Today I ran into Don Gaines, of Boxelder, Texas – a town so small it doesn’t have its own post office. It’s in Red River County, which abuts the Texas-Oklahoma border.
Back in 2005, when my story “A Rocket for the Republic” was published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Don sent me an email, stating that he read my story and liked it very much. He said at the time realized with a bit of a start I was also the local newspaper editor. He said he was big fan of Asimov’s Science Fiction and in fact had a complete set of the magazine’s issue.
In 2007 I moved to Mount Pleasant to take the job as managing editor at the daily paper. This afternoon there was a governmental meeting here of a state planning board which – among other things – might consider locating a reservoir in Red River County.
Don was among the concerned citizens in the audience, and after the meeting broke up came to me and introduced himself, so we finally met in person. He is 65 and a retired government technical writer. He said he subscribed in Asimov’s in the late 1970s and liked the magazine so much he’s had a subscription ever since. In fact, he said the last time he renewed he paid up through 2019! “They don’t let you do that anymore,” he added.
He said he also went back and bought back issues of the magazine so he would have a complete set, going back to Vol. 1 Issue 1.
I told him “A Rocket for the Republic” is the lead-off story in my recently-published short story collection and that in honor of his devotion to the magazine, I will give him a copy of “Fantastic Texas” from my personal trove at home. I will, too!