Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Coming soon: “Ernesto”

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Following up conveniently on my most recent post, yesterday I received an acceptance email from Analog for my short story “Ernesto.” This is the first acceptance I’ve received since the magazine switched to an electronic submission process, and while I’m always gratified to sell them a story, I do really miss Stanley Schmidt’s old typewritten letters, which he’d been cranking out for something like thirty years. If nothing else, I’m glad that I was able to publish a few stories under the old system, so that I have a couple of typewritten acceptances lying around the house (along with an equal or greater number of rejection slips, which are also a badge of honor).

The sale of “Ernesto” is particularly satisfying for a number of reasons. For one thing, it’s my first sale to Analog that wasn’t a novelette, but a short story, which, as I’ve mentioned before, is a form in which I’ve never felt entirely comfortable. “Ernesto” is one of my first attempts at a more classically structured short story, so it’s nice to see it published. It’s also my fifth story bought by Analog to date, which is a number that has some psychological importance. Isaac Asimov explains why in the first volume of his wonderful memoirs, In Memory Yet Green:

[At a meeting of the Queens Science Fiction League in 1940], I won a science fiction quiz given to the membership…One of the questions was: “What is the name of the youngest well-established science-fiction author?” (By “well-established,” it was carefully explained, it meant someone who had published more than five stories in the professional magazines.)

The answer was “Isaac Asimov” and I was happy, for I was the youngest in a new category. Still a child prodigy!

Asimov, by the way, was twenty at the time. It’s taken me a while longer, but I’ll catch up to him one of these days! (Or perhaps not.)

Anyway, I’m glad to know that “Ernesto”—which I first wrote over a year ago—will finally see print. It’s especially amusing in light of the apparent confusion over whether my stories are science fiction or not, because “Ernesto” is by far the least sci-fi of any of my stories—it’s a historical mystery, with some paranormal overtones, set during the Spanish Civil War, with the young Ernest Hemingway as a central character. For the rest, you’ll have to wait until the story comes out, hopefully late this year or early next. And if my attempt to wring every last drop out of “Kawataro” is any indication, you’ll be hearing a lot about it here.

Written by nevalalee

May 4, 2011 at 10:22 am

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