The Music Will Never Stop 64

Next up: The box just says “YES” on the spine. There’s no enclosure, nothing scribbled on the back.

It starts off with a somewhat fuzzy, low-volume recording of “Fragile,” which I already have from CD. That’s followed by “Close to the Edge,” logically enough.

And after that, “To Be Over,” from “Relayer,” fills out the first side of the tape. (I apparently realized, not being an idiot for once, that “The Gates of Delirium” wouldn’t fit. Not sure why I chose “To Be Over” rather than “Sound Chaser,” though — either one would do.)

Oh, that’s interesting. Side 2 does not start with the rest of “Relayer,” as I’d expected, but with “Tales from Topographic Oceans.”

That would leave maybe ten-fifteen minutes at the end, I guess. We’ll see what’s there.

It’s “Sound Chaser,” from Side 2 of “Relayer.” So I never did fit “The Gates of Delirium,” it would seem.

I also didn’t include anything that isn’t already in my iTunes library, so this tape will go directly into the discard pile.

And after that I’m debating which tape to tackle next. I’ve got King Crimson/McDonald and Giles, and two reels of the Moody Blues, and a random assortment of albums where the tape’s label is partially illegible, but I think it might be time to start on some of the live recordings, if only for a change of pace.

There’s one that says it’s recorded at 7.5 IPS instead of 3.75. It’s dated February 3, 1974 on the box, and says it’s Martha Esersky and others.

Martha was the girlfriend of one of my college roommates. She wrote a few songs, sang, and played guitar, though I don’t think she ever tried to turn pro. I’m sort of in touch with her on Facebook, where it says she’s a retired high school teacher who’s now a cookbook reviewer/food writer for Publisher’s Weekly. I haven’t played this tape since, oh, at least 1977. I still remember one of her songs, though — well enough to hum the chorus, anyway.

I think that one will probably be next.

A Farewell to Helix

The tenth and final issue of Helix is now open to the public; check it out. Half a dozen of our usual fine stories, along with valedictory columns by the usual folks, and an assortment of poetry.

I have a story of my own in this issue, entitled “Jim Tuckerman’s Angel.”

And please remember, even though this is the final issue, we still want to pay the authors as much as possible, so please donate if you can.

Seventh Heaven… I mean, Helix!

Helix No. 7 is now up and open for business — check it out.

There are seven new stories, by Charlie Anders, Maya Bohnhoff, Adam-Troy Castro, David W. Goldman, Selina Rosen, Vaughan Stanger, and Laura J. Underwood, along with poetry by Mike Allen, F. J. Bergmann, Anthony Bernstein, Gene van Troyer, and Jane Yolen, and columns by the regulars — John Barnes, Bud Webster, etc.

The only pay the authors of those seven stories will receive is a share of what readers donate, so if you like what you read, do please show that appreciation in tangible form, either through PayPal or by sending a check.

Helix Redux

The sixth issue of Helix is now available!

This issue has stories by Mike Allen, Jayme Lynn Blaschke, Vylar Kaftan, Sarah K. Castle, Jay Lake, Ann Leckie, and Jennifer Pelland, as well as poetry by Danny Adams, Kendall Evans, David C. Kopaska-Merkel & W. Gregory Stewart, Mikal Trimm, JoSelle Vanderhooft, and S.C. Virtes. Also, premiering this issue is a new column about science fiction by John Barnes.

This issue prompted one well-respected authority in the SF field to remark that it certainly has a lot of sex and violence, to which senior editor William Sanders responded that he likes sex and violence. And he likes reading about them, too.

This webzine is entirely donation-supported, no ads, no subscriptions, no registration. Check it out, then send us money. The seventh issue should be out in January.

Helix enters its second year

The fifth issue of Helix is now up.

The new issue has stories by Brenda Clough, Eugie Foster, Esther Friesner, Samantha Henderson, N.K. Jemisin, Yoon Ha Lee, and Margaret Ronald, as well as poetry by Elizabeth Barrette, Serena Fusek, Marge Simon, JoSelle Vanderhooft, Barbara Walsh, and Jane Yolen, not to mention the usual features.

It’s not only the first issue of our second year, but special in another way — see if you can figure it out before reading Will Sanders’ editorial.

Helix is entirely donation-supported, no ads, no subscriptions, no registration. Check it out. Send us money.

The sixth issue will be out in October.

In other matters, I still need entries for my limerick contest, I still haven’t written the final draft of The Vondish Ambassador, and there’s other news you can read on my web page.

Helix: Our first year is complete

The fourth issue of Helix is now up and open to the public.

This issue has stories by Mike Allen & Charles Saplak, Sara Genge, Berry Kercheval, James Killus, Jennifer Pelland, Robert Reed, and Pras Stillman, as well as poetry by Greg Beatty, Serena Fusek, Samantha Henderson, Mary Horton, Drew Morse, and Mikal Trim. Not to mention the usual features (though we’ve dropped the book review column), including, of course, an editorial by Yr. Humble Servant.

