Outshine is a science-fiction “twitterzine” (there, I said it) notable for its focus on near-future optimistic SF prose poems or “flash-forwards” of 140 characters or less, this being Twitter after all. No nuclear apocalypses appear in Outshine’s twice-weekly pieces.

Outshine is awesome for many reasons (including paying $5 per poem, which is about a quarter per word, way above “pro-rates”) but most notably to me for how perfectly it handles short-form science fiction.

One of the shortcomings of the vast majority of super-short stories is that these dribbles are often not really stories or— even when they are—aren’t best suited for the nano-form. Some stories try to do too much to be effective when short.  One of the best parts about the genre of science fiction is the premise. The ensuing exploration is what makes the story, but an interesting premise is where a lot of the fun lies. By calling for prose poems instead of stories, Outshine sidesteps the nagging constraints of trying to shrink traditional storytelling elements down and instead focuses on premise and language. By promoting certain elements over others (and not trying to be everything to everyone), Outshine gets the job done more consistently.

As evidence for this claim, my third flash-forward, “No money, no problem,” appeared in Outshine yesterday. My first two pieces (“Surgeon airships…” and “Footfalls…“) were published in May and June.


robert 10.08.09 Reply

Out of the three, I like “Footfalls…” the best. A solid piece of hint fiction, actually. Well done.

Deborah 10.09.09 Reply

Aha. That’s why I find genre tweets easier than literary. I always think of tweet like mini-poems.

Ben 10.10.09 Reply

Robert: Thanks—means a lot coming from the hint fiction trademark holder himself. That one was my favorite it too. I personally like the Outshine pieces that hint at a narrative (even something on a planetary scale) more than the pure poems. Call it prose bias.

Deborah: At least that’s my theory, which I’ve concocted while reading the hundreds of Nanoism submissions of all shapes and sizes (well, shapes anyway).

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