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Theo A.N.
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 04:06 pm:   

Is there a fixed word count for short stories? If so how short can a short story be? The only short story that I wrote is 468 words. Is that too short? Truth is that I am not good with short stories but my Fiction writing teacher loved this one and asked me to read it for the class. Does it worth my time and an Editors time to submit this story?

Theo.
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Thomas R
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 04:50 pm:   

Check out Vestal Review, Ideomancer, and Antipodean. All webzines, but they all have a special place for stories under 500 words. FSF I believe has also published things that short.

The shortest story to become well known is Knock by Fredric Brown.

It goes something like

"The last man on Earth stood alone in an empty room when he heard the door knock"

I've heard of stories published where the title were the only words. Something like

"After the Bomb" and then no words. I'm not sure I consider that a story. However Forrest J Ackerman I believe had a one word story. Generally though one sentence stories are the shortest to be counted. In some cases that sentence can go on for a very long time.

(The longest I've heard of for a one sentence story is a million words, but it was a joke. The longest I've heard of for a professional one sentence story I think was around 800 words)
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Theo. A.N.
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 06:41 pm:   

Webzines would be my last choice if I ever sent a short story out there.
Thank you very much for your help thought Thomas. :-)

"The last man on Earth stood alone in an empty room when he heard the door knock"

"After the Bomb" and then no words.

I think this is funny. At least now I know I didn't write the shortest short story :-)
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Thomas R
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 07:45 pm:   

I understand, there is something special about print. However if you have no luck there, you might in least consider Vestal Review as it counts according to the SFWA and gets mostly professional writers. And no I have no connection with them. In fact I don't even care for their work that much.

(I was in Antipodean, but they're non-paying)
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Theo A.N.
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 08:27 pm:   

Yeah there is something special about print :-) but if all else fails I will try Vestal Review. Then in about 3-4 months I will try to catch the big fish (book).

Thanks again for your help!

Theo.
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Adam-Troy
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 08:38 pm:   

"Knock" by Fredric Brown is actually a short story of normal length. The (misquoted) sentence above appears in it, but is not the entirety.

My shortest published short story is 90 words or so, though I did a one-word short story once that failed to sell.
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Thomas R
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 09:08 pm:   

Huh, I'd never read it but always heard it was just that sentence. Learn something new all the time.

Asimov once did an anthology of SF short-shorts. I imagine in least some of them were very short. Always meant to read it, but never found it.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 12:27 am:   

Some publications consider anything below 1000 words to be a short-short. Mine is one of them.

Theo A.N.: Not to put too fine a point on it, but I find the sort of attitude that comes across in your posts quite annoying. "The only short story that [you] wrote (sic)" and you'll be willing to consider The Vestal Review "if all else fails"? How generous of you!

Thomas: I think I have that anthology, but if my memory serves me, there weren't any extremely short short-short stories (what a mouthful!) in it. All were at least a page.

Then again, I might be thinking of a different anthology. It's been a while.
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Thomas R
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 12:36 am:   

I understand in a way. In reality many webzines are as respectable as the big three, but if you want to impress your parents or grandparents it certainly doesn't work the same. Being able to show them your name in print is different than saying "type in webzine Alpha in your search engine." Especially if they're elderly or don't own computers.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 12:41 am:   

There are outlets for people who only want to see their name in print. They're called "vanity presses".
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Thomas R
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 01:25 am:   

I'm sorry if that came out wrong. I'm not meaning to judge e-zines. So far their my only acceptances, and are likely to remain so for the foreseeible future. Indeed that's what I suggested at first as I think it's the best market for short-shorts or flash fiction.

However I think the reasons some prefer print are valid. Maybe my reasons sounded like vanity, but that's not exactly what I meant. I just meant that a print zine can reach some people can't. No biggie.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 02:43 am:   

Wasn't talking about you.:-) Certainly, there are valid reasons for preferring print. What I found bothersome was the--well, the only word I can find is lordly--attitude exuded by Theo's posts.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 02:44 am:   

Clarification: Not that I wasn't talking about/to you. What I meant to say is that the reasons you gave were not what bothered me.
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 03:50 am:   

He's simply a new writer, Nicholas, or sounds like one. We all enter the game with unrealistic expectations. A couple of dozen rejections soon punctures our delusions. :-)
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Des
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 07:31 am:   

For stories of over 100 words (by-lined or non by-lined), Nemonymous is paying 45. (In fact in Nemo~2 there was a story of zero words ;-))
Yours, Des
Guidelines: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nemonymous/
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Theo. A.N.
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 09:17 am:   

Nicholas Liu: I did not mean to offend anyone by saying that webzines would be my last choice. I myself never read webzines so I know nothing about them. It was more ignorance than 'lordly' and that I wish to sent something back home if I ever make it to publish something.

Thanks for your help everyone else.
Have a lovely day.
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Judith Dubois
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 03:29 pm:   

in my teaching of English as a foreign language, I like to use short-shorts because the students enjoy reading a whole story rather than just passages. I've used two anthologies, Sudden Fiction and Sudden Fiction International, and have been struck by the fact that a lot of short shorts are some kind of speculative fiction. As if a straight, mainstream story is hard to fit into those limits.
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Gorden Russell
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 05:03 pm:   

One thing I've noticed. The shorter the story, the stronger the idea. A story that ends on the page facing the title is only printed because it was an idea piece that knocked the editor back with a mighty "Ah-ha!" Editors see a lot. An idea that can engage the sense of wonder for an editor will do that for the subscriber. The stronger the idea, the shorter the story can be.

As in the Frederic Brown story mentioned above, the killer idea knocks you back and leaves you momentarily short of breath. It's been a long time since I've read Brown's story, but I think the knock at the door was from the last woman on Earth. But there were also aliens involved, who weren't counted as men or women. Look for this story, or anything else by Brown. He was as crafty as Ulysses and more fun than a barrel of monkeys with typewriters.
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DaveB
Posted on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 06:30 am:   

I suppose most writers who've tried submitting their work eventually comes to the realization that there are literally millions of storytellers out there trying to get published. It was a surprise to me when I tried to get published in print right from the start. Since then, I've had over 100 stories/articles published in e-zines, and about fifteen in print, including one book. I've made a lot more money through e-zines than print.

As for bragging rights, print is obviously the better choice. As for acceptances and ease, ezines are by far the way to go. The paying zines are somewhat difficult to get into, but once you're there and receive the check, it is worth the effort. Ideomancer has been the most difficult market for me personally.

Theo, if you're looking for a pro rates paying e-zine, check out Would That It Were. (http://www.wouldthatitwere.com) Very, very difficult market, but well worth it. I've made more money from that one sale than all the print sales combined...
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Theo A.N.
Posted on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 01:51 pm:   

Thank you DaveB I will have a look at it.

Theo.
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Gorden Russell
Posted on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 03:03 pm:   

Just to see how effective the idea can be, look at First principles by Edd Vick in the current issue of Asimov's. It looks to have less than two full pages of print, so I would guess it's only a few paragraph's over 500 words.

This is a good example of an idea selling the story. It's more effective in 500 words than many other stories have been in 5000 or 50,000.
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Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 03:24 pm:   

That's so cool to here. I've actually had some very close calls with Would that it Were. I'm hopeful I'll crack it before the end of the year.

Dave if I show you the one that he wants a rewrite of, could you give me some advice? Or is that not kosher?
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Theo A.N.
Posted on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 03:43 pm:   

I did take a look at Would that it Were. It says (correct me if I'm wrong) they take only historical fiction? Is there a magazine that is more in to general fiction?

Thanks.
Theo.
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Gorden Russell
Posted on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 09:50 pm:   

Spent the entire night reading Would That It Were until The Spartans came on. The fiction was well written, but I don't see how they can pay anything. I didn't have to pay to read anything and I didn't see enough advertising to pay for printer ribbons, let alone paper.
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John Borneman
Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2003 - 11:17 am:   

For flash (or short shorts) try www.flashquake.com
They publish spec fic and lit fic and specialize in short fiction, short poetry.

Also NFG (www.nfg.ca -- a print mag <grin>) has a contest they call the "Great 69'er." Basically a 69 word short story. They will be publishing one of mine, and some of them are quite good.

I think that the shorter the short, the more the author has to rely on situations / scenes / worlds that every reader already knows about. That allows a single word to work much harder.

FREX. It is easier to write a 69 word story about Star Trek (yech, what an example) than about a completely new world and new situation. If I were to write a 69 word story using the Star Trek universe, I could say "Spock laughed" and it would say volumes more that many other sets of two words could do. WE all know who Spock is, what his history is, his function on the ship, and most importantly, that Spock almost never laughs. So these two words also act as a hook.

If I said "Sam laughed" it only tells us that Sam laughed.

Of course the big temptation with mini shorts is to make them "gag" or joke pieces. The really good short shorts still have a theme, a plot, and some type of change in the character.
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Tribeless
Posted on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 07:28 pm:   

Someone above referred to the 'big three' magazines for science fiction. What are the big three?
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Thomas R
Posted on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 07:36 pm:   

Analog, Asimov's and this one.

In some sense this is just based on historical tradition of there being three. For a few decades those three were Galaxy, Astounding and this one. Astounding is Analog BTW, they simply had a name change.

