Subterranean Press is a boutique Sci-Fi publisher. John Scalzi is an author and longtime blogger I’m rather fond of. Recently he edited an edition of Subterranean’s Sci-Fi magazine, and the issue sold out so they decided to throw the whole issue onto the web in PDF form, gratis. The issue’s theme is “Cliches” – all of the stories and nonfiction articles deal with hoary old sci-fi cliches in some way or other. There are brains in jars, there are men on mars, there’s a 100,000 Shakespeares banging away at computers. I think it would be of interest to both sci-fi fans and writers (the latter, in particular, might enjoy some of the nonfiction articles, such as “It Came from the Slush Pile”, about the surfeit of cliches in the business).
Here’s a quote I particularly liked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden‘s “Remarks on Some Cliches I Have (By Definition) Known Too Well”:
I reserve my actual hate for stroke-fantasy fictions about how social order will instantly collapse into the law of the jungle during times of disaster or social stress, ooh baby ooh baby, cue the war of each against all and break out the lube. In real life, what actually happens is that people cooperate, if they’re given a chance to do so. They help each other struggle through the rough bits. I hate those “thin veneer of civilization” scenarios because in real life, one of the actual threats to the social contract is the presence of all those wankers who’ve been feeding themselves fairy tales about how social order is going to break down, and therefore they’re now free of any obligations to law, community, and simple human decency. Most of the people who write these scenarios pretend to believe that this fictitious social chaos is a bad thing; but there’s a hazy reek of prurience hanging like smoke above the page, and at moments you could almost believe that when they imagined the story, they were promising themselves a treat.
Go check it out… it’s free!