Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coming Next Week: IGMS 5th Anniversary Issue

Our line-up of stories includes new a Orson Scott Card story, “The Expendables,” which in some ways is a sneak peek at his forthcoming novel, Pathfinder, due out in November, and in some ways is a unique stand-alone piece that you won’t find anywhere but IGMS. And the audio verson of the story is performed by OSC himself. Cool stuff.

We also have the magical fantasy “Right Before Your Very Eyes” by regular contributor Matt Rotundo, a disturbing SF story about the lengths future stand-up comics will go to for laughs in “Schadenfreude” by Michelle Scott, a curmudgeon with the ability to cast killing spells in Pete Aldin’s “Deathsmith,” and the tale of a defective clone – at least everyone else thinks so – in “The Ghost of a Girl Who Never Lived” by Keffy Kehrli.

Darrell Schweitzer interviews writer Andy Duncan, and in case you didn’t get enough OSC the first time, we also present Part 3 and the conclusion of our serialization of OSC’s novella, “Eye For an Eye.” Plus another in David Lubar’s series of “Tales for the Young and Unafraid.” To round out the celebration, we also have an extra audio story, Mary Robinette Kowal’s reading of Tom Crosshill’s flash story, “Express To Paris by Dragon First Class.” That audio will be free to all, whether you have a subscription (yet) or not.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Side-show Musings: Mother, Daughter; Girlfriend, Boyfriend

Last night I caught the pilot of the new ABC super-hero drama, No Ordinary Family.  For the most part it was a mediocre show with some fun highlights and a few poignant moment.

One scene took me right out of the show, however, and I’ve been thinking about it all night. 

The set up: Daughter has just found out that her boyfriend is sleeping with her best friend.  Daughter says tearful farewell to Boyfriend, and storms out of his house.  Mother talks to daughter to find out what’s troubling her.

DAUGHTER: Boyfriend is sleeping with Best Friend!

MOTHER: That b***h!

DAUGHTER: I know, right?

Well, sure.  Best Friend is a not-nice word.  There’s a level of trust, implicit in the relationship between best friends, that you just don’t DO that.  So yeah…  But what ISN’T said is what goads me to write this post.

What about Boyfriend?  Why isn’t she railing at him?  Is he incapable of taking responsibility for his actions?  Are men seen as somehow non-culpable when it comes to the destruction of relationships?

Because if they are, someone TOTALLY forgot to tell the women in my life that I have ZERO control over the way I interact with others.  The excuse, “Eh.  I’m a guy.  Whaddaya want?”  is never heard spoken in my home. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the opposite situation, either—where the guy is the scapegoat for everything wrong in the relationship (cf, Everybody Loves Raymond).  But the mother and daughter’s reaction to the boyfriend’s relationship to the best friend just seemed…unrealistic.  In a show where a woman can run 700 miles an hour, where a middle-aged police sketch artist can jump 1/2 a mile and catch bullets…that was the scene that got me thinking, “Unbelievable.”

Maybe I don’t understand women.  I’m pretty sure I understand men, though, and I guarantee: Boyfriend needs to be held accountable for his actions, just like Best Friend.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Orson Scott Card story - free on IGMS - limited time

In celebration of "Elephant Appreciation Day" (celebrated on September 22), Orson Scott Card is making his story "The Elephants of Posnan" FREE on IGMS from September 17 through September 22.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match…

Find me a find, catch me a catch. It’s too bad this isn’t a podcast. I have a wonderful voice. Really, I do…

Today’s topic is matchmaking. We shall not concern ourselves in this small space with hormone-driven adolescent or even post-adolescent attempts at acquiring a suitable…suitor. We shall not mention Mr. Darby; nor Mr. Rochester. Nor shall we touch—not even for the briefest moment—the issue of Mr. Cullen.

No, indeed. We shall not. Shan’t, even.

Intergalactic Medicine Show is a speculative fiction magazine. We look for stories that contain some type of fantastic element: from aliens, to fairies; from starships, to Viking boats; toViking aliens driving starships rowed by Elven slaves. (“Row, you miserable little pixie vermin! It’s twelve hundred thousand light-leagues to Betelgeuse, and I’ll have your fore-wings if we aren’t there by mead-time!”)

In terms of genre labeling, we have printed science fiction, steampunk, fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, mundane science fiction, horror, psychological horror, far future science fiction, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, cyberpunk, and magical realism. The Medicine Show has many booths, and varied and sundry are the goods therein.

Even so. We have submission guidelines for a reason. Some stories do not interest us; some stories offend even our cosmopolitan literary palates. Standards! Morals! Hygiene! Without these things, our world dissolves into so much sloppy mush. Literarily speaking.

I am not talking, necessarily, about offensive stories, or counter-culture narratives, or allegorical exposes of the underbelly of contemporary society. All those things are welcome in our magazine provided they contain some speculative content.

The truth is that no matter how well written your literary fiction short story is, it’s unlikely to be accepted by Intergalactic Medicine Show. And if we can’t find the speculative fiction element in your short story—say, within the first couple pages—we’re not likely to keep looking for it.

This isn’t, by the way, unique to IGMS. MOST science fiction and fantasy magazine editors and slush editors need to see the speculative content up front, just to keep reading. We have an implied contract with our audience—you wouldn’t expect to turn on the Sci-Fi channel and find yourself watching wrestling, would you? Or the History channel and find yourself watching a show about the impact of aliens on ancient culture?


In any case, matchmaking! How can you tell if your story is a match for IGMS?

1) Follow the submission guidelines.

2) Read the magazine. There is no better way to gauge a market. The submission guidelines are general guides to what we like; the printed stories are implemented examples.

3) Consider the advice given in the Freak Filter posts on this blog. The Freak Filter; The Freak Filter Redux.

Again, it’s a good idea to clearly introduce your speculative content within the first couple pages of your submission. That way, you meet the audience expectation for oddity right up front.

--Scott M. Roberts

Asst. Gentleman Caller

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Sideshow Links- September 1, 2010

Creating Language:  Interview with the gentleman creating the Dothraki language for HBO's take on George R. R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series. 

Save the Words:Neat little site with thousands of strange words.  Get to know a word; adopt it!

Pennsylvania Graves:Irish ghosts, cholera, violent murder, Pennsylvania, forensic science, geophysics...disturbing and intriguing all at once.

Star Trek Meets Farmville