Interfictions 2—where are the paranormal cowboy romances?

Wed 15 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Two reviewers look at Interfictions 2 and wonder whether interstitial is a reading protocol, a limitation, or . . . what? Is every story interstitial as Paul Di Filippo suggests in Asimov’s?

Imagine that you reprinted the entire contents selected by editors Delia Sherman and Christopher Barzak, but without any identifying matter as to its origins, and then wrapped it inside covers labeled Eclipse 3, or The Solaris Book of New Fantasy, or the January/February issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, or even The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories for 2010. Then you gave this camouflaged book to any literate yet unsuspecting reader. Would the nominated reader, after carefully perusing X number of stories, look up and say, “Wait one darn minute! These hybrid stories are too odd for their genre label! I’m really reading interstitial fiction! Not pure fantasy or pure SF or pure mimetic fiction, as advertised!

Paul goes on to ask:

One final thought experiment. The interstices explored in this volume are exclusively those between literary fiction and SF/Fantasy. Where are the stories that lie in the uncanny valleys between, say, the espionage and nurse genres, the western and the paranormal romance?

and over at The Short Review Steven Wingate likes the book . . .

Many of the stories have a devil-may-care brio to them—the verve of knowing that their experiments might not hold completely together—and that gives the book a freshness and insouciance that many “best of”-type anthologies don’t have.

and asks the same question:

There are many interstices in the world of fiction; claiming just one as “interstitial fiction” may help gain territory for one group of writers on the cusp between the mainstream and the speculative, but what does it do for those writers who labor at one of many, many other fault lines?

Since the IAF emerged from the sf&f field, it may be natural for it to have some bent toward that genre but the stories in Interfictions 2 came from an open submission period so the answer to the above question is either in the editors’ preferences or in the population that submitted work. One of the simplest yet hardest part of editing is that you can only publish what you’re sent. Gordon Van Gelder has a great take on this. He advises writers not to edit his magazine: in other words, don’t think you know what he wants, send your story along and let him decide.

And now the book is out, it’s up to the readers to decide!

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