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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

I've posted a short story, "High Iron," over at my fiction journal, along with an explanation of why it's not publishable.

And a festive midwinter nondenominational gift-giving day to you all!

ETA: Like "When you Visit the Magoebaskloof Hotel, be Certain not to Miss the Samango Monkeys." "High Iron" is set in the same continuity as Hammered, et al.


Happy festive midwinter nondenominational gift-giving day to you back:)

Having read your story, and despite your statement that it can't be fixed, why not? What elements would you use to try to fix it to make it more than just serviceable, but interesting, and ready for taking out the trunk? Is it just not the effort?

It's not fixable because it's not broken. It's a perfectly good working story, as I said in my comments. It's just not a salable science fiction story, because it's, well, not science fiction.

I could have told the same story, and set it on an oil rig, or in a coal mine, without anything more than cosmetic changes.
I dunno, seems to me that "even in the future, life is still life" is a perfectly servicable form of science fiction story. You might not be able to sell them in the current market, but seems to me I read a lot of stories along these lines back in the days I spent a lot of time reading classic science fiction.
*g* That's what I mean by "There's nothing wrong with this story, but it won't sell."

Because it's after the model of a sort of science fiction story that's been out of fashion for forty years--it's a pre New Wave SF story, in other words. And science fiction, by the very nature of the beast, thinks of itself as a genre that keep evolving.

Jeremy Tolbert, a pretty insightful young writer and editor, has a theory of modern SF short stories where they need three legs to stand on--two arms of conflict, say, and a cool SFnal idea. This story has the two arms of conflict--an internal arc (as Clardy realizes *why* he's a fuckup) and an external arc (where Clardy and O'Shaughnessy come to detente.)

What would make it a better story is if there was a way to make that revelation revolve around some concept that illuminates, breaks new ground, and serves as a metaphor for the evolution. Which, in my groping apprentice-writer sort of way, is what I was trying to do with the planet and the big Fall, and I wanted to make some comments on racism and assumptions and man-against-nature, especially in a VERY hostile environment...

*g* Literary SF, I think, is actually harder to write than litfic, because it's got to support one more leg of auctorial development.