They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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One Last Story

11:56pm 31 December 2008

Given that half of my stories are set in the same 29th century universe and most are military SF, I've been eager to send a story to JJA's Federations anthology. John Joseph Adams, aka the Slush God, is both the assistant editor of Fantasy & Science Fiction and recent editor of some themed anthologies.

From Star Trek to Star Wars, from Dune to Foundation, science fiction has a rich history of exploring the idea of vast intergalactic societies, and the challenges facing those living in or trying to manage such societies. The stories in Federations will continue that tradition.

What are the social, religious, environmental, or technological implications of living in such a vast society? What happens when expansionist tendencies on a galactic scale come into conflict with the indigenous peoples of other planets, of other races? And what of the issue of communicating across such distances, or the problems caused by relativistic travel? These are just some of the questions and issues that the stories in Federations will take on.

Oh sure, the anthology was announced in August and the submission period was listed as 1 November 2008 to 1 January 2009, but I was busy in August. (grin) And all Fall Semester, too. I had the story in my mind, but only a few hundred words in the file. Ah, but I am a graduate of both Clarion and the WOTF 24 hour workshop story (evil grin), so I figured I'd have something.


I had the story essentially completed with an hour to midnight, my goal. But my main writing machine isn't on the web these days, so I had to save the files on the Swiss Army Knife memory and transfer to the Windows XP laptop, where I could also convert the file to a more modern Word 2003, instead of Word 95.

Of course, as I went to check the online entry on JJA's blog, I read his 30 December 2008 entry:
I just wanted to point out to Federations submitters that you should consider the deadline for submission to be 11:59 PM (EST) on Jan. 1. I realized that I never specified, and so some of you might have wondered about the exact deadline.

Not a problem. I knew I'd be busy on New Year's Day, so was happy to get one last story logged for my 2008 statistics.

File Formats

Personally I am very fond of submitting via RTF files. Rich Text Format is much safer than Microsoft Word files and one has much fewer troubles between various versions of Word for both Windows and Mac. Plus, even track changes survives the transition to RTF.

However, JJA changed his mind and switched from RTF to Word .DOC format. That's why it took nearly an hour to actually submit the story. Because despite using the RTF version as an intermediary, the Word 2003 version was 3 pages longer than the Word 95 version. WTF? It wasn't widows-and-orphans control and it wasn't the default printer driver, but somehow the microspacing for Courier New 12 point double-spaced just wasn't the same.

I hate this kind of crap. Because it represents a failure by the boys and girls in Redmond WA to comprehend that real people use their real software to do real work. And I frequently have to pick up the pieces due to the spacing differences between (1) LaserJets and DeskJets, (2) Word 95 vs. 97/2000 vs. 2003 and (3) Adobe Acrobat PDF file, in terms of printing or making web copies of my Physics class handouts.

As For My Story

So is my submission to Federations any good? Dunno. Not my call. The idea for the story is good at any right. I've sold first drafts before. And have others need a lot of work. I won't even look at it for a while.

Dr. Phil

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