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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories tips its hat to...


Two complimentary messages have come to us in the past week. I’ve edited them to remove personal references and keep the gist. Thanks to both our contributors; you make some good points.

I read the issue again because I’m delighted to be published. I know it may not seem like a big deal, but it truly is. And the welcome page is sweet! Thank you!

The third story is coming. I had hit a few creative snags, but it’s on its way. I quickly abandoned the idea for a screenplay. True prose is where my heart belongs.

As I like to say, “A good word goes a long way.”

The “welcome” messages are actually introductions; they speak mainly to the readers. They’re a way of helping everyone feel they’re a part of a community. That’s important when we can’t see or talk to each other in person. If we all communicated by Skype, we’d have time for nothing else!

A screenplay is actually a very good place to start in prose. Many a time, I’ve advised contributors whose stories were too heavy on narration to start with a kind of screenplay and fill in the “stage directions” later. Astute readers ignore long stretches of exposition and skip to the first instance of dialogue, because they figure the story really begins when somebody moves or says something.

Another reader looks at the “big picture”:

I also want to commend you on the layout of the issue — I think probably all issues. The publishing/reading ‘industry’ is undergoing profound changes, and it appears you are leading the way in adapting to the new realities. Only a handful of publications still produce print copies, and electronic readers will be the readers of choice in the future, if not already.

In any event, I have spent more time looking over this issue and noting the departments and essays that I may have overlooked in the past. The balance is excellent and the layout comfortable to navigate. I truly appreciate my story being included.

Congratulations on putting together an excellent e-magazine, and I look forward to reading future issues.

Thank you for the good words about Bewildering Stories’ appearance and navigability. We’ve heard next to nothing about it over the years one way or the other. I’m optimistic; I figure everything is okay unless I’m told otherwise.

When I told a future contributor that our design deliberately avoids the “cookie-cutter” appearance of many automatically edited websites, he remarked that BwS does have a “retro” feel that may be coming back into style. We’ve always been ahead of our time, even when we’ve appeared to be behind it!

BwS follows “best practice” in page design with its colors, relative emphasis, and, above all, readability. I worry, though, that new contributors and readers may overlook the Departments, which necessarily come at the bottom of the Readers’ Guides. But I don’t know of a solution that would fit easily on both large and small screens.

Bewildering Stories guarantees an audience. Every regular submission is read by at least two people, even if it isn’t accepted. And now we hear of fully automated on-line journals. Say what?! I can just see it now: massive power outages as artificial intelligences blow each other’s fuses.

Is print passé? How did anybody ever get anything done before computers? But I’m also leery of an exclusively “digital” world. What do you have left without newspapers? What can you do in an extended power failure? Everything on the Internet stays there, somewhere or other — as long as there is an Internet. Resilience calls for backups. What’s the best thing that could happen to a Sumerian library?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright January 30, 2017 by Bewildering Stories

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