Sci-Fiction and maybe Interzone should by most senses be seen as roughly equal to the three.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 02:15 am:   

The times they are a-changin'. I don't think it's actually useful to speak in terms of "the big three" any more. In terms of pay, among sf/f mags, we really have a Big One right now: SCI FICTION. Or possibly a Big Two, but guess what? Number two is Argosy. In terms of reputation. . . well, that's always been hard to qualify, but particularly so now. It all depends on individual taste.
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Thomas R
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 02:55 am:   

Argosy, the original and I believe the current edition, isn'y really an SF zine. Even in the wider spec. fiction way, in least I don't think. The original was just home for any genre and I think the current one we'll be likewise.

Despite how I may sound at times, I'm rather pleased by that. Hopefully it'll introduce SFers to other genres and vice versa. Also I do in fact enjoy literary fiction. Granted I haven't read a short story of the last fifty years that pleased me much, but I'm still open to the possibility. (If it turns out all the SF is marginal or slipstreamish I maybe less thrilled)
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 03:56 am:   

See, this is exactly what I mean about the clout of a magazine being a matter of individual taste. If Argosy ends up mostly mainstream and/or slipstreamish, you'll likely be left cold and not think much of it, while I'll probably think it's the best thing since sliced wood. Right now, in fact, the one magazine whose quality (based only on reprints from it elsewhere, as I haven't actually ever read an issue) astounds me the most is Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet.

It's like that with any attempt at a tiered ranking system of top magazines. People still refer to Asimov's, F&SF and Analog as the Big Three, but I seriously doubt there are that many people who actually are impressed by all three.
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RobRoyH
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 08:24 am:   

Well I, for one, am impressed by all three. I subscribe to Analog & Asimov's and will probably soon subscribe to F&SF.

SCI FICTION is too closely associated with SciFi.com. The negative connotations of the term "SciFi" are hard for an old-timer such as myself to get beyond. I read the stories and in all respects the site reminds me too much of Omni. A mass market distortion of the genre. Too much political correctness... too much sensationalism. I'll grant that isolated stories have been OK.
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Ellen
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 10:10 am:   

Associated with SCIFI.COM? Well, it's part of the website but utterly independent of it. How was OMNI a distortion of the genre? Many of stories I published in OMNI are now classics and have been reprinted many many times (including most of William Gibson's short fiction). Sensational and pc in the same sentence? Oh really? Examples please.
Have you actually been reading what I publish?
Ellen Datlow

>>>SCI FICTION is too closely associated with SciFi.com. The negative connotations of the term "SciFi" are hard for an old-timer such as myself to get beyond. I read the stories and in all respects the site reminds me too much of Omni. A mass market distortion of the genre. Too much political correctness... too much sensationalism. I'll grant t
hat isolated stories have been OK.
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Ellen
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 10:13 am:   

Re: "SCIFI" as a term--as the editor I had to get beyond that too but the job has been way worth it.
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Matthew
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 10:20 am:   

Um, Rob are you insane? Aside from F&SF, Sci-Fiction is probably the best short fiction market out there. Politically correct and sensationalism are terms used with extraordinarily relativity. And why do you care about whether the genre is SF or sci-fi or spec-fit or what?
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 10:43 am:   

Rob, before you start tossing terms like "political correctness" at SciFiction, you should go there and actually read some of the fiction.

Read Ballingrud's "You Go Where It Takes You" and Shepherd's "A Walk in the Garden," two recent entries. Then see if "political correctness" isn't a term that sticks like a rusted spring in your throat.
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Ellen
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 10:57 am:   

Matthew and Neal,
Thanks for the defense ;-)
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RobRoyH
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 12:16 pm:   

Ellen, in fairness I haven't read everything out there.. (although I remember many of your classics from their original publication actually... Screwfly Solution from Analog for example).

I visit the site when I see an award nomination or a strong referral on another board. When I saw it mentioned in this thread I visited it again... I read, in it's entirety, Lucius Shepard's story and ALL the entries in Michael Swanwick's Periodic Table. I did this before I posted the above. This may have been my 10th visit.

I absolutely hated the Shepard and more or less liked the Swanwick... which conforms to what I'd expect given my opinions from other things I've read from both authors.

Looking back in your archives, I've read less than half of the original stories and considerably more than half of the classics though many so long ago I'd best not comment... and I see a few that I'm going to have to read because I almost always enjoy Wolfe, Longyear, Van Pelt for examples.

So no... I haven't done an exhaustive analysis of the quality of the fiction on your site. I would expect it to be high given a bit of reflection.

I think Spider Robinson explained why the quality of FICTION in Omni was very good in a review of one of their first Best of collections. Something to the effect of "throw enough money at something and it better be good".

I subscribed to Omni for the first two years... I had high hopes for anything Bova was associated with... I could forgive him abandoning my most loved magazine... he left it in good hands after all. Once disillusioned, I subsequently bought an occassional copy off the newstand. By and large it was impossible for me to appreciate any of the fiction for it was too small a thing sandwiched in a depiction of science which only Art Bell or Ray Palmer could appreciate... and I do feel there were too many anti-science stories which trickled into the fiction selections also. There is Science Reporting & popularization and then there is Science Vulgarization and Sensationalism. I'd point to Isaac Asimov and Willy Ley as examples of the former, and Omni magazine as an example of the later. It's hard to appreciate a gem when you have in buried in all that other stuff.. and it was impossible for me to take the fiction seriously.

I had to wait for the Best of collection in order to see quality.

SCI FICTION suffers from much the same problem. You can't get away from scifi.com... every screen is an advertisment for them. And I can definitely see some current event political corectness in the Lucius Shepard story... a problem I could forgive if I had liked it in any other way. (Is this writer making a career of current events... recall Only Partly Here in the March Asimov's.) I like her movie reviews far better. Glancing back through your archives I think I could make the case that she is not alone in terms of using the current event headlines to find a theme to resonate with as many people as possible.

Why is the association with scifi.com a problem for me? Because SciFi, (rhymes with HiFi), has always been the term used by authors and editors I admire for what Hollywood does to SF. It is a dismal record over all. Isaac Asimov used the term in a rare, perhaps unique review he did over Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

I know that SCI FICTION, and Ellen, have won Hugos. When I see one of those Hugo nominations for a story from one of the print magazines, usually it triggers a second of recollection and empathy... I'll have already read those stories. When I see the same about SCI FICTION, it's a case of remembering to go see what the story is like.... or of waiting for it to appear in a collection.

To an author... yes SCI FICTION is an important market... I hope they laugh all the way to the bank. But to this reader anyway, it's hard to take seriously.... in much the same way as was Omni. Omni was an attempt by a publisher from another genre, (LOL if I can call THAT a genre), to capitalize on what he viewed as a hot business opportunity in the post Star Wars environment. To grant Omni more significance than that in the history of the genre is offensive to me.

And I can't see me ever holding much of a different opinion for SCI FICTION so long as it's not a real magazine... call me a luddite.
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Thomas R
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 01:12 pm:   

You're a Luddite:-)

In fairness you did try to express your opinion in a reasonable way. Some of it seems irrelevant to the issue at hand. Your irritation with the science in OMNI is meaningless as this does not have that element. While other things seem ridiculous in their fannish snobbery. (People who go about "Sci-Fi" I think need to get out more, or go to cons less. The "it's not a real magazine" is so ten years ago.)

However some of your complaints I sort of understand. Well I don't know if the following are your complaints, but I think they relate. They're ones I've heard that I think have validity. That being most of the stories are near future, contemporary or set in the past. I've heard authors say "I have a story I would send her, but it's set in space centuries from now. I've noticed she doesn't like that." Granted several of the Periodic element stories are set centuries from now in space, but that's kind of different. Also, although I wouldn't call it PC, most of the stories I think do come from a basically Left Wing political orientation. I'd have to look through again, but I don't recall any author I'd considerate a known conservative or even moderate publishing there. Ellen herself signed recent anti-war pledges. Which, understand, I'm not criticizing her for that. I'm just saying the editor and most of the writers being that way could perhaps be offputting if you aren't.
(I'd say Infinite Matrix is far worse this way. I stopped reading them because the stories were too weird and the politics seemed way too overt/strident)

With that said I like it. In some respects I'd say it's about the best magazine out there at present.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 01:41 pm:   

Rob: "I think Spider Robinson explained why the quality of FICTION in Omni was very good in a review of one of their first Best of collections. Something to the effect of 'throw enough money at something and it better be good'."

I haven't read Spider's review, but I hope there was more to it than this. For instance, did Spider explain how wads of cash are capable of sorting great stories from good stories from mediocre stories from bad stories? Or was the comment more in the nature of a bitter reactionary kiss-off?

Rob: "Omni was an attempt by a publisher from another genre, (LOL if I can call THAT a genre), to capitalize on what he viewed as a hot business opportunity in the post Star Wars environment. To grant Omni more significance than that in the history of the genre is offensive to me."

I've heard this one floated before as an excuse to bash Omni, and to dismiss its fiction. This is horseshit. Yes, the mag was put out by a publisher of adult magazines. Yes, anyone who purchased it for its science reporting was a self-deluding nutter. But the fiction published in Omni was some of the best SF writing being published at the time, and to dismiss the works and authors which appeared in its pages based on self-righteous prudery is, I think, one of the most willfully ignorant things I've heard on this board.

Rob: "And I can't see me ever holding much of a different opinion for SCI FICTION so long as it's not a real magazine... call me a luddite."

May I instead call you a dinosaur, rapidly sinking into the tar of inconsequence beneath the heavy concrete of your own prejudice?
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RobRoyH
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 02:30 pm:   

Neal,

You're quite welcome to call me a dinosaur, and I am quite admittedly prejudiced in favor of a print magazine which comes to my mailbox every month... I've been conditioned to that prejudice by many years of readership.

