About ten years ago, I submitted one of the first science fiction stories I had ever written to an anthology called 2020 Visions, published by the now-departed M-Brane Press. The editor, Rick Novy, was someone I didn’t know, but M-Brane had given me my first publication the year before, and I thought I would try with this new story about a plague carried by super-intelligent starlings.
Rick Novy didn’t take the story, but he gave me some excellent feedback–the piece had way too much infodump, and it took a very long time for the story’s action to get going. And he gave me a lead on another publisher: Stanley Schmidt, then-editor of Analog, might be interested in the story if I tightened it up.
Thankfully, Stanley Schmidt was interested in the piece once I had revised it, and “A Murmuration of Starlings” became the first of five stories that I’ve published in Analog. And it was through Analog that my work did get picked up for anthologies, and later how I was approached by an agent to option one of my stories for a movie.
I’ve published a lot more fiction over the last ten years, and I’m starting this decade with more hope (about my writing, anyway) than I had ten years ago. But one of the thoughts I had this morning as I woke to the year 2020 was that anthology, 2020 Visions, that I couldn’t get published in at the beginning of the last decade. I’m grateful to Rick Novy for the kind feedback and the kinder tip.