Of Mice and Things Swedish

It was the British cold winter of 1990-91, and I mean bitterly cold. The ground was hard and frost had gone really deep down into the Earth. And our Saab – a Silver 900 – would not start. When we finally got round to looking underneath the bonnet, we found a nest with a mouse in it. It had had a nice tasty piece of wiring for supper and looked so snuggled and warm. But the cold had got to it too. It was dead. And we had a small repair bill for our car.

Yesterday the Swedish airline SAS grounded an Airbus 303 due to fly from Stockholm to Chicago. Why? Because they saw a mouse on the plane. And as we know they do like a nice tasty bit wiring for supper…

The question is what is about Swedish wiring that is so delicious for mice?

Now if I were to base a science fiction story on the above, who would believe that a MIGHTY MOUSE would bring Swedish transport to a standstill?

Which brings me nicely to credibility in science fiction stories. I have gathered from various comments by friends and from talks at conventions that really new ideas to science fiction have difficulty getting published. The publishers want tried and tested SF. It has sold in the past and therefore will sell in the future.

Hold on a mo…. there’s an assumption here, which is the public’s reading tastes will stay the same and very conservative.

Well I certainly hope not for two reasons. I like new ideas. They give me something to think about and enjoy. The second and rather more serious reason is my novel Miranda has some really new stuff in it. I didn’t start out to put a big new idea in, it just grew and grew, and is now so out of the box, that I fear it’ll never get published.

Is there a way around this? Any ideas anyone?

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6 thoughts on “Of Mice and Things Swedish

  1. Because Swedish wiring is in fact made out of Swedish fish, the red candy.
    I would disagree with the ‘sticking to the same’ mantra. I have numerous copies of Asimov’s and Clarkesworld that come at science fiction in new and innovative ways. Hell, read some James Vandermeer,Hannu Rajaniemi, Phillip K. Dick, or even LeGuin and you can see shifts and nubile ideas being successful.
    I think it depends on your agent as well as the publisher too. I have no doubt there are some stuffy publishers that will not edge away from the normal, but there are some publishers that specialize in the new and cutting edge. But as always it comes down to money. Are the new ideas profitable? New ideas are necessarily publishable.
    Actually I was under the impression the ‘box’ in science fiction was a relative issue to the sub-genre you fit into.

  2. 1) Find yourself a small press/publisher who is looking to take a chance on something innovative. There are some out there.
    2) Publish yourself in ebook, and do your own marketing. Thats a very long, hard slog, and you wont have the validation that another professional has ‘bought’ your work

  3. Thank you both for your insightful comments…

    Miranda is really way outside the SF ‘box’ as we know it, having developed a crazy life of its own… but by heck it’s fun to write….

    I’ve got a funny feeling getting Miranda published is going to involve a Rosie-special antic… oh dear, I hope the world will survive!

  4. I hope you do get your book published. Hopefully it is full of new and refreshing ideas that it sparks a new invigorating interest in science fiction and starts a whole new perspective and take on the genre.

    Don’t sell yourself short, or the market. Remember, you are awesome. That is the first step to world domination.

  5. I’m putting together a list of places where one can sell their works, and I just wanted to give you this publisher.

    Lightspeed Magazine.

    Here is a quote from their site. “…No subject should be considered off-limits, and we encourage writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope.”

    http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/

    Hopefully this will help you.

    • Sounds like a good idea… Lightspeed certainly looks interesting…. maybe there ought to be a table rating the various science fiction magazines for the innovation of story ideas and this could be the start of it?

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