Robinson heartily recommended the anthology and many of the stories there-in. I owned it myself at one time, but it has long since cycled off my shelf.

I am not, however, a prude and I did give the magazine a fair chance.... repeatedly. The fiction was never more than a small fraction of the content. To a reader/consumer the ROI was far too low... better to wait for the anthologies.

I also understand market forces. By and large, (i'm not speaking in absolute terms here), I beleive that the great stories from Omni would have been published elsewhere had the deep pockets of Bob Gucciwhatever not been around. The authors would have lost, not the readers.

And so far as to sinking into inconsequence.... we'd perhaps be wisest to await the judgement of history on that one. By my estimation of their other products, I do not beleive that the SciFi Channel people either understand or place great value on SCI FICTION... and I consider the possibility that they'll drop it as a bad "Return On Investment" as a far more likely extrapolation than, as an example, Lucius Shepard's take on our near term military.
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Ellen
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 05:03 pm:   

OMNI was started by Bob Guccione and Kathy Keeton because she thought science was a crucial part of life and she loved and was influenced by science fiction. They _started_ the bandwagon. There might not have been a "science" section of the NY Times without OMNI. Although I only worked on the fiction in the magazine I know how hard my co-editors worked in getting the best interviews with important scientists (the magazine did win awards in nf as well as for the fiction). The first ten years or so it was a serious popularizer of science and the future. That's to set that record straight.

Re: throwing money at anything and getting great fiction --that as I believe everyone who mentioned it--agreed that's just not true. Money does not mean you'll acquire great fiction.

I spent very little money for Event Horizon, my webzine in between OMNI and SCIFICTIOn and published excellent fiction. I also paid very little money for the first original anthologies I published and published very good fiction in them as well. Money can get people to submit. It can't get them to write _better_.

I think one of sf's most important uses is to acclimate the reader to what if--isn't that indeed one of the definitions of sf? Thus, some of the sf stories that deal with cutting edge science and ethical issues that are right around the corner (McHugh's "Frankenstein's Daughter", Shepard's --a male, by the way-- "A Walk in the Garden"). The best writers don't write stories in order to please the audience (although hopefully that's a side effect) they write them to consider the issues that they feel are important to themselves. Hopefully they do resonate with readers.

Rob, obviously, for whatever reasons, Lucius's story didn't work for you. But if you go into my topic and the subtopic SCIFICTION 2 you'll see that for a number of other readers it did completely.

Of course, it's possible (and in the long run probable) that USA Networks will drop the fiction eventually. So what? Every magazine hangs on by a thread and by the "generosity" of the owners (Gordon is a rare editor as he now owns his mag)--that doesn't mean readers can't enjoy the fiction in them while they exist.

And for those who ask, sure I'd publish far future sf. I never get any that's any good.
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Gorden Russell
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 07:02 pm:   

A Walk in the Garden kept me so engrossed...I kept telling myself, this is too long, finish in the morning, well...just a little more. Then a warning box flashed from MSN telling me that I had 17 seconds to click something or be cut off. I had been on the same page for 45 minutes. Well I clicked but service was interrupted anyway. But the story stayed on the screen and I kept on reading until I started falling face down into the keyboard. But I would just slap my face a few times and go back to reading. It was way past three or maybe closer to four in the morning when I got off. It was quite a ride. Actually afraid to start any more like that.

Just found a story at The New Yorker. Maybe I should read that. I could put that down anytime nature called.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 08:09 pm:   

Rob: "You're quite welcome to call me a dinosaur, and I am quite admittedly prejudiced in favor of a print magazine which comes to my mailbox every month... I've been conditioned to that prejudice by many years of readership."

As a longtime reader of SF and Fantasy, pardon me if I say that it is much easier to click onto the Internet (something you're obviously capable of doing, notwithstanding your coy claim to ludditism), than it is to walk down to the street and retrieve a hardcopy mag. Having said that, I will say that I prefer hardcopy. That's precisely why I own a fifty dollar printer and use it often. And by the way, if you tell me that everything you encounter in a hardcopy mag is worth paying for, I'll be forced to laugh at you over the Internet.

Rob: "And so far as to sinking into inconsequence.... we'd perhaps be wisest to await the judgement of history on that one. "

We'd be wisest not to sit on our hands and wait for judgement, but rather to forge on and do what is being done now, not only on SciFiction, but in the pages of F&SF as well. New things are indeed happening, Rob. They have been happening for a very long time, and have apparently escaped your notice. Wakey-wakey.

Rob: "I am not, however, a prude and I did give the magazine a fair chance.... repeatedly."

Your words say otherwise. To wit...

Point #1: "Omni was an attempt by a publisher from another genre, (LOL if I can call THAT a genre)"

Point #2: "I subscribed to Omni for the first two years... I had high hopes for anything Bova was associated with ... By and large it was impossible for me to appreciate any of the fiction for it was too small a thing sandwiched in a depiction of science which only Art Bell or Ray Palmer could appreciate."

Summation: You ARE a prude and you did NOT give the magazine a fair chance. And THAT settles THAT.

Rob: "I also understand market forces."

This is apparently either a blinkered misconception on your part or a blatant lie. I'm inclined to be generous and simply assume you have no idea what you're talking about. As a stegosaurus, I'm sure I don't have to remind you that were it not for the deep pockets of people like Guccione and USA Networks, we might not have some of the fiction we have today. The print magazines do their best, but they have limited budgets. And the real cash cows are series fiction and TV/film/game novelizations. Ask yourself, Robosaurus, do you really want to live in that world?

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Thomas R
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 08:18 pm:   

Don't go overboard. I mean how long do you have to give a magazine before you give up on it? I subscribed to Analog for just one year and realized I didn't like. He apparently subscribed to OMNI for two. That's giving it a chance in my mind.

Not that I agree with his view on much else. As mentioned I like Sci-Fiction. There certainly a real magazine to my mind. And so forth.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 08:21 pm:   

I think Neal's point is that he clearly wasn't giving the fiction a fair chance ("it was impossible for me to appreciate any of the fiction for it was too small a thing sandwiched in a depiction of science which only Art Bell or Ray Palmer could appreciate").
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Ellen
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 08:23 pm:   

Actually, a few points of fact, when OMNI began there was about an equal amount of fact and fiction. Plus gorgeous art. So it's obvious to me as well, Rob, that you didn't give the magazine any sort of chance.

By the time it left the print world there were one or two stories per issue so it's understandable that readers only interested in fiction wouldn't subscribe.

However, even at its lowest point of circ, OMNI had a higher circulation than Analog, Asimov's and F&SF together.



>>Point #2: "I subscribed to Omni for the first two years... I had high hopes for anything Bova was associated with ... By and large it was impossible for me to appreciate any of the fiction for it was too small a thing sandwiched in a depiction of science which only Art Bell or Ray Palmer could appreciate."
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Ellen
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 08:44 pm:   

Every editor makes do with the space they have. Most magazines need to make money--so commerce and content are always at odds. At OMNI, when I lost space for fiction I devised a way to increase the number of stories--by commissioning thematic groups of short-shorts which I could use in one fiction "slot" --I started by asking five writers I knew I could count on to write 500 words each and got some fun work by Harlan Ellison, Pat Cadigan, Tom Disch, Gene Wolfe, and Ed Bryant.

Between 1983 and 1993 I commissioned several of these and out of them came the classic "They're Made out of Meat" by Terry Bisson, "Two Minutes, Forty -Five Seconds" by Dan Simmons, "Leavings" by Gahan Wilson (made into a tv episode), and a couple of dozen other stories between 500- about 3,000 words long. In all that time I only rejected one of those commissioned stories-- when the author refused to revise it. I don't remember if he was paid a kill fee or not.

It was fun, and I'm thinking of putting together a batch for SCIFICTION once Michael Swanwick's Period Table of SF is done.
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RobRoyH
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 10:26 pm:   

Sorry to absent myself from this discussion for so long, I was enjoying my new copy of The Two Towers. If Hollywood's treatment of good SF AND Fantasy were more like this I'd have nothing to object to on negative connotations to SciFi... alas The Two Towers is pretty much an anomaly... but that would be fruit for another thread in all likelhood.... we could start out by what people thought about the F&SF reveiwer who said recently that TT wasn't stand-alone and it wasn't diverse enough... give me a break!

On to points relative to this discussion we've gotten into..... or rather I've ignited.

Ellen==> I'm sorry, but we're not going to agree on what constitutes good popularization of... and what constitutes vulgarization and exploitation of science. I was there in the early years... I was rooting for Ben Bova's new love. From the beginning I had to put up with monthy UFO updates, latest reports of Loch Ness Monster, (and similar), sightings, and as I recall even reports of Past Life Regression. If I were a scientist in 1981, and I'd gotten a call from Omni... I think I'd have felt about like how a CEO must feel when he picks up the phone and finds that Mike Wallace of 60 minutes wants to talk to him... or Michael Moore! If you disagree with this assessment... then I'd encourage you to head over to ISFDB.org and peruse the Omni Table of Contents for the first two years... or perhaps encourage you to go listen to some Art Bell.

Also a lot of the early art was not to my tastes... too little relation to the stories and too much Giger... though memory is a funny thing... those are probably unfair comments... I don't have any Omni's on my bookshelves along with the 1800+ copies of Analog/Astounding, Asimov's, Galaxy, and even F&SF. I haven't spent the past 25 years admiring the art as I have some of the other magazines.

