On Monday, I had my first lunch with an editor in New York City. I headed down to the offices of Dell Magazine and met Dr. Stanley Schmidt, editor of Analog Science Fiction in person for the first time. We sat in his office and chatted for a while while we waited for others to arrive. It was a surreal experience for me. First of all, just seeing the offices of Analog (and Asimov’s) in the flesh: they are, in fact, more than just an address on an envelope. Second, getting to meet Stan in person and chat with him one-on-one. Here’s a man who has been the editor of Analog since 1978 or so–almost as long as John Campbell’s tenure–and who has been selecting the stories that I (and everyone else, for that matter) have been reading for more than three decades. Stan was incredibly nice to me and we talked about all manner of things as we waited for the others to arrive.
The others included Carl Frederick, who has been writing prolifically for Analog for 7 or 8 years now. He’s a tall fellow who speaks half a million languages and who has a great sense of humor. Also joining us was Jay Werkheiser, a writer who has had 2 stories in Analog so far (in consecutive Novembers, as he pointed out to me when I asked about it) and who will probably have many more. He’s a high school chemistry and physics teacher and that alone puts him in my high regard.
Once we had a quorum, Stan led us to Baluchi’s, which had some outstanding Indian food, and we sat at the table for nearly an hour and a half talking about all manner of things, only half of which had to do with writing. I was pretty much in awe of Stan and Carl throughout the lunch. Stan told us stories about his own rejection letters from John Campbell and about his process for reading stories submitted to the magazine and it was absolutely terrific. The time flew by and before we knew it, the restaurant was closing down and our little party was breaking up on the sidewalk just outside the restaurant.
As a first editorial lunch, it set a high standard for future lunches (if I’m lucky enough to have any) to meet. I had an absolute blast.