Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tribute Story

I am currently writing a "tribute story" for an anthology Gardner Dozois is putting together. The tribute is to Poul Anderson, and each of the stories is to be set in one of Anderson's universes.

I first read Anderson when I was fifteen. My mother had given me for Christmas the two-volume TREASURY OF SCIENCE FICTION, edited by Anthony Boucher, which I still have (it's a bit battered from umpty-umpty moves). The volume included Anderson's "Brain Wave," in which the Earth in its movement through space moves out of an "inhibitor field" that has been affecting electromagnetic activity in the human brain for millions of years. All at once everyone is much, much more intelligent. So are the animals. This story knocked me out with its inventiveness and scope. So I reread it while looking for a universe to borrow, and it still knocks me out.

However, I chose instead "The Queen of Air and Darkness," the 1972 Hugo winner. This also is concerned with the human brain. It's a gorgeous story but, unlike "Brain Wave," it does not carry its characters' fates to their logical conclusion. Or maybe I just have a different take on the basic subject matter, which is reality vs. illusion. At any rate, I'm writing now about the planet Roland and its peculiar natives.

Gardner Dozois is a experienced at this. This story is not due until June. But he knows writers, and so every month he sends out a reminder: "Only nine more months until your story is due! Eight more months! Six more months and, oh, incidentally, Harry Turtledove and Stephen Baxter have already turned theirs in! They get a gold star!"

Earth may or may not be in an inhibitor field, but Dozois is one smart editor.


Dave Creek said...

A Poul Anderson tribute volume edited by Gardner Dozois! I know which book I'll most be looking forward to next year!

I'm so glad to see that Anderson is being remembered in this way. He was always one of my favorites in the way he delved deeply into SF concepts to find the human angle and the unexpected consequences. His stories weren't necessarily "high concept," but they took well-established concepts and showed us in much more detail than other writers what would follow from them. It took me a few years as a kid in the late 60's-early 70's to realize how satisfying such a story could be.

Your writing does much the same thing, Nancy, so you're a perfect match for this anthology.

bluesman miike Lindner said...

If there are better sf "adventure" stories than Anderson's FLANDRY series, I'd sure like to know about them.

bluesman miike Lindner said...

If there are better adventure stories than the Flandry series, I'd sure like to know about them.

bluesman miike Lindner said...

Haw! Sorry 'bout the repitition. For some reason, it's hard to post on Nancy's boaarrrdddd.