Recursive Science Fiction

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Eddy, Clifford Martin, Jr., "Black Noon"

"Biff" Briggs reads genre fiction. He buys the first issue of Uncanny Stories (September 1927) and finds that most of the stories are pedestrian and dreadful with the exception of "Exit" by Robert Otis Mather. He writes a letter about this to the editor with results in an invitation to visit Mather who lives nearby. They become friendly and Mather tells him of a trilogy of novels he is writing. However, the manuscript disappears from the magazine and Mather has made no carbon and without notes it cannot be recreated. Briggs speculates that Mather was taking dictation from beyond. It is just coincidence that Mather's cat vanished immediately after the trilogy was completed. This unfinished story was written in 1967. It is a fictionalization of Eddy's relationship with H. P. Lovecraft.

Exit Into Eternity: Tales of the Bizarre and Supernatural Oxford Press, 1973

Exit Into Eternity: Tales of the Bizarre and Supernatural Fenham Publishing 0-9701699-0-6, 2000 (reprint of the Oxford edition)

Acolytes of Cthulhu (edited by Robert M. Price), Fedogan & Bremer, 1-878252-47-X, June 2001 (pp.21-45)

Edghill, Rosemary see also Eluki bes Shahar

Edghill, Rosemary, The Cloak of Night and Daggers

Part of this story takes place at the HeliCon science fiction convention at Hotel Escher in Manningtree, New York. This is clearly a lightly disguised Lunacon, held at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye Town, New York. The hotel got its nickname as the Escher Hilton from the weird connections of its corridors and, being built on a hill, had such things as a second floor corridor leading to fifth floor rooms. The Escher is, of course, for the Dutch artist Maurits C. Escher. While attending the convention, Holly Amanda Kendal, EMT and SCA member, finds an apparent mental patient wandering the halls—a patient with pointed ears and slit eyes. Because the government is trying to recapture this elf, Holly must accompany him to his own world. This is Book Three of The Twelve Treasures series.

DAW 0-88677-724-0 (#1046), January 1997

Edghill, Rosemary, "The Intersection of Anastasia Yeoman and Light"

Aldith (nee Edith) Lector worked in an occult bookstore in Minneapolis in the 1970s; it was there that she learned to read the tarot cards. After selling a novel, she leaves the store and is on the SF convention circuit ("Elf Hill", as she calls it). It is at one of these conventions that she meets Anastasia Yeoman, academic and professional anthologist, and reads her tarot cards. Later when Anastasia dies, Aldith takes over her job; however, at a convention she meets another Aldith Lector who may be herself who made a different decision at a branch point.

Tarot Fantastic (edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Lawrence Schimel), DAW 0-88677-729-1 (#1050), February 1997 (pp135-149)

Edghill, Rosemary, The Warslayer

Gloria "Glory" McArdle plays Vixen the Slayer in a straight-to-syndication TV show where even the fans say the villain is the better actress. The wizards of Erchanen have been searching all the worlds to find a hero, and Vixen the Slayer is the last name on their list. The Warmother, imprisoned a thousand years before by Ginnas the Warkiller, has  broken free of her ancient chains. If a hero can't be found somewhere in all the universes to fight for them, the people of Erchanen are toast. But is it Glory they're looking for... or Vixen? It all seemed to be a perfectly straightforward misunderstanding when Belegir was explaining it in Glory's dressing room. The reality—if you could call it that—isn't just fighting for her life. Faced with a challenge like that, what can a girl do but pick up her magic sword and her stuffed elephant and give her trademark battle cry. Lots of wonderful references to Xena, Buffy, and even Galaxy Quest, as an initially bemused and unprepared Glory finds it in herself to help a beleaguered people. The humor of Glory's situation (including various descriptions of unsuitable armor) is set against the bleak plight of the Belegirans, and the very real possibility that Glory will fail them. All topped and tailed with a fannish summary of the TV series, and an hilarious "episode guide". (Summary by John Boston.)

Baen 0-7434-3536-2, May 2002

Effinger, George Alec joint author with Mike Resnick, et al.

Effinger, George Alec, "CHESS.BAT: A New Wave Story"

This story is ostensibly written by a computer program while you are reading it. The main characters are Sandor Courane, here fiction editor of Awesome Stories, and his secretary Eileen Brent. Most of the story is Courane's discussion of how zodiacal signs influence the behaviour of chess players. Unlike many of these stories, Courane actually survives. This may (or may not) be a science fiction story.

That Old Funny Stuff: Author's Choice Monthly Issue 1, Pulphouse, October 1989 (pp. 71-94)

Effinger, George Alec, "Fatal Disk Error"

TECT is a giant computer that has been running the Earth and humanity for a long time. It arranges for its own destruction and, as it dies, it enters the mind of a human who turns out to be a literary construction; TECT finds this out by entering the mind of the author Seddanech. But Sedannech is a creation of the SF writer Sandor Courane. The entire story is rejected as evidenced by a letter sent to George Alec Effinger.

