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Long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and finalist for the Crawford Award. Title short story listed for the 2000 O. Henry award.

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Man-squito 1, Literature 0

Add my voice to the chorus of “God, idiots!” about the closing of Scifiction. Part of me is amazed it lasted as long as it did. But I also think this is indicative of not just the Sci-Fi Channel, but cable channels in general, and what they seek to do with their properties, websites, etc. The Sci-Fi Channel was vaporware for a long, long time before finally launching. I remember they had ads about it on the back of Science Fiction Age-talk about another blast from the past-that seemed to be in the definite mode of courting fandom and lovers of speculative literature. There were documentaries about writers. I even vaguely remember Sci-Fi covering Worldcon!

However, in the end, where it once only teetered on the precipice of the cesspool, and at least made a few stabs of making itself part of a community, one has to remember that this is the network that chose Tripping the Rift over Farscape. Cable television in general became a race to see how far a channel could race to put its head in the cesspool first and crawl to the bowels of the cistern. Back in the day, A&E used to broadcast ballet. Now it’s bounty hunters and tattoo parlors, baby. And the Sci-Fi channel chose to specialize in recycling the same monster movie 20 times a year and butchering adaptations of beloved SF’nal classics-and congratulating themselves on said butchering. Within this least common denominator climate, according to the raw market forces, words are st00pid, because they can’t be trusted. Stories can’t generate revenue efficiently; they’re not cash crops anymore.

And if it isn’t the case already, the mistrust should be mutual. There have to be, and are, ways to negotiate short science fiction in a way that hybridizes it against the most fickle of market vagrancies. (Strange Horizons has one model; F&SF has another.) But I fear for any magazine or venue that has to compete for attention within its own media conglomerate.

Best of luck, Ms. Datlow, and here’s hoping for a Scifiction anthology that will be one hell of an epitaph.

Mon, November 14 2005 » Fiction, Movies/TV

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