And we're probably not going to agree on what constitutes a fair chance either. I suspect that Omni's subscribers were buying it for the sensational treatments of diverse and strange topics... not for the fiction. I was a sight-unseen subscriber to Omni because I expected it to be what Analog could never afford to be... Bova was over there after all... it was going to be large and slick and mostly fiction with a touch of whacky editorial and a pinch of hard science article... what Analog tried and failed to do back in 1963-65. IT was advertised IN ANALOG as Science Fiction/Science Fact! My expectations were NOT realized! The Rob Roy in my name does reflect cutural pride and I DO conform to the ethnic sterotypes of a scotsman... I part with the pennies grudgingly and am unforgiving when cheated!

Gordon & Thomas R==> A Walk in the Garden had some beautiful and imaginative imagery. That's about the nicest thing I can say about it. I felt it was anti-military, anti-war, and anti-Bush. Those seem to be pretty popular things to be these days, and frankly it conforms to my stereotype of too close an association with the Hollywood crowd. In the back of my head there was a voice... I bet Susan Sarandan would like this! It was also anti-science and anti-rational, (not necessarily a negative in terms of a fantasy BTW), and there was an internal inconsistency about how far into the future it was supposed to be set, IMHO. Yes I am a bit right of center politically, but regard Libertarians as whackos too. It doesn't often interfere with my enjoyment of a story and I can point to past feedback on stories I've placed on this board and/or one of the other "Big 3" boards to demonstrate that. This IS the story which triggered my political correctness comment.. but it was reinfoced by several others.

Neal==> I'll only address your more civil points. When I'm sitting at my computer, I'm used to doing interactive things. Perhaps that's why I did indeed like the Swanwick work in progress. It's more interactive. Obviously, I enjoy debates on forums. I'd rather lay back and read a physical book when not sitting at a computer... reading a magazine or an anthology. You can go ahead and print the stories out... I'll wait for someone I trust to select em for me and print-em out for me.
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Thomas R
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 11:10 pm:   

Umm Rob I didn't read that one. I don't like Shepard much. I'd rather not get into why as he posts here. I also voted for Bush, and have a brother in the Air Force. So don't make assumptions.

If you don't like the zine I think you have that right. Still have you tried the ones they've had by Geoffrey Landiss, Robert Reed, and Gene Wolfe? I'd forgotten Wolfe, who is certainly not a Left winger from what I know. Landiss's stuff there is also often Hard SF. I just like Robert Reed, you may not. Still I think his stuff at Sci-Fiction over the last few years is perhaps his best. If you tried their stories and disliked them, apologies.
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RobRoyH
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 11:51 pm:   

Thomas R... I addressed you along with Gordon in the same paragraph. I should have broken out the end of that parragraph and addressed it just to you... where I acknowleging your correct interpretation of what I meant by the charge of political correctness.

I said earlier I'd have to make a point to go and read the Gene Wolf and James Van Pelt stories... both of those guys almost always satisfy... and I have sought out there work in the past.

In the future I'm sure I'll continue to go seek out the stories at SCI FICTION which I notice get nominated for awards, (I am curious after all), or which get high praise which resonates in some way with my tastes here on the forums.

But I've never acquired a taste for habitual online reading of anything longer than an email... and will continue to regard all the ezines as secondary markets. I still feel that the good stuff will eventually get picked up in a more traditional place.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 11:55 pm:   

Rob: "I felt it was anti-military, anti-war, and anti-Bush. Those seem to be pretty popular things to be these days, and frankly it conforms to my stereotype of too close an association with the Hollywood crowd."

Utter bollocks! The folks at Fantastic Metropolis are pretty vehemently anti-war, as are plenty of the TTA crowd. Close to Hollywood they are not.
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Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 12:12 am:   

Rob: I just got confused because I got the sense you were saying we both read/praised that story.

Anyway I actually have a similar thing about online reading. When I go to Sci-Fiction and see the story has a second "page" I usually skip. If I hear a novella they have is really good I wait for it to be reprinted. Granted I can just print it out, but I kind of hate doing that. I feel the need to limit my printing to my classwork and my own writing. Maybe that's arbitrary and silly, but I have my reasons. (Computer paper is cheap, but then again so am I. Also it seems like I can never find it when I need it)

However the quality of some of their stories has just really blown me away. It's hard for me to think of them as a secondary zine just because they're online. That and I like the classic reprints. Print zines don't do that much. I understand why, but still they're nice to read. To track down all the anthos or collections those stories has been would take me forever. It's very convenient to just have them right there. Also by and large they tend to be shorter than the originals. Finally I didn't read much SF from 65-75, so it's good to see what I was missing. (The newest stuff in my Dad's collection is from '66, I bought my first SF anthology in '92)

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lead santa
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 12:14 am:   

Anti-military, anti-war, and anti-Bush -- if only they were more popular. If you look at the polls, what you say I'm afraid is sadly not the case. As for Hollywood, are we talking Arnold?
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RobRoyH
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 12:47 am:   

The last Bush job approval rating I read in the paper was at 58% approval... Monday morning's paper. That seems pretty high. Pick you poll of choice of course.

We live in different worlds apparently. Anti-Military, Anti-War, and Anti-Bush doesn't play well in my neighborhood, or in the circles I frequent. I have a lot of ex-military neighbors and co-workers and would be considered by many to be a bit of a red-neck... the NRA hat helps... I live fairly close to Fort Hood... and have a few acquantances who thought for awhile they would be deployed to Iraq. The Dixie-Chicks were absolutely hated here in Texas... breifly anyway.

And when I said Hollywood, in that particular posting anyway... I was thinking of Susan Sarandan and Michael Moore who I had already referenced. In earlier threads related to attitudes of the term SciFi, I was trying to put a label on the people who deliver movies and mini-series marketed as SciFi which I find insulting to the original works of science fiction they were supposedly based on.

I sometimes fear that the mass-media general public thinks that "The Stand" by Steven King is a great example of science fiction. Lucius Shepard, ironically, really resonated with me in his recent SSDD column in F&SF.

Arnold has actually done a few half-way decent peices of SF... I liked Predator and felt it was well portrayed. I hope we're not doomed to seeing all the supporting character's of that movie enter politics though... Arnold would be the second.
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Tim Akers
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 10:46 am:   

58% isn't bad, but you have to realize that this is down for 83% last year. Look, I'm one of those elusive moderates. I supported the war but not the absolutely kindergarten way the man ran up to war. Most of the people I grew up with are in the military now, as were a good chunk of my family. That doesn't mean I automatically support my government in all their actions. That would be downright unamerican, to just accept what they said, regardless of who they are. That's one of the things that the Bush administration has tried to plow aside. The right to dissent.

Back to scifi. I say scifi, because I have always said scifi, and I think any conversation in which you try to argue about the somantics of science fiction, scifi, sf, skiffy or speculative fiction is quite possibly the greatest waste of time EVER. So. Back to scifi. Rob, I'd be interested to know what you think of, say, Alastair Reynolds or Ken Wharton. I agree with you that too much of what's getting published these days is 'near future' or contemporary, but I think that some of the far future stuff that's getting printed is really, really good. Some of it is really really bad, too. Hell, even some of the near future is good beyond knowing, there's just too much of it. In all fairness, I only gave Analog six months before I stopped reading it entirely, but that's because I have high standards regarding the actual quality of the word by word writing, beyond the ideas presented. One more story about nerdy science guy meeting and mating the hot, uber-smart science girl and I was gonna pop.

Look. One long paragraph. I fear the return key, it intimidates me.
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RobRoyH
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 01:09 pm:   

I don't back Bush 100% either. Shepard's breif comment about Bush could easily have been dropped and doing so would have eliminated the internal inconsistency I spoke of... is this story set 5 years into the future or 20? Considering the spin we get in the daily news a drop to only 58% seems darn good to me.

I say SF because I have always said SF. I have always heard producers and directors of SciFi... who by their every answer to an interviewer prove they've not read much SF... calling what they do SciFi. I suffer a "disconnect" there and can only manage to bridge it by drawing a distinction between a work which pays homage to what has come before and one which is an exploitive and sensational rip-off. The terminology distinction between SF and SciFi has a long history within the magazines and within fandom... as others have acknowleged in this thread.

You will see me in a thread with YaNo over on the Asimov's board last month saying much the same as you over drawing distinctions between Fantasy and SF... such efforts are a waste of MY time... no definition offered works for me. You can value your time in your own way. However, it is not a waste of MY time drawing a distinction between the SciFi Channel's version of Dune or Riverworld with Herbert's or Farmer's.

I don't think we're going to attract many new readers to F&SF or to SCI FICTION by the upcoming "event" Battlestar Galactica. I expect it will be another data point where the general public can laugh at those geeks who like science fiction.

And right there is the heart of the whole problem and the relationship I see between Omni and Scifi.com

Omni, in my view, promoted a warped picture of science..... drawing little distinction between UFOs, mythic beasts, psi, and serious science.

And Scifi draws no distinction between Star Wars & Battlestar Galactica and the works of Asimov, Heinlein, or even Bester... (lets see them do The Stars My Destination!

Oh... your final question, thumbs up on both Alastair Reynolds and Ken Wharton, though I'm wholly unfamiliar with anything from Reynolds other than Merlin's Gun which was very very good... an 8 out of 10 at least.

