We Get Fan Letters. Yes, Really!

This showed up in the comment moderation queue a few days ago:
Hi there! This isn't actually a comment (so you can delete it, since I'll be putting my email address in it, please) but this is the only way I can think to contact you. Oh, the wonders of the internet.

I'm trying to find a short story of yours -- The Skycastle -- which I read many, many, many years ago in the first issue of MZB's Fantasy when it came out, and still remember to this day. Of course you can't find back-issues of the magazine anymore and, really, I don't remember any of the other stories in it. But your story I remember, and must have reread at least a hundred times.

I suppose I should say "thank you" while I'm at it...!

Anyway, I've long since lost the magazine, of course, but I was reminded of the story tonight and found myself wondering if it ever made its way into an anthology? Or, hell, if not: have you got a copy you'd be willing to email me? I'd be happy to paypal you something for it...!

And, well, if not: at least 23 years on I can finally say "hey, that was a pretty good story you wrote.

Thanks so much,

Ariana Osborne
Well, that's pretty damn cool.  I responded:

Dear Ariana,

Thanks! I don't hear from fans of my old stories all that often anymore. (Real life has kept me from writing much, and the last new story I had published was in 2006.) Glad you enjoyed it, and still remember it.

No, "The Skycastle" has never been anthologized. I was a bit disappointed when DAW Books published a BEST OF MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY'S FANTASY MAGAZINE collection, and my story wasn't included.

I've been thinking of making some of those old stories accessible again, either by e-pubbing, POD, or just posting online. But that will probably (real life...) take a while. (I'd have to dig out the old disks, then an old disk drive, then convert them to a different wordprocessor... it would take a while.)

If you don't mind sending a physical or PO Box address, the quickest way to get the story would be for me to xerox it from my old copy of the magazine and send it to you by mail. (Mail? In an envelope? How quaint.)

If you liked "The Skycastle", you'd probably also like "Death and the Ugly Woman", published in SWORD AND SORCERESS #4, edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley, DAW Books, 1987. That's the story of mine that's gotten the most fan reaction, including a movie option by a small (really small) production company. (But it's never been reprinted, either. I scratch my head in puzzlement.)

Your comment to my blog ended up in the moderation queue, so your email address never went public. I'll go ahead and delete it.

Thanks again
-- Bruce Arthurs

So, yes, I really have been thinking of making my old stories available again. Certainly wouldn't hurt.

(I've also been thinking of self-publishing some of my unpublished fiction. Some of those old unpublished pieces I re-read nowadays and cringe, but there are some that I still think are pretty damn good, but just never sold for some reason. I'm particularly thinking of a 29,000 word novella titled "Junker Tommy", whose major fault seems to be an awkward length and a lack of markets for stories of that length.)

Here's an image of George Barr's cover for that first issue of MZBFM, illustrating "The Skycastle":

1 comment:

Will Shetterly said...

If you have a scanner, the quick way to share is to make pdf files. Not as useful ultimately as epub and the kindle's proprietary format, of course.