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July 20, 2001

Shot Down By Future Orbits

A quick week reply from Future Orbits. Very impressive turn-around time. An editor who knows what he wants, or doesn't, as the case may be.

July 16, 2001

I'm In Good Company With Black Gate

A 154 day rejection from Black Gate. He said a lot of nice things about it, as well as why he was passing on it. I find I'm not alone in this. Seems like lots of other people in the NAW got passed over by Black Gate in the last couple days...

July 14, 2001

Threefer

A month long rejection from a poem from Talebones, and an eight day no from F&SF. Curses!

Later: Good heavens, a new record! Three rejections in one day. A 36 day detailed rejection from Strange Horizons. Wow. Now I need a nap.

July 12, 2001

NAW Stirs In Her Sleep, And Why Marketing Can Be Evil

Movement in the NAW, it seems. Bound to happen sooner or later. Look to the page to see some changes in the ranks.

Having said that, I'd like to clarify my "Marketing Can Be Evil" remark. I'd like to point out that I'm perfectly aware that this journal is a form of marketing, although perhaps not as effective as one might think. No, I'm referring to Dilbertesque marketing, where one's viewpoint of the universe is shaped by marketing, and shaped in a false way. In other words, garbage in, garbage out.

Here's what I mean: there's a program we use at the library designed for directed marketing. It's used quite a bit in the Real World, by marketing pros. It works by using census and other survey data to find out who are the best "targets" for your products, where they are, and how to find them. It works by classifying everyone in the U.S. into one of sixty odd general groups. Each group has got a cute nickname, and demographic data is attached to the group (age, income, marital status, type of housing, etc. etc.), along with other types of data. What TV shows they watch, what magazines they read, what fast food they eat, as well as other sorts of data. In other words, if you've got a new brand of olive oil to peddle, you can find out what group uses the most olive oil, and what TV shows & magazines they like. That way you know where to place your ads. I'd like to note at this point that I didn't think I fell into any of the categories exactly, but that's all right. They're just generalities.

As a SF writer, I decided to see what kinds of people tend to read science fiction. The top three are younger professionals who make good money and are on their way to the top; young college-age types in lower end or starter jobs living in smaller towns; and military people. Fine. Then I decided to see who's buying the most books. There's a search for "Buys 10+ books a year." The number one in this category are young singletons who live in places like New York City, make lots of money, are well educated, and do things like go to the theatre and watch Masterpiece Theater. All right. I go back to my "Buys SF" list to see how often they do it. I expect it to be lower than average. To my surprise, they don't. Zero, zip, zilch, never ever do these people buy or read science fiction. I can hear you already. This is a surprise?

Well, yes. The problem is, it isn't that they don't read science fiction, it's just not marketed that way. The July issue of Asimov's had an editorial that mentioned an example of social science fiction called "Blindness," by Jose Saragamo. It's selling very well in the U.S., and I'm sure that these highbrow urbanites are reading it. But it isn't science fiction to them, it's mainstream literature. Mainstream, despite the fact that if a SF writer wrote it, no one would blink an eye. In other words, marketing has created a view of the universe that looks accurate on the surface, but doesn't match the reality of what's going on. No wonder people like Vonnegut and Ellison don't want to be classified as SF writers. Marketing has become an obstacle to reaching their readership. And that, to me, is evil. Thus endeth the soapbox.

July 07, 2001

Post Office Exhibits Sense of Humor

A 102 form rejection from Asimov's today. In an attempt to be funny, this is also accompanied by the latest issue of Asimov's. Very amusing.

July 03, 2001

Systems Back Online

Well, the computer's back up, fit as a fiddle and ready for love. I've also been on vacation for the last couple days, making the most of the forthcoming Fourth. It's been very relaxing: rather than doing any traveling, we've stayed home. If you've never had a vacation spent at home, I highly recommend it. It's rather like an extended weekend. You can get some housework done (but you don't have to do it all on one day if you don't want to), as well as find time to read a few books (I'm currently working on The Best of Leigh Brackett, soon to be followed by Supertoys Play All Summer Long) and see a few movies. So far we've watched A.I. (which I rather liked, although it's too long), eXistenZ (good but rather confusing), and Dungeons & Dragons (bad, bad, bad). Is this what retirement would be like? Ah, how nice. The only writing news I have is a rejection from an anthology I'd been invited to submit to. Oh well. At least I can send it someplace else...