Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Mundanespotting 2005

Posted by frankh at 11:58 AM
I plan to skim the major 2005 publications in an effort to find and read potential mundane sf stories. There are so many stories published every year and surely a measurable fraction fit within the mundane sf framework. I'd like to systematically find out just how many, and have some fun discussing what's current along the way. At a minimum, I will be looking at F&SF, Asimov's, Analog, and SciFiction (all readily available in electronic format, allowing me to see a lot of stories without having them physically pile up). I'm open to suggestions for other publications worth viewing for mundane content. I am not a prolific reader at all, so I'll take any help I can get.

Note that I'm just a jaded sf reader who sees mundane sf as where the "center" of the field should be (with the usual caveat that I like fantasy too, etc., etc.). However, I have a "big tent" view of mundane sf, and will mostly weed out stories for obviously fantastic (i.e. non-mundane) infringements. I currently have a strong bias against space-booster stories even if they are not blatantly fantastic. Alternate history will not be tolerated at all even if mundane in general tone. Some (or perhaps many) stories I will credit as mundane sf but will quibble with the content anyway. I believe any writer should be up to the task of writing mundane sf, and I will try not to get hung up on trying to force writers "in" or "out" of the mundane sf camp.

I'm slightly curious about novels, but believe that almost all of them are too bloated in the current market to be worth my limited time. Feel free to point out new novels that you think are mundane sf because I will likely miss them otherwise. I did a quick look at the top 20 sf novels (already a separate list from fantasy) from 2003 in this year's Locus poll and it appeared that only 2 of them might be mundane sf.

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