Since today is a rainy day in beautiful St. Kilda, I'm sending out my first responses.
Do expect one of the two headers in your email:
"REJECTION": "Your Story" when it's (obviously) rejected;
"HOLD": "Your Story" when I'm holding it for a second read.
At first sight, this might look cruel, but after some discussion on Nick Mamatas's LJ I agreed that being upfront from the get-go is better than unnecessarily maintaining any tension.
One thing that stands out in the slushpile so far is the unusual large amount of religious/God stories. Half of those are about how the Christian right in the USA has taken over power, and the way people rebel against it. Without exception, I found these stories boring. They just didn't tell me anything new or unusual.
Then there's more than the usual amount of stories where either an aloof God learns to become humane, or where missionaries to alien worlds have more success than they expected (the 'don't ask for it, because you might get it' cliche). I would strongly recommend that people doing a 'missionary to aliens' story to read Harry Harrison's "The Streets of Ashkelon" first (not online as far as I know, but widely reprinted, like in 50 in 50 or Stainless Steel Visions.
Although I'm an (agnostic) atheist, I'm not against religion per se. The point is that it is -- like many other themes, but especially with religion -- extremely difficult to come with something that hasn't been said about it before. If you want to capture my attention with a religion-themed story, then it either needs to have a very original angle, or the execution must be absolutely superb.
You have been informed/warned*
(* = delete as appropriate)
And three good ones, so far (of which one was *very* good, I think).
NB: and about a third of submitters don't single-space their submissions. It does take me about 10 seconds to do that myself, but it's annoying, especially when I'm doing it in an internet cafe where I pay by the hour. So do ignore your ingrained habits (I realise that standard submission format is still holy in a lot of places, even in the 21st Century), and single-space, as this makes *my* reading of *your* story easier on my PDA.