And one final point, near future stuff is fine if I can see how we got there.... so often I can't and it just serves as a platform for prostylizing.
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Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 04:25 pm:   

I was raised on Star Trek, Twilight Zone, and that ilk. I say the first science fiction book I read was Foundation, but it was really some Trek book. I know it's the mantra "those readers won't cross over, ohm!" but they can and do. You just have to get to know them and then it's easy to figure out what serious SF they'd like.

I've read SF for years, but I have no connection to fandom. My magazine reading starting at 18. So the standards those use wouldn't be meaningful to me. For search engines, and real conversation SF gets me San Francisco or blank stares. Online talking to SFers I'll use it, but it's the non-standard term. I understand the urge to rail against the sky on that, but it serves no purpose.

I agree with you on Bush however. I think stories based on Bush are dooming themselves to be irrelevant in a few years. It's also just weird. I don't recall SF/Sci-Fi stories that did it with any other President. (Well maybe Nixon & JFK) Bush, and especially Aschcroft, are pretty heavily Christian though. There's a fairly long standing horror of that in the SF world. I think SF tends present even a psychotic President as a more ambigous person.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 04:46 pm:   

Rob: "And Scifi draws no distinction between Star Wars & Battlestar Galactica and the works of Asimov, Heinlein, or even Bester... (lets see them do The Stars My Destination!"

Thomas R: "I know it's the mantra "those readers won't cross over, ohm!" but they can and do. You just have to get to know them and then it's easy to figure out what serious SF they'd like."

I'd be very interested to see SciFi Channel introduce a show hosted by a real SF critic, preferably an insider who's done some serious critical work on the genre rather than just belly-aching about "Oh, the Trek books are coming."

I imagine this would be a very useful service, for two reasons. First, it would provide a little insider information, history, and context for those of us who do read and watch SF, and who want to know more about the genre and how it works, both in print and on film. Second, it would provide those who rarely go beyond film and television with a place to start.

This might solve both Rob's problem of the lack of critical distinction on the channel (and I infer, in filmed SF in general), and Thomas's problem of the assumption that "Once a Trekkie, always a Trekkie."

A critic who held the door to written SF open for those who cared to venture in (rather than hiding in his den and snarling at passing Trekkies) might go far to increase the quantity and quality of SF readership. And having both a film critic and a critic of written SF on the same show would add a little depth and interest.
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Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 05:18 pm:   

I admit I do have some problems with the Sci-Fi Channel itself. They used to have round table discussions with those involved Sci-Fi films and books. Even hour long specials about SF writers. They dumped them all. In an economic sense I guess I understand it, but you'd think say a half hour show on Sunday afternoon wouldn't cost them much. As I remember the ones they did were rather cheap. That and I'm guessing they have few viewers at that time either way.

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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 08:13 pm:   

Rob,
Bush got us into Iraq and will always be known for that (no matter what the end results) so mentioning his name in a near future war story about the war he took the US into seems perfectly apt to me. What's in inconsistency? Say, Bush wins the 2004 election and is prez till 2008--you don't think some of the technology mentioned in Lucius's story wouldn't be possible?

Besides, who says the story is sf? To me, it's science fantasy.
Ellen

<<I don't back Bush 100% either. Shepard's breif comment about Bush could easily have been dropped and doing so would have eliminated the internal inconsistency I spoke of... is this story set 5 years into the future or 20? Considering the spin we get in the daily news a drop to only 58% seems darn good to me.


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RobRoyH
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 08:34 pm:   

Twilight Zone is a good example of what could be done. Rod Serling was drawing on stories straight from the magazines for his scripts, and I think, treated them pretty faithfully given the constraints of a 1-hour show. Read the credits on the old Twilight Zones sometimes. Ellen probably has a few of those originals posted... if she doesn't she should try to put up the one by Damon Knight.... To Serve Man is my personal favorite! Richard Matheson had a few good ones and I could show you the original stories published in F&SF. the Ambrose Beirce one is truly a classic... I've seen it shown in writing classes... probably as a demonstration on use of the flashback... LOL. Rod Serling was trying to do exactly what I am trying to say SHOULD be done... and alas hasn't really been done since.

And Star Trek has had its moments but they have been far fewer in number. I think Roddenbury couldn't maintain as much artistic control as Serling had been able to.

But both these men knew SF, (Elison's opinion notwithstanding.... and he doesn't even write SF... just ask him). I liked Elison's Star Trek script as presented; he did not apparently.

The deep fans who come to figure out that "City on the edge of Forever" was one of the better shows.. they then learn that the script was written by somebody by the name of Harlan Ellison... they go find more Harlan Ellison... we all win.

I'm sure cross-over happens. But the reputations we acquire by being lumped in together with "Lost in Space" or "Farscape" or "Tremors" or "BattleStar Galactica" probably keeps a lot more people from wandering down our aisles in the bookstore than we gain from these shows. And a truly bad adaptation does even more direct harm than do the cheesy original-content shows.

End of tirade for now.
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RobROyH
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 08:41 pm:   

Ellen... but how do we then get power boots and Heinlein-like powered armor that quickly. Even the sanctioned "better fighting through chemistry" is a bit of a stretch in the kind of a time frame you see in the story.

These things make beyond 2030 more beleivable... but then you got hte gratuitous dig on Bush and these young soldiers wouldn't even remember Bush if it were a reasonable enough lead time to explain the tech in use.
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Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 09:11 pm:   

I think I see part of what you're saying. There is some association between Sci-Fi and goofball action pictures. This is going to sound a bit sexist, but I've heard women complain about this the most. That they won't try Sci-Fi because it's all bimbos and explosions in space.

However in many cases I think media science fiction could easily transition to print. However that means accepting that in many to most cases media science fiction people start with thinking "Sci-Fi" is the normal abbreviation. Still the audience for things like the the Twilight Zone(as you mentioned), The Truman Show, or maybe even The Matrix could potentially like the stuff published here.

On TV it was once even better. DS9 & Babylon 5 I think made an effort. DS9 had an episode about science fiction magazines that I think may have mentioned this one. (I'm pretty sure it mentioned in least one of the old big three, but it might've been the long defunct Galaxy) Babylon 5, although I think it's wildly overrated, had a character reading a Harlan Ellison anthology. They also had a recurring villain named Bester. The Simpsons made a few references to science fiction authors. I'm pretty sure Futurama did too, but oddly I can't think of a good example. Several of these shows appeal to a fairly diverse audience. I'm not sure these things helped, but they were kind of an effort.
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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 09:24 pm:   

Rob,
Oh I think if we're still in Irag in 2030 the soldiers are certainly going to know who George W. Bush is. He's the guy who stuck em there.

It's better to just use a nebulous near future. In any case, it really doesn't matter. Either you buy into it or not.
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RobRoyH
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 09:32 pm:   

B-5 never captured my interest either, I've watched maybe 5 shows... but I've heard quite a bit about it second hand... including the thing about the Alfred Bester/Walter Koenig character. Someone in script development knows of Bester's work with the psi-sensitive theme, The Demolished Man I'd guess... making it an appropriate name for such a character.
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RobRoyH
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 09:45 pm:   

Ellen,

Still in Iraq in 2030 is in itself a political statement and if that's the way it plays out in real life... before then I'll be in accord with the Anti-War, Anti-Bush message.

The nebulous near future... 2008 is what I had assumed until the 20-foot jumps on the power boots and the walking through flames with the suits that do all but perform sugery. They caused a disconect where I'm thinking more like 2030 and the political statement grows stronger.

And as to the unaddressed science fiction/science fantasy advice you gave earlier... well, to me it's all fantasy with varying elements of technology mixed in. Questions of the afterlife are relevant to a man in a castle keep or in a space capsule. But internal consistency is always nice.. even in a magic world. It's one of the more elegant ways of building up backstory and sustaining my interest. Break the consistency.. and I begin to wonder whether anything I've figured out up to that point about what is going on is still valid.
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Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 10:16 pm:   

It had good qualities. It dealt with human cultural/religious variety better than most TV SF. The aliens were often truly alien. The storyline was kind of interesting, albeit derivative. B5 was my Dad's favorite SF show and he introduced me to SF.

However the things that make for a good TV show I found almost completely lacking in it. The acting and direction were stilted or dull. The dialogue was almost cringeworthy at times. Oddly the rabidness of it's fans turned me off too. Despite what people think Trekkies are fairly critical of many aspects of the show. So much so I'm not sure why many of them watch any of it. What I've seen of B5 fandom they insist everything about it was brilliant. They'll even acknowledge the criticisms, but say that makes it even more brilliant. The people were dull because people are often dull. Their attempts at humor are lousy, because most people aren't spontaneously funny. And so forth.

As for us being in Iraq that long, my brother actually said that awhile back. I think he made an analogy with Korea. Even though he's in the military I think he's wrong. We have been in Korea that long because of North Korea. Not because it took that long to build a stable democracy in South Korea. (It took longer, but our military didn't build it they did) I don't think the situations are at all analogous. However even if he's write, I don't think there was much bellyaching about Truman in the 1980s. Although in truth I guess I'd rather not get into it.
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RobRoyH
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 10:32 pm:   

Thomas R.

I probably shouldn't comment based on such a limited direct knowlege... and I've already dragged this poor short story thread all across the galaxy at FTL... LOL

But I can't resist.

>...The aliens were often truly alien...

