Friday, May 8, 2009

Polite As A Literary Agent in London

This one is anonymously submitted with all the telling information chopped out.  But I suppose it is a nice little rejection urging you not to be too disheartened.  If there is such a thing.


Anonymous said...

what's the difference between the one labeled "disturbing and creepy" and this rejection? why is one boring, and the other strange? the labeling is arbitrary around here.

aslo, did John Bruce ever win his Pushcart/Pulitzer/Plimpton, or whatever the hell prize he was up for?

Jeremy said...

Hey I just found your site... I had just written this in my blog re a weird and somewhat funny rejection I got...

I wrote a short story four years ago or so which I like but I have never been able to publish. The core of the story -- which is called "Beautiful Pea-Green Boat" is that a woman marries a man and shortly before embarking on a long sailing trip/honeymoon together she learns that he has a rare speech condition -- which he has cleverly managed to hide -- that causes him to speak in rhyming couplets. It's not "The Dubliners", it's not even O. Henry but I think it is pretty funny and well-done but no editor has agreed with my assessment so far. I have become thick skinned when it comes to rejection-letters (though there are a few that still get my goat -- "please note that our decisions are based purely on artistic merit and have nothing to do with considerations of marketability" ie. 'don't console yourself with thinking that we just didn't think we could sell your book. No. It is just bad!') But this rejection seemed not just momentarily demoralizing but also funny.
I won't name the publication but it is a leading online venue for speculative fiction. I figured maybe -- since the premise of my story is a little fantastical -- I would have better luck at a place where weird is the norm. This week for example they they have a story set in the near future about a person in a bionic exoskeletons doing some kind of virtual reality stimulation of these hyper-intelligent super children. Of course, my story was pretty tame by these standards but what the hell.
Anyway, I got a polite note back from the editor of this publication saying "thanks but no thanks." He included his reason. This comment from an editor who publishes stories about alien life forms and impossible technologies is the part I found funny. "We found it a little hard to believe that the protagonist wouldn't have noticed earlier that the husband speaks in rhyme."

Anonymous said...

Strange Horizons and Clarkesworld?