SF Subculture Seeks Fiction-naut Volunteers for First Contact with Possibly Hostile, Possibly More Advanced Lifeforms in the Vastness of E-space

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.

7 comments on “SF Subculture Seeks Fiction-naut Volunteers for First Contact with Possibly Hostile, Possibly More Advanced Lifeforms in the Vastness of E-space

  1. What kind of SF are those alien e-communities interested in?

    My guess would be that they tend to read traditional SF and adventure yarns (as in most SF films), along with mainstream stories with a spattering of SF elements.

    The most innovative magazines are read by writers and sophisticated readers who are two or three steps ahead of “Avatar.” So, besides a renewal in format and marketing, what should the zines do (about content) to widen their diffusion? Feature authors from the mainstream shores?

  2. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    We all need to be subversive insurgents who put in front of readers the most sophisticated and insane fiction possible, but with the delivery system of pop culture.

    I am going to start publishing my least commercial material under book covers that scream Terry Brooks.

  3. Damien G. Walter says:

    What we need to factor in, is that the Grand Masters of SF and their slaved brain units (us fans) have been gradually inculcating the viral message of of SCIFI into the great population for decades now. It lies dormant in 74.7 percent of the American population, and only slightly less in Europa. Once activated the virus will convert BILLIONS of the population to our cause. WorldCon will become, quite literally, a global gathering of SF faithful. Governments will fall, societies will crumble. Someone, somewhere, might actually make a living from publishing SF short stories.

    Stranger things happen you know.

  4. Oh, but that’s the saving truth my sleep-deprived brain prevented me from seeing!

    Covers! Pulp covers to attract the masses.

  5. We need to get pop stars seen reading new weird.

  6. Gish says:

    ‘Whatcha readin? That half-naked woman with the horrified look and the darkly mysterious man with a look of malice mixed with tender concern simultaneously holding her and wielding the latest in a gatling lasers has me interested’

    ‘War and Peace. I am not sure how they factor in yet but I can’t wait until they do.’

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