Thursday, March 26, 2009


To writers with stories scheduled for publication in M-Brane SF from issue #4 onward: if you would like to provide an afterword for your story (some thoughts on what inspired you, or the circumstances of writing it, or whatever else you might like to say about it), I will publish it. It's too late to add these for #3, but for #4 onward it's possible. If you don't wish to do that, no big deal.  I'll see what I get just by announcing it here, and I'll probably send an email reminder of it as production commences on each issue.  I would like contributions for #4 ASAP, however, because that will go into pre-production shortly after #3 releases.  I won't impose any word-count or content restrictions on these afterwords either. I'm easy like that.

Our taboos discussion caused me to browse through Again, Dangerous Visions, the Ellison-edited sequel book to the famous Dangerous Visions, because I was looking for James Tiptree's stunner of a story, and then I got caught up (once again) in reading Ellison's intros and the writers' afterwords.  I know that this sort of thing isn't everyone's bag, but I really enjoy getting those peeks into writers' craft and thought processes, and I figure that readers who don't need that extra stuff can still just read the fiction and skip over the other stuff if they wish. Ellison says as much in A,DV, stating that the book holds 250,000 words of fiction that the reader paid for and another 60,000 in other material offered for "free."  Aside from all the fascinating intros and afterwords, I was reminded of the sheer number of astounding stories in that book. In addition to the great Tiptree piece, other highlights include Kate Wilhelm's beautiful "The Funeral," Piers Anthony's startling "In the Barn," Gene Wolfe's utterly Gene-Wolfeish triptych "Mathoms From the Time Closet," Richard Lupoff's burning mess of a novella "With the Bentfin Boomer Boys on Little Old New Alabama," and, of course, Kurt Vonnegut The Man Himself with "The Big Space Fuck." Yeah, mom, it's a story by a Big Name Author!

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Anonymous said...

I can't remember which Tiptree story is in that one? I have to say tho, if I'm thinking of the right Dangerous Visions, the only story that really fit that moniker in my mind was the Sturgeon story.

Christopher Fletcher said...

It's called "The Milk of Paradise." Ellison's intro to it is interesting from a sf-author-trivia standpoint because even he didn't know yet who Tiptree really was (she wasn't "outed" until a couple years later) and he says something to the effect that if Kate Wilhelm is the woman to watch now then Tiptree is the man to watch.

I wonder if the Sturgeon item you are remembering is "If All Men Were Brothers Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?" which was in the first Dangerous Visions, along with Delany's "Aye, and Gomorrah."

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's the Sturgeon story. It is actually a story that bothers me, b/c Sturgeon is one of my writer-heroes and I think the premise of the story reprehensible. That said, barring any further evidence, I just take this as a SF-ish extrapolation befitting the 'Dangerous Visions' theme. The Delany story is great! I must say that while I respect Delany as a writer, he can come across as over-inflated in his commentary. There is a good example regarding his intro to one of the Sturgeon Best of anthologies.

I'm writing this a bit while thinking about your newer post regarding Card and Niven, etc. I just choose to admire what is good and leave the rest on the table. Occasionally I find someone who just goes too far and I avoid, like you describe, but it's pretty rare. I think as far as political or religious agenda, any such that becomes overt is unwelcome. Tell me a good story, and I'll go along for the ride. Preach to me, and even if I agree, I tend to shake my head.

I really like E Moon's Vatta's War, and I get the impression she's probably pretty conservative. I don't care: it's all about the story. I also love C Mieville, and he's a socialist. (You can't speak that word aloud down here in Texas!). It's all about the story.

I think leftist SF is under-represented these days. And I wonder what markets are open to it, other than M-Brane?

Christopher Fletcher said...

I concur with you on Delany's tone in some of his commentaries. I feel like I've read stuff like that intro to the Sturgeon book you mention and found it a bit much. Bruce Sterling is like that, too. I love that man's fiction but sometimes his commentary on stuff, such as his intros to the MIRROSHADES anthology and the one to his SCHISMATRIX PLUS collection, are well nigh unbearable.

I concur also with what you say on the politics stuff--it really only turns my crank when it gets crazy, but I'm glad to look past it when someone is telling a great story. I know of Moon's books but haven't read them, and I don't know where she is politically--she kind of looks like an middle-aged hippie in pictures, but who knows. Mieville, as you say, is a real Red, but his books (well the single one I've read so far) doesn't come across as a big fat communist manifesto.

It's interesting that you say that you find leftist SF underrepresented. You may be right, but what's interesting about it is just the other day I bought a story for a future issue of M-Brane which pretty plainly puts out there what might be considered a right-wing view on climate change. It's not overbearingly preachy and is very well told, so I was happy to disregard the fact that I don't personally agree with where it's coming from. The writer then thanked me for taking the story and said pretty much exactly the opposite of what you just said. From his perspective, the sf press is apparently pretty leftist or "PC" and he doesn't expect to find many editors who want to see something from his side of things.


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