I remember the alien portly guy with all the medals and the hair crest. I tagged him quickly as an Analog for a snobby and decadant European Imperialist circa 1900

I remember the alien race with the monk-like robes... I tagged them as Eastern Zen mystics.

I remember the agressive lizard guys. I tagged them as the standard/stock barbarian horde warrior race you find in every space opera.

Snap judgements sure. Were these the aliens you were thinking of or were others introduced?

Alien aliens are hard to find. I could name a few close approaches... but it would deserve a new thread in all likelyhood
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Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 11:23 pm:   

Well I didn't like the show that much so won't be a good advocate for it. However in some of the later seasons they had more non-humanoids. Granted the way they made them alien was generally just to make them cryptic and mysterious. Having non-humanoids was kind of neat though.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 12:52 am:   

Rob: "But the reputations we acquire by being lumped in together with "Lost in Space" or "Farscape" or "Tremors" or "BattleStar Galactica" probably keeps a lot more people from wandering down our aisles in the bookstore than we gain from these shows."

Do you actually believe these people watch SciFi Channel in order to store up reasons not to walk down the SF aisle of their local Barnes and Noble? Or is it more that they watch SciFi on TV for a long time without buying written SF, then suddenly gain an epiphany concerning their own lack of taste? Somehow, neither of these rings true for me.

Perhaps you could go into more detail about this psychological phenomenon you've discovered. I'm especially interested in how these thwarted potential fans came to be watching SciFi Channel in the first place if they weren't interested in Science Fiction.
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RobRoyH
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 06:06 am:   

Neal,

Before I bother devoting some serious time to research on your insulting questions... I have to ask whether you read the magazines, particularly F&SF since this is their board.

I ask because you seem to be attributing my expressed disdain for poor media adaptations and exploitive/sensational media efforts... and my fear for the effects of same on the genre... to me.

These opinions come from the editorials and reviews published in the magazines over a long period. You want citations and quotes... it'll take some research time.

Do you read Lucius Shepard's reviews in F&SF. Would a much older quote from someone else you've heard of impress you?
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 08:40 am:   

Rob, yes I do read F&SF, as well as Asimov's and Analog. And yes, I have heard the voice of doom coming from other mouths than yours (Barry Longyear on publishing trends; Spinrad on the evils of Sci-Fi; and the list goes on). These others are not expressing those views on this board, however, and you are -- not as a quote, but as your own opinion.

I hope you'll pardon me if I don't share the urgent sense of doom felt by others regarding televised SciFi. Print is print, and film is film, and I think more readers recognize the difference than you credit. And even if they don't, as Thomas R has suggested, they can learn.

Perhaps I am a bit too generous in my regard for human intelligence, or perhaps I don't see the views of a couch potato or an uncritical consumer of series fiction as having as great an impact on the genre as others assume. SF came up from humble beginnings, and should it stumble now and again, it has proven it can right itself. It will win past the Star Trek novels in time, and in the meantime, a number of authors will make money, and a number of readers will be made happy.

As for older quotes from authorities and professionals, I've read quite a few. Some have altered my opinions in the past, while others have not. I'm always interested to hear what insiders have to say, but once again, Lucius Shepherd is not posting under the pseudonym RobRoyH -- you are. So I'm asking not for the words of the prophets, but for your own reasoning.

You asserted that Sci Fi (in the form of unfaithful adaptations and cheesy original work) is harming the genre. Have you thought much about how this is happening? Have you considered possible contrary evidence? Have you thought that a decline in consumption of thoughtful print media might be more indicative of a society falling out of literacy, rather than the effects of Babylon 5 or a crappy version of Dune? Hit me with your reasoning.
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Matthew
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 10:15 am:   

--Before I bother devoting some serious time to research on your insulting questions... I have to ask whether you read the magazines, particularly F&SF since this is their board. --
Roy, you assume that anyone with the same information would agree with you. Kind of arrogant is isn't? You actually think that you are completely objective (which no human being is) and that their is no room for an alternative veiw.

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Rob Roy Hathaway
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 10:57 am:   

Where have I expressed a fear of loosing CURRENT readers and fans??? (although I'll admit there is a possibility that I might not survive... watch that blood pressure).

I have referenced others, in the above thread, while expresing my opinions... opinions largely shaped and formed by many others. For more... go look at the "Spartacus With Matches" thread.

Thomas R. has been paying attention and not putting words in my mouth... re: his bimbos and exlplosion comment concerning the resistence he has noted among those he's tried to tempt to try SF.

This entire dialog started out in response to doubt expressed by Nicolas Lui on the importance and relevence of the "Big-3". I disputed that and have since been defending and supporting my statements... we've ranged over a wide area... so please excuse me if I haven't spelled out explicitly enough what I mean by damage to the genre from SciFi... up to now something of a tangent to the discussion.

Since you've returned the dialogue to civility, (I thank you for that BTW), I'll try and be more clear now... but to digress back to our stating point briefly, as you are also a reader of all 3, what is you're opinion of Analog, Asimov, and F&SF. From some of the above it seems you'd be as happy to see them all disappear in lieu of the ezines. If that is true... why do you read them then?

It boils down to the questions of whether or not we want science fiction to be taken seriously and given some respect. I know I'm biased... but I do read rather widely outside the genre and I honestly feel it deserves to be taken more seriously. Do you hide your copy of F&SF, Asimov, or Analog... not wanting your associates to know you're a "gasp" scifi fan?

The statement "the book was better" is a cliche used about movie and TV adaptations. But what about when the adaptation bears no, or very little, relationship to the book. Your wife turns to you half way through and says "this is terrible"... am I then to explain how badly the adaptation butchered the book... she should reserve judgement until she tries the book! Riiight. My wife's preconceptions have just been reinforced... and my credability damaged. This happened to ME over SciFi's Riverworld.

There are lots of readers who never venture into SF for either escape or deep content because they think it's silly. Where has that attitude come from? From too little Rod Serling and too much "Lost in Space" IMHO. I say lots of readers by looking at the other aisles in Barnes & Noble.... I have gotten my wife to read carefully selected Asimov... she's a mystery and suspense fan... can't get her to try much else.

Possibly it works the other way... A viewer might love an adaptation so decide to go read the book... only to be disappointed because the book didn't conform to his expectations. (This actually happened to me with "Forrest Gump"... a case where IMHO.... the movie is better).

Media Scifi is a poor representation of Print SF and Fantasy.

Print SF has it's share of crap. So I guess I'm quite wrong to complain about seeing bad original stuff on scifi.com. As you've said.... SF arose from humble beginnings. But it's long past time to see some striving up from the muck... and less pulling us down... and pulling us down is exactly what it feels like when I see a bad adaptation.

Submitted FWIW,
Rob Roy Hathaway

PS. I very recently changed from my full name across all 3-boards to an abbreviation I have used in other settings. I felt it was time to settle down to less formality and my more usual "Rob" was already in use. But I also distrust the ravings of the anonymous. RobRoyH is not anonymous. It even pulls me up on a Google search!
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RobRoyH
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 11:07 am:   

Mathew--

>you assume that anyone with the same information would agree with you. Kind of arrogant is isn't?

Arrogant? compare and contrast my responses with Neal's before you join him in putting words in my mouth or leaping far beyond where my statements actually went.

I did seem important to establish whether he was open to being convinced before I made the effort.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 12:56 pm:   

Rob:"Since you've returned the dialogue to civility, (I thank you for that BTW)"

De nada... I get het up from time to time, but I'm really just filled with love and kind-to-animals-ness.

Rob: "as you are also a reader of all 3, what is you're opinion of Analog, Asimov, and F&SF. From some of the above it seems you'd be as happy to see them all disappear in lieu of the ezines. If that is true... why do you read them then?"

For me, this isn't a zero-sum game. I want print and e-publication both, as I think most readers do, and that desire will keep both formats alive for the foreseeable future.

My opinion of the three digests? Well, I've read some fascinating stories in all of them, and I've read things in each that made me groan with disappointment. A prime example of the latter would be John Varley's thoroughly embarrassing waste of printer's ink, "A Christmas Story," in the January 2003 F&SF (two pages, shot in the ass). Of the former, Alex Irvine's impressive "Vandoise and the Bone Monster" in the same issue.

[I had more to say here, but I've cut it in the interest of salvaging what brevity I can.]

Rob: "It boils down to the questions of whether or not we want science fiction to be taken seriously and given some respect..."

Rob, I might as well have GEEK tattooed across the bridge of my nose. I gave up concealing my tastes when I found out it wasn't going to get me laid any quicker in high school.

These days, I teach college freshmen how to write researched essays, and I use SF as my theme in those classes (something the students seem to love, btw -- there is a new generation of interested readers out there).

I also try to keep up with people like Eric Rabkin, Chip Delaney, and others whose efforts to open the doors of academia to SF and Fantasy seem to be working, albeit at a glacial pace. And of course, I jump up and down clicking my heels when the PMLA puts out an all-SF issue, even if their definition of SF is a bit loose. Hell, I trumpet the virtues of SF and Fantasy every chance I get.

I don't believe, however, that SF will be treated any more seriously if we go on the defensive. Becoming shrill and indignant in the face of SciFi Channel or sappy Spielberg films will not help the genre gain credibility; in fact, it will accomplish the opposite, making us look all the more like maladjusted nerds stinking up our own private geekspace.

Rob: "There are lots of readers who never venture into SF for either escape or deep content because they think it's silly. Where has that attitude come from? From too little Rod Serling and too much "Lost in Space" IMHO."

