by Mord Fiddle
A workman is out hanging up the new sign on The Reach's oak front doors. Another is outside washing the windows that look toward the National Mall. He sways precariously on a swing dangled from the roof as he lunges back and forth, squeegee in hand, the ruddy tower of the Smithsonian castle visible over his shoulder. The wooden floors are polished and the climate controls in the rare volumes room have had their yearly service. Things are beginning to come together.
Long-time readers will be pleased to know that Jenny, our former research librarian, is back at The Reach
for the moment; on loan from the National Archives' Special
Special Acquisitions, for those of you out of the
loop, is the only covert ops
unit made up entirely of librarians. You won't find Special
Acquisitions ('Acquisitions', or simply SA, as they're sometimes called) on the
National Archives' website or their budget, so
don't bother looking. Most of the things they acquire
are 'special' to the point of being dangerous. When ancient texts or artifacts of mysterious
provenance pose a national or global threat, Acquisitions gets the call.
Hooey? Yeah, maybe. And maybe the Rosetta Stone didn't set off the Tunguska event.
I've three stories in the works at the moment; a tyranny of choice. One is an interstellar heist story for Bryan Ward, who designed the banner for The Infinite Reach. Another extends an SF flash fiction piece into a proper short story/novellete on war and boundaries of human identity. I've also dragged an old story with a robot protagonist from the desk drawer, dusted it off, and am looking at how it might be reworked into something publishable.
Then there's Boots, a novel-length Science Fiction/Fantasy piece I began when my children were young. Now and then they remind me that I've promised to finish the story and commit it to paper. As said children are coming onto middle age, I suppose I'd better get a move on. Boots, Mother, Alis, Spoon and Hlist all seem inclined to cooperate in the telling, so maybe this time will be the charm.
I've gotten my reading for the Hugo Awards under way. This will be by first time voting in many, many years. I have to say I appreciate being able to download the digital nominations packet. The voting deadline for the Hugos is the end of July so I've a fair bit of reading to do between now and then. I'd read one of the novels and one of the novellas before the packet arrived, but even with that it's a non-trivial stack of reading. So, with the packet downloaded, I've rolled up the sleeves, dragged out the specs and gotten to work. All the short stories are out of the way and I'm starting in on the novellettes. I save the novels for the evenings when the world slows down and gives me a bit of elbow room for uninterrupted reading.
I plan on writing reviews of some of the nominated pieces I'm reading. However, in the interest of permitting my fellow Hugo voters to make up their own minds as to the merit of the nominated works, I won't publish them until the voting deadline has passed.
I'm presently reading June's Women Destroy Science Fiction issue of Lightspeed Magazine., and should have a review of the fiction therein up some time this week. The eminent Doctor Hasslein is putting the finishing touches on another Ask Doctor Hasselin feature. John is churning away at another bit of commentary and Uncle Mike has another movie review in the pipeline.
As I said. Busy days.
Hope you're enjoying the reading so far. If you are interested in contributing a review or article to The Infinite Reach, please feel free to contact me via my mordfiddle gmail address. The works in place so far will give you an idea of the type of content and tone we're looking for. Be sure to include a writing sample (or a link thereto) in your email. These are early days, so the pay is lousy and we've no cred with the SFWA yet. But the business plan for The Reach is straightforward: It's all about the writing.
Producing thoughtful, well written content isn't the fastest road to success, but it's a road that always leads to someplace worthwhile.