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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

We've All Seen This Before

I stumbled on a great list of Science Fiction cliches from the editors of Strange Horizons, an online speculative fiction magazine. The editors post a running list of "Stories We've Seen Too Often." I was amused. Among my favorites:

"Someone calls technical support; wacky hijinx ensue."

"Technology and/or modern life turn out to be soulless."

"Visitor to alien planet ignores information about local rules, inadvertantly violates them, is punished."

"An A.I. gets loose on the Net, but the author doesn't have a clear concept of what it means for software to be "loose on the Net." (For example, the computer it was on may not be connected to the Net.)"

"White protagonist is given wise and mystical advice by Holy Simple Native Folk."

"Space travel is wonderful and will solve all our problems. "

It goes on and on. Interesting the cliches taken in whole provide a pretty good description of Discworld. BTW, when the world sucks, I think Discworld is the best place to hide.

After reading that, I looked at more of the "Strange Horizons" website. I thought this fanzine might actually provide something wiotrth reading. After all, the editors seem to be aware of what SciFi crap looks like.

Alas, I was proven wrong, again. The brief descriptions of stories in their recent issues show as strange parallel to their lost of "Stories We've Seen Too Often."

For Example, A featured plot element in the December 21 issue: ". . . She hears the soft calls of the mahouts, speaking the old language that only they and the beasts understand. . . ". Sounds like the hackneyed "Holy Simple Native Folk" to me.

Now, at absolutely no cost, here's my Advice to the Volunteer Editors of Strange Horizons:

(1) If you want to publish a magazine full of trite cliches, you might want to hold back from publishing derogatory lists of the same cliches that fill your magazine.

(2) Figure out a way to move out of your parents' extra room, if you haven't already.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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