I just today received a courtesy copy of the mass market edition of NEW SPACE OPERA TWO edited by Strahan and Dozois. What I did not know is that they gave my story, ‘Far End of History: A Tale of the Eighth Mental Structure’ (takes place in my Golden Oecumene background–all for you, Atkins fans) the anchor position.

The anchor position! By ancient custom among anthologists, the biggest draw is usually the first story in the table of contents, to get the reader to pick up the book, and the second best is the last story to get the reader to keep reading till the end.

This is a signal honor that will almost make up for my mad grief at not winning the Prometheus Award. Now I am sorry I tore my garments and poured all these ashes in my hair. If I did not know better, I would say my excessive yet unmanly wailing might make me, at first glance, seem a little shallow.

Besides, now my frail yet fickle ego can be propped up by this transitory dignity! Frail egos are wonderful things, are they not–serving one is sort of like being the slave of a half-insane but half-drunken werewolf overlord on a planet with multiple moons. Often I wonder why bondage to the ego is considered by modern philosophers to be the paramount of liberty.

But no matter! Release the pigeons of happiness! Reduce the Agonizers to half-voltage! Allow the workers a half-cup of watered-down grog! For I am slobbery with happiness! The anchor position is mine! Mine, I say! Command the stonecutters to erect my monument of green iridium next to the Pharaoh, but bigger, and with a neon nimbus crowning my pshent!

Nay, larger still! Where is Lens Larque, the Demon Prince of Dar Sai? Perhaps he will sculpt for me a monument of equal size and dignity to his own. Send Kerth Gersen to look for him. 

…. Unless Strahan and Dozois just put the authors in alphabetically, in which case my story got last position because the volume contains no reprints from Zelazny or Zindell. Hmph.

In any case, it is a good story, one of the ones I am least discontented with, so I hope some kind reader somewhere will read and enjoy it.