Decimated…

Borgo/Wildside Press has just published a collection of my early stories co-authored with George Zebrowski. The collection is called Decimated, and it’s half of Wildside Double #27: the other half is Pam Sargent’s Venus of Dreams collection. For me, this is a strong injection of nostalgia, as George and Pam and I started our writing careers together.

Here is where you can get Decimated in e-book format. [Click here for link]

Here is an extract from my part of the introduction–George and I have written connecting notes to all the stories.

I think at that time of our lives—those distant, blurred salad days of exuberant youth—it was enough just to show up. After all, we were certain that everything was ahead of us; all we had to do was sit down in front of George’s (really Pam’s) old rat-tat-tat Smith Corona manual (and in those days manual meant manual!) typewriter and smash the hell out of those keys. Something rare and wonderful, something unmatched in genius and inspiration would magically and inevitably have to appear on the mint-white corrasable bond paper. Of that we were certain.

Well, perhaps it would be closer to the truth to say that I was certain. George was further ahead in terms of craft. I was still at the stage where I believed that inspiration would somehow magically transform the electric-shocked thoughts in my head into coherent sentences, comprehensible plots, and characters that didn’t behave as if they’d just discovered that the strange digital appendages at the end of their arms were called fingers.

So I’d sit down in front of that old Smith Corona in George’s high-ceilinged, book-cluttered apartment in Binghamton, New York (Rod Serling’s home town) and clatter away until there was a small stack of typed pages beside me. I’d then show the brilliant outpouring to George, who would shake his great blond head as if he was in pain and proceed to turn ravings into story. Slowly, arduously, I started to learn the rudiments of craft…something I’ve learned one never stops learning. After having written or edited over seventy-five books, I still feel like I’m a raw beginner every time I stare into the grey-white flickerings of my laptop.

But, as George said earlier, those faraway, sunlit days were filled with joy. The very idea of being writers was enough: it was as rich and intriguing and glamorous as becoming ace fighter pilots, James Bond spies, or Kerouac(ian) Dharma-bums. We were writers because writers wrote. Nothing could be as noble, exciting, or as important. We were going to change the world by dint of the sheer power of thought…

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