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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fantasy Review Vol. 1 No 4 Aug-Sep 1947

Fantasy Review Vol. 1 No 4 Aug-Sep 1947

An End to Banality: It's Curtains for Space Opera
From Forest J. Ackerman

July and August issues of Writer's Digest featured articles by Margaret St. Clair, science fiction writer, surveying the field from the viewpoint of the newcomer who wants to break into it and detailing the individual requirements of the magazines. The second article gives names and addresses of fan clubs and their publications, so that writers may "catch the spirit of what readers want and get the mood of the fan seated in his own armchair."

The July article advised new authors to pay particular attention to fan letters in the magazines. "The typical science fiction fan is young, male (though some are devoted feminine ones), literate, quite intelligent, interested in ideas. His mental horizon is broader that that of the average citizen. He is strongly aware of what his likes and dislikes are, and the writer who succeeds in pleasing him will hear of it. In my belief the science fiction fan is a definitely superior type, but I may be prejudiced."

Dealing with current trends in the medium, Mrs. St. Clair says, "Certainly the present trend is dead away from the aptly-named 'space opera'. Blood and thunder is more or less on its way ou, though I suppose we shall never be rid of it entirely … Of late, Astounding Science-Fiction has been going in rather heavily for stories about the post-atomic bomb world. They take but a dim view of the future which is probable for humanity, and on this point all thinking persons must agree with them. But desolation and death, no matter how likely, offer unsustaining subject matter for an extended programme of fiction.

"What will the future be like? No one can see very far into it. It may be that at first we shall have a considerable enrichment in material things. Science fiction might, then, devote itself at least partially to an imaginative depiction of the impact of this enrichment on humanity, with increased emphasis on humour, on character, on human interest. The life and social sciences will receive more stress. I believe we shall have more domestic interiors and fewer spaceships, more people and fewer robots and captured suns. Anyhow, it's more darned fun to write."

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