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Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show 276

grammar fascist writes "Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, a science fiction / fantasy webzine, went online just yesterday. Card, the editor-in-chief, has stayed true to his ideals: quality stories, author's rights, and trust in people's honesty. New stories are released quarterly, with new column installments added monthly to the current issue. New art is created for each story. There isn't even an attempt at draconian content control. Writers and artists give exclusive rights for one year - after that, limited rights. Card wants your stories and art, not your copyrights. I've finished the first issue now, and the stories are great. "Eviction Notice" made me cry, and I laughed out loud at "Loose in the Wires." I paid my $2.50 initially to support the business model, but the stories themselves are worth it."
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Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show

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  • by mordors9 ( 665662 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @08:55AM (#13808465)
    This follows in the great tradition of the old print anthologies of SF Stories. Hopefully this will lead to more interest in SF and writing in general. Perhaps we can return to the glory days of SciFi.
    • And more importantly, it provides a ground floor for new authors to join Science Fiction and refine their craft.

      As far as the glory days of Sci-Fi, you really aren't going to get them back. Computers, Relativity and Quantumn Mechanics aren't vague incantations that authors can wave about and conjure stories from. These items that were science fiction back in the Golden Age, are today common place. Quantumn mechanics defines the size of computer chips. Our understanding of Relativity (special and general)

      • The very best sci-fi, even during the Golden Age, did not attempt to wow people with gadgets. Guys like Asimov, Brackett and Del Rey were master story tellers, and while some of the stuff from the pre-1960s era were at times laden down with a bit of "atom power" (forgivable considering the promise and threat it held in those days), I can still sit back, read Leigh Brackett's The Last Days of Shandakor and know that, though the setting is now been trumped by hard science, that story may very well be one of
  • Another way to support independant sci-fi is to listen to Escape Pod [], the weekly science-fiction podcast magazine.

    I'm not involved in this project, but I have been a frequent donor. I think EP is a very important project. To some extent, the sci-fi and fantasy genres are dominated by the feature film, the novel and the long-running series. The traditional vehicle for short stories, magazines, have a dwindling readership, and do not have the distribution that they once had at their peak.

    EP seeks to create an audience, and perhaps one day a market for short, original science-fiction stories. I think this is a very noble and important cause.

    Please tune in. I hope you enjoy it. You can find it listed on all good podcast directories.

  • by Big Nothing ( 229456 ) <> on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:00AM (#13808487)
    Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, a science fiction / fantasy webzine, went online just yesterday. Card, the editor-in-chief, wants to have his server stress tested.

    • I actually have something to submit, but the submission form just says "Coming soon". How exactly do they propose to keep an SF magazine going without submissions?
  • Pffft...Mormons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BushCheney08 ( 917605 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:01AM (#13808489)
    Card, the editor-in-chief, has stayed true to his ideals: quality stories, author's rights, and trust in people's honesty.

    Pffft. Leave it to a Mormon to actually implement a business model that respects the work's creator...

    (I just spent last week in SLC. Can't say I agree with a lot of their views, but they are a very nice bunch of people.)
    • And they don't go to extreme lenghts to try to convert you. Once it's clear that you're not interested they leave you alone.
      • Riiiiight. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Now, if by some mistake of birth, you should happen to be a member of that sect and decide you don't want to be affiliated with it anymore, prepare for the onslaught.

        After my wife and I decided we'd had enough, we had nonstop unwanted calls and visits by guys in dark suits. Each and every time they came to our door we told them that we weren't interested, weren't coming back and that we wanted the harassment to stop. The bishop even told us that it was his "ecclesiastical duty" to continue the unwanted
      • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @11:21AM (#13809355) Homepage Journal
        And they don't go to extreme lenghts to try to convert you. Once it's clear that you're not interested they leave you alone.

        That's probably because they'll just convert you post-mortem.
        But they sure are a lot nicer than Jehova's Witnesses.
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:35AM (#13808664) Homepage Journal
      You just had to go there.
      Now we can get see the flood of anti-Mormon bigotry start flowing.
      BTW The Mormon Churches website has instructions on how to view and or listen to their webcasts on Linux.
      Thanks for saying that they are a nice bunch of people but just like every group you have some good and some bad. Frankly if you want to show your respect for them it is best too just not mention them.
      Freedom of Religion is less welcome on Slashdot than a racially mixed wedding at a Klan meeting.
      • "Freedom of Religion is less welcome on Slashdot than a racially mixed wedding at a Klan meeting."

        Actually, most slashdotters are all about freedom of religion; which is why we tend to get so upset when people try to impose their religious beliefs on others. Mr. Card, for example, is well known for his belief that the government should outlaw homosexuality because god doesn't like it.

