a very long story and was shortened to its published form for several reasons, among which the ending part didn’t work. After wrestling PRIMROSE AND THORN into shape I rewrote the excised text, turned it into a complete novelette, and resubmitted it. Apparently the changes corrected the deficiencies of the previous version because Stan bought it immediately. I would recommend that the two stories be read as one continuous story for the greatest enjoyment.
Appeared in ANALOG May 1997
Created December 1994 Sold June 1996, Words 8,700, Illustrated by George Krauter

SAM BOONE’S RATIONAL CHOICE is the pre- quel to the entire SAM BOONE series. I’ve always been enamored of the Wodehouse stories and decided to try his plot tricks. The plot is deliberately contrived, with the usual bits of nonsense thrown in. This was written more for fun than to make some biological, social, or other type of point. I’ve inserted references to five friends in this story; Martin Crumpton, Jeff Kooistra, Ian Randal Strock, Scott Towner, and Tom Ligon, three of whom have a good sense of humor.
Appeared in ANALOG March 1997
Created September 1995 Sold April 1996, Words 15,900, Illustrated by Mike Posen

SAM BOONE’S APPEAL TO COMMON SCENTS is a sequel to SAM BOONE AND THE THERMAL COUPLES . I came across an article on animal communication in US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT that was loaded with ideas. Since I already had the universe of Sam Boone at hand, I decided to write another chapter, but place it earlier in his life (after all, he was going to Andromeda at the end of THERMAL COUPLES!) Besides, I had a portion of text I excised from THERMAL COUPLES that I wanted to expand, and that is where the planet Scrofulous came from.  There were some left over pieces from SCENTS that I later worked into SAM BOONE’S RATIONAL CHOICE.
Appeared in ANALOG July 1996
Created June 1995 Sold September 1995, Words 11,300, Illustrated by Kelly Freas

PRIMROSE AND THORN was elected as the year’s best ANALOG novella and was a finalist for SFWA’s 1998 Nebula Award!
The Analytical Laboratory Award was presented at the annual Nebula breakfast in Kansas City MO on April 19, 1997. George Krauter, who did the cover art and illustrations, also received the award for Analog’s best cover of the year.
The story is an exposition of what sailing on Jupiter might be like. Of course, the fact that Jupiter is immense, has a crushing atmosphere, and intense gravity presented somewhat of a challenge and left me stumped until I read David Nordley’s article on surface gravity and discovered that it was possible to have “only” two gravities, which is survivable, and still be in the atmosphere. From that point on there was a logical progression from sailboat to balloon, and then to a ‘sailboat” that was a mixture of the two. I was amazed when it was later pointed out to me that concepts from an earlier work ALBA KRYSTAL appeared in this story, all without my being aware of it.
I put as much of my knowledge of sailing into this as I could while trying to remain true to the premise of the story. These particular characters were chosen because I wanted to populate the story with people who worked under the sail and those who just loved to sail.
I wrote a sequel to this but before it was done my computer was stolen, along with about 20-30 unfinished manuscripts that were in development (which means I hadn’t given up on them completely). The sequel was written and sold in 1996 as PRIMROSE RESCUE.
G. David Nordley wrote a flattering letter (ANALOG, November 1996) about this story. He complained that the rather poetic vision of Jupiter and the surrounding stars that I described would not be possible from a synchronous orbit. They also published my response to some of his comments.
Appeared in ANALOG May 1996. Also in: The Years Best Science Fiction, Fourteenth Annual Collection, St Martins Press, Garner Dozois – Editor – page 109
Created December 1994, Sold October 1995, Words 18,2000, Illustrated by George Krauter, Cover by George Krauter

THE BILL came about while I was on a weekend boat trip with a friend. We tried to think of how various businesses would work if they were managed the way hospitals were. That led to a discussion about insurance company practices, the rise of medical bureaucracy, and the frustration that we all face when we see the Byzantine invoices that they prepare. Stan Schmidt thought that this was a “nifty bit of satire.”  This story, in Xerox form, was widely circulated at the 1997 AMA conference in Chicago.Appeared in ANALOG February 1996
Created March 1995, Sold June 1995, Words 1,1000

RESURRECTION came from an afternoon’s pleasure of eating steamed crabs at Kaufman’s restaurant (which opened the year I was born and now, regretfully closed) near Annapolis.
In this story I tried to imagine an alien society that would arise from the biological imperatives of crustaceans. The sequence of developing this piece was WRITING the first third, the last quarter, and then the middle section. I knew how it would end when I started, but had to work out the mechanism that would drive it to that conclusion.
The Christian trinity features greatly in the images and structure of this story, as do a number of other religious symbols.
Stan Schmidt suggested many changes, and forced me to use the correct Linnean nomenclature I am very appreciative of his efforts to turn this into its final form.
Appeared in ANALOG, January 1996
Created August 1994, Sold March 1995, Words 11,3000, Illustrated by Alan M/ Clark