Are space travel short stories publishable anymore?

Dan Vasey

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More and more sci-fi short stories seem to be set on Earth. Is space travel dead? I ask because I'm working on a 5000 word story about first contact at the end of a terrible 24-year journey from Earth, humankind's first travel outside the solar system. No suspended animation, no FTL speeds. The focus is on the human story, not the technology.
 

hitmouse

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Space travel stories, short or long, are not dead. What is, or is not publishable is a different question.

Earth- based SF has been a big thing for many decades (Simak, Ballard et al) but I have never seen a convincing statistic
to show it replacing space-based SF. Tropes fade in and out of prominence, as one would expect in a broad and vigorous genre.
 

Dave

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I'd echo and completely agree with @hitmouse

I just wanted to add that what changes, and probably has an influence here, is the science and technology. So, while the themes of SF stories that deal with existential things, or with the environment, plagues, warfare, adapting to change, and human endurances, don't change very much, and those stories can be easily adapted, those that had spacemen visiting Venus and Mars, and meeting various humanoids, are now cheesy and unbelievable, and are fantasy. No offence meant, but a hard SF story about a journey to an exoplanet, is also going to be a long and boring journey that doesn't easily lend itself to fast-paced drama.
 

Robert Zwilling

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The focus is on the human story, not the technology.
The human drama is the story, the technology is the background. Human drama is a popular subject when it is well written. If you like to write science fiction, you can use any science fiction background for your story. Probably a good idea to know some basics about what you are writing, or you can just make it all up, just keep it logical sounding so it doesn't confuse the readers. I figure you are going to play up the human story aspect in the blurb so people will know what they are getting.
 

Dan Vasey

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Thanks to everyone. For what it's worth, my story begins at the end of a "long and boring journey" to an exoplanet, one that the crew suffered with the goal of first contact with intelligent beings. I'll take all your advice.
 

Extollager

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This is intriguing -- the topic of the travel itself. So often, space travel is just assumed; it's the destination that matters to the author. What's that van Vogt story about someone waking up out of suspended animation from time to time to check the machines -- some such duty?
 

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