And How You Can Help Take it to New Heights
On the cover of this year’s Rhysling Anthology, a desert-like alien landscape awaits. To your right, a ship launches into foreign heavens. Left of center, a gleaming Outpost rises out of the hard red earth. It defies gravity (if there is such gravity in that landscape). Looking at the Outpost, a sense of establishment contrasts an inherent vulnerability. It is a vulnerability that accompanies any venture pointing itself to the frontier. The painting is a fitting parallel for the present and future of the SFPA and the Rhysling Awards.
We have now passed the 40-year mark and are in new horizons. The presence of this painting could not be more grounded in our heritage and history. Painted by SFPA Grandmaster and Impressionist, Robert Frazier, it presents a new frontier. It is available for the first ever auction in Rhysling history.
But first, let’s take a look back at the beginnings of the Rhysling Award. Established in 1978 by our founder, Suzette Haden Elgin, the Rhysling Award has existed from SFPA’s start. Then as now, the Rhysling Award is a reflection of the collective efforts of SFPA members.
We asked Robert Frazier for his thoughts on the Rhysling. “The Rhysling Award process has come so far it amazes me. As an SFPA member from the beginning, I’ve seen the micro-thin issues of Star*Line that first acted as anthologies of nominees evolve into full-blown books that we can truly say cover the field. And I’m proud to have helped in that process by editing (and contributing illustrations to) early volumes. Two things contribute to my amazement: the scope and quality of speculative poetry today, and the level of dedication from all the volunteers who make the Rhysling process succeed each year.”
Robert Frazier isn’t the only SFPA Grandmaster to have a hand in this year’s Rhysling Anthology. Dreams & Nightmares editor, David Kopaska-Merkel, has taken up the work of chairing this year’s award. It’s a role that demands a considerable amount of time and dedication. Anyone who takes on this Herculean task has a sense of the Rhysling’s significance for our time and the time to come.
Just why is the Rhysling Anthology so important? David Kopaska-Merkel gives us insight: “I have been so impressed with the Rhysling anthology in recent years. Since its inception almost 40 years ago, it has been a device for one of the most egalitarian and inclusive award-voting systems around. Not only that, but as a speculative-poetry “best of” annual it has allowed the SFPA to share with the world so much great poetry! In recent years it’s been more attractive and more inclusive than ever, and the 2019 volume is no exception.”
What should we expect of the 2019 Rhysling Anthology? David Kopaska-Merkel says, “I can hardly wait for you all to read what’s inside.”
The anthology is unique in other ways. Unlike our other publications, it’s made possible through the Rhysling Endowment Fund. Each year, SFPA members help make possible the anthology printing and distribution through one-time contributions. With the addition of the auction of “Outpost,” generously donated by Robert Frazier, members can help provide the much-needed funds that keep the SFPA pointed to the future.
But the time is limited, final bidding for “Outpost” closes at midnight PST, March 1, 2019. There is still time for you to make a difference and get a piece of valuable SFPA history by placing your bid today.
As we await the results of our first ever auction, we leave you with closing words from Robert Frazier: “I guess what I’m trying to say is…look how far the association has come since Suzette founded it 40 years ago. Light years.”
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