        That is religious intolerance - when you try to force everyone else to behave the way your religion says they should b
        • Re:Pffft...Mormons (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
          Actually no that is not Religious intolerance.
          He is voicing his opinion that he thinks that homosexual marriage is wrong and should be outlawed. That is called the democratic process. He is not declaring it to be illegal. There are people that have the opinion that children should have the "right" to have sex with adults. There are people that have the opinion that all sex outside of marriage should be illegal.
          You have two choices.
          1. You can as some-people like to put it declare that your scary skygod or FS
      • Re:Pffft...Mormons (Score:3, Insightful)

        by corblix ( 856231 )
        Freedom of Religion is less welcome on Slashdot than a racially mixed wedding at a Klan meeting.

        You almost got it right. I don't think it's freedom of religion per se that is under attack. Rather, I see a consistent, pervasive demonization of religious people as a class. In short: prejudice, bigotry, condemnation of and hatred of people based on group affiliation.

        And I find deeply disturbing some of the stuff that goes unchallenged around here.

        • Re:Pffft...Mormons (Score:3, Insightful)

          by timster ( 32400 )
          What's amazing about your comment -- and the fact that it got modded up -- is that the entire thread above it is full of people saying that Mormons are nice, great people, and that they'll tolerate you and leave you alone if you want, and that their church is doing a great job of guiding people well. The major exception was an ex-Mormon or two saying that they were treated badly when leaving.

          Religion is not under attack, not on Slashdot and not in the United States. What HAS happened is that some evangeli
  • I'm definitely interested. My favorite magazine back when I was a kid was Omni. Loved the short story sci-fi they would always have there, and the creepy Giger artwork and all that. Totally bummed me out when they went all new-age.

    I've been looking for a good magazine sci-fi fix ever since. This could be just what I've been looking for since I was a teenager, if they do it right.

  • Ummm... (Score:5, Informative)

    by KDan ( 90353 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:09AM (#13808517) Homepage
    Ok, so Orson Scott Card is a great author... but how is this groundbreaking? There are numerous webzines that publish quality stories, out there...

    Try Duotrope's digest [] to find them.

    • Re:Ummm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KDan ( 90353 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:23AM (#13808567) Homepage
      Also, in the "Submissions" section..

      We pay 6 cents a word up to $500. Stories can be longer, but the word rate drops with increasing length to always yield a total of $500.

      With this payment we buy exclusive rights in any language or any medium throughout the world for one year from date of first publication in the magazine, and nonexclusive electronic and/or online rights in any language in perpetuity. We also buy nonexclusive print and audio rights throughout the world and in all languages for inclusion in multi-author anthologies based on the magazine, for which you will receive a pro rata share of the authors' share of advances and royalties, to be reported and paid when reports and payments are received by us from the publisher (or, if we are the publisher, every six months after one year after publication, if there are any earnings to report).

      Though these rights are not outrageous, they are by no means extraordinary. In fact, they are more restrictive than your average magazine rights - usually they don't restrict your right to publish in other media for a year, like this does (eg, according to this you are not allowed to sell your story to any anthology for a year from the publication date...).

      So essentially, whereas magazines normally only buy first rights (the rights to be the first to publish the story), this one wants to be the only one for at least a year. Respect for the author's rights? Really?

      • I'll second everything you've said, but I can still see this resource as being an excellent place to get a new author's name known before moving on to better houses with better licensing terms.

        There aren't that many short-fiction magazines on the market today, so each additional one to be brought forth is worth celebrating.

        Not that OSC would read slashdot (that would require an ability to listen to viewpoints other than your own), but as an open comment to him anyway: I, for one, welcome our new... oh
    • by N8F8 ( 4562 )
      Card's site actually looks like a real magazine.
      • by KDan ( 90353 )
        People don't read SF stories for the glossy paper/nice layout.

        (I'm not suggesting Card's magazine doesn't have good content - but so do many free webzines out there, if only because they pay roughly the same rates)

        • by N8F8 ( 4562 )
          I know when I'm browsing the stacks at the local bookstore I'll look past books with crappy covers -if I'm not familiar with the author anyhow. I doubt I'm unusual in that respect.
  • Card's Ideals (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:09AM (#13808521)

    Card, the editor-in-chief, has stayed true to his ideals: quality stories, author's rights, and trust in people's honesty...

    ...and flagrant homophobia [].

  • by Anitra ( 99093 ) <slashdot@anitra.fastma i l . fm> on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:58AM (#13808826) Homepage Journal
    Want to read more free/cheap sci-fi and fantasy?

