Damien G. Walter had a guest blogger talking about the untapped potential for science fiction readership, along with some provocative comments. This led to my own comment, reproduced below. Of course, once our outliers reach these distant subcultures, it’s entirely probable that they will prove vastly superior to us and already in possession of the information we are seeking to promulgate. In which case, the communicator will become the communicated…
The kinds of SF readers mentioned do not identify with “book culture,” either, and so book forums and the like don’t register on their radar. There are communities, tribes, and subcultures out there on the internet who read fiction but don’t self-identify as “fiction reader” in the same way that core SF fandom does. It’s these readers that any fiction publication with an online presence needs to find ways of reaching. That requires the work of what I’d call next-generation publicists, whose creative allegiance to the publication they are publicizing is as tribal and communal as those organizations, entities, and subcultures that this person will be contacting. I.e., spacefarers who have received extensive cultural SF training and absorbed communication methodologies conducive to First Contact.
In short, what SF magazines need is to send off inner-space colonizing missions or emissaries that travel across the vast entirety of e-space in search of those interested in short fiction, each emissary basically traveling in a body-suit innerspace-ship encoded with universal signifiers that will tell those the emissaries come in contact with that there is something of interest here. Some emissaries will target particular e-planets and e-systems. Others will be sent out into general quadrants of e-space emitting friendly communication signals with bursts of more specific information in hopes that alien e-cultures will pick up these signals and tractor-beam them to their home e-planets.
Traditional SF magazine emissaries would look like inert blocks of dead matter to most alien subcultures, or like fizzing masses of loosely attached white noise. Which is why such fiction-nauts must be properly trained and prepared prior to launch into the vast reaches of e-space.
Note: Reza Negarestani pointed out to me prior evidence of fiction-nauts, although of a more radical SF nature.