14 thoughts on “New column at IROSF

  1. I threw everything but the kitchen sink at Analog for years and never made a sale there. My stuff didn’t suit their tastes. Much of it sold elsewhere, so it wasn’t so much a matter of whether it was commercial, but if it was what Ben or Stan wanted.

    It wasn’t. I just wasn’t an Analog writer.

    There are taboos, which is a different beast. Some of these, they will tell you, if you send for guidelines. Some, you find out when they kick something back and there is bile on the pages.

    And there are editors who don’t want he-man stories written by women, or romances written by men, but Gordon isn’t one of ’em.

    1. Good point, Steve.

      There are stories that I bought at Pulphouse that I never would have bought for F&SF. There are stories that I bought for F&SF that I never would have bought for Pulphouse. I liked all of those stories, but I was editing two very different products. Publications have voices, just like writers do, and some things simply don’t suit the publication’s voice.

  2. Every editor in the business rejected me on a routine basis for more than a decade of steady submissions. The hard truth is, you learn to write in isolation, and every rejection hurts. In the old days I would hang out in cafes and bars with the one or two friends who were also trying to write, and we would lament the unfairness of it all. Eventually you go back to work. Or not. How many rejections do you absorb before you begin believing in some bias on the part of editors and the establishment? The point is, there is no bias, except for personal taste. That’s when the relentlessness of your submission plan works to your advantage. Editors want good stories and they want to see new writers. The internet is kind of the bar / cafe that never closes.

    1. Excellent point, Jack.

      Here’s the problem. When you’re complaining in a cafe, your friends hear you. When you complain on the internet, everyone hears you–and ugly rumors start.

      It’s hard to break in. You may never break into some markets. I know there are several literary magazines that still haven’t accepted me. But that doesn’t stop me from trying.

  3. Kris, I can’t find a more private way to send you this or I would. I can’t help but wonder after reading your column and your responses to others, if you’re aware that there are a number of younger woman writers who take it as writ that F&SF under your successor is not receptive to work from woman writers?

    I make this statement not in any way trying to assert that this assumption about the F&SF editors is true, but it is definitely a conceit that’s is alive and well and out there. (I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine about where to submit a story of hers next, when I mentioned F&SF the response was immediately, oh they’re not interested in anything from someone like me…) I’m just curious what your take on that idea is, and if you don’t have one or would rather not offer one, I certainly understand.

    1. If you look at the statistics, Gordon publishes as many women as I did. Fewer women write pure genre sf. Most women who write fantasy/sf write it under the romance label.

      I know Gordon gets this rap and it’s not justified.

      I don’t know who your friend is. But since I’m already on an unpopular limb, let me go even farther. Most writers should blaming outside sources for their rejection (like discrimination or bias on the part of male editors) and start looking at their own storytelling and craft. I can guarantee if they write an excellent story–that suits the magazine–it will get bought, whether they are male, female or something inbetween. It’s the story, folks, not the gender.

  4. Kris!

    High Five!

    If they give you flack we’ll sic em 🙂

    BTW, when I made the comment about making a series out of Recovery Man I hadn’t looked at the books you had out there! I was so embarrassed to find you DID make a series!

    I purchased the Kindle edition of Duplicate Effort today and I’m currently trying to read it, the page formatting is all messed up, but I’m coping 🙂 Each paragraph is separated by an inch of blank space!


  5. Great column, Kris. You reminded me of my 17.5%, three-year Subaru GL loan. Yikes.

    Your using “platforms” to describe what our forbearers did for us gives a renewed feeling of stability to my knees. And, yes, it is those platforms that keep this time in our economies from being A Great Depression.

    Now, 2009 is the age of the short attention span. This is continually stirred through sounds bytes (voiced or typed), as opposed to tragic headlines. Sound bytes are enhanced by social networking over the internet. Bytes are Twittered to the masses transforming this moment’s byte into an instant buzz, clearly superior in effect to the afternoon newspaper brought home to the family (audience under a dozen, not near 12 million). Given these dynamics, I label our current situation as The Panic.

    You hit the nail on the head: today’s generations have no clue what Depression really means. Today folks are simply _anxious_: “OMG, the FDIC increased their insurance on my CD to “only” $250,000 — and only during calendar 2009. What am I going to do?” They will not believe you when told about what happened to their great grandfather when his bank went under. And 1930’s Americans didn’t have Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, and their cousins, to help them cope.

    We should tell all the drama queens we know (this is not sex-biased term!) to pop an extra Laxapro and read a book! The more books read, the more the market expands. The expanded market would attract new participants, authors and editors. More editors dictates an increase in the frequency of reassessment by all editors (commonly termed “competition”). Sprinkle in the set of hard-fought-for platforms that examine gender bias on an ongoing basis and you ensure the market will cotinually realign, ultimately dictating the survival of the fairest.

    1. Much appreciated, Chuck. The previous column was about buying books and subscribing to things, etc. Check it out at IRoSF. 🙂

  6. Terrific column, and I agree with every word. More people should read history. You studied it at university, and it shows. I didn’t, but have caught up in the meantime. I read more history now than anything else, and it always makes me appreciate how good we have it even in dark times.

  7. You — don’t mean to cause trouble?


    Great article, Kris! I really appreciate your perspective. Being a guy I apparently suffer from male white priviledge that I can’t possibly comprend the oppression that I force upon people by my mere presence. Considering everyone on their merits is apparently not fair due to my inherent white male priviledge and lack of comprehesion.

    See! I don’t even understand what I just said.

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