Fiction writers are simply grownups with imaginary friends.

A good writer loves his little faux pals, be they saintly or evil,
work-a-day or fantastic, pragmatic or hopeless dreamers. Loving them,
however, seldom means that the writer treats them well.  On the contrary:
more often than not, he puts them through hell—to test their mettle, to see
what crazy thing they’ll do, or simply (and perhaps sadistically) to
entertain himself and you, his reader.

The edition of VR that you now hold in your virtual hands—our fourth—teems
with imaginary friends dreamed up and tortured by some really terrific

Our guest author, the brilliant Si-Fi pro Mike Resnick, collaborates with
Barb Galler-Smith to bring a family to ruin, then conspires with Robyn
Herrington to destroy a guy’s buddy. Joe Murphy plops his imaginary friends
into a Night of the Living Dead, while Steve Broe gnaws at the limbs of his
with a deliciously malevolent computer virus. For Jason Gurley’s pal, porno
becomes a deadly sin. Kiersten Marek torments her friend with ennui. And Terry
DeHart—well, you figure it out: has he granted his creation a respite, or plunged
him into tragedy?

Practically the only author here this time around who hasn’t run his imaginary
friends through a minefield, physical or psychological, is Kevin Hayes. But
I’d suggest you keep your back to the wall in his station; you never just never know…

Copyright © 2000  Sue O'Neill

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