Perhaps, or perhaps from the fact that much of SF is silly, and some of it unabashedly so. I wouldn't have it any other way. I get more converts to SF and Fantasy by remarking how much fun I had with a novel than I ever have by trying to convince them they're missing something serious and important. In fact, I find I can use the same pitch to sell Neal Stephenson's social satire as I can to sell the clunkiest E.E. "Doc" Smith space opera. Start with the fun, and let the rest develop at its own pace.

Rob: "Media Scifi is a poor representation of Print SF and Fantasy."

Here's a major difference between us. As I've said, I don't feel televised or filmed Scifi is any representation of print SF and Fantasy, good, bad or otherwise. It is a different thing, and making that point to people is, I think, an important first step in getting them to treat both media (film and print) on their individual merits. From there, you can move on to treating individual works on their merits.

Rob: "Print SF has it's share of crap. So I guess I'm quite wrong to complain about seeing bad original stuff on scifi.com."

Sturgeon's Law applies to everything, film included. The trick is not to get scared off by the 99%. Or better yet, do what I do: cultivate a perverse appreciation for crap. :-)

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Matthew
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 01:52 pm:   

--Arrogant? compare and contrast my responses with Neal's before you join him in putting words in my mouth or leaping far beyond where my statements actually went.--
For example of arrogance, read your above statment. Yes, I have compare & contrast the above statement. You keep assuming that anyone who disagrees with you is apparently uninformed or stupid. Apparently I must be someway ill-informed because I disagree with you. That is arrogant. Second thing: I quoted you exactly in my last post how the hell is that putting words in your mouth?

--I did seem important to establish whether he was open to being convinced before I made the effort.--
Yeah, I'm sure you are trying to enlighten us all with your superior knowledge. This exactly what I mean. This statement is equivalent of shouting "I'm not a murderer" as you stab someone to death.


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RobRoyH
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 02:06 pm:   

Neal,

Darn... very little to argue with. I had GEEK silk screened across the bottom of my pocket protector.

I too value the nostalgia... to such an extent that I didn't mind 2-pages to Varley's shaggy-dog on that basis. Bringing back Feghoot as a regular would not be good though. Asimov's did that in 77-78... yuck! Spider Robinson's Callahan Bar stories I rather like though... same kind of thing.

Ah well... individual treatment of print and media is probably wise advice across ALL media and literature... as I said the media artists actually bettered the source with "Forest Gump", in my opinion of course, so there is perhaps hope in that approach.

That doesn't make it easy advice to follow.
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RobRoyH
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 02:16 pm:   

Mathew... you put worlds in my mouth by following my quotations with conclusions WHICH DO NOT LOGICALLY FOLLOW from what I said.

I made no assumption at all in my question that Neal would or would not agree with me.

Did Neal want me to quote from many years past of people in F&SF and elsewhere who have contributed to my opinion.

Neal did not... and further he convinced me he didn't need me to repeat it... he's heard it...
From Neal===>
>"And yes, I have heard the voice of doom coming from other mouths than yours (Barry Longyear on publishing trends; Spinrad on the evils of Sci-Fi; and the list goes on)."

So he didn't need that all repeated.

Mathew... keep up! LOL
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 02:34 pm:   

No, it isn't easy. It's always much easier to paint with a broad brush and ignore the details. But we lose so much that way, don't you think?

As for Robinson, I loved the Callahan short story collections, but I disliked the novels. I thought Lady Slings the Booze was just awful. If someone's going to serve me a novel-length pun, it had better be a damn good pun.
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RobRoyH
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 02:43 pm:   

Neal,

Which is the perfect setup for me to return the thread to its owners.

Ultra short-shorts can work with small little ideas like a pun or a joke, (no gaurantee that they will).

Certainly a novel length work that leaves me feeling like it should have been a Feghoot do not.
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Matthew
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 06:18 am:   

--Mathew... you put worlds in my mouth by following my quotations with conclusions WHICH DO NOT LOGICALLY FOLLOW from what I said.

I made no assumption at all in my question that Neal would or would not agree with me. --

I'm not talking about you assuming that Neal would or would not agree with you. I'm talking about because Neal disagrees with you assume he is not as informed as you are. Here let me show you:--I have to ask whether you read the magazines, particularly F&SF since this is their board.-- Right there you accuse him of not being informed. Right there. You see the part where you accuse him of not being reading the magazine at whose board he is posting. That is what I'm talking about. Look at it again. You see again the part where you accuse him of not reading the magazine.

--Did Neal want me to quote from many years past of people in F&SF and elsewhere who have contributed to my opinion. --


He does not want quotes he has already made it quite clear that he has read plenty of writing expressing your veiws. He just disagrees with them.
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RobRoyH
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 12:41 pm:   

Mathew,

It was a question, and one which seemed relevent. It was not an accusation and I fail to see the assumption of ignorance you do.

The question was a direct response from this from Neal "Perhaps you could go into more detail about this psychological phenomenon you've discovered." Then he mischaracterized my concerns.... It seemed necessary to disabuse him of THOSE assumptions... but at least he was being civil here... the name calling had stopped... an improvement I thanked him for.

My tone STILL might not have been respectful enough to your tastes... but I had seen several unpleasant labels hung around my neck previously.
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 02:45 pm:   


On Monday, August 04, 2003, Thomas R wrote:

"The shortest story to become well known is Knock by Fredric Brown.

It goes something like

"The last man on Earth stood alone in an empty room when he heard the door knock""


On Monday, August 04, 2003, Adam-Troy wrote:

""Knock" by Fredric Brown is actually a short story of normal length. The (misquoted) sentence above appears in it, but is not the entirety."


On Monday, August 04, 2003, Thomas R wrote:

"Huh, I'd never read it but always heard it was just that sentence. Learn something new all the time.

Asimov once did an anthology of SF short-shorts. I imagine in least some of them were very short.

Always meant to read it, but never found it."



Thomas R --

Assuming that you still haven't read it, this is for you.

It is quite good.

As Adam-Troy correctly points out, your (misquoted) sentence from "Knock" by Fredric Brown, does appear in it, but is not the entirety.

You were close, but sorry, no cigars. :-(
Maybe next time.

Enjoy! ;-)

"Knock by FREDRIC BROWN"
http://koapp.narod.ru/english/fantast/book34.htm

~ Alan ~
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Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 04:24 pm:   

I bought The Best of Fredric Brown from my used bookstore a couple weeks ago and read it. Exciting for me as I always assumed used bookstores were still inaccessible to me.

Knock was alright, but there were several others in the collection I preferred.
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 07:40 pm:   


Thomas R --

Congratulations, on your purchase!

You know, secondhand stores are another fantastic place to find those exciting books, or so-called "curiosities", also.

A little over three weeks ago, a new "Goodwill" store opened up in my area, and I was able to pick up the book, ASTOUNDING: JOHN W. CAMPBELL MEMORIAL ANTHOLOGY of Thirteen Original Stories Written Especially For This Volume, Edited By Harry Harrison (1973), for only $2 bucks.

I know it's really not some old and very rare SF book found on the shelf amidst the dust and cobwebs of some ancient archive, someplace, but I had never read it before, and really enjoyed it. That was a "good day". :-)

~ Alan ~
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GordenCRussell@MSN.com
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2003 - 12:28 am:   

It's a rare enough book, Alan. I only wish every Goodwill store had a copy. I didn't see a single book the last time I went to the Goodwill on Erie Blvd East here in Syracuse. It's a big damn store, too.

I'm very glad you posted a link to "Knock". I read it last as a college freshman in 1969. I need to read it again.

You, Thomas, are lucky too. There are good Frederic Brown stories, and great Frederic Brown stories. There are no bad Frederic Brown stories.
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2003 - 11:57 am:   

Wasn't there a Forry Ackerman story whose title was "Intergalactic Report Card: Planet Earth" and the entire text of which was:

F

...or something like that? That's about as short as it gets.

LCRW published a four word story by me earlier this year.

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GabrielM
Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 09:12 am:   

Yeah, I believe that's an Ackerman story, although I haven't read it yet.
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 06:16 pm:   


The shortest SF story ever written, was indeed by Forry.

The actual correct title was, "Cosmic Report Card: Earth", which appeared in the June 1973 issue of the now defunct, "Vertex: The Magazine of Science Fiction" (1973-1975).

Forrest J. Ackerman's immortal classic tale of Earth, when given it's academic grade in the universe, simply read;

F

Which probably seems about right, especially to God. :-(

~ Alan ~

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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 10:35 pm:   

Thanks for a clarification for my fuzzy memory, Alan!
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 11:34 pm:   


Eee-yup!
You bet, Nick! :-)

~ Alan ~
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des
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 08:33 am:   

The shortest story was in Nemonymous~2 - entitled '4 minutes 33 seconds'. Four and half blank pages. Des ;-)
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 09:38 am:   

Four pages is pretty long. Even flipping to see that they are blank is a longer read than 'F'.
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des
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 09:44 am:   

Yes, but other than the title, there were no words. The pages were just flyleaves, because it was at the end of the book. des
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 10:54 am:   

Ha!
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 12:22 pm:   

I enjoy reading it while listening to the Cage piece, myself.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 12:38 pm:   

I've got you beat: I've memorised both.
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Matthew
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 02:49 pm:   

A short-short-short for your consideration:

There once was a boy who ate fire. He died. That's what happens when you eat fire.
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lan T. Sippola
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 06:23 pm:   


Sorry, Des, but I was unaware of that "ultimate shortest SF story", which appeared in your "Nemonymous~2" magazine.

