Yesterday I sent out 16 (reluctant) rejections, and have winnowed down the 500 submissions of May to 18, the first four of which will be sent to my colleagues tomorrow.
So what's in there (for those still keeping count)?
- Two alternate histories: one in a fin de siècle US, and one in a late medieval UK. I actually like more exotic settings, but that's the way things worked out this time. However, we do have two alternate histories in inventory set in a world dominated by China and Aztecs by two different writers, who are strangely different and strangely the same. I hasten to add that they developed those completely independent from each other;
- Four near-future SF stories: one a thought-provoking political thriller, one a haunting post-apocalyptic drama where people are trying to maintain a shred of civilisation, one that redivides a re-united Korea into a whole different group of have's and have-not's, and one high-tech, pulling-all-the-stops extravaganza that will have the mundanistas (hi, Geoff, Julian and Trent) either moaning, ecstatic, or both;
- a science fantasy with a distinctive Vancean flavour that wears more masks than clothes;
- Three fantasy stories: a wry, bittersweet search for treasure and origin, a journey in a surreal world full of pain and mystery, and a madcap, absurd battle for something that is evocative by definition (which might also be filed under the humourous stories);
- Four humourous stories: one where a spectre is daunting Manhattan, one where our hero is desperately searching for his brain (no, actually he's searching for all seventeen of his brains), one where genetic engineering gets monstrously out of hand, and one that's so full of wit and (self-)references that it might well be the snake that swallows its own tail;
- an adventurous SF tale on a swampy planet where some things go slower...
- Two sensawunda stories: one that gradually builds up to an awe-ispiring climax, and another one that hits the ground running, sets off the fireworks, and never looks back;
- One razor-sharp fable that some may find sick.