Internet culture thrives on immediate gratification. Webcomics and blogs provide readers with the information or joke they desire in less than a couple minutes, and the more quickly the site can deliver the message or punchline, the more popular it becomes. Flash fiction (self-contained stories between 250-1000 words) is the next logical step.
Science fiction has a long tradition of being a black sheep when it comes to literature. Due to its early success in the pulp magazine market, people consider scifi to be a mass-produced, audience-driven genre that is more concerned with satisfying its readers than creating art. It’s whimsical and fun, the way a blockbuster movie is, and like a blockbuster movie’s audience, many readers of scifi are looking for a quick thrill. The flash fiction format makes it easy to deliver the thrill of a new universe in under five minutes; however, neither the brevity of the form nor scifi’s reputation as a guilty pleasure actually interferes with its purpose as art. I equate writing ‘literary’ science fiction with being a ninja: if you’re good, the reader doesn’t know you’re good until it’s too late. If you’re really, really good, they possibly never will.
Anyways, go check out my daily flash fiction website at www.365tomorrows.com. We ‘publish’ a wide variety of scifi, from the strictly conventional to the stylized and experimental, so there’s something for everyone. Go ahead and submit something or join us in the forums.
I’d encourage anyone who wants to send us a story to read back a few weeks to get a feel for what kind of things we print (a good rule in general, when submitting). I generally consider the site to be R-rated, but we have occasionally turned down stories for being too explicit (when we do this to a story we’d otherwise accept, we’ll explain our reasons in the rejection letter and encourage resubmission). If you have any questions, you can respond in the comments or drop me an email.
Here are the two stories I read in class:
This is the story that made the website take off, thanks to boingboing and a few minor slashdottings.
We also have a podcast, which you can find here, though updates are sporadic.