Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Alfred Bester dilemma

I want to expand a bit on some previous comments regarding my present job situation.

Alfred Bester has always been one of my favorite classic s-f authors. He worked a number of regular jobs in the 1940 and '50 when he was producing such classic novels as "The Stars My Destination" and "The Demolished Man", as well as fantastic short stories such as "Fondly Fahrenheit", "Disappearing Act", and "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed".among others.

Bester loved to travel, and in 1963 he landed the editor's job at Holiday , an upscale travel magazine. He said this was his dream job, adding he didn't plan to write spec fic any more.

And he didn't, really, at least until the magazine folded in 1971. If you familiar with his output after that until his death in 1987, the long layoff certainly seemed to hurt his writing.

Alfred Bester
I've worked as a community newspaper editor most of life. I've always loved the scale of small newspapers and the human contact and variety. I tried my hand from 1995 to 2001 running a community weekly newspaper, but it eventually flopped because of my deficient business management skills.

At the start of 2018, as my wife and I bought the Clarksville Times, I found myself in a situation that reminds me of what befell Bester at Holiday. I have my dream job, and I'm not interested in writing fiction any more. And I have really haven't, although I have some previous commitments to honor.

It's just as well - the screws continue to tighten on authors who are not doctrinaire leftists and atheists in the science fiction literary world. An iron blacklist and open discrimination has driven hundreds of authors into independent publishing and alternative outlets. It's become a sort of sciparthied system, with a tiny elite controlling the institutions, and everyone else developing their own parallel system

While I am still not writing actively, I thought I might be able to lend some support and encouragement by contributing to the development of this alternate system of original fiction outlets, which is where I got the idea of starting Sirius Science Fiction. I launched the blog yesterday and I already have seven submissions. I plan to publish an original story every Friday starting May 3.

I'm doing well enough financially now that I plan to pay $25 per story. I plan to supplement with reprints and well as probably some original fiction of my own.

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