In Sputnik’s Orbit

A few thoughts to tide you over…


Meet the Winners – Andrew Roberts

Readers! Friends! Countrymen! Lend me your…er..please welcome Writers of the Future winner, Andrew L Roberts to Meet the Winners!

Stuart: Andrew, congrats and welcome to the family. Tell us who you are.

Andrew: I am from San Lorenzo California. I live in the house I grew up in. When I was growing up, I had a backyard with a huge tree and an older brother with which to share it. My favorite hiding spot was and remains my imagination. You should come and visit sometime. It has lots of interesting rooms.

Stuart: (laughs) Do you have any hobbies?

Andrew: I’m an experienced potter and used to play ice-hockey at the most ungodly hours of the night.

Stuart: Ice hockey? In San Lorenzo?

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How to Handle a Telemarketer


Silence. Sounds through a mistreated microphone..Related image


“Oh, sorry. My headset was giving me problems. Is this Mr. Hardwick?”

“Speaking, and with whom do I have the pleasure?”

“My name is Emily! and I’m calling on behalf of–[some outfit or other that sells something unwise to businesses who have just registered to pay taxes to the state of Texas, like the credit card processor who pretends to actually be the state of Texas and gets around to offering an “absolutely free of charge” credit card reader (skimmer included at no extra charge) and “for a limited time” credit card processing at the “special low price” of three times what Square or Paypal charge for exactly the same service]–“and we’d like to offer you–”

“Emily! Stop!”

“a– um…”

“Before you go any further, Emily, you have to pay.”

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Meet the Winners — David VonAllmen!

Greetings readers! You may or may not know that frequently, one or two of Writers of the Future contest finalists are selected to appear in the anthology even through the didn’t win, per se. It’s a high honor, because it basically means the contest judges thought they were pro quality, even if another story edged them out, and they still get to attend the prestigious week long workshop in LA.This year, the published finalist is my good friend, David VonAllmen.

Stuart: David, welcome. Thanks for dropping by. Why don’t you start by telling my readers a little about yourself.

David: Okay. I live in St. Louis with my wife and two kids, and I am the only person ever to be Collegiate National Cycling Champion in all three disciplines: road, track, and mountain bike.

Stuart: Wow! That’s amazing!

David: Two of my former teammates rode on Lance Armstrong’s team in the Tour de France, and yes, one of them got suspended for performance enhancing drugs after winning an Olympic gold medal.

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Meet The Winner – Jake Marley

Next in this year’s Meet the Winners series, please welcome Jake Marley!

Stuart: Welcome Jake!

Jake: Hi Stuart!

Stuart: Introduce yourself. Tell us something that might surprise your friends.

Jake: Well, I’m Jake Marley, and I’m from Orange County, California. While I think that by now my friends and family know I like to write, I don’t believe any of them realize how obsessed with books and stories I am. I’m always reading or writing. Always getting better. I only ever really talk about my stories with my wife, so most people in my life might think it’s a hobby rather than an obsession.

Stuart: What do you like to write?

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In the Running!

I can now announce that I am a finalist for the 2017 Jim Baen Memorial Award.

At the same time, it was announced today that my first Jim Baen award finalist, which became my first sale to Analog, is now an Analab Readers’ Award finalist!


In The Running — Again

For three years, the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award competition has been a regular feature of my writing life, and I’m honored and proud to announce that I am once again in the running.

Each time I’ve entered, I’ve been a finalist, which I am rather proud of. The competition is judged by Baen Books editors Hank Davis, Jim Minz, Tony Daniel, David Afsharirad, and best selling Baen author David Drake. Four years ago, I’d have been ecstatic just to have my work on these folks’ radar. Well, it’s still pretty awesome, but four years ago, I’d have been counting the seconds till the big reveal, praying that I win, readying myself for disappointment. No more. This year, I’m happy to be listed alongside these talented authors

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How to Save Your Children

Sixty years ago, polio was one of the most feared diseases in the world.

Each year, warming weather brought polio season. Late summer was “polio season.” Public swimming pools were shut d

own. Movie theaters urged patrons not to sit too close together. Insurance companies sold polio insurance for newborns.

In 1952 alone, 60,000 American children were infected; thousands died; many thousands were paralyzed.

My aunt was one of the lucky ones; she might have been the girl in this photo. She eventually learned to walk without crutches, but the leg never grew again, and she wore orthopedic platform shoes and heaved through the house like Hephaestus, or through the school where she taught the next two generations

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Meet WotF Winner, Matthew S. Rotundo

Greetings fellow scifi lovers!

Since winning the Writers of the Future contest myself, I’ve made it an annual tradition to interview some or all of each year’s winners on my blog. It’s fun, it’s a nice welcome, and it’s a great way to meet new friends.

As always, I’m kicking off the series this year with a veteran, the wonderfully amiable, Mathew S. Rotundo, who won in 2009. I’ll start off by saying the Matt and eight other former WotF winners has contributed a reprint to our anthology, The Future is Nigh and it’s no exaggeration to say that it would be a bargain at $15 in hardcover, it really is that good. But enough of that.

Stuart: Matt, welcome! Thanks for dropping by.

Matthew: Thanks for having me!

Stuart: No problem. See, this is great, because we’ve hung out at the SWFA table at conventions and worked together on the odd project, but we’ve never really gotten the chance to talk. Tell me, and my many dozens of mostly loyal followers, who you are. Where do you hail from?

Matthew: I’m from Omaha. As in Nebraska.

Stuart: Home of Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom.” Do you know the guy with the animals?

Matthew: Umm…yeah. More, where the corn is. But we have indoor plumbing, so we’re doing OK.

I’ve lived here all my life, actually, except that I was born in Germany. My dad was in the Air Force and was stationed overseas

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A Very Nice Compliment

I got a very complimentary note from an editor today who told me “Dreams of the Rocket Man” was in consideration for his best of the year anthology till the very last cut. Of course, I’d love to have made that cut, but I also know there are many considerations in choosing works for a commercial anthology, and a long work from a little known author is not an easy sell.
Oh well. I will just have to become better known. Oh write shorter stories. Or both. Meanwhile, you can still read the story on my sample page, and it’s for sale on Amazon.

On the Model of Parents

Idon’t often talk or write about my personal life, but a recent question of social media hit a nerve. The question was, “What if it turns out we’re all wrong about gay parenting, and it is indeed harmful to kids?

Now, why would this touch a nerve with me, a straight, white middle-class man with all the benefits of a mid-twentieth century American upbringing?

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