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Alt Text: The Sci-Fi Rejection Letter That Time Forgot

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Old 07-30-2008
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Alt Text: The Sci-Fi Rejection Letter That Time Forgot
Dear Author,
We appreciate your submission of your short story, "In the Year 2008," to Astonishing Chronicles magazine. However, we regret to inform you that we cannot publish your story.
As the premier science-fiction periodical, Astonishing Chronicles publishes stories ranging from the merely hypothetical to the completely outlandish, but you should not infer from this that we have no standards when it comes to story settings. To be concise, each story must be internally consistent. Once you establish a facet of your setting, whether mundane or fantastical, you must be true to that aspect of your story, and follow it to its logical consequences. This is where your story falls apart.
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Just to point out one glaring example. You suggest that in 1945 -- a mere 15 years from now -- scientists will invent an explosive that can destroy an entire city. This is, of course, entirely unlikely, but that is not the issue here. The issue is this: You postulate that after an initial two deployments of these "atomic bombs," a number of nations build up their own arsenals of these weapons, and yet nobody uses them in the ensuing 40-some years.
How is the reader intended to take this seriously? When in history have antagonistic civilizations stockpiled the most modern of weapons, and then failed to make use of them? At the very least, weaker states without atomic armaments of their own should have long since been absorbed into your so-called "super powers."
On a more individual level, let us take a look at the people in your story. You seem to forget that even in the future, women will remain women. Science fiction is based in science, and there is ample scientific evidence that women are genetically unable to achieve as men do, unless you consider raising a number of children while keeping a home to be an "achievement."
You suggest that in your world of 2008, going to an art gallery or attending a poetry reading will be considered by many to be a womanly activity. This is patently ridiculous, as it is well established that women are not able to appreciate art or literature on the same level that men do. However, it pales in comparison to your casting of a woman as a viable presidential candidate. Even considering that her campaign does not survive the primaries, this is laughable. If this part was intended to be farce, it was ill-conceived and poorly constructed. If it was not, I simply do not know what to say.
Finally, while Astonishing Chronicles does not shy away from frank portrayal of amorous physical considerations, I must sternly remind you that we do not publish smut. In the end, your story seems less like an earnest attempt to explore the future than it is an excuse to depict your extremely unhealthy erotic fantasies.
Your 2008 reads like a sexual maniac's slavering fever dreams: a world where the daughters of prominent families bare their midriffs with no fear of social censure, where unnatural coital devices hang in general stores next to legitimate medical needs and where even more depraved debaucheries are delivered into homes via wire, much like a milkman delivering the day's sustenance.
I have seen many futures in my occupation, but yours has the dubious distinction of being simultaneously the most chilling and the most laughable. I take solace in knowing that a society as degenerate and well-armed as the one you postulate would have blown itself to kingdom come long before 2008.
Yours Sincerely,
Armand J. Quaestor
Submissions Editor
Astonishing Chronicles
- - -
Born helpless, nude and unable to provide for himself, Lore Sj÷berg eventually overcame these handicaps to become a speculator, a spectator and a spectrometer.


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