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Serials collision
What are Bewildering Bios?

Famous last words...

What was I saying about serials’ seeming to have finished a cycle? No sooner said than we have an embarrassment of riches. Normally, a novella like Tala Bar’s “Sibyl” would unfold at a stately pace over three issues, especially since it is neatly divided into three chapters. However, Tala offered us a much longer work at almost the same time. What to do?

We have an editorial rule of thumb that, all things being equal, authors appear once in each issue in each of the two main categories (fiction and non-fiction). For example, an author might have a story and an article in the same issue, or a poem and a Challenge, or a story and a letter. That happened in issue 86, and it’s not uncommon.

We don’t mean to seem parsimonious; we have the interests of our contributors at heart. “Exposure” is good, but too much of a good thing all at once may not be. And two different stories by the same author in the same issue might lead to confusion. In short, we feel we’re doing a favor to the authors and readers alike.

But that’s only a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. If “Sibyl” were serialized, then Tala’s novel would have to wait till issue 90 to start. That seemed too long. The solution: put all three installments of “Sibyl” in issue 87 and start the novel in issue 88.

And what if someone sends us a short story or poem while a long serial is running? It will be queued normally. Rules are made for our contributors, not our contributors for the rules.

Now, as long as I’m jinxing myself with famous last words, has anyone noticed the absence of late-model Cadillacs in my driveway...

What are “Bewildering Bios,” anyway?

The biographical sketches form a “department” that has been a part of Bewildering Stories since its inception. I don’t know whose idea it was, but I think it was a very good one.

We have no guidelines for the biographies; anything goes. As a result you can find “bios” ranging from brief to lengthy, and from formal to whimsical. In general, their approaches seem to range from modesty to identification to active promotion. We may sometimes ask for a little more information where it seems needed, but to my mind all lengths, tones and approaches have their place and are completely justified.

The Bios department got off to a nice start and then languished for a while, but contributions continued to trickle in. Finally it seemed that the original idea deserved more support. I spruced up the index and began nagging authors to send biographical sketches. We now have quite a few, though we always want more.

After a while, though, the Bios seemed to have become monuments, a bit like a collection of Easter Island statues, only much easier to overlook. The author bibliographies change all that: the bios are now interactive. Not only do the sketches tell us something about the authors, those that have bibliographies link to what the author has published in Bewildering Stories.

The shorter bibliographies are easy; I can do them myself. The longer ones are somewhat more difficult and time-consuming. Our thanks go to Deep Bora and Michael Tyzuk for being the first to send info. Please be careful to send yours as plain text rather than as an attachment: Bewildering Stories e-mail is, of necessity, heavily spam-filtered, and the filter doesn’t necessarily know that you are a favorite correspondent. If you have my or e-address on file from previous correspondence, please use that. And if you notice at any time that your bibliography needs updating, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

The bibliographies are not the only project under way at Bewildering Stories, but they’re enough for one issue. Keep those bios and bibliographies coming!

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Copyright © 2004 by Don Webb for Bewildering Stories

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