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Friday, August 15, 2008

Fantasy Review Vol II No 8 April-May 1948

Fantasy Review Vol II No 8 April-May 1948

Future Fiction O.K. Now : Heinlein No Model — Critic
From Forest J. Ackerman

The recent tendency towards science fiction in the slicks such as Robert Heinlein’s spece-travel stories in Satevepost may only be a flash in the pan. Although the general magazines are now prepared to entertain tales with futuristic settings the accent must still be on the story rather than the setting. In this respect, the editorial attitude hasn't changed according to Peter Granger who devoted his Review Page in the March Writer's Market and Methods to "Unusual Fiction".
Says Granger: The World of Tomorrow seems at last close enough, or at least predictable enough, to be acceptable in most magazines as the stage for characters to be on. This is that rather limited formula future which is no further from today than transatlantic airways were in the 1920's, and certainly not so far away as was the atom bomb in ‘40. The writer interested in the field for general magazine submissions must be content. with the non-prophetic story it seems, and must keep in mind that editorial eyes are hardly further ahead of fact than is the newsreel. This tends to bring the story close to to-day...”

Mentioning Heinlein's recent Post story, “The Black Pits of Luna he maintains that, for the writer interested in this form of fiction. It "should serve as a warning rather than an example or model to be followed. The author has depended so much upon the novelty of the setting, the strangeness of the locale, to hold the reader that he has worked no tangible story, bet has used an incident to keep his characters moving against his scenery. It would seem that this story would represent the extreme limits to which an author could go without a a story and still make a sale. A writer trying this field would be on firmer ground giving considerably more attention in story value and characters of some interest to the render".

At the same time Granger recommends writers of the more everyday story to study fantasy-fiction for the methods it employs to induce plausibility. "Characterisation usually must be very strong to keep the reader feeling there is a human connection between himself and the story. Plot details are usually clear-cut and definite, with the relation of the actions and results to the characters very distinct," he admits.

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