Thursday, May 17, 2007

More on the May Emails Subs

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.



Michelle Muenzler said...

Thanks for the humorous rejection with its patented Nick Mamatas header warnings; I must now root for global warming to reduce writer rejections (or just write better stories)(but writing better stories only helps me whereas global warming helps all writers)(Bwahahahaha!).


And congratulations on "Qubit Conflicts" in Clarkesworld. An interesting story, if a bit harder than I prefer, but very well executed.

Now back to your slushpile! The slavering hordes await...

*cracks whip*


-Michelle Muenzler

gordsellar said...

Yes, congrats on "Qubit Conflicts," t'was a good'un.

Quick question: if I remember correctly, you previously stated you didn't mind if someone submitted more than one story during an e-sub period. Is that still true?

Jetse de Vries said...

Thanks Michelle!


Feel free to send me another one, but no more than *two* stories this month, please, as I'm getting a record amount of submissions already.

Luke said...

I saw your post on the Interzone forum-- I really hope my account doesn't block your email! (Usually it's out of my hands.)

Since you've read the first 200, does that mean if we submitted in the first week we should have a response by now?

Just curious, I know you have a Herculean reading task and I don't want to rush you.

Anonymous said...

In the spirit of redundancy redundancy, I share Luke's concern. I submitted in the first week and, worrier that I am, just want to know that my story didn't slip through the cracks or that my email didn't eat your reply (my university's mailserver is notoriously ravenous) My story was "Such Small Gods," so if you haven't gotten to it then no worries. I know you're busy with the brain-melting slushpile, but I just get worried sometimes, and I'd like to know if it's necessary for me to send my story elsewhere xP (Wouldn't want to simul-submit ^_~)

-Josh Zingg

Jetse de Vries said...

Luke and Josh--

Sorry about not getting back earlier: I have been very busy, and let this blog fall a bit to the wayside.

Normally, I always send out a 'receive acknowledge' to a submission. Depending on whether or not I'm travelling (I always try to avoid that, but quite often last-minute changes force me to do business travel in an email reading period), this 'receive acknowledge' should get to you in a day or so, or when I arrive at my destination (and I have internet access), or when I get back home.

If you haven't gotten that 'receive acknowledge', something went astray.

Also, I don't assume people block my gmail on purpose, and I understand that some people are much less computer-literate than others.

However, in the particular case I mentioned on the TTA boards, the submitter first asked for a response time (after only two weeks or so), and then didn't check his spam blocker, or take care that my gmail would go through. And then my response bounced.

That is irritating: first asking -- a bit too soon -- when my reply will arrive, and then not taking care that my email isn't blocked by the receiver's spam filter.

Anyway, to the particulars:

I have received "Such Small Gods", and have replied to it -- ehrm -- already a week ago. That just goes to show how long I've neglected this blog!

I had only one submission by a Luke -- involving a laundroman -- and I have replied to that one, as well.

If either of you haven't seen my reply, ping me here, as then obviously my gmail didn't arrive in your inbox. Normally, I assume no bad intent, so it's OK to query (after a reasonable time).