Clarkesworld and Peter Watts’ The Things

I spent a large chunk of 2009 working on third volume in my Eclipse series of anthologies. When Eclipse Three was published in October and debuted at World Fantasy in San Jose I had just one regret about the book: that it didn’t include Peter Watts novelette, “The Things”.

I’d invited Peter to write a story for Eclipse Three earlier in the  year, thinking that his kind of intelligent, hard-hitting science fiction would be perfect for the book.  He mentioned that he wanted to do a story riffing on John W. Campbell’s “Who Goes There?” and the movie that followed. I thought that was incredibly cool.  Some months later he sent me a story nominally titled either “The Things” or “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Things”.

It was terrific. I accept it immediately, and sent Peter a contract, and that’s where things stopped being wonderful. Not because of Peter, I should stress — he was a gentleman and wonderful to deal with throughout (I hope to have the opportunity to publish his work for many years to come) — but because of legal complications. It quickly became clear that for various reasons an agreement couldn’t be struck that suited Peter, the book’s publisher and I because of copyright questions that we suspected might possibly hang over the story.

After a lot of discussion, and with enormous reluctance, ultimately it was decided not to include “The Things” in Eclipse Three. I was incredibly disappointed, and every time I looked over the manuscript of the book I felt the absence of its hard edged darkness – something the book needed, I felt, to be really balanced.

A month or so after delivering Eclipse Three to the publisher I heard that “The Things” had been accepted for publication at Clarkesworld, and it’s just appeared in their 40th issue.  As much as I would have loved it to have been in my book, I was delighted the story found a home.  I am confident that Peter’s story would have been in several year’s bests this year, had it appeared in Eclipse Three, and I think that’s still likely to happen (just in next year’s books). However, why wait for next year? If you want to read one of 2010’s best hard SF stories, head over to Clarkesworld now. You won’t regret it. And hats off to Neil and the team for publishing such a terrific story!


I started blogging in March 2002. I have all of the blogstuff, either online or on my local hard drive. I’ve looked back at the old New Year’s posts. I always make the same resolutions, and don’t seem to have followed through on any of them ever. I think no resolutions this year. I will ponder some plans, but I’m also learning from the past.

The holiday season

This holiday season has been both very similar to and quite different from its predecessors. It started way back on Wednesday 23 December. I was supposed to be at the office working, but I traded a day off and stayed home so that I could help get ready. We’re terrible domestic organisers here at Merton Way, so I spent the day running around and doing last minute shopping and doing some cleaning and organising. I did also fit in a coffee with Jeremy (Sophie came along and made her dad very proud), and Theresa dropped over in the afternoon. Good friends really do make Christmas worthwhile.

The morning of the 24th was similar. Last minute stuff before we jumped into the car and headed down to Applecross for a 3pm early family Christmas dinner. My sister and her partner were housesitting a lovely two-storey house for a week and we were headed there for dinner and such. There was swimming and laughing and sitting outside in the grand Pavilion, followed by dinner and drinking and presents. All in all, a fine evening. We had the young ones home in bed on the stroke of midnight, which seemed appropriate.

Christmas Day dawned warm and sunny. We had my brother and mother coming over for lunch, but started with an exchange of family gifts, the opening of presents from the Man in Red, and then breakfast. I think everyone was happy with their presents, especially the girls who made out quite indecently really. Family arrived at noon, dining commenced and all was well. If there was a flaw, and it’s hard to parse quite how it happened, I ended up too sober and insufficiently overfed to really slip into the Christmas night cheer, but that was cool.

Boxing Day was the day friends we’re coming for a party. We were disapppointed Tea and crew couldn’t come, but we had a grand time with Shaun, Inari, Stefan, Janet, Nick, Amanda, Robin & Toula. We ate, we drank, we talked and laughed. A good way to see out the holidays.

Sunday was a bit less fun. Marianne fell victim to a bug that had been chasing her and has spent from Sunday till today largely wiped out by bronchitis. It’s been hard for her, and at times a little tiring for me, but I’ve had a lot of fun with the girls too. We’ve been swimming, shopping, and out for excursions. Good things for a dad to do with his daughters at year’s end.

And now we’re in 2010 and I’m 46. I will post some NY stuff. I want to. It might be tomorrow, though. Not enough work has been done.

Still, happy 2010!!!!!

46 (redux)

Well, I deleted my birthday post because it was simply too curmudgeonly. I do apologise to Russell, who left a very kind (and appreciated) comment. I’ve had a long week, am tired, and needed a quiet day. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet, which has sort’ve dented my mood more than a bit.

Anyhow, today I turn 46. Many thanks to those who’ve sent kind wishes. Hopefully this year will be more fun than 2009, which was very successful but not that much fun, and I hope we all get out unscathed.