Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What should science fiction publishers publish?

There's been a lot of talk since the Hugo nominations came out about what science fiction publishers should be publishing.  I figured I'd weigh in with my two cents (for what they're worth).  The answer for me, as an editor, comes down to a good story.  When I'm reading submissions, I don't care whether or not the person has some agenda in their story, and I don't care if the story is nothing more than a rousing space opera like the "stories of old."  I simply want to read a good story that is well written.  And by well written, I don't mean that it lives up to some standards set forth in a college English class.
What is a good story?  Something that holds my interest.  Like every other editor, I have my own personal beliefs (religious, political, etc.), but a good story doesn't have to fit with my beliefs.  I'm an Atheist, but I've published a lot of good stories that have definite religious overtones.  Why did I publish them if they didn't fit my beliefs?  Because they were good stories.  I'm a progressive, bordering on liberal, but I've published stories that had definite conservative overtones.  Why?  Again, because they were good stories.
I know for a fact that I have published at least one author who was on one of the puppy slates, and I don't care.  He's a good writer, and if he sends me a good story, I will still publish him.  I really don't care about all of the political infighting that's going on in the field.  My goal is to publish the best SF and fantasy that I can get for the small payments we can afford.  If it doesn't match my beliefs, fine.  If it doesn't match the beliefs of the majority or the minority in the field, fine.  I just want to publish good stories.
So, what should science fiction publishers publish?  Whatever they feel like they should publish.  We're not here to make everyone happy.  If it pisses some people off, that's life...and maybe that's a good thing.  Literature should provoke an emotional reaction of some kind...

No comments: