Draconian Outlaw 1: Unwelcome Embassy

Draconian Outlaw is now posted.

One of Six.

This is a previously unpublished story, once rejected by the great Gardner Dozois (may he rest in peace) of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine fame. In those long-ago days, I was pleased to receive rejections where the editor wrote a personal letter to explain the reasoning of his harsh but just condemnation.

My revenge was to sell my first two professional sales thereafter to Asimov’s, to appearing in four anthologies edited by Mr. Dozois, including his “Year’s Best” anthology for 2004 and 2010.

I have rewritten certain passages in hope of improving the story to pass muster with Mr. Dozois, or what I imagine his standards would demand. My readers are the final judge, as ever.

It is uncouth for an author to comment on his own work, as this intrudes and element of self-will into what should by a mystical channel to the muses, speaking solely what they would. As if the mailman were to linger and chat about the postcard he delivered. Nonetheless, I hope the generous reader will excuse a personal remark:

This particular tale was written when I was in my “Ayn Rand” period, so my protagonists were thinly-disguised rip-offs of Hank Reardon and Howard Roark.

Due to my vast creative talents, however, I later graduated to my “Space Opera” period, so protagonists are thinly-disguised rip-offs of entirely different writers: Compare, for example, Xanten of Hagedorn from  “The Last Castle” by Jack Vance with Phaethon of Rhadamanth from THE GOLDEN AGE; or Blackie DuQuesne from SKYLARK OF SPACE with Blackie del Azarchel from COUNT TO A TRILLION; or Barbara Gordon from BATGIRL with Yumiko Moth from DARK AVENGER’S SIDEKICK; or compare Ruff the Elf-hound with a mutthound;  or Gilbert Gosseyn from WORLD OF NULL-A with Gilbert Gosseyn from NULL-A CONTINUUM.

One hopes there is enough Keith Laumerian action, or Jack Vancean irony, to keep the plot moving in this offering, despite the Ayn Randian preachifying.