Bewildering Stories

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Sunrise and Moonset

by Don W.

Jerry told me I was supposed to write an editorial for issue #49, and so I did. Only I find he’s already written one. Okay, I may still be confused, but I’ve learned my lesson: no deletions!

With every passing pseudomoth, Bewildering Stories seems to get better and better. Our stalwart regulars are due special thanks, of course; and to our newcomers, whom I’m sure you’ll be able to spot, we extend a warm welcome and our wishes for an early return.

One of the things that has impressed me in recent issues is our contributors’ mastery of narrative: they certainly know how to keep the readers’ attention. To all we say keep up the good work!

Poetry has always been one of our strong points. If I start mentioning names, where do I stop? Let s just say that I’m looking forward to more of Jerry Wright’s “Earthport” poems. Before long he’ll have a full-fledged cycle of ballads in a dark yet strangely hopeful key.

Reviews are another of our strong points. Scheduled for this summer:

  1. a “First Annual Anthology” of reviews. At present, the plan... well, the thought... is to make it a downloadable HTML file that you can peruse offline, at your leisure.
  2. Second in the anthology queue is a “First Annual Anthology” of poetry, in the same format.
The way I figure it, both anthologies can have an index page arranged by author and title. Put in your requests now for special formatting goodies, if you want any. No promises, but we try to please as well as to bewilder.

In the meantime, we’re trying to make Bewildering Stories more visible on the Net. I’ve submitted our URL to Google and will do the same with AltaVista. We hope that the Analog and Asimov’s home pages will welcome us. For what it’s worth, AltaVista’s help department says that meta tags are not indexed because, too often, they’ve been used improperly. However, they can be a great help in Net searches.

As you will be able to tell from episode 35, currently in preparation, Cyrano’s The Other World is coming to an end. The Moon-beings are making preparations for Cyrano’s return to Earth. The thought saddens me. I’ve been an invisible but close companion to Cyrano for some months now during his sojourn on the Moon.

I’ve come not only to admire him but to like him. And that is unusual: great artists are often easy to admire but hard to like. Goethe was intimidating. Molière was as temperamental an actor, director and playwright as Hollywood could dream of. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was such a mess that he made everybody uneasy, but what he wrote is extremely important.

At the outset, I didn’t know anything about Cyrano. He’s known primarily to scholars in the history of science and to specialists in 17th-century French literature, but to practically no one else. I thought he would turn out to be a pleasant, secondary author of antiquarian interest, and that The Other World would be like Voltaire’s “Micromégas.” Was I ever surprised. He’s a prophet figure.

Maybe I should explain: a prophet figure is one of those rare people in history who qualify as what I call “time travelers”; that is, they bring the future to their own time. Rousseau was one; and he was heeded, with a profound impact on Western culture. Cyrano is another, but by misfortune he was not heard, and the loss is almost incalculable.

But I’ll be with Cyrano for a while yet. I’m already planning a concluding article, perhaps in more than one page. It won’t be dry; my present plan is to interview myself. I hope you’ll like the format; it should keep the narrative flowing. And that’s where we came in.

Don W., Sorcerer’s Apprentice Bottle Washer (hey, do I hear Paul Dukas’ music from Fantasia? “Frantasia“ is more like it...)

Copyright © 2003 by Don Webb