A Pleasant Memorial Day To You All
The following is from "An Oath for Science Fiction Writers," by Leland Sapiro, from Writer's Digest, September 1965. I find this remarkable, especially since some of the following are still listed in magazine guidelines today as stuff editors don't want to see. I would be lying if I said I'd never written one of these (in my defense, mine eventually sold). Enjoy!
- A human being makes a pact with the Devil,
- A skeptical materialist
a) obtains a love potion or voodoo charm and finds that it works after all,
b) buys a shunned house and hears groans or rattling chains at night,
- A sleeper dreams he is in Mu or Atlantis, where he forcibly separated from his dream girl--and awakens to find in his hand a piece of cloth from her dress,
- A representative from Mars (or Atlantis) arrives in order to give Terrestrials the benefit of his superior civilization,
- Two interplanetary explorers
a) are the first colonists on a new planet, with their names at the end of the story turning out to be Adam and Eve,
b) land on a new planet, only to be frightened away by monstrosities who walk erect, but only have one pair of arms and legs, only one head, and only one pair of eyes,
- A boy or man makes people disappear by pointing with his finger and shouting "Zotz!" or the equivalent.
- Extra-terrestrial visitors
a) serve as representatives of a Galactic Union, which is keeping an eye on terrestrial atomic explosions,
b) contact a mutant superman (hero of the story), the possessor of unknown powers he cannot control,
- Terrestrials who visit another planet--a Counter-Earth, in the same orbit as Earth but hidden from us by the Sun--and find it exactly like ours, except that the drinks are tastier, the men handsomer, and the women sexier.
- A mad scientist, a mad professor, or a mad robot,
- Giant electronic brains, or transplanted human or animal brains,
- Kingdoms under the sea, inside volcanoes, or on the other side of the Moon,
- A future civilization in which Caucasians are the victim of racial prejudice.
- An individual with a love-problem, who at the end of the story discovers himself or herself to be a robot,
- A human being who is caged in a menagerie by extra-terrestrials,
- A Martian who comes to Earth but cannot anybody to believe he is from Mars--or an earthman who visits Mars and cannot get anybody to believe that he is from Earth,
- The tyrannical spaceship captain whose behavior, modeled on that of Captain Bligh, turns out to have been planned in advance, to stimulate his crew into reactions that will insure their survival,
- Man's struggle to repel invaders in the form of giant insects, giant reptiles, giant plants, giant brains, or giant robots,
- Man's struggle to rebuild after the thermonuclear holocaust--and in particular, the band of survivors whose spirits are revived by a Wise Old Man who has preserved some artifact from the pre-atomic age.