“Heaven’s Touch” sells to Asimov’s and I go all touchy-feely daydreaming of childhood SF magazines

My grandfather's mid-December 1983 copy of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, featuring the Hugo-winning story "Speech Sounds" by Octavia Butler. Note the mailing label still attached.

Exciting news: my novelette “Heaven’s Touch” has sold to Asimov’s Science Fiction! The story involves a race for survival on a near-future comet and is one of the hardest science fiction tales I’ve written.

This will be my first appearance in Asimov’s and I want to thank Sheila Williams for both accepting the story and giving me a number of excellent suggestions regarding rewrites. I naturally took these suggestions to heart because only a fool argues with a Hugo-winning editor whose ideas vastly improve your story!

Obviously I like Asimov’s since I subscribe to the magazine. However, Asimov’s also played a critical role in my development as a science fiction writer. When I was growing up there were three SF magazines I daydreamed about writing for—Analog, Asimov’s, and Interzone.

Because I grew up in rural Alabama, finding an issue of the British magazine Interzone was out of the question. But I continually noticed that many of the stories I loved in the various “year’s best” collections were first published in Interzone. So while I may not have seen physical copies of Interzone as a young man, the magazine still influenced me greatly.

Analog and Asimov’s were more familiar since my grandfather collected SF magazines. But of the two, my grandfather clearly had a special place in his heart for Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine—as it was then called—because he was a subscriber. I remember once when my mom picked up my grandparent’s mail while they were away on vacation. The mail contained a new issue of Asimov’s and I stared at that magazine for a long time, wondering if my grandfather would notice if I read it first.

I still have copies of my grandfather’s Asimov’s with his mailing label attached. They’re among my most valued heirlooms.

Once I left for college I subscribed to Asimov’s. This was during Gardner Dozois’ famous editorship, when he won the Hugo for best editor nearly every year while the stories he picked also dominated the major awards. On days when the magazine might arrive I’d race to my apartment, hoping to discover a new issue. The first thing I'd read each month were Issac Asimov’s editorials, followed by story after story from groundbreaking authors like Michael Swanwick, Connie Willis, Tanith Lee, Greg Egan, Mike Resnick, and many more. I even submitted a few horrible stories and poems to Gardner during those days—thankfully he rejected them quickly and without fuss.

And now I’ve landed my first Asimov’s acceptance. It’s amazing that I’ve placed stories with all the magazines I used to daydream about. But it’s also damn exciting to place a story in a magazine like Asimov’s, with which I’ve had such a long, loving relationship.