November Short Fiction

Nov 9, 22:31 by IROSF
Thread for the discussion of recent short fiction... or other gift ideas.

The article is here.
Nov 10, 07:59 by Carl Frederick
It is good of you, Bluejack, to elucidate your reading biases--and to state that you generally don't care for 'Analog' stories.

I've long noticed a C.P. Snow like, 'two cultures' phenomenon in speculative fiction: a clash of tastes between the 'scientists' and 'non-scientists'.

Many of us Analog readers (and writers) are scientists and engineers (geeks, perhaps). I think we, as a whole, have rather different tastes in science-fiction than have the 'civilians' (as the physicist I.I. Rabi called non-scientists). The stories we like, I suggest, are neither better nor worse than those preferred by the 'civilians'--just different.

You aver (in a deprecatory tone, if I may say) that Analog seems aimed toward fifteen-year-old boys. I'd rather describe the aim as toward those who have not lost the 'sense of wonder' about science, to those who perhaps prefer idea over style, to those who are at home with science and technology--and who are not afraid of it.

That there are magazines that appeal to each of these 'two cultures' is, I feel, to the good. I only wish that there were reviewers similarly attuned. It appears to me that those who are inclined to write fiction reviews are drawn almost exclusively from the 'civilian' population. Too bad. I'd like to see Analog (the SF magazine with the largest circulation) reviewed by those sympathetic to Analog's particular sub-genre. But then again, SF has traditionally been a subversive literature--a literature for 'outsiders' (including fifteen-year-olds). Perhaps then, it would be better if those reviewers not sympathetic to the ideals of Analog would just not review the magazine. There's something to be said for being an outsider.

-Carl Frederick

Nov 10, 10:33 by Bluejack
Hi Carl,

One interesting data point is that I *am* pretty geeky, although many scientists consider "software engineer" to be a contradiction in terms. One of my ongoing beefs with Analog is that I don't find the *science* part of the science fiction nearly as insightful as I wish for, most of the time. When the people *I* consider civilians discuss Analog and "Hard SciFi" I have to kind of snort: just because stories have aliens in them, or space ships, or scientists, isn't sufficient to qualify a story as classic hard sci-fi in my book. I want some intriguing scientific speculation, served intelligently. It happens, just not that often.

The deprecatory tone was not meant to be applied to the "fifteen-year-old boys" part of the sentence: I wish there were more science fiction being written for young adult audiences. The tone was mean to be applied to the "from the fifties" part of the sentence. Kids these days are dealing with different problems than they used to, and the ones reading science fiction are likely to be a bit more sophisticated.

All that said, if I didn't think Analog was worth reading, and I didn't find material worth discussing, I wouldn't review it. But, my point remains: for me it is the exceptions that make Analog worth subscribing to, Analog generally publishes five or six stories per year that are in my very top tier of important fiction. That's as good a ratio as almost any other venue in my reading list. I don't think I unfairly slam or denigrate material that is not in my area of interest.

But if you know any reviewers who are better tuned in to the Analog frequency (there's a sciency joke in there, if I had time to tease it out), send 'em our way. I don't need to be the only person reviewing short fiction here.
Nov 12, 10:30 by Sherry Decker
Hey Bluejack,

I have a recently published short fiction story (major magazine) that I'd like you to review. Any chance of that? I live near Seattle.

Nov 13, 10:48 by Bluejack
Well, if it's in a major magazine that I regularly review, then there's certainly a chance. For a variety of reasons I don't really take "requests" -- the most important reason being that I simply don't find something interesting to say about every story I read. And that's not about stories being good or bad, that's just about my own limitations as a reviewer.
Nov 13, 13:32 by Bluejack
UPDATE: Very sad news for short fiction fans:

... is shutting down SciFiction.

First FarScape and now this. My affection (lukewarm at best anyway) for the SciFi channel is fading fast.
Nov 13, 19:22 by Sherry Decker
Do you ever read Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine?
The story isn't a 'mystery.' It's dark (admittedly weird) and more of a suspense tale. If you need a review copy sent, just let me know. The reason I asked is that I don't want to waste your time and my postage if you're not interested.
Nov 14, 09:10 by Pat Lundrigan
is that your home address on the mailing lable in the scan of Asimov's?
Nov 14, 10:47 by Bluejack
Nope! You think I'd give my home address out to you crazy stalkers???

Ah, Hitchcock's... no I don't read that one.
Nov 15, 05:23 by Sherry Ramsey
UPDATE: Very sad news for short fiction fans:

... is shutting down SciFiction.

First FarScape and now this. My affection (lukewarm at best anyway) for the SciFi channel is fading fast.

What I really dislike is the notion that "exciting new ventures utilizing the newest technology" mean there's no room anymore for great fiction. I detect a discouraging choice being made here.

Nov 15, 09:00 by Bluejack
UNLESS... the exciting new ventures utilizing the newest technology mean they're going into producing fiction for digital ink devices or something. However, you wouldn't think they would need to shut SciFiction down to do that... you would expect it to be a transition.
Nov 18, 07:10 by Daryl Gregory
... is shutting down SciFiction.

Well, this is depressing news. I guess a dozen awards don't matter.

I'd always hoped that sci-fiction was such a small part of's budget that it would be allowed to persist through benign negligence, with Ellen Datlow cultivating her own private garden. But it sounds like the corporation needs that money to run Tremors 3 again next week.

But that's the risk when you're part of a corporation. Thank God at least Gordon van Gelder owns his own magazine.

Nov 18, 11:34 by Bluejack
"benign negligence" great turn of phrase.

I think the SciFi channel is on a lease-to-own plan w/ regard to the Tremors franchise, it's ridiculous how often they show that stuff.
Nov 19, 20:07 by Sherry Decker
In business the only thing that matters, ultimately, is the bottom line. Awards mean nothing, sadly.
Nov 24, 07:45 by Tony Pi
Hi Bluejack,

Do you include e-zines in your list of small presses? On that matter, do you have a top-tier of e-zines?
Nov 24, 13:20 by Bluejack
I do, but it's not nearly as well defined as the printed pros. The problem is there's simply too much out there for me to keep tabs on. I regularly cover Strange Horizons (fairly regularly) and Aeon, and I also try to check in on Abyss and Apex. I want to, but have generally not been able to, read Full Unit Hookup, and ChiZine. I have a soft spot in my heart for Quantum Muse -- they really can't be called top-tier, but they have a delightful sense of humor, and there are some occasional gems there. I am probably forgetting half a dozen off the top of my head, so if anyone else wants to help compile a best-of-ezine list, post your favorites!
Dec 3, 07:52 by Tony Pi
The top free e-zines that I read are Strange Horizons, Abyss and Apex, Ideomancer, Lone Star Stories, and Flashing Swords. I don't read horror (much) so I can't say what they're like, and I haven't ventured into the paid e-zine territory yet. Strange Horizons and Lenox Avenue used to be on that list before they folded.
Dec 3, 11:35 by Bluejack
Great additions! Anyone else?
Dec 6, 13:14 by Dotar Sojat
Hey Bluejack, what's the story behind you and William Sanders? The human drama behind the written words, that's where the real story is.

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