My novelette "At Palomar" is in the July 2013 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine and they gave me a nice spot on the cover of the issue. I'll put a picture of the cover into this post. The story offers an alternate-history version of famous World War II baseball player and OSS spy Moe Berg as he takes on the Nazis and the Japanese in an Occupied California that is trying to hang onto its independence even as the Axis powers expand their control. The story features some real figures from history and some made-up ones as they await the completion of the Palomar Observatory in wartime California.
The story is centered around my alternate-reality version of Berg, who was the subject of the excellent biography, "The Catcher Was a Spy," by Nicholas Dawidoff (Vintage, 1995), and also makes an important appearance in another biography, "Heisenberg's War," by Thomas Powers (Knopf, 1993), which talks about German physicist Werner Heisenberg and the German A-bomb program during World War II. I relied heavily on both these excellent books to build my fictional version of Berg.
Some years ago my friend (and terrific author) Ben Bova and I chatted about collaborating on a novel about Moe and his activities as a spy and a ballplayer, and the project eventually became a screen treatment that generated, for a brief time, some interest in Hollywood. Alas, as happens with the great majority of those great ideas that Hollywood shows interest in, nothing came of the project and we set it aside.
Then, a few years ago, I came back to the idea of a fictional Moe Berg, and with Ben's permission turned it into a solo project, mapping out a series of interconnected novelettes that would feature Moe in a number of alternate-universe situations where a mysterious woman would recruit him to take action to win World War II for the good guys.
The first of these stories was "Something Real," which appeared in the April/May 2012 issue of Asimov's. "At Palomar" is the second in the series of stories, and several more are planned for the next year or two, by which point the ultimate purpose of the mystery woman's shadowy group will be revealed (maybe <g>), and we'll all know what Moe has -really- been doing as he fights against the Axis powers to save a number of various worlds as he knows them.
These stories are great fun to write. Moe's baseball background and his love for the game is something I share with him. My father was a journeyman ballplayer for the Red Sox, Phillies and Cardinals back in the 1940s and early 1950s, and later was a successful minor-league manager in the Pacific Coast League and elsewhere. So I grew up in the game and played it pretty well, myself, in my youth.
And, of course, I've been a science-fiction writer for more than thirty years now, with a long list of short stories (many of them featuring baseball in one way or another), a couple of novels, and even a few poems here and there.
Also, my father and my father-in-law were both in the military during World War II, and so I have a deep interest in that era and I read fiction and non-fiction about the war often, including the wonderful noir spy novels of Alan Furst that are set in that era.
So blending Moe Berg, baseball, a spy/noir version World War II, and some real and imagined history all came very naturally to me and no doubt that's one reason I'm having so much fun with these alternate-reality versions of the very interesting character, Moe Berg.