Amazing Stories 65:1 May 1990 (pp.120-132)

Effinger, George Alec, "In the Wings"

This deals with the lives of a troupe of stock SF characters who work "backstage" with Phretys, the Muse of Modern Science Fiction Novels and Short Stories. They are not happy in the roles assigned to them and are critical of the writers. Phretys longs for the days of Doc Smith and John W. Campbell since people today can (and do) write without any inspiration. The cast includes Sandor Courane, Eileen Brant, Steven Weinraub, Bo Staefler, Justin Benarcek, Dr. Bertram Waters, who normally appear in Effinger's stories.

Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine 6:4 April 1982 (pp.114-124)

Effinger, George Alec, "The Last Full Measure"

Corporal Bo Staefler is a science fiction reader who is killed on Utah Beach during the invasion of Normandy—killed three times. He is snatched out of time by an alien intent on invading Earth who wants details of humanity's weapons. Staefler gives him the most ultra-modern ones he can think of from the SF stories he has read. The alien decides to wait until we have wiped ourselves out. Before the landing Staefler had tried to calm himself by re-reading the first installment of Space Spy (by Sandor Courane, his favorite author) in Awesome Science Fiction Stories.

Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine 2:3 May/June 1978 (pp.18-27)

Effinger, George Alec, "Lights Out"

Sandor Courane is the author of two SF novels—She Laughed Her Heads Off and Space Spy.  He is working on a third—Time Spy.  He is driving from New York to his old home in Ohio when he stops in the village of Gremmage, Pennsylvania. There the line between reality and his created universe blurs. When he leaves, it is not Courane but Steve Wenrope, his novel's hero, who leaves. And he is not in Pennsylvania but on the asteroid of the novel in Space Spy.

Fantasy & Science Fiction 45:4 October 1973 (pp.127-160)

Mixed Feelings, Harper & Row 011146-1, 1974 (pp.165-208)

Effinger, George Alec, "The Pinch-Hitters"

Sandor Courane, SF writer, goes to sleep at a science fiction convention in Washington, D. C. [probably the 1974 World Science Fiction Convention]. He is awakened in 1954 in Boston in the body of a baseball player. It turns out that he and four other writers have been sent back in time by the older, more-established SF writers who feared their growing skill and popularity. They manage to return by meeting in Washington and talking of nothing but science fiction.

Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, 3:5 May 1979 (pp.133-143)

Laughing Space, (edited by Isaac Asimov & Janet O. Jeppson), Houghton Mifflin 30519-5, March 1982 (pp.341-349)

Idle Pleasures, Berkley 05744-5, January 1983

Inside the Funhouse, (edited by Mike Resnick), AvoNova 76643-4, August 1992 (pp.48-58))

Effinger, George Alec, "Posterity"

SF writer Sandor Courane is in a charity hospital having a tumor removed. He is visited by a literature student from the future doing her thesis on minor twentieth-century genre writers. She wants him to complete Time Spy, the sequel to Space Spy.  She tells him he will die soon from another tumor but she can hold off the pain while he is writing. To give him incentive, she neutralizes the pain-killing effects of his medicine. He finally agrees. "Your stories or your life."

Fantasy & Science Fiction 75:5 November 1988 (pp.100-122)

Effinger, George Alec, "The Thing from the Slush"

Sandor Courane is Associate Fiction Editor for Awesome Stories;  that means he reads the slush pile. One of the regulars is Edmund Schooner Threadwell who has never had a story accepted. However, Courane realizes that when Threadwell has a plot idea that this same plot turns up in a number of other stories whether it be haunted salt shakers, werewolves in the garden, or vampire pillows. Courane dutifully rejects them all. Finally, Threadwell sends him a story about a slushpile reader who rejects the story of an aspiring author and who comes to a bad end. Effinger's story ends as Courane decides to reject the story in the same circumstances that caused the death of the slushpile reader in Threadwell's story. A good example of second-order recursion here.

Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine 2:1 April 1982 (pp.55-62)

That Old Funny Stuff: Author's Choice Monthly Issue 1, Pulphouse, October 1989 (pp. 5-26)

Effinger, George Alec, "White Hats"

Arthur and Audrey Trent are mugged on their way home from a Chinese restaurant in New Orleans. They report it to the police but the police do not expect to find the culprits. The next morning many heroes of the old radio and film serials begin showing up to help solve the crime (Klaatu and Gort make a small cameo appearance). After a weekend with the Trent house crowded with supporters or law and order the crime is finally solved by Lamont Cranston. The Lone Ranger rides off on Silver leaving Arthur Trent with a silver bullet.

Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine 8:4 April 1984 (pp.26-44)

That Old Funny Stuff: Author's Choice Monthly Issue 1, Pulphouse, October 1989 (pp.27-48)

Effinger, George Alec, The Wolves of Memory

Sandor Courane is a failed basketball player, science fiction writer, and assembly-line worker. Given three failures, the world-spanning computer TECT mandates exile to a colony planet in thew Epsilon Eridani system. Once there, he becomes exposed to a disease that destroys the cellular structure and causes the gradual decay of memory.

Putnam 0-399-12652-X, October 1981

Efremov, Ivan Antonovich see Yefremov, Ivan Antonovich

Eggleston, Edward, "The Christmas Club, A Ghost Story"

On Christmas Eve the protagonist is led from place to place by a ghost. He compares his experiences to those of Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Scribner's Monthly 5:3 January 1873

Eklund, Gordon, "Sense of Wonder"

Science Fiction fan Charlton H. "Charlie" Frap goes back in time to kill Hugo Gernsback and take his place. This will make SF respectable. Therefor, no science fiction fandom ever develops.

Trap Door 22, (edited by Robert Lichtman), May 2003 (pp.4-56)

Ellison, Harlan, "All the Lies That Are My Life"

This isn't a science fiction story but it ought to be included anyway. There are two writers who write SF among other things. They are both based upon Harlan Ellison with some Robert Silverberg put in. The characters are exaggerated; it is hard to believe that either real writer has the character flaws depicted herein. The narrator, Larry Bedloe tells the story of their correspondence as young fans, their meeting at the 1952 Worldcon at Chicago, and their subsequent relationships over the years until the death of Kercher Oliver James Crowstairs, the better and more successful writer. Both writers project the beliefs and opinions as Ellison has done for himself. However, neither character is merely a disguised Ellison or Silverberg.

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November 1980 (pp. 6-41,71). [Abridged version; the cover by Kent Bash shows Harlan Ellison]

Shatterday, Houghton Mifflin 28587-9, December 1980 (pp. 135-192)

Berkley 05370-9, October 1982

Underwood-Miller 096-7, November 1989 [trade]; 097-5, November 1989 [signed]

Ellison, Harlan, "The New York Review of Bird"

Cordwainer Bird, SF author, finds that Brentano's has put his latest novel in a moldy basement while the prized display positions go to meaningless non-books. He vows vengeance and forces the identity of his persecutors from the store's buyer—it is the New York Literary Establishment. He visits his senile uncle, who was once The Shadow, and finds out from him the secret hide out of these fiends. He then kills many critics, editors, and reviewers. This is a delightful wish-fulfillment story. Cordwainer Bird is a pseudonym of Harlan Ellison's, used to label scripts that have been tormented by non-creative people.

Weird Heroes, Volume Two, (edited by Byron Preiss), Pyramid A4044, 1975 [This version has significant deletions, alterations]

Strange Wine, Harper & Row 011113-5, 1978 (pp.172-200)

Esaias, Timons, "The Mars Convention"

Humanity has wiped itself out; nothing remains except a melted Earth and a large number of science fiction books and magazines. Nine sentient races are trying to make sense of these writings. A large convention is being held on Mars to discuss this (and to get continued funding). Although this is supposed to be a scholarly meeting, it has the appearance of a human SF convention. Gesta, the Miseran "auditor" for the Imperium originally plans to recommend funding cutoff, but is convinced by the real message of science fiction.

Interzone 135 September 1998 (pp.15-20)

Estleman, Loren D., "The Hack"

Abner Flitcraft is a successful, but derivative writer. More than anything, he wants to have an original idea and write an original story. He sells his soul to the devil for this and succeeds. But—what happens to a truly original story in today's publishing world?

Deals With the Devil (edited by Mike Resnick, Martin H. Greenberg & Loren D. Estleman), DAW Books 0-88677-623-7 (#965), October 1994 (pp.348-355)

Evans, E. Everett, "Blurb"

Carleton Bafer grew up in the early part of the 20th century reading off-trail material. When scientifiction burst upon the scene, he not only devoured it but became an author. Now, Winston Carstairs, one of his characters, has come to life and has the power to control Bafer. This is rapidly bankrupting. While under the influence, he writes the now-classic "Googoos of Goran." Bafer finally finds a way to write him out of existence and life returns to its dull status quo ante.

Fantasy Book 1:3 1948 (pp.27-36)

Everett, Eldon K., "The Lotus Eaters"

This takes place in a future (when written) America that is recovering from a major war. There are many shortages and restrictions—including travel and publishing. Still, SF fandom manages to survive. Tom Spencer is a fan in Cincinnati, a member of the Midwestern Science-Fiction Society. Many of these fans finally manage to get permission to move to southern California where they will join LASFS. Perhaps, thinks Spencer, fandom can help preserve and nourish freedom and growth once again.

Fantastic Universe Science Fiction 10:5 November 1958 (pp.100-105)

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