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"sometimes a short page/is better than a volume: The Science Fiction Short Stories of Sonya Dorman"

Portable Storage 7 on, April 30, 2022.

The first sf magazine I ever bought was the November 1970 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. From front to back, it contained stories by Keith Roberts, Robert Sheckley, Christopher Anvil, Charles E. Fritch, Richard A. Lupoff, Prosper Merimee (from 1837, translated by Francis B. Shaffer), and one Sonya Dorman... I probably recognized her name. I had already latched onto my older brother’s book club edition of Dangerous Visions (1967, hereinafter DV) and read her story therein, “Go, Go, Said the Bird,” as I would later read her work in other original anthologies such as Damon Knight’s Orbit and Samuel R. Delany and Marilyn Hacker’s Quark. When I first came to sf, Dorman’s was one of those names that was familiarly there, not sticking out, just part of the scene: oh, yeah, her. She’s good. Wonder why she doesn’t publish more?


Thinking About the Future

Norwich Record, Spring 2020

And it’s not as if so-called “futurists” have done much better than their storytelling counterparts. A recent article at recalls that, in a 1964 report from the RAND Corporation, a panel of 82 experts concluded we would have robot household servants by 1980, two-way communication with alien life by 2000, and the breeding of apes to perform basic chores by 2020. (The first two are still a possibility; let us fervently hope the third is not. See most ethics textbooks and every Planet of the Apes movie.)

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The H Word: Reveling in the Literary

Nightmare Magazine, October 2013

I normally tell my students beginning an essay with a dictionary definition is a cheap fix and they should try something else first. Nonetheless, I note the following definitions of “literature” from the Free Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: “writings in prose or verse, especially: writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest . . . an example of such writings . . . the body of writings on a particular subject . . . printed matter.”

It’s a vexing, problematic word, both floor wax and dessert topping, to borrow from the early days of Saturday Night Live.

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