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Confucius said “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.”

A wise man giving us a perspective on the effective use of time and effort, well, I like that . . . but what does it have to do with speculative fiction?

Scribblers of the science fiction and fantasy varieties are often looking up and down the timeline (or across/around/through the multiverse) for something interesting to see or say. Sometimes that’s a “one-year story” — a fresh glimpse at things with a clever narrative. Don’t dismiss these, of course. They are a job well done. On the other hand, sometimes you read a “ten year” piece. Something bold and daring. A “what if?” that makes the reader think “wait . . . what?” If we are good readers, we pass these to our friends — those we respect — to share. We share because we are greedy. We want someone to talk with, and something to talk about. Rare as precious metal or gems these (stories and friends!) are.

And then there is the revelation piece. The once in a generation moment. Beyond “bold and daring” to “shocking and shattering.” Works that change the way we look at things. We already know which ones of which I speak.

Or do we?

Something new is always coming. Something amazing. Maybe it’s just around the corner. Maybe it’s in the bookstore, first printing in paperback to save costs. Maybe it’s self-published, because, well, just because. Just a ripple on the water, so far.

Better keep reading.