Welp, I reckon I'll just have to subscribe to your incredibly exciting and fascinating journal, in order to become better educated before I flap my yap and then do a little chest thumping, afterwards, on what I thought I knew, huh? ;-)

In terms of those almighty fat paychecks rewarded to an author on an accepted story to a magazine, <cough!><cough!> I thought that some of you might be especially interested in knowing how much the famous Forry was paid for that submission of HIS extreme "shorty".

The following is an article by Forrest J. Ackerman which appears at the online fanzine, MIMOSA, edited by Nicki and Richard Lynch.

Click on the arrow on the right at the bottom of the web page, in order to continue with the article.

"Mimosa 16_p4: Through Time and Space with Forry Ackerman (Part 1) by Forrest J. Ackerman"
http://www.jophan.org/mimosa/m16/16_p04.html

~ Alan ~
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 06:33 pm:   


Do not be fooled by the unexplained happenings that occur on the Internet.

That should be, "By Alan T. Sippola" on the header.

~ Alan ~
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des
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 10:38 pm:   

Hi, Alan, my tongue was in my cheek a bit, when I claimed that for 4' 33" Des ;-)
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 11:44 pm:   


HA! I knew it all the time, pal! ;-)

But seriously, Des, from all the fantastic reviews that I've read about "Nemonymous", that are scattered throughout the Internet, I'm actually going to have to join your club, very soon.

All my best wishes, Des! ;-)

~ Alan ~



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des
Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 08:59 am:   

Thanks, Alan. I was half-serious about my claim, btw. ;-)
You'll know what I mean when you see Nemo~2.
Best, Des
http://www.nemonymous.com
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 09:12 am:   

;-) ;-) ;-)


(No particular reason for the emoticons. I just didn't want to feel left out. ;-)
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Gorden Russell
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 02:06 am:   

Tell us more about nemonymous. When I subscribe, do I send an unsigned check or pay with a credit cards gotten with identity theft?

I went to your link and was too tired to look long at all that chrome yellow. Just checking in after writing all day. Eyes hurt already without such an overwhelming page. If there was a way to link to samples of stories, I missed it.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 07:30 am:   

It is just a tad user-unfriendly, I think.

I can direct you to a sample, though: "The Drowned". Unfortunately, it appears here bylined in the usual way.

There used to be another one up on Fantastic Metropolis, but sadly (for us) it's been removed at the author's request.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 07:31 am:   

Clarification: by "us", I mean "readers". I am not connected to FM.
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des
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 08:46 am:   

I've now changed colour!
(Seriously, thanks for feedback that made me blush.)
best, des
http://www.nemonymous.com
*************

Unuser-friendly
or User-unfriendly?

I still think 4'33 in nemo~2 is the world's shortest story (as well as being illustration/artwork for two of the other stories).

nemo~1 (while I'm here!) was -- important or not -- in 2001, the world's very first self-contained multi-authored volume of anonymous stories collected as such. (Plus, later, reportedly powerful author recognition.)



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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 10:36 am:   

I have never looked into a Nemonymous volume, but the concept makes me curious. At the risk of sounding as though I'm squirming in reactionary angst, may I ask two questions?

I'll take that as a "yes."

First, why anonymous? I understand why some authors -- particularly political dissidents and those whose writing is considered unfit for print -- would opt to release their work anonymously or pseudonymously. But I've heard nothing that would suggest the works in Nemonymous 1 and 2 are such works. Is there a real and compelling reason for this strategy?

Second, why title four blank pages? Again, was this something someone felt needed to be done, or was it more about making humorous use of flyleaves and endpapers?

I trust my questions will be taken in the spirit in which they are offered -- curiosity.

Oh, and if "4 minutes, 33 seconds" is indeed the title which preceeds four blank leaves, it misses out on being the world's shortest story. It's four pages long, after all. :-)
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des
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 11:14 am:   

Neal, I feel guilty talking about nemonymous off thread.
Many have explained the seeming ground-breaking effect of reading fiction the way it's presented in nemos 1, 2 and 3 -- and I can't presume to gainsay them or use bandwidth here quoting them. Some pretty major claims have been made in many public places - and not by me. I tried something. It seems to have worked - so far.

As to the blank story in nemo~2 - it was an illustration to two stories in nemo~2 where the plots concern situations where printed public text mysteriously disappeared. It is also the shortest story in the world followed by 4 flyleaves. I've seen a book recently with 12 empty flyleaves at the end.

Hope this post doesn't sound presumptuous or pretentious. I am nemo's servant.

Des
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Gorden Russell
Posted on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 01:02 am:   

Dear Des,

I think I made a mistake: Your notice said 14 pounds cheque or 25 dollars, so I wrote a check for $25 and put it out for the letter carrier with three stamps on it. I really don't know the international rates, but that just looks so good on the envelope, it has to be correct.

But then I re-read your E-mail and it dawned on me you would trust a cheque for pounds but not a check for dollars. I'd send you a charge card number for AmEx, Visa, or MasterCard, if that would do for the retroscription of all three issues.
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des
Posted on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 01:17 am:   

Hi, Gorden, the three editions of Nemo are already on their way to you as I speak! How you pay me in the future, I've sent you another email. Payment (if at all) is secondary to letting readers have copies. ;-)
All the best, and thanks for the order. Des
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des
Posted on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 01:21 am:   

Got your second email, Gorden, and all is OK (really grateful to you). All three nemos and Only Connect are on their way. I'm now off-line for a week. best, des
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Gorden Russell
Posted on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 05:47 pm:   

Never saw anyone on such a mission that they'd get the books in the mail before I got the payments in the mail.

When I've read them, I'll see if I can get them put on the shelves at the Onondaga County Library. Some libraries accept donations, I just don't know about this system here.

If they don't take them, I'll take them to a used book store up in the University Section, like Des sugested in an interview
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Gorden Russell
Posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 12:56 pm:   

Three volumes of Nemonymous came in the mail today, along with Only Connect. Not only did Des send them on the day I asked for them (without waiting for my payment to cross from the other side of the Atlantic]. But he also sent them by Royal Air Mail at a cost of 6.75 pounds. That's almost half of what I sent him! You can't beat that kind of dedication. I'll hvae to set my writing project aside and pick up the first of these books.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 02:08 pm:   

Des is a marvel. Manifold kudos to Des!
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Gorden Russell
Posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 08:23 pm:   

Can Kudos be made manifest? If they can, I want to reimburse him that 6.75 pounds. If only I could make the sterling pound sign on an american keyboad...the "#" sign will not be understood as "pounds sterlilng." Maybe I could find out how much the pound is worth in dollars if I went looking for the Wall Street Journal web page. But I realy don't want to patronize them with a clickthrough after they had the nerve to call me a "lucky ducky." Where else could I find the value of the pound sterling? I'll go see if it's somewhere on the back pages of the New York Times website.
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des
Posted on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 09:14 am:   

Hi, Gorden, (and thanks Nicholas!)
Received your envelope today, Gorden - and glad the copies of Nemonymous arrived safely and quickly. Hope you enjoy them. I am your kudos khidmutgar.
Des
http://www.nemonymous.com

PS: No need to refund postage!!
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Gorden Russell
Posted on Saturday, November 01, 2003 - 02:48 am:   

You really spent too much mailing those books. I would have been just as happy if they'd been sent 4th class books.

I've only read the first two stories in Only Connect.

"The Eyes Have It" has a great eldritch sense of things that go bump in the night.

"A Trick of Dusk," even more so. (Not that I've met the Irish Wolfhound who could scare me).
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John Thiel
Posted on Saturday, November 01, 2003 - 05:44 am:   

Shorter than a russet hen in a tall wind.
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JAO
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 01:36 am:   

Bungee Jumper

I leap off the tower, then it hits me--

--no cord.


JAO
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jeff
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 06:59 pm:   

i just finished a 5,000 word short story and im ready to send it in but im worried about what font to put it in. right now in in times roman. is this ok?
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John Joseph Adams, F&SF Assistant Editor
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 08:36 pm:   

Jeff --

Check out this page for all sorts of great articles for writers:

http://www.sfwriter.com/owindex.htm


And check out this one in particular, as it answers your question: http://www.sfwriter.com/mschklst.htm.

Courier 12-point is the answer, by the way, but if you're unfamiliar with "standard ms. format," that article will spell it out for you.
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KR Mullin
Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 12:09 pm:   

re: short-short-short stories
"New Times - San Luis Obisp" has an annual contest that specializes in 55-word stories, and there's a collection of 55-ers in a book entitled "The World's Shortest Stories." Colliers Magazine claimed to have coined the term "short-short" in 1926, but the form pre-dated their featured stories. In fact, Chekov helped support his family by writing short-short fiction in the 1880's. I'm the co-editor of A Flasher's Dozen. We publish stories of 55-999 words in a quarterly "chapbook" and pay subscribers $15 for each piece that we print. For details, go to
http://flashers-dozen.blogspot.com/
Yours,
Ken
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Brian Klenk
Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 06:52 am:   

I noticed that several mags request that submissions be between 2,000 words and up.

I've got a short story that's 1620 words.... I feel that the story has a strong plot and ending, but am worried that it would just be rejected due to its short length. I don't want to just "pad" the story to bring up its word count.

Should I try and submit the story, or should I try to stretch it out?
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 08:09 am:   

Submit it.

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