Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stan Schmidt Retiring from Analog

I read the news today, oh boy - came like a kick in the solar plexus - Stan Schmidt's retiring from Analog.

It's a cliche to say people made a difference in your life.  But like everything else Stan did at Analog, this was no cliche.  When Stan published my first Analog story - "The Way of Flesh," a Probability Zero piece in 1995 - I had no other "pro" publications, with the exception of one, "Albert's Cradle," a few years earlier in Amazing Stories.  The probability that I would have any career as a science fiction writer was truly not that much more than zero when Stan bought "The Way of Flesh".

But his next purchase from me, "The Chronology Protection Case," really opened up the gates.  The story has been reprinted half  dozen times, is used in a class at University of Southern California, has been made into a movie and an Edgar-nominated radio play.   It was a Nebula nominee finalist.  And its lead character, Dr. Phil D'Amato, went on to appear in two more Analog novelettes, and in three Tor novels. David Hartwell, my editor at Tor, came to know Phil D'Amato in the third novelette Analog published, "The Mendelian Lamp Case".

Did you know that I killed off Phil D'Amato in the first version of "The Chronology Protection Case"?  When Stan asked for revisions, he asked what was the point of killing off this new character?

Editors each have unique tastes that make them different from all other editors.  I was fortunate indeed to have started writing science fiction at a time when Stan was at the Analog helm.  As fate would have it, I had occasion to think a lot about Stan just this past Friday, when I signed off on a new "author's cut" Kindle edition of The Silk Code published by JoSara Media (the original edition was published by Tor in 1999, and won the Locus Award for Best First Science Fiction novel of that year).  I thanked Stan again in the Acknowledgments, for the life he had given to my character.

It's been said that Stan should at last get the Hugo Award for Best Editor.  True point, that.  But, you know what?  That doesn't really matter.   Stan wins an award, and will continue to win, every time someone reads one of the stories he edited at Analog.

my 2007 interview with Stan

Stan, David Hartwell, and me in 2010 interview

appreciations of Stan by Analog writers James Van Pelt and Juliette Wade
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