Tuesday, April 22, 2014

SF Plots Editors Don't Want

Via Magda Kamenev, “10 Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories that Editors are Tired of Seeing” on io9.com.

Zombies, sure. Too many Walking Dead and World War Z wanna-bes out there. Parallel universes, fine. Also a lot of Fringe fans still writing fanfic. Time travel, ditto Doctor Who. Faux Steampunk, yeah, annoying. Fairytale retellings… I’ve read 'em, I wrote one, they’re fun, but I can see how they can tire an editor quickly. Mermaids, though? Tween fans of Ariel writing mermaid stories? But fine. Revenge stories, “edgy” stories, yeah, I’ve waded through too many for my taste. Pregnancy horror? Isn’t the alien baby bursting out of the belly a metaphor for the all-consuming nature of children and, if so, how can we have too many of those?

But what caught my attention was Number Ten on the list, “Pun/twist ending.” You see, as a youngster of around 15, eons ago, I was a subscriber to Asimov’s and, God help me, enjoyed the occasional story, often by Isaac Asimov himself, that was nothing more than a long setup to a groaner of an ending. Naturally, I wrote one and submitted it to the magazine. Equally naturally, the story was rejected. I rather expected that - I have a big ego, but not that big - and I was happy with a hand-written note by the editor, George Scithers, or at least one of his minions. However, I was mildly taken aback by the content of the note, which said the story was being rejected as it was “contrived.” Contrived? ConTRIVED? Come on, George, that’s the nature of the beast. They’re all contrived.

1 comment:

Magdalena Kamenev said...

Ha! Lovely story ...

And I remember my share of shaggy dog stories in Fantasy & Science Fiction, too. But I suppose it helps to be a name to get away with that sort of thing.