Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This fiction is not... analogous

So, despite the fact that I've submitted to Analog magazine a half dozen times, I've never actually, uh, read it. Just, sometimes, when I've got an SF story to burn, those rates look so hot, and I've never had many scruples to begin with.

I know, I know, that's bad form. Worse form, perhaps, is that I never really read the rejection letter they always send me (despite its particularly voluminous size)... until yesterday. And what I saw there made me truly realize what a dolt I am.

What Stanley Schmidt sees
every time I submit.

Now, I already tore the rejection to tiny pieces, so I'm paraphrasing here; but on the letter is a list of common reasons for rejection. And one of them is something like: "Analog readers are problem-solvers! They don't like whiny characters and they don't like to lose; and if they do lose, they go down fighting!"

That's great. I don't like whiners, either. But nearly all of my stories are incredibly fatalistic, so whether or not I'm writing about losers, I'm still usually writing about losing. And this means, of course, that Analog is looking for the exact opposite of my fiction (read [in my opinion] as "optimistic science-driven self-delusion").

Of course, I don't really hate science or science fiction that much; but I can't deny that I'm basically like an inverted vitriolic atheist. By vitriolic atheist, I mean those folks who accuse religion for all its vicissitudes and then ignore the fact that just about every social program every designed is faith-based. I, similarly, point to the atomic bomb and suicide seeds and ignore the fact that I'm working on a computer right now.

But back to Analog. The lesson? Do actually read the magazine before you submit. I used to do this all the time, but then I got lazy and decided I needed markets whether or not I was creating appropriate fiction. Analog was low on the list at that time, so it was never read. Oops.

The other half of this lesson is that, even if I think there's no reason to submit any more to them, I really ought to read Analog, because of - rathan in spite of - the fact that it probably espouses the opposite of my worldview. Variety is the hymnal of life... or... something...



  1. Reading the magazine is a good idea. XD

    Way to submit a million, though. Each rejection means you're one step closer to being published!

  2. I make a habit of reading every magazine I submit to. Then when I send an oddball story I'm being artsy instead of lazy.

    Anyways, I like optimistic science-driven self-delusion. If you can't even delude yourself, who can you trust?