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Posted 30 September:

Posted 25 September:

Posted 19 September:

Posted 13 September:

Dear Locus Online,

     Due to a hard disk crash, the bulk of Lost Pages subscriptions received from 14 August 2003 to 16 September 2003 have been lost. Please email if you sent your subscription request during that period.

     Several submissions were also lost. If you do not receive a response to your submission by Monday, 6 October 2003, please resubmit.

     The October 2003 issue, featuring Richard Bleiler, Dave Cooper, Paul Di Filippo, Todd Mason, Bruce Holland Rogers, and Melissa Yuan-Innes, will be a few days late.

     Deepest apologies.

Claude Lalumière
30 September

Dear Locus,

     On August 22, Black Gate's main computer had a catastrophic hard drive failure, and we lost all e-mail prior to that date — including nearly 1000 unread e-mail submissions, some of them dating back several months. (It happened less than 24 hours after we handed in issue #6 to the printers — so in terms of timing, it could have been far worse!)

     We recently re-built our machine and restored regular e-mail service, but two data recovery firms in California were both unable to recover any salvagable data from the original hard drive. We apologize profoundly for the inconvenience, but we're asking anyone who's submitted an e-mail sub prior to August 22, who has not yet received a response, to send it to us again.

     Lastly, we managed to restore our BG subscriber database from back-ups, but there is a gap of nearly three weeks, from mid-July to mid-August, which we are uncertain is complete. We are asking anyone who subscribed online during that date to drop us a note to make certain we didn't lose them.

John O'Neill
Black Gate
21 September

Dear Locus Online,

     Wake up! Hasn't anyone ever heard of Supply and Demand?

     Why are we SF pros helping Clarion, Odyssey etc. crank out new writers? All I see in Locus are unfamiliar names, crowding out the old, established pros, many of whom are not ready to retire.

     And we teach them! This is absurd, since any bright, greedy kid can learn the Eleven Secrets of SF (or the Four of Fantasy) in a few weeks. I am not blaming the rookies. It is we pros ourselves who are destroying our own livelihoods by HELPING the workshops crank out new writers who then flood the market with tales, like dollar-a-bushel corn.

     Do we really need 40-60 new writers a year? Count the magazines; do the math.

     My proposal has two parts: First, we shut down the workshops. This can be done easily, with fire. Second, we screen and certify aspiring SF and Fantasy writers through SFWA, then apprentice them one-on-one to established, successful, recognized SF writers like myself. All of us can use help around the house. Let these puppies learn the Secrets at a sensible rate, and wait their turn. When one of us dies or topples over, they can move into the slot, ready to go.

     Some will complain that the editors, Datlow and Dozois and that gang, won't like this plan. Like we should care!

     I have other proposals too, but I'm not about to give them away all at once.

     Join me!

(Name Withheld by Request)
17 September

Dear Locus Online,

     In an editorial in Monday's Globe and Mail, Spider Robinson states that written science fiction is "in sharp decline.... Those few readers who haven't defected to Tolkienesque fantasy cling only to Star Trek, Star Wars, and other Sci Fi franchises." He also claims that the space age has ended. I disagree with him on both counts.

     Although space exploration may not command the attention and headlines it once did, it's far from over. The space shuttle flies fairly regularly and has performed an enormous amount of scientific research over the years; meanwhile, the Chinese government is planning a lunar landing, and the X-Prize competition is heating up with dozens of entrants. I think space is a happening place these days. It's just that post-Apollo space exploration hasn't proceeded the way Heinlein, Clarke, and Cronkite imagined it would.

     Space is the place in science fiction these days, too. Look no further than the August issue of Locus with its blazing headline: The New Space Opera. Look at the hot authors of today: Charles Stross, Alastair Reynolds, Paul McAuley, Karin Lowachee, Michael Flynn, Ken Wharton — no elves there. As David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer said in their essay "Space Opera Redefined" (SFRevu, August 2003), "The new space opera of the past twenty years is arguably the literary cutting edge of SF now."

     Maybe genre fiction also hasn't proceeded the way Heinlein and Clarke imagined it would, but there are plenty of authors writing entertaining stories that will inspire people to look toward the future with excitement. I hate to see their effort and invention dismissed by a lazy swipe at sword and sorcery and media tie-ins.

Brooks Peck
9 September

Dear Locus Online,

     I was a bit dismayed [in Cynthia Ward's survey of Hayao Miyazaki] that there was no mention of Hayao Miyazaki's magnum-opus graphic novel, Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind? It is top of the line science fiction and a fantastic, deeply human story. It is published by VIZ and can be found in the graphic novel section of any good book store, though in my opinion, it should be on the same shelf as Lord of the Rings and Dune. (Don't confuse this with his animated Nausicaa, as that was a small section of the greater story.)

     Best Regards/Happy Reading!

1 September

Dear Locus Online,

     The story that Rock Perkins is looking for is "Disappearing Act" by Richard Matheson. It's definitely the same, down to the last line. I was sure it was Matheson from the first but had trouble with the title, probably because of the story of the same name by Alfred Bester (a fine tale in its own right). I found it in the old collection Third From The Sun, but it might be in one of the recent Tor retrospectives.


David Swanger
29 July

Dear Locus Online,

     This short story is from the ubiquitous Richard Matheson. It may be in some other collections though I can confirm "Disappearing Act" was included in Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories of Richard Matheson (Tor, 2002). A Twilight Zone episode also, teleplay by Rod Serling (as "When the Sky was Opened", aired December 11, 1959.)


Steve Blotner pop culture webpage
5 August

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