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Final Staff

Stacey Janssen

Managing Editor:
Dave Noonan


  • Mishell Baker
  • Bluejack
  • Amy Goldschlager
  • Emily Lupton
  • R. K. MacPherson
  • Scott James Magner
  • Robin Shantz

Copy Editors

  • Sarah L. Edwards
  • Yoon Ha Lee
  • Sherry D. Ramsey
  • Rena Saimoto
  • Paula Stiles


  • Marti McKenna
  • Bridget McKenna


  • Geb Brown

Publisher: Bluejack

September, 2005 : Editorial:

History and Grace

and preparing for disaster

I have been wrestling with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

I am lucky, as it is mostly an intellectual exercise, though still fueled by emotional fury. My friends and family all happened to be in other parts of the country, and thankfully safe, by luck or grace.

All I can do to pull something from the horror is remind myself and others that we have to take care of ourselves. We have to be ready to survive when no-one comes to the rescue, whether by accident or design. To steal a slogan: be prepared.

To put it a bit oddly, I’m also lucky that my family’s history includes having had occasion to be required to pick up and leave home, permanently, on extremely short notice. Thus instilling a somewhat religious need to be prepared for the event of some amorphous and unpredictable disaster. So I have it a little easier than some, having been raised in a sub-culture with decidedly survivalist tendencies. I didn't realize until adulthood that not everyone absorbed basic first aid training and the 13 (or 15, or 27) Essentials as part of the usual growing-up experience, along with learning to brush your teeth, or to close the front door after you come in, you don’t need to heat the whole neighborhood.

I don’t bring this up to gloat, but to plead: make an emergency plan. Know where your identity documents are. Make a first aid kit. Put some extra blankets and a change of clothes in the trunk of the car. Talk to your friends and family – get contact numbers, email addresses, ways to get in touch. Figure out where to go to meet if you get separated. Set up an out-of-area contact you and your people can call to check in with, if you can. Figure out who can drive and who can’t – talk about mobility issues, allergies, medications, impairments, phobias, special needs, pets. Any preparation is better than none, even just trying to think ahead, imagining what you would do, what you would need.

Talk about a plan, or plans, with the people you care about. Then when something happens – rocks fall, aliens invade, floods rise, meteors strike – if history repeats itself in cruel or criminal ways you’ll have a measure of control over your part in it.

If by grace, somehow, history leaves its rut - well, you've just set down the outline for your best-selling post-apocalyptic science fiction opus.

Copyright © 2005, Joy Ralph. All Rights Reserved.

About Joy Ralph

"Science Fiction fan" was the first group label I ever consciously associated with myself growing up, probably because I've always been drawn to the potential in things. Other hats I wear include anthropologist, computer geek, ailurophile, coffee fiend, and walking dictionary.


Sep 5, 20:34 by IROSF
As always, let us know how we're doing, or what we should be doing better.
Sep 5, 22:55 by Bluejack
Not my day. Not my day at all...

For those of you who want the full story, here it is.

First, my own gaffe. I kicked off the email delivery mechanism *before* publishing the new issue. This means that emails will be going out, telling you of the new issue, but they will be picking up August's table of contents, not the newly published September.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't do it that way; but ordinarily it wouldn't be a problem either, as the first hundred names on the list are test accounts, and the emails are sent in staggered batches, so I can see the email in all its glory with time to react if there is a stupid typo or something.

However, at just this moment, in an act of dexterity never before seen or attempted, my cat leapt from desk down to computer, and thence to the floor, managing to snick off the power with his paw en route.

By the time I got my (slow, creaky windows machine rebooted), many emails had gone out, and I spent so much time trying to figure out the status of the mailing, I didn't realize they had the wrong table of contents. Disaster!

So, bleh. I entered my own apologies, complete with typo, and bleh. Thank goodness it's such a strong issue. It might make up a little for my incompetance.
Sep 7, 08:08 by Walt Gottesman
Joy & Bluejack,

Each of your messages is infused with concern for your readers. With them you extend yourself beyond the fictive into our lives (which is what good fiction should do anyway, right?). You're good people. Thanks for your wise words and for this and all previous issues of IROSF!

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