Check it out. Send us money.

A guest post from Peg Robinson

Thought some folks might be interested in this tirade Peg posted to her newsgroup on SFF Net in response to Helix’ rule that we do not accept money from our writers. Money flows toward the writer, is our rule.

Here We Come a-Wassailing

Peg Robinson

I am, as seems too often to be the case, being subversive.

Will Sanders and Lawrence Watt-Evans have made it clear, and more than clear, that if I dare try to sneak a penny into the old man’s hat – or even a ha’penny – it will come back to me with such increased velocity as to challenge Einsteinian physics. I have presented a piece of work to, and from henceforth my money is no good in that bar. Indeed, they are paying me: in coin of the bloody realm, and in all the graciousness of being treated as an honored fellow of their effort. So I can’t make a donation, no matter how freakin’ good I think their goals are or how much I think they deserve to succeed – and think we need them to succeed.

Hell with that bullshit.

I’ve got lyrics that possess me. Joni Mitchell’s “Playin’ Real Good, For Free,” with its haunting contrast of a professional musician passing a street-corner player, has become one of my soul-songs: one I come back to again and again. Her recognition that the value of his art is as great as hers – maybe even, somehow, magically greater – for being offered for free, in the hope that gratitude and deep joy will offer back a nickel, a dime, a dollar bill in the old fedora, and in the burning knowledge that the music was worth it, regardless. There is a real, time-honored covenant between the artist, the art, and the audience that overrides all other issues.

I don’t know how it works for you. For me? When I pass a busking player, and I have any time at all, I listen. If he or she is any good, I try to show it. If there’s paper money in my pocket – the artist gets some. If all I have is coin – even a penny will do. When I’m cold stony broke, I try to find a silent moment between sets to say to the corner player, “That was real good.” If that’s not even possible, I at least try to throw the “thumbs up” as I go by, knowing that it’s too hot, or too cold, or too humid, or too windy, or too lonely, or too dangerous, or just too damn everything on a street corner – but that someone loves the pure sweet sound of what they’re doing enough to busk with it, rather than break into houses or flip burgers.

I also do it because I know that everything new started out in a slum, on a street corner, scribbled on a cocktail napkin in a bar. It stumbled, unexpected, across a high-school auditorium stage, flew into the mind of a prim, totally unlikely math tutor, danced wild and new and free on a honky-tonk piano, and rattled the windows of the suburbs as some garage band turned up the amps and really set out to ROCK!

So Helix comes a-wassailing, and you have to decide, as established professionals, as promising beginners, and as just plain loving readers, if it’s worth flipping a coin in the fedora. If it matters to you that there are forums where no-names and the Big Names can play what they love, because they love it, and give you a chance to see what you might never see any other way, then flip in some coin. Because Helix has provided a street corner where artists can “play real good for free – or for whatever you can afford to toss in the hat.”

The most honored S.O.B.s who edit that worthy work won’t let me dunk a dime in…and this testimonial won’t add a single cent to the check they’ve already sent me in the mail. I have nothing to lose but my honor if I stay silent, and nothing to gain – but my honor – if I choose to give a “shilling,” since they won’t accept my dime. So. Here it is. My honor, my one, white plume if you get the lit’rary reference.

“We are not daily beggars who beg from door to door,
But we are neighbors’ children, whom you have seen before,
Love and joy come to you,
And to you glad tidings too,
And we’re playin’ real good, for free.”

If you read Helix – even if you don’t read Helix – put a penny in the hat, and invest in that unspoken covenant with the audience that brings jazz out of the bordellos and honky-tonks, rock out of a garage band made up of six kids of poor complexion and uncertain age and gender, and pure, perfect art out of a blind sax-player on a street corner.

And Will and Lawrence, you can make all the bloody rules you like and I will honor them – as I honor you. But I will continue to be my subversive self and support the extraordinary, because, damn it, if I don’t then not even that one pure (if tattered), white plume is left to me. So there.

Helix: Third issue is up!

Yes, folks, the third issue of Helix is now available, with stories by John Barnes, Eugie Foster, Samantha Henderson, N.K. Jemisin, Michael Payne, William Sanders, and Ian Watson & Roberto Quaglia. Not to mention poetry and features.

Check it out! Send us money!*


* All money after expenses is divided evenly among the staff members and the authors of our seven stories. We have no income except reader donations.

A minor correction regarding Helix

Back in June, in a comment on the old Blogger version of The Mind Control Lasers Lied to Me, I said something about Helix having a maximum word-count.

This is not true. I don’t know why I said that; my best guess is that we’d been talking about how it gets tiring reading anything really long on a computer screen, but no, there’s no maximum.