Sold a story–“Inside the Mind of the Bear”–to the Intergalactic Medicine Show

Yep, this is Orson Scott Card’s magazine. Recently, I’ve spoken to a number of people who say that they won’t submit to the magazine because of Card’s views on homosexuality and his political activism against gay marriage.

I can certainly understand why people don’t want to be associated with one of his enterprises. When you start submit to a magazine (and, most especially, when you start selling to it) then it, in some ways, starts to capture you. Not only do you lend it whatever legitimacy you possess, you also start to feel differently about it. For me, working with the people at IGMS has been really pleasant. I like them a lot. And while nothing could ever make me defend Card’s statements, I feel like I’m not really able to write a blog post where I call him a terrible person. He believes that homosexual acts are immoral. So do one hundred million other Americans. The guy who bags my groceries probably thinks I’m going to hell. And that’s okay. I find it difficult to get worked up over that sort of thing.

But, yes, anyway, I am sort of pinkwashing Orson Scott Card. However, I like to think that these transactions go both ways. Because Card is in possession of the kind of readers that I’d really like to have, someday. In fact, I am one of those readers. I went through his bibliography and counted up that I’ve read 22 Orson Scott Card novels (and one short story collection). And I regret none of it! Well, except for maybe Shadow of the Hegemon. For me to disavow Card’s readership would be to disavow people who, I imagine, are pretty much like myself. He has exactly the kind of passionate but rough-hewn reader–a version of myself who didn’t decide to become a writer–who I think of as my target audience. People who didn’t enjoy high-school English and who definitely didn’t major in it in college. People who don’t read book-blogs or book reviews. People who primarily discover books by browsing in the library or through their friends’ word of mouth.

I like to think that when Card publishes me, he gives me a little bit of his credibility, too. He tells those people, “You know what? This guy is alright. You should give his stuff a chance.”

And, for me, that’s a fair trade.

4 thoughts on “Sold a story–“Inside the Mind of the Bear”–to the Intergalactic Medicine Show

  1. Todd

    Nice work on the sale! He wrote one of my favorite short stories ever, “Unaccompanied Sonata”. It’s crazy how many writers I’ve met who blindly hate him. None of them have read that story (I always ask!), mostly because of how they feel about him. Which is really sad because the story is beautiful. He has a ton of affection for sf, and though I’m not a fan of his novels, his early short work was amazing. Anyhow, great work man!

    1. R. H. Kanakia

      Thanks! Yes, I read “Unaccompanied Sonata” in his _Maps in a Mirror_ collection. It’s definitely a good story.

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