Written in DNA CODE

     Our writers all have stories to tell, do they not? If they did not, they would not be writing anything. But do these stories come across to readers? Frequently they are writing in one mode or another that is what is being done recently; for instance, they are writing SF and fantasy—are readers tuned in with that? And in both, there are classical situations. But what is a writer’s individual message? What does he wish to achieve? Merely to have written a story?  I daresay it is otherwise.

     When not at work getting Surprising together, I have been interpreting in magazine forums and elsewhere the positions being taken by writers. I think I might want to mention that interpretation is due the stories in my own publication as well. What do these authors have in mind? That is, beyond the mere telling of a tale. As we are readers of speculative fiction, it might be well to speculate about the stories as well as joining the authors in their speculations.

     Writers, like scientists, tend to be venturing beyond what is visible to the senses—and in doing so, they are running the risk of being called “wrong” or “incorrect”. And there we have a possible disturbance in the equanimity of our reading experience.  They have ventured into territory where nobody is right.  And it is so similar to the territory they have been in that they may be asked to backtrack, the requests or demands to do so coming from either fore or aft.

     Do we want to have writers, or just look out our windows for ourselves? Does known or unknown experience require exploitation and investigation?

     We all venture out into the world, but once there we might wonder about the world we have been in before venturing forth. Did we really understand anything about it?  Perhaps while leaving behind something that had a further need for our presence, we were also leaving behind a possibility for some success—not making do with what we’ve got and making no use of what we have is not a very good prelude for success elsewhere.

     Of course, our writers are sending what they know about elsewhere.  To readers of a magazine, the stories in it might represent a series of incursions from elsewhere. Viewing them might inspire the reader to go elsewhere, to a place expressed to him in writing coming from elsewhere.  The writer, being at times a reader himself, might himself travel elsewhere for the same reason.  Writing might even be considered a disruption of normality, and reading a susceptibility to it.

     Writings come to us from elsewhere, and other things come from elsewhere as well. For example, food comes to most of us from elsewhere.  Where it comes from is not especially known, and why it comes is not adequately explained, so that a person might want to go elsewhere to see where food comes from and why it comes, if he can discover where the food is coming from. Or a writer might inform him via a magazine article where the food comes from, or the writer might be the author of a textbook presented to readers in schools.

     At any rate, a reader can learn a lot from books without having to travel, and this might be a good thing; if everybody went somewhere else to see it, the place they had been in would be gone. Try as one might, one can only obtain a sequestered view of existence, which, books and all, comes out resembling where one has been at in the first place, with a certain amount of visionary scope added.  Is the reader satisfied, then, with this? He may be until an ICBM arrives from somewhere else.  Where it comes from he may never know, and those sending it might not know why they sent it.  But who is there who can comprehend all there is to know, or even all he feels he needs to know to feel comfortable about life?

     An original perception of the world is that there are things in it.  A later perception may be that life is lived on a surface that perhaps proceeds into infinity.  Earlier men did have a conception something like this, until it was discovered over the course of centuries that we actually live on a rotating sphere that also travels a revolutionary path around an apparently fixed collection of gas. How we got on it nobody knows.  Present science seems right in assuming that there is no life on other planets, using the nearby ones for example.  The occurrence of life is, on the whole, improbable, though perhaps not more so than the occurrence of matter. What went into this occurrence to cause it to occur here on Earth is not found in the knowledge we have so far managed to collect by accumulative activity over preceding generations.

     So, really, writing would proceed to be a fluctuation in existence that could be considered a natural part of it, and its only real purpose is to be.  It does not have a known goal.

     So this magazine is best described as being “just something.”