Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Ebook Tango with Judith Moffett - Denouement

Tiny TangoFinally, Tiny Tango by Judith Moffett was published as a Kindle ebook on Amazon. I had the idea for an ebook (Step 1), we obtained a cover design based on an original Janet Aulisio black and white illustration (Step 2), and after much cursing at the Machine (Step 3) we had a published ebook.

So why "Tiny Tango"?

"Tiny Tango" the novella was a finalist for both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award; and as I mentioned in the first part of this series, had the James Tiptree Jr. Award been presented in 1990 (the first award was presented in 1991 so "TT" missed it by one year) I am certain that "Tiny Tango" would have made the short list, and quite possibly won the award for that year.

I first read "TT" in the February 1989 issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. It was one of those stories that, when you came upon a certain scene, you could be heard saying out loud -- to yourself, to no one in particular -- "You gotta be kidding me!" I don't mean that in the sarcastic sense, or the "ha ha" sense, I mean it in the sense of scratching your head, realizing no one had written of this, and in this way, before. As I also previously mentioned, Matthew Cheney, in a Mumpsimus blog post in 2009, included "Tiny Tango" in his list of twenty-one "Mindblowing!" stories; Matthew went on to say:
"Tiny Tango" is a story I read when it first appeared in Asimov's, and it completely blew me away and broke my heart. I was young and just learning what science fiction could do, and it was one of the key stories in showing me the breadth of emotional and conceptual possibilities.
And here's what Judy wrote about the story, which appears on the next to the last page in the published ebook:
"Tiny Tango" forms Chapter 3 of The Ragged World, the first volume in Judith Moffett's Holy Ground Trilogy; the other two volumes are Time, Like an Ever-Rolling Stream, and The Bird Shaman. The trilogy deals with the arrival on earth of two symbiotic alien races, the Hefn and the Gafr, whose technology enables them to take control of the planet in an effort to save it from environmental disaster. The alien takeover is important at this story's end, but the tale of Nancy Sandford and her struggle to survive HIV stands by itself, enriched but not enabled by the larger context formed by the trilogy. Writing in 1987, Moffett's educated guesses about the course of the AIDS epidemic, its treatments and social consequences, fall wide of the mark. But it hardly matters. What we have here is not a predictive study of medical and technical know-how, but the timeless tale of a particular individual's refusal to accept defeat, the means she finds and invents to cope with a desperate plight. "Tiny Tango" was a finalist in the novella category for the Nebula Award in 1989, and for the Hugo Award in 1990. Volumes I and II of the Holy Ground Trilogy were named New York Times Notable Books for 1991 and 1992, respectively. "Tiny Tango" is also included in Ian Sales's list: "100 Great Science Fiction Stories by Women."

How can you not want to read this story?

Note to book reviewers: If you have a book review blog and/or you review regularly on Goodreads and/or you review for the Kindle community, and you would like to review Tiny Tango, please send an email to:

Include in the email a link to your book review blog, community, and/or your Goodreads book review page, and I'll be in touch. Keep in mind that you will be reviewing a Kindle mobi ebook.

Note to potential readers of The Holy Ground Trilogy: For those who may consider purchasing this trilogy, please be aware that signed (and inscribed, if you wish) copies of The Bird Shaman may be purchased directly from author Judith Moffett. Here's the link: you'll find the order form in the right frame of the web page.


  1. Here's what Marty doesn't tell you:

    He and I met in 2008 at Readercon. I was sitting at a table signing copies of my freshly self-published novel The Bird Shaman; he was waiting in line with a copy for me to sign. We talked a bit, and after the con he initiated an email exchange. I had no earthly idea how to publicize a self-published book, and Marty was a perfect fountain of suggestions, which he sent me as fast as they occurred to him, and which I gratefully took. I won't list all the occasions after than when he gave me technical help, I don't think I even could; suffice it to say that he has been generosity itself with his time and expertise.

    This experience with "Tiny Tango," however, takes the cake. To turn that novella into an ebook was his brainstorm entirely, and all the work he did to make it happen--and if you've read the first three steps of the blog you have some idea of how many hours it took him--was provided to me absolutely free. ALL his help for six years has been free. I continue to find it astonishing that a person with Marty's technical and copyediting skills should have impulsively decided to help a technodork of my abysmal helplessness deal with the modern world of publishing, and not make it a business proposition.

    Marty copyedited the Fantastic Books edition of my novel Pennterra, for no compensation beyond a (groundless) hope of royalties on the published book. I had never up to that point worked with such a meticulous copyeditor on any of my novels. Obviously, just because he was essentially working for nothing was no reason to do anything but his best.

    Without Marty's help I would have gotten nowhere in a world where writers spend so much less time writing than they used to, and so much more time flogging their own work online, and are required to understand how to go about doing the flogging. This is my chance to thank him publicly for all of the above.

  2. Thanks for the very kind words, Judy. But the full story of our first, and only, meeting was explained in my blog post on February 16, 2010: since I wasn't able to acquire Judy's book(s) for Golden Gryphon Press, I felt a personal responsibility to assist her in getting the word out on The Bird Shaman. Since then, of course, we've gotten to know one another and have become friends -- and that's what friends do: They support one another, they help one another.