The truth is: It feels good to help people. Even today, much of my motivation in editing and translating stories from China is still tied up with this satisfaction of helping writers reach readers. Surely I would have written more original works and made more money without these translations — but I think I wouldn’t have been as happy.
And we don’t acknowledge and celebrate the joy of helping enough.
It’s also important to acknowledge that we like to be helped. I have been helped countless times in my career by friends, editors, readers, fellow authors—even Invisible Planets wouldn’t have been possible without the help of all the authors and many others along the way. All of us have probably had experiences where a friend’s insightful comments improved our stories… or we got onto a panel because someone more famous and accomplished thought it helpful to boost our voices. The sun feels brighter on those days, and even the writing seems to come out of the word-mines more easily.
It’s nice to be able to make someone feel that, isn’t it?
As freelancers in the uncertain publishing industry, writers are bombarded with advice on how to develop our careers and to think strategically. Sometimes it almost seems as if we’re supposed to feel foolish if our motivation for doing something is simply to help someone with no expectation of any advantage whatsoever. And if we do receive help, we are conditioned to think of it as part of some implied exchange, a favor owed that might be called in someday. Neither reaction, I submit, is necessary. Helping someone truly is its own reward.
Preach, brother Liu! It’s there’s one thing I’ve learned in 17 years publishing Black Gate, it’s that the biggest rewards always come from promoting others. Read Ken’s complete piece here.
The December Clarkesworld, issue #123, is packed with new fiction by Maggie Clark, Wang Yuan, Eleanor Arnason, Yukimi Ogawa, and Yosef Lindell, and reprints by David Moles and Nancy Kress.
The cover, “Cosmonaut,” is by Maciej Rebisz.
Here’s the complete Table of Contents.
“A Tower for the Coming World” by Maggie Clark
“Painter of Stars” by Wang Yuan, translated by Andy Dudak
“Checkerboard Planet” by Eleanor Arnason
“Blue Grey Blue” by Yukimi Ogawa
“A Future Far Too Bright” by Yosef Lindell
“A Soldier of the City” by David Moles (from Engineering Infinity, 2010)
“The Most Famous Little Girl in the World” by Nancy Kress (from Sci Fiction, May 8, 2002.)
The non-fiction is:
Bugs from Outer Space & Invasive Earth: Planetary Protection by Julie Novakova
Magician Spies and Wacky Rubbish: A Conversation with Bruce Sterling by Chris Urie
Another Word: The Joy of Helping by Ken Liu
Editor’s Desk: Happy Holidays by Neil Clarke
There are four podcasts (so far), but check back before the end of the month, as more may be posted.
A Tower for the Coming World by Maggie Clark, read by Kate Baker
Painter of Stars by Wang Yuan, read by Kate Baker
Checkerboard Planet by Eleanor Arnason, read by Kate Baker
Blue Grey Blue by Yukimi Ogawa, read by Kate Baker
See the complete issue here.
Clarkesworld is edited by Neil Clarke and Sean Wallace, and published by Wyrm Publishing. The contents are available for free online; individual issues can be purchased for $3.99, and monthly subscriptions are $2.99/month. A 6-month sub is $17.94, and the annual price is $35.88. Learn more and order individual issues at the magazine’s website.
We last covered Clarkesworld with Issue 122.