Cut and pasted without hands

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LDSF-2: Latter-Day Science Fiction I'm not sure what Parables Publishing is up to, putting the entire text of their "classic" LDSF anthologies online. I guess they're trying to drum up some publicity for their long-overdue fourth volume of science fiction for Mormons. Good luck to them.

Why do I care? Well, the first story I ever published, "Cut Without Hands," appeared in LDSF-2 back in 1985. I was sixteen when I made the sale (payment in copies), and I was beside myself with joy. Unfortunately, editor Benjamin Urrutia lost my address and couldn't send me my author's copies. I assumed the project had died on the vine—until the spring of 1987, when I was a missionary in Washington and received a letter from Mr. Urrutia. He had read about my brush with the law in the paper and was writing to ask if I was the same D. William Shunn who had given him a story for his anthology.

Much as I wish my little piece of Mormon apologia would quietly vanish, copies of LDSF-2 still show up in used bookstores every once in a while, so I can't be too upset that my story is now up on the Web for all the world to see—in total copyright violation. I'm not inclined to press the matter, though Philip José Farmer and the estate of Avram Davidson (both authors had Mormon-related stories reprinted in LDSF-2) might feel differently. So go read this odd historical curiosity before someone more litigious than I gets wind of it and the whole thing vanishes. (You'll have to scroll way down, or search on "cut without hands," since the Parables folks seems to have only rudimentary HTML skillz.)

Another story you might want to read while it's still available is "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" by hyperpopular LDS author Jack Weyland, which immediately precedes mine in the table of contents. This story is significant to me only because I hated it so much, even as a young Mormon missionary. Its central conceit was so smug and insular and made for such bad science fiction that for two decades I carried around a desire to write a story that proceeded from the same premise but took it in an entirely different direction.

The result, finally, is my novelette "Not of This Fold," which is one of two new stories that will appear in my chapbook An Alternate History of the 21st Century, coming damn soon now from Spilt Milk Press. Pre-order your copy now for a measly five bucks!


P.S.  The title "Cut Without Hands" comes from the Old Testament, the passage where Daniel interprets King Nebuchadnezzar's dream about a stone cut from the mountain without hands that smashes a great statue and grows to fill the earth.

P.P.S.  It has always amused and delighted me that Jack Weyland's name is misspelled on the cover of the book.

[ original post:  http://shunn.livejournal.com/413565.html ]

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on August 6, 2007 7:10 AM.

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