Saturday, July 21, 2007

Crushed Again

My story "Trail of the Brujo" was just rejected by "Weird Tales." That's discouraging of course, it's a story I felt rather proud of and this is two rejections. I wonder how I'll go on.

I console myself however with the fact that I'm being turned down by such an impressive market.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Crushed by the Machine of Death

I just heard today from the editors of MACHINE OF DEATH. They wrote a nice rejection letter for my submission to their anthology. (I really do appreciate it when people take the trouble to write a polite letter. So many don't.)

They didn't criticize my story except to say that it didn't fit what they had in mind for the volume as well as many other submissions did. They had about 700 submissions so they got to choose what was going to fit together best.

I can understand that. I read an essay by Marion Zimmer Bradley awhile back that said that most rejections are for that reason. The story can be conceptually brilliant, stylistically flawless, and deeply compelling and still not be a good fit for a collection. That's a comforting thought...

The editors said that I was free to submit the story elsewhere and wished me luck. I appreciate that, though I doubt it will be practical. Their anthology is about a world where there is a machine that can predict the manner of a person's death. You just head down to the local convenience story and drop some money in the slot and it will crank out a technically accurate (but cryptic) sentance like "auto accident."

The machine doesn't tell you how long you've got, or any of the sepcifics of the death. A person who got the "auto accident" might give up driving only to slip on a child's toy car and break his neck.

My submission was titled "Act of God." It was meant to be an ambiguous story highlighting people's attitudes about the existence of God. If this guy's going to die because of an act of God, does that mean that God exists? What does that say about the character of God? In the end the poor guy's death doesn't resolve anything. Atheists and fundamentalists alike stick to their own interpretation of events and belief in God remains a matter of faith rather than hard evidence.

It wasn't my best story, but I liked it. Maybe I will submit it elsehweresomeday, but if it doesn't fit in the MACHINE OF DEATH I don't have a clue where it will fit.

It's no big deal though. I've learned to bear rejection with grace and equanamity. Now please excuse me while I go curl up in the foetal position and feel sorry for myself :(

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Micah Harris just looked over this story and gave me some good suggestions. This is my take on the Golden Age SF stories and (I hope) will read like Northwest Smith's adventures on Barsoom. (If you don't know Northwest Smith or Barsoom you have a treat ahead if you check them out!)

This is my first story with a female protaganist. I hope it's a reasonably successful attempt. The heroine, Cat Morgan is an homage to C.L. Moore, one of the greats of Depression era Science Fiction and one of the first women in the field. The story had been accepted for an anthology called "The Big Black" but that went away when G.W. Thomas was forced to fold Rage Machine books. (I hated to see that happen to a struggling small press, and especially to G.W. who is a good guy.)

Anyway, it's a quick polish with Micah's suggestions and off to a new home (I hope) with "Intergalactic Medicine Show" which is a neat looking magazing I've only just become aware of. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Zorro's conclusion

Telemundo's "Zorro: la espada y la rosa" looks like it is moving up to a climax. I believe that the masked ball held by the Queen of Spain will bring everything to a conclusion. There are a number of long-ronning subplots that have been resolved and the ball will be the first event where everyone in the cast comes together.

Zorro will win the day of course, and be reunited with hos true love Esmeralda (who now posing as the mysterious Countess of Barcamonte.) Mercedes (formerly the woman in the iron mask) will be reuinted with her cousin the Queen to help rule Spain wisely and well. Lovers will be reunited, villains will meet their ironic fates, and justice will be restored.

As the end nears I find that I am more interested in some of the minor characters than the principals. It's not that Zorro shouldn't be the center of the action. He's the only reason I'm watching this. It's just that what happens to the minor characters is harder to predict, creating greater dramatic tension. I'm very interested, for instance, in seeing whether Tobias (a pompous buffoon who occasionally impersonates Zorro) and Catalina (his self-absorbed but likable wife) live happily ever after.

They have brought one of the major villains to point in his life that I would never expect to see on American television. Don Fernando Sanchez y Moncada, the evil governor of Los Angeles has renounced his obsessive love for Don Diego's aunt and become a friar. He is now seeking forgiveness from those he has harmed (a long list.) It is interesting to see characters dealing with their faith so openly on a television program. It is also unexpected to have such a strong theme of grace and redemption show with a character who has been to unapoligetically evil for so long. (You know that a villain is truly repentant when he shaves off his VanDyke.)

I had gotten really tired of his never ending pursuit of Maria Pia but this change makes me interested in him again. I suspect that his redemption is going to involve a heroic death saving the lives of people he has wronged, but we'll see.