Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

-- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948.

 [ Issue 2008.14; Cover art © 2008 Cécile Matthey ]

Issue 2008.14

Short stories


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In place of an editorial this month, I'd like you to read this article, which tells a story better than we could do. 'Torture is illegal—and it never works', an opinion/comment by Philippe Sands in The Guardian. Apparently the representation of 24's "hero" Jack Bauer torturing terror suspects in order to save millions of lives—which some of us have been outraged by since the first series—has demonstrably contributed to the misapprehension among interrogators at Gitmo that torture is a necessary evil.

We could get into a long discussion here about why we consider the ethical quality of the fiction we publish important. About why all science fiction is political. About why being morally neutral is not good enough. About why we select social, political, and speculative cyber-fiction that asks important questions and why we will never publish stories that we feel foster views that we find morally repugnant.

But we don't need to. Sands's article (and our fiction this month) says it all. There's no such thing as "just a story."

Bruce and Djibril, general editors

December 2008

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