The summer before George was born, Katie and I lived in a house on a high hill. The hill sloped up gently on three sides, covered with thick grass kept short by the wind; but in the back, behind the house, if fell off sharply, down a high, rocky cliff, to the sea. The house was right at the top, about thirty yards from the edge of the cliff, and all we could see of the ocean from there was its top edge, where it tilted up against the sky. The cliff was so high and the wind from the sea was so noisy that usually we couldn’t hear the surf, even from the edge of the cliff. I would go there sometimes and peer down; there was no sound except the wind; and the surf moved in and out like great wings, beating against the wind and rock that pinned them down.
BULL SPEC is pleased to announce that BULL SPEC SHORT #1 will be Terry Bisson’s “George:”
Many of Terry’s short stories are the stuff of legend and hearsay. “They’re Made Out Of Meat” makes an at least monthly round of “Have you read this?” (or in the case of the short film based on it, “Have you seen this?”) across The Internets, but it was “Bears Discover Fire” which won the 1991 Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Sturgeon awards for short story and which headlined his first short story collection, Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories in 1993. It was in that collection that I encountered “George” and it instantly became one of my favorites, and it was one another of the first previously-published works whose rights we started trying to solicit. Of the story, Terry wrote in his afterword for “Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories:”
I came to the short story both early and late. In 1964, after the birth of my eldest son, Nathaniel, I wrote a story about a kid born with wings. “George” won honorable mention in a Story magazine contest and made me fifty dollars. After a couple of false starts, though, I gave up the form entirely.
It was in the midst of writing these stories that I found “George” in the files of my literary ex-mother-in-law and read it, for the first time in years, with some trepidation. I was pleased to find that though I wouldn’t write it again, I wouldn’t change a word in it. Since it was noticed (if never published) by Whit Burnett of Story magazine, it is my connection with another era in literature; that also pleases me. And it is reassuring to me in another way.
I have sometimes felt that I was a gate-crasher in the world of SF, passing off odd mainstream works as fantasy and science fiction in order to get them published. “George” assures me that I have, in fact, for better or worse, been a fantasy writer from jump, engaged in a long process of coming home.
Terry is up to too many things to mention in one little announcement, but of particular note are his recent interview of Kim Stanley Robinson for “Galileo’s Dream,” and an excellent new edition of his alternative history novel “Fire on the Mountain” from PM Press. For more info on these and a whole host of other things, visit his website.
Look for BULL SPEC’s production of “George” online, in e-book, and audiobook, somewhere in the middle of 2010. We hope you will enjoy this story as much as we have.