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Archive for the ‘odd news’ Category

Diversity in Fiction aka Vanilla Slush

I’ve been reading a lot of slush this past month.  Mountains of it, really.  So much slush that I have imprints of the little yes/no/maybe buttons burned indelibly into the inside of my eyelids so I can see them staring back at me even in my sleep.

That’s a whole lot of slush.

But the biggest problem for a slush reader is that so very much of it is the same.  Well not really.  The setting changes a bit.  This one is set in a car.  That one is on a far away planet.  There’s a cute setup about a mystical creature under a bed.  But more times than not they all come back to the same thing.

Vanilla slush.

A white, middle class, educated protagonist.  Heterosexual.  Generally male.  Sometimes we get an educated, middle class, heterosexual white female.  Usually she’s fairly angst-ridden and she’s looking for love.  Or she’s bitter about love.  Or she has a cat.

We get an awful lot of cat stories.  You submitters sure do love your cats.   And I’m glad you love your cats…. *sigh*  But that’s beside the point.

So I’m challenging you to throw some other flavors into the slush.  Send us some rocky road.  Some pistachio chip with sprinkles.  Avocado with bacon chips and a dash of honey drizzle on top.

The world’s too big and diverse and wonderful.  Not that vanilla isn’t wonderful.  I’m about as vanilla as they come.  But vanilla is so much tastier with a zesty side of Latin   transgender astronaut.   Or a QUILTBAG family battling to stay together after the alien apocalypse.

Send us every age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, and creed you’ve got.  Send characters with disabilities and physical limitations that make us reexamine our stereotypical expectations.  To the LGBTQ community, Flash Fiction Online is your ally in a search for equality.  This is an open invitation.  We don’t publish erotica or gore.  But we do love characters and story plots that push the boundaries and make us think.

Now, a caution.  You can send the best flavor ever conceived, but if it’s not well written as a story, it’s still not getting through slush.  If it’s dripping all over the sides of the cone and puddling on my good shoes, that literary Harlem deliciousness isn’t getting a yes.  Craftsmanship is everything.  Hone your skills.  Make your characters sing.  Because slush needs them.

Flash Fiction Online needs them.

Now go write!

Much love,

Anna Yeatts, Publisher, FFO
annayeatts.com

Elizabeth Moon On RFID Chips

The prima materia of many a science fiction story, and tweaker of not a few personal rights advocates and readers of the Bible, RFID chips implanted at birth would, for example, end personal identity predicaments and improve friend-or-foe determination on the battlefield, says Nebula Award winner Elizabeth Moon. Here is a short BBC article on the topic.

Tolkien’s Prose Poor?

CS Lewis would disagree, but–as reported by the Guardian–the Nobel Prize committee declined LOTR for its “second-rate prose.” (Cough.)

And don’t miss a slightly shorter work, the Jan. 2012 Flash Fiction Online edition following its reboot efforts.

Libel Tourism Law

This Publishers Weekly article reports President Obama’s signing of a libel tourism law. Libel tourism is the practice of shopping around the world courts for those that are more friendly to libel cases. So, instead of suing an American author in an American court, in the example given in the article, you’d sue them in a British court, which in the anecdotal case had remarkable results.

The premise of the new law is that such practices are a way to work around American authors’ first amendment rights, since those rights are of no particular concern to foreign courts. I presume that this may benefit print and  online publishers as well.

As a side note, shopping for courts is nothing new. It’s been long felt, for example, that certain federal district courts were hostile to patents. In local criminal cases, an accused may face a notoriously stern or lenient judge, depending on the luck of the draw. These examples, at least, occur under the same legal framework, unlike shopping for international courts.

Bigfoot Hunters Going to New York

I know that a fair number of people here are fond of speculative fiction, and although it may not be fiction, I thought this press release might amuse or edify:

Bigfoot Hunters Heading to Catskill, New York to Investigate Several Sightings of a Family of Bigfoot, June 26-June 28, 2008
Expedition to Be Open to Journalists and the Media

CATSKILL, NY and MENLO PARK, CA–(Marketwire – June 23, 2008) – Bigfoot Hunter, Tom Biscardi, and his Searching For Bigfoot team, are currently en route to Catskill, New York where on June 26th through June 28th, they will follow up on very recent sightings of a family of creatures commonly referred to as Bigfoot. The Bigfoot sightings have occurred several times in the past six weeks on the rural property of a family in Catskill, New York. (The exact names and locations are being kept secret to avoid a media circus and to protect the creatures.)

The whole release is here.

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