A week of slush

This past week or so of slush seems to have been uncommonly good. I set aside quite a few stories over the past couple days, much more than usual.

Was everyone waiting to send their good stuff until Gordon was away teaching Clarion?

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More audio news

More good news!

Amazing Stories has accepted two audiobook reviews by me for their September issue (which I believe will be issue #2). It also looks like I’ll be contributing audiobook reviews to them on a regular basis, so stay tuned. This, of course, being in addition to my Locus reviews.

Not to suck up or anything, but I have to say that I’ve been very impressed with editor Dave Gross thus far. His suggested edits to my reviews tightened up several spots nicely and really improved them overall.

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First audiobook review column published!

Sorry I haven’t been posting more recently. Been very busy with freelance stuff. That and haven’t thought of anything interesting to post.

Some good news in the mail yesterday: I received my July 2004 Locus contributor copy (and payment) which features my first audiobook review column. It should be on newstands soon. Go buy it.

Oh, last week Gordon and I saw TV’s The Bachelor/New York Giants QB Jesse Palmer at Liberty Bar & Grill in Hoboken when we were out having lunch. Palmer was having lunch with another rather large gentleman who I assume was a fellow football player, but I didn’t recognize him (looked to be a linebacker or lineman of some sort). This siting didn’t make my day or anything (I will never watch any incarnation of The Bachelor, and I’m not a Giant’s fan), but it was somewhat amusing.

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Blog Reviews

Here’s a list of reviews I’ve posted to my blog.

Spin by Robert Charles Wilson

I just started doing this, so it’s kind of sparse right now, but I
expect there will be more soon.  Here are some
reviews I’ve had published in magazines:

Audiobook Review:
The World is Flat, in
Publishers Weekly

June 6, 2005

Audiobook Review Column:
to Audio #2
, in
Locus Magazine

December 2004 [contents],
reprinted in
Locus Online, February 2005

Audiobook Review:
Dune: The Battle of Corrin, in
Amazing Stories
(Issue #605)
November 2004

Audiobook Review:
A Canticle for Leibowitz, in
Amazing Stories
October 2004

Audiobook Review: The Curse
of Chalion, in
Amazing Stories
October 2004

Book Review:
The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad, in

Science Fiction Weekly

August 2004

Audiobook Review Column:

to Audio
, in
Locus Magazine

July 2004 [contents],
reprinted in
Locus Online, July 2004

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The Etymology of “Slush”

I was having lunch in the city on Friday with a couple other writers and
editors, and the subject of slush came up.  Eventually, we got around to
discussing how the term "slush" came about.
No one knew for sure where the term came from, but Gordon recalled something
he’d heard once, that if not true, at least makes sense.  The gist of it is:
The term slush came about back in the old days, when writers would actually hand
deliver manuscripts to the magazine’s offices.  When the offices weren’t open,
the writers would toss their manuscripts over the transom (what’s
a transom?
), into the office.  So when the editors came to work (or back
from lunch), they would have to wade through the pile of submissions, which was
in some way similar, apparently, to wading through slushy snow.  Thus, the slush
pile.  This is also appears to be the source of the term "over the transom."

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A Canticle for Slushowitz

Found in the inbox of the Holy Blog:

"Ode to Slush Readers"
by Tony Hellmann

It comes in crates, of increasing weights,
You cannot slow it’s rush.
With pen in hand, and no evening plans
You prepare to tame the slush.

The first cover letter says it all:
The author wants to be famous,
But he had his novel spiral bound;
What an ignoramus.

The second author cannot write,
His usage and spelling are poor.
He notes this in his cover page:
"That’s what I need an editer for."

The next one is promising: a new idea,
But no S-A-S-E,
That’s okay; less work for you.
Her rejection saves a tree.

This one starts out: "Dear Mr. Jones,"
And the cover letter is stellar!
You roll your eyes and shake your head
Your boss’s name is "Ms. Heller."

Your eyes are crossed, your interest lost
But you’re paid for this, you know.
If the next fifty stink, it’s okay
Just two hundred more to go.

At last, a submission excites you,
With a gripping, original style.
You know your boss will want this one
And that makes your job worthwhile.

Copyright 2004,
Tony Hellmann
Used with permission.


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PDA Problems

So I’m having this problem with my Sony Clie (PDA).

The other day, I was trying to turn on the backlight, when suddenly I got this error message, some kind of “fatal” thing. In order to turn it off, I had to pop the batteries out. So I did that, then rebooted. When it came back on, it had lost everything in internal memory, but the memory stick was fine. This is no big deal — I don’t keep important information on there, just ebooks — so I just synched up when I got home. After synching, it looked like everything was fine (it successfully reloaded all the files I had on it), but today when I took it out to use it, I see that the stuff I synched the other day is now missing again, though I didn’t run into any further fatal errors. I even had to go through the start-up rigamarole where you have to use the stylus to point on the targets and set the time, etc. So I used it about an hour ago and that happened. Since then, I haven’t tried synching it again, so the main memory remains blank, but I just tried turning it on again now, and it seems to be fine otherwise (didn’t make me re-initialize, and it saved my place in the story I was reading [which was on the memory stick]).

For the record, I subscribe to and read Analog and Asimov’s via Fictionwise. Normally, I would prefer the dead-tree editions, but I originally started reading Asimov’s on there because I find the typeface, layout, and overall page density gives me a headache. I lated added Analog to my Fictionwise subscriptions just because I found myself never getting around to reading it, and I figured if I carried it with me in my PDA, I might get to it more often.

I read SCI FICTION on there as well. Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to download the stories. So what I do is just hit CTRL + A, then copy the text and paste it into Notepad. Notepad removes all the HTML junk (thus removing the images etc. on the SCI FICTION page), leaving a pristine text file. When you paste the text into Notepad, those story quotes in the left margin of SCI FICTION show up at the beginning, right before the story begins. So they’re easy enough to delete before saving the file (or you could just ignore them). The only problem I’ve come across is that in removing all the HTML junk, it also removes the boldface text and/or italics, so that can be an issue at times.

Note: this only works exactly as described with Windows XP. When I had Windows 98, it worked the same way, except Notepad could only make very small files, so most SCI FICTION stories were too long. In Windows XP, however, there don’t appear to be any file size limits, and you can post whole novellas (probably even novels) into Notepad and still save them as txt files. This is also convenient, BTW, since txt files are pretty small, compared to Word files.

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