Wake up, Polly Parrot.

 











[The following was published in the April 1995 issue of the New Jersey Graveline, the monthly newsletter of the Garden State Horror Writers. I formatted the article to look like the complete cover page of the newsletter, with a phony masthead and table of contents, and got the editor to include my dummy first page over the real first page. A few members told me they were taken in by the scam until they got to the end. --BP]

The New Jersey Spaceline
Official Newsletter Of The Garden State Space Cadets

The Death of Horror
by Brian Plante

Yes, I know, the new title will take some getting used to, but times change and so must we. Let’s face it, people, horror is dead. Few people are reading it, lots of publishers have stopped buying it, and in the market newsletters we see magazine after magazine folding. Even Stephen King is trying to get out of the business and go mainstream! This business of gruesome monsters and grisly death just isn’t very much fun anymore.

But we're a tough bunch, and ceasing to write is just not an option. A few weeks back The GSHW Board of Directors met to decide the future direction of the group. We put a lot of thought and effort into how we can continue to attract new writers and speakers and keep things going. Horror is dead -- long live Science Fiction.

Consider if you will the many prestigious (i.e. paying) markets for SF: Omni, Asimov's, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, Science Fiction Age , and many others. The Horror field never had so many high quality markets, paying so much money for so many stories. Holy mackerel, what were we thinking?

An important decision like this must eventually be put to a vote by the members, but rather than waste everyone’s times at the all-too-short meetings, the Board of Directors took the initiative to hammer out some of the details in advance. Rather than hit you cold with this stuff at the April meeting, it was agreed we would "soften the blow" and give you time to digest the matter by presenting some of our ideas in this newsletter.

Okay, so the Garden State Space Cadets may not be a great name, but it was the only one we could get at least two people to almost agree to. Some of the other names bandied about were: The Garden State Galaxians, Trekkers, Wordnauts, Literary Rocket Society, Cyberhacks, Big Bangers, Ozone Authors, Dilithium Critics, Get-A-Lifers and the Well Meaning Nerds with Word Processors. Maybe we should talk about this at the next meeting.

What’s that, you say? You don’t write science fiction? Give it a try -- it’s easy! Just take that scary monster of yours and call him an alien. A few lines of pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo replaces the supernatural gobbledygook and voilą , you’ve just won your first Hugo. Of course, we’re still open to just about anything you want to write. A science fiction group? Hey, a rose by any other name . . .

Speaking about names, we’re looking for a new title for this newsletter. The New Jersey Spaceline was temporarily chosen by the Newsletter Editor, who said, "If I gotta type it, I’ll call it whatever I damn well feel like." Other suggested titles include: The New Jersey Skyline, Starline, Rocketline, Cyberline, and Heinlein . Obviously there seems to be some desire for continuity here. Other more adventurous names put forth were: The New Jersey Cosmic Connection, Subspace Transmission, Faster Than Light News, Captain’s Log, He’s Dead Jim, and Just Pick a Name Willya . Perhaps you can help us come up with something a bit more interesting.

Wow, plenty to think about this month, huh? Be sure to show up for the next meeting and cast your vote before we all wind up with a dumb name like "Space Weenies" or something. There’s just no predicting what some of those April Fools will do.

Copyright © 1995 Brian Plante, first appeared in The New Jersey Graveline, April 1995.

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