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by Sheila Williams

Asimov’s fortieth anniversary year has been filled with great fiction and a lot of fun. We were thrilled to receive tales from long-time favorites who hadn’t appeared in our pages for a while
—like Connie Willis, Karen Joy Fowler, R. Garcia y Robertson, and Harry Turtledove—
and to encounter the works of new authors such as Cadwell Turnbull, Andrea M. Pawley, and Emily Taylor. We were also very pleased with the stories we published by authors who appear more regularly in the magazine. If I could, I’d name every single one of them here, but suffice it to say that the stories that have appeared during this anniversary year have been particularly rewarding. Our expanded format allowed for a little experimenting. Thus, we were able to run an entire short novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch in our May/June issue and a series of tales from James Gunn’s Transcendence Universe along with many other intriguing works by our talented authors.

Outside the pages of the magazine, we had some small celebrations of our anniversary along with a big bash in April. For the glamorous awards banquet at the International Conference on the Fantastic in Florida in March, a copy of our March/April anniversary issue was a part of every diner’s place setting. Copies of our anniversary year issues were also distributed at the Nebulas in May, at the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference in June, as well as the Brooklyn and Baltimore Book Festivals in September.

Our big event, though, was a Fortieth Anniversary celebration at New York City’s Housing Works Bookstore Café. Housing Works is a nonprofit organization. In addition to the café, it operates a chain of thrift stores and other entrepreneurial businesses that raise funds to combat homelessness and AIDs. The bookstore café is in a beautiful old building in the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District. Shelves of books and twisting balconies line the twenty-foot walls. We were delighted to have the opportunity to host our party on the Housing Work’s premises.

The event was free and open to the public. Over a hundred and fifty readers, writers, and SF publishing professionals attended. Readers and authors traveled from Canada, Florida, Arizona, Maryland, and many places in between. We had invited five Asimov’s authors to present excerpts from their work. Alexander Jablokov, Sarah Pinsker, Cadwell Turnbull, and James Patrick Kelly all read from stories that had appeared in the magazine, while Suzanne Palmer read a piece from her exciting novel. While each author spoke, a beautiful slideshow of classic Asimov’s covers was projected above their heads. The slideshow was designed and produced by the magazine’s associate editor, Emily Hockaday.

As the R.S.V.P.s returned in the days before the party, we realized we’d be hosting a lot of out-of-town authors. Emily and I decided to hold an all-day open house at the Dell Magazines’ office the day of the event. We had a bagel breakfast with Timons Esaias and lunch with Tochi Onyebuchi and Nick Wolven. In the afternoon, the office overflowed when Rick Wilber, Sarah Pinsker, James Patrick Kelly, Alexander Jablokov, Andrea M. Pawley, Derek Künsken, Rich Larson, and Suzanne Palmer stopped by. In addition to these authors, we were pleased to see D. Mercurio Rivera, Robert Thurston, Kit Reed, Leah Cypess, and others later that evening at the reading. Although Leah couldn’t make it into the office during the open house, she dropped by a couple of days later, and we snapped a photo of her standing in front of our wall of Analogs, Asimov’s, and Hugo Awards.

I’m feeling a bit wistful as our fortieth anniversary year draws to a close. Yet, wonderful projects and stories loom on the horizon. With new tales from writers like Mary Robinette Kowal, Robert Reed, Rich Larson, Ray Nayler,   Paul Park, and others coming up, we will have many reasons to celebrate Asimov’s forty-first year as well!

Editorial_01_Asimovs-40thPhoto by Suzanne Palmer
Magazines on display at Housing Works

Photo by Jackie Sherbow
Editors with visitors to the office. Left to Right:  Emily Hockaday, Sheila Williams, Rick Wilber, Alexander Jablokov, Derek Künsken, and Nick Wolven

Photo by Emily Hockaday
Cadwell Turnbull reads from his story

Editorial_04_Suzanne-reading2Photo by Jackie Sherbow
Suzanne Palmer reads from her novel

Editorial_05_group-at-HWPhoto by Raymond Carey
The crew of presenters and Asimov’s editors at Housing Works. Left to Right:  Cadwell Turnbull, Emily Hockaday, Suzanne Palmer, Sarah Pinsker, Alexander Jablokov, James Patrick Kelly, and Sheila Williams

Photo by Emily Hockaday
Leah Cypess and a wall of science fiction
magazines and Hugos.


Copyright © 2017 Sheila William

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