My first Analog story has arrived!

I can still remember that January day when I was a junior in college and decided that I was going to try to be a science fiction writer. I sat down and wrote a story in about 2 hours and it was uniformly awful, but I studied the guidelines for the various magazines and sent it off. I think it was two months later that I received my first rejection slip. It took another 14 years and some 100 additional rejection slips before I sold my first story to Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show. Then another two years or so and a lot more rejections before selling a story to Apex Magazine. And then, back in September, I sold “Take One For the Road” to Analog.

Analog has been around for more than 80 years. Before 1960, it was called Astounding Science Fiction. It has been the gold standard for science fiction since the Golden Age and while I day dreamed about having a story of mine appear in Analog (and what daydreams they were!), I kind of thought it would never happen. Like winning the lottery. But it did, and here I am holding the June issue containing my story:

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It is difficult for me at the moment to express just how excited I am. Everything feels dreamlike at the moment (also, I haven’t eaten dinner yet and I’m hungry). I’ve been waiting and waiting for the magazine to arrive. Of course, I’d seen the story in galleys, but I wanted to see it in the magazine. I wanted proof that I had really done it. Today, when I walked to the mail box, I had the prelude to John Williams’ theme from Superman running through my head. At the point in the piece where Clark Kent pulls open his shirt to reveal his suit underneath was the exact moment I opened the mailbox.

And there is was, in all its glory, with a gorgeous Vincent DiFate cover for Edward M. Lerner’s serial, Energized.

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And then I turned to the title page and discovered just what classy company I was in:

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Edward Lener, of course. And David D. Levine! And fellow Codexian Alastair Mayer among others. I mean, how cool is that? Of course, the coolest part was when I turned to page 74 and saw my story there in print with Stan’s blurb and my byline:

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I’m gushing, I know, but I will admit that I got a little misty-eyed when I saw that. I love writing but it doesn’t come easy to me. I’ve always said that I was a brute force writer, learning as I go through lot and lots of trial and error. Seeing my story in Analog, where nearly all of my heroes got their start and published some of their best work, seeing it there made me think of those kids who have to work extra hard at a sport, because they’re not as good as the other kids. They put in the extra practices, go to all the tryouts, but not matter how hard they try, they get cut. But they never give up. They try to learn from their mistakes, they practice even harder, they try out more often. They never stop believing that they can make it. And one day, after a game, a fellow walks up to them and says that they’re a scout for the Yankees, and invites them out to spring training.

Because that’s really what this has been like for me, and having a story in Analog feels like the day you are called up to the Big Show. And I’m so glad it is this story, too, but I’ll talk about the story and the reasons why it is special in another post. For now, I’m still basking in the glow of a lifelong triumph. Even if I never sold another story, I can tell me little boy that once, his dad wrote a story that appeared in a magazine that once published the likes of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Clifford Simak, C. L. Moore, L. Ron Hubbard, Lester del Rey, L. Sprague de Camp, Ray Bradbury, Joe Haldeman, Barry N. Malzberg, Robert J. Sawyer, Ben Bova, Micahel A. Burstein, Juliette Wade, and so many more.

It is truly one of the most humbling experiences of my life to be included in that company.

20 thoughts on “My first Analog story has arrived!

  1. Shoot, I can’t believe you included me in that list – but I know it’s because you know me, lol! Congratulations, Jamie. And I don’t think it’s going to be a once-off. Keep believing, and keep writing.

  2. Michael, please, I’ve been reading your stories since 1995. You wrote “Cosmic Corkscrew” which instantly won you a place in my heart, and you wrote “Sanctuary” which I still think was the best piece of science fiction published in 2005. To say nothing of being an all around swell guy. How could I not include you on the list?

    Juliette, you write the best aliens that science fiction has seen in nearly 40 years. So good, in fact, that I don’t even try. To say nothing of how helpful you are to other writers. You belong on the list, both of you.

  3. Congratulations! I will certainly be reading your story when the ANALOG e-version becomes available.

    Since you kindly left the mailing label on your ANALOG cover, I’m taking the liberty of sending you my extra copy of A REQUIEM FOR ASTOUNDING by Alva Rogers.

    Isaac Wilcott recently posted the cover image with a brief summary—

    http://spacerubbish.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/asf-reference/

    So unless I hear otherwise, I’ll get it in the mail Monday.

  4. Mark, that is incredibly generous of you! Thank you! (And in my excitement to post the picture of the magazine, it never occurred to me that I was also posting my address. I should probably swap out that picture for another one. 🙂 )

  5. Mailed off REQUIEM today first class. With luck you’ll receive it mid-week. My way of thanking you for your enjoyable VACATION posts.

    Just don’t burn yourself out trying to post an issue review every week; take as long between issues as you need. 🙂

  6. Congratulations! I’ve just finished reading your story, and I really enjoyed it.

    At some point, after the rest of the world has had a chance to take a look, I’d be interested in reading a more detailed account of how you developed the idea. (I always enjoy first-person accounts of the creative process, and I suspect that other readers might, too.)

  7. Alec, thank you! Wow! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. And yes, I am planning on posting about the origins of the story in the near future. I always find that information interesting when I read other writers stuff. So stay-tuned. 🙂 I haven’t finished my issue yet and as your novelette closes the issue, I haven’t gotten to it yet, but I will soon.

  8. Mark, THANK YOU so much for send the book. I’m so glad you enjoy these posts. And I appreciate your concern for my well-being, but believe me, these posts really are a vacation for me. I enjoy reading through these issues and writing the posts up. It hasn’t been a problem so far keeping up with my schedule. My biggest concern at this point is filling the gaps, but right now, my first gap is more than five months away, and I’m sure I’ll have it filled long before then.

  9. Wow! Thank you, Ed! It all still seems very dreamlike to me. 🙂 As it turns out, I just started reading ENERGIZED at lunch today. (I tend to read shortest-to-longest.) I always enjoy your stories and I expect this will be no different.

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