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Fran Van Cleave

Science Fiction Author

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Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
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Breaking into SF

I had drifted away from reading SF as a busy college student, and then as a pharmacist. Then I met Kent (now my philosopher husband), who came conveniently equipped with a large collection of SF novels. It was the first chance I had to read books by James P. Hogan, Larry Niven, and Jerry Pournelle -- hard SF practitioners whose work renewed my enthusiasm for the genre ... and for the future. In fact, it made me want to write the stuff myself!

So I began writing. I had been working on a quasi-autobiographical novel about a pharmacy student, but I put that aside and haven't revisited it since. I wrote short stories, sent them out, joined a writers' group, and learned from my rejections.

Then, all of a sudden, one of the rejections from Stan Schmidt at Analog included an invitation to send other material! You can bet I did.

Only a couple of submissions later, Stan said he'd like to see some specific changes to my short story, "Second Chance." It was a near-future exploration of the abortion controversy, with a libertarian, free-market twist. I made the changes, Stan bought the story, and I was a published SF writer.

Stan also bought the next story I sent him -- a novella about a clone. His note, asking about whether I had done the necessary "world-building" calculations (I had), called "Ataxia in Ataraxia" one of the best characterizations of a clone he'd seen (in a world filled with atrocious ones). That novella appeared in the December '98 issue of the magazine.

Since then, Analog has published my novella "The Mycojuana Incident" (Feb. 2001) and "Navajo Moon-Bird" (Dec. 2001). The latter story received honorable mention in Gardner Dozois' The Year's Best S.F., 19th edition, and was recommended for consideration for a Nebula Award (SFWA members will first determine the finalists for the Nebulas, then vote for the winners).

I'm now a proud member of the Analog M.A.F.I.A. (Making Appearances Frequently in Analog).

To end the millennium, I broke out of the "Analog ghetto" (a.k.a. the Briar Patch), with the short story "Brain Drain" in the third issue (Autumn 2000) of Artemis.

I have other short-form irons in the fire, but in recent years I have focused on writing novels.