Late in April an email with the above in the subject line popped up in my inbox. Centre College is one of Kentucky's two small private liberal-arts colleges that are widely viewed as good schools (the other is Transylvania, in Lexington). Centre is in Danville, 35 miles from my farm, and the email turned out to be from someone named Mykol Hamilton, who said that for for fifteen years she'd been assigning her students the task of reading my novella "Tiny Tango" and writing a final paper about it for her class in social psychology.
In what?? Apparently so; she attached a term paper from last year, so I could see the various ways in which the principles of social psychology could be applied to my story about a woman plant breeder living with HIV, who goes through a radical personal crisis at the time of a nuclear power plant meltdown. The story has a first-person narrator and the student kept referring to the POV character as Moffett (as in Moffett derives comfort from her support group, and Moffett contributes to society by working with AIDS patients), which was a little freaky, but all in all it was indeed obvious that the story lent itself to being used in that way.
Anyway, I was invited down to visit the current class on May 17, last Monday, the day they turned their papers in. Considering that it was the last class and most of them must have been dying to get out of there, they came up with some quite good questions and impressed me as being nice, smart kids. Dr. Hamilton had been xeroxing the story out of the Dozois Seventh Year's Best for all those many years, and before the appointed hour I inquired delicately into the question of whether she'd ever gotten permission to do that from Gardner or St. Martin's or Asimov's or ANYBODY, and you already know the answer, but she promised to start fresh beginning next spring.
Weird to think what else might be going on out there, you know?