    Strange Horizons [] - a weekly e-magazine, donation-supported.

    Futurismic [] - a monthly e-magazine (focused on futuristic stories and articles about future technology), also donation-supported.

    I've been reading both of these for a few months now, and the stories are great! I'm planning to donate in their fund drives, because I think the quality is superb.
  • by damned_mediocrity ( 923503 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:59AM (#13808829) Homepage
    From the /. article summary: "Card wants your stories and art, not your copyright." Ummm, not to question the great slashdot editors, but this is *standard practice* for lit magazines, both in print and online. The author USUALLY retains the copyright for published work. Nothing unique here. Also, most print lit magazines only purchase first serial rights and/or some type of one-time anthology rights. Card's magazine purchases EVERYTHING, all rights, for an entire year. This agreement is actually worse for writers than what most publications offer. As for having all rights (except online rights, which they keep forever!!) returned to the author after a year, this seems great... except when you consider: a) for many print/web literary publications, rights return to the author immediately after publication. b) that the author won't be able to sell the story very easily if it's appeared in another magazine before. Editors want FIRST serial rights, so they can provide readers with unique, never-read-before content. When rights are returned to the author after a year, the author's not going to be able to do much with them, except for maybe putting the story in a print anthology. Sorry slashdot editors, but this looks like a not-so-hot deal for authors.
  • I wholly support this way of paying for a subscription, $2.50 is not bad at all.

    PS the book 'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card is excellent, I recommend it to anyone.

    LINK: 550706/103-3928436-9214253?v=glance []
  • Alternatives (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Heddahenrik ( 902008 )
    If you just want to read/look at scifi stories and art, Elfwood [] is much easier to access, and it's free. And at the spin-off sites like Elftown [] and Writersco [] you can have a much more intime conversations with or between the writers and artists. But there are also some pretty bad amateurs there, but many see that as a feature, not a bug.
  • by LadyVirharper ( 804893 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @10:32AM (#13809027)
    I don't agree with OSC's politics either, but he's a very talented writer, and he also knows how to spot good writing (and other forms of art too). Like someone else said, everyone's flawed, and if you let it limit the artists you patronize, you'll be missing out on a lot of good things.

    OSC also is very active compared to other SFF writers in teaching the next generation to write. He's taught creative writing classes (and he's much more qualified than most who teach those usually worthless classes). He's written a book on how to write SFF, and a book on characterization. And, believe it or not, both books have solid advice...I taught myself how to write before I picked up his books on characterization and SFF, and I pretty much was nodding, going, "Yes, this is right...I do that already...yep, he's got it right..." What I had learned independantly on my own was confirmed in them. They're the only books on writing I've read so far that actually know what they're talking about...I've laughed a few others out the window for being absurdly incorrect on a lot of points.

    I have the feeling that the new webzine is just another step in making a high-quality market for the next generation of writers. I wouldn't be surprised if this turned into the next, oh, I don't know...Azimov's, or something like Marion Zimmer Bradley's anthologies, or other SFF 'zine that was backed by a highly talented author, back in the "Good 'ol days".

    • Agreed re Card's HowTo books -- in fact, I think they're better than his fiction (which often violates his own HowTo advice, in ways that harm the story). And even if a writer already knows this material, it doesn't hurt to be reminded. Like yourself, I'd already taught myself "all that stuff", but even so it was useful to see it laid out in so many words.

  • by radarsat1 ( 786772 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @11:35AM (#13809470) Homepage
    There's definitly something amazing about the short story format. It is particularly well-suited to sci-fi, as can be evidenced by the beginnings of the genre in Amazing Stories, etc, and thousands of issues of Omni and Asimov's Science Fiction that continue to publish great fiction. And there's something wonderful about holding the latest issue in your hand, taking it with you on the bus, reading it cover to cover, one story at a time.

    It's great that Orson Scott Card is doing his own magazine! I've read some anthologies that he's edited, and they were very good. However, I'd really love to order this in PRINT, if I could, or head over to the magazine store to pick up the latest issue.

    As much as we'd like websites to take over the print market, I just don't see it happening. I still want a piece of paper in my hand when it comes to reading. Even if it was on one of those nice new paper-like LCD screens, I can't imagine it would be an equal experience to holding a book in your hand. I think it's not resolution that is the defining factor here. It is something about the permanence of ink on paper that wins me over. When I finish reading a great story, I never want to lose it. I want to put it on my shelf so I know where it is. The harddrive is such a volatile place to store memories that you don't want to lose...
  • is currently the highest paying market for science fiction period. It is edited by Ellen Datlow (from Omni) and the combination of the best editor and the best pay means it has in general the best ficiton.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.