Writing as martial arts and Gardner Dozois- not a person after all

15 11 2012

It has been a bit since I posted and I want to apologize to my erstwhile reader (she knows who she is!). Frankly, since the assault and attendant brain injury, I’ve found it a bit difficult to write fiction or otherwise. That being said, I am pushing forward here and trying to get back to basics, hence the title.

What do I mean by writing as martial arts? I am referencing my old karate teacher from way back in the foggy distance. He would often tell the room full of feckless thirteen year old boys that we had to practice every day whether we had a class or not. At the time I remember being really into Jean Claude Van Damme, otherwise known as “the muscles from Brussels,” a moniker that I would say he made up himself if it weren’t for the fact that I’m pretty sure he is developmentally disabled. Because I was really into Mr. From Brussels, I wanted to be able to do the splits. Now, apart from kicking really high, there probably isn’t a more useless feet of human mechanical flexibility than doing the splits, but because the Van Damme movies are full of perfectly spaced corridors  where the splits allow him to hide just out of sight above his opponent’s head, I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time painfully stretching out some very sensitive muscles and tendons. I did this for the better part of a year, and at no point did I feel that I had made any progress, but one day I realized that I had gone from having a foot or more space between my crotch and the floor to a mere three inches.

What am I saying? Van Damme is the archetype of humanity made perfect? Yes, yes he is. But I’m also saying that you improvement is a slight and incremental process driven by consistent effort and a sore crotch. I can’t stress the sore crotch. Every successful writer will tell you that he or she got where they are through years of suffering through groin pains. Get it? Groin pains? That’s write. (i apologize to Jesus for making him cry).

So that is your pat advice for the day. Keep on keepin’ on. Now for what I’m reading.

I don’t think Gardner Dozois actually exists. I recently cleaned out some of my book shelves and I had no less than 25 huge anthologies edited by him. At least four came out in any single year. And he’s been going on at that clip for years! Add to this the fact that he is an award winning short story writer in his own right- big awards, like Nebulas. In the past half dozen years his productivity has not diminished that I can tell. One brilliant anthology after another flows from his efforts and if his wiki is to be believed he had heart surgery and got hit by a taxi. He slowed down a little bit in that he has retired from his editing gig at Asimov’s, but honestly, no single human could possibly do what he does. So propose there is no such person as this Gardner Dozois. Instead I posit that there is a GARDOZ 9000, a science fiction editing, anthology compiling, short story writing super computer that isn’t going to let me back in the spaceship because, despite my best efforts to not be overheard, it read my lips. Open the pod-bay doors GARDOZ! Open the pod-bay doors!

The hypothetical person that is Gardner Dozois spent a lot of time practicing the splits. It shows.

That is the science of fiction.

Now open those damned pod-bay doors!

Barnard Zero

Just to prove the point I present GARDOZ’s bibliography lifted straight outta wikipedia!



Anthologies edited by Gardner Dozois (partial list)

Cross-genre anthologies co-edited by Dozois and Martin

  • Dangerous Women, a cross-genre anthology featuring stories about women warriors (co-edited with George R. R. Martin) (Planned)
  • Rogues, a cross-genre anthology featuring stories about assorted rogues (co-edited with George R. R. Martin) (planned)
  • Old Mars, an anthology featuring new stories about Mars in retro-SF vein (co-edited with George R. R. Martin) (planned)
  • Old Venus, an anthology featuring new stories about Venus in retro-SF vein (co-edited with George R. R. Martin) (planned)

Themed anthology series co-edited by Dozois and Dann

Formerly known as “Magic Tales Anthology Series” until 1995; all released under the Ace imprint until Wizards in 2007.

“Isaac Asimov’s” Series

Year’s Best Science Fiction Series

Dozois also edited volumes six through ten of the Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year series after Lester del Rey edited the first five volumes. That series ended in 1981.




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