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A Quick Progress Report

Editorial by Bruce Bethke

It’s surprising how quickly some changes can pay off. A week after announcing that we were going to be closed to unsolicited submissions from March 1 to May 31, our incoming submissions stream has already dropped to next to nill. We are still open for submissions for another week yet—and STRAEON remains open for submissions until further notice, don’t forget that—and we’ll be continuing to process the submissions we’ve received during the closure. We haven’t slammed the gate shut, merely anounced that we’re going to be closing it at midnight Central time on the evening of February 28 and reopening it again at 12:01 a.m. on the morning June 1.

But enough about that. Behind the scenes here, the changes are already paying off. A few members of the FSPRC have taken this opportunity to resign: we thank them for their service and we’ll miss them, but we fully appreciate the corrosive effect that months of reading slush pile submissions can have on the soul. A few others have with great enthusiasm switched over to copy-editing and production duties, and are already making great progress on the stories we’ll be featuring in upcoming releases. As evidence of this, consider this issue of SHOWCASE, which actually released on-time this week, with no trauma, tears, or last-minute panics. In fact, this time around, the only piece that threatens to come in late is this very editorial that I am writing right now.

So I’d best get it finished up and posted, eh?

Which brings us to the contents of this week’s SHOWCASE. First off, with nearly two weeks of breathless non-stop Olympic coverage now coming to a close, I just had to lead off with “Best in Show,” by returning veteran writer Robert Lowell Russell. Read it and laugh—and after you’ve done that, you might want to take a dive through our back issues and the Rampant Loon Press catalog to look for more stories by him.

After that, if you’re still in the mood for another short and humorous story, but this time with a twist and dash of wry, check out “The Wiser of Oz,” by Jez Patterson. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something longer and more romantic, check out “Four Corners of the Earth” by the remarkably patient Sandi Reed-Chan. We’d originally accepted this story for a Valentine’s Day special that never happened, so we’re delighted to have this opportunity to present it to you now.

Finally, I feel the need to say a few words about “On the Pond,” by Jake Doyle. When we first launched Stupefying Stories, it was with the idea that we would ignore genre labels and concentrate simply on publishing great stories.

So there’s no science fiction in this one; no magic. “On the Pond” is just plain a great story about guy stuff: about life, and friends, and boys becoming men—and hockey. Maybe it’s just an Upper Midwestern thing, but I’ve read this story six times now, and every time I re-read it, I like it more. I believe Doyle is going to be a writer to watch.

Now go read the stories!



Bruce Bethke is best known for either his genre-naming 1980 short story, “Cyberpunk,” his award-winning 1995 novel, Headcrash, or lately, as the editor and publisher of Stupefying Stories. What very few readers have known about him until recently is that he actually started out in the music industry, as a member of the design team that developed the MIDI standard and the Finale music notation engine (among other things), but now works in the supercomputer industry, doing stuff that is absolutely fascinating to do but almost impossible to explain to anyone not already well-grounded in massively parallel processor architectures, Fourier transformations, and computational fluid dynamics.

Bruce has a long-neglected personal web site at brucebethke.com, but if you’re looking for more information about him you’re better off reading the interviews at Wag the Fox, Six Questions For, or Strange Horizons. You can try to reach him through facebook.com/bruce.bethke, and that sometimes works, but you’ll have better luck going through facebook.com/StupefyingStories or the feedback email address elsewhere on this web page.