|Volume 36, Issue
Cover: hex vi © 2012 laAzathoth
Wyrms & Wormholes
Forking Paths in the Garden of Spacetime
Voting for the SFPA awards is always difficult—and this year, we had three different awards—Elgin, Rhysling, and Dwarf Stars—for which to choose winners simultaneously! For me, the difficulty lies in making up my mind; there are too many poems (and books, this year) that I like enough to vote for, that I think are worthy of winning. But we can only pick three per category—and ranking them is even harder!
Fortunately, in editing Star*Line, I can choose many more poems. While the Editor’s Choice poems posted in the Star*Line Archives are personal favorites, I don’t need to rank them. And I have a sneaking suspicion that in a nearly identical universe, different poems might have been accepted, or would have been my favorites. The editorial climate is variable.
The basic determinant, though, behind the poem content that makes it in to Star*Line is the submissions pool (a much prettier word than slushpile, don’t you think? One envisions the pages swirling in a slow, invisible current, their pale fins rippling). If I received more, or better, poems, I would raise my standards accordingly. It is easy to assume that work present in a publication is what perfectly suits that editor’s tastes, but any editor will nearly always have compromised to some extent. You’ll notice that many more book-review excerpts appear in this issue and, as is now our wont, appear in their fullness online in the Reviews alphabetically under the year of publication. Because of delays in distribution, especially when books are published near the year’s end, and the difficulty of making reviewers (to say nothing of the book-buying public) aware of available speculativepoetry books, there is often a significant time lag—of years, in many cases—before reviews of important and wonderful books appear in Star*Line or elsewhere.
I hope that the Elgin award guidelines can be changed to accommodate a wider publication-date eligibility window, to give reviewers and readers more time to encounter more of the books published in the spec-po field, and to compensate for the tragedy that a number of books of the stature of What If What’s Imagined Were All True (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2012) by Roz Kaveny, reviewed (finally!) in this issue, were not even nominated. An oversight on my part (I’d sent my copy of the Kaveny book on to a reviewer and had forgotten that it was a 2012 publication) and on the part of—I hope they exist—other SFPA members who read it. I encourage members to not only read the books reviewed in this issue that sound appealing, but to seek out those mentioned on the Books and Star*Line Reviews pages. I encourage publishers of books that might otherwise be overlooked to offer them to Star*Line reviewers, and/or to advertise in Star*Line.
Don’t forget that older books have marvelous offerings as well. As Dietmar Tauchner reminds us in his recent book noise of our origin, which I hope will soon be reviewed in these pages, a used-book store is a time machine:
Let’s meet in the past occasionally, as well as in the future.—F.J. Bergmann
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