A world unlike any other

That’s the world of the science fiction writer. And after a long silence, in which I’d actually said goodbye to two of my acceptances for last year, it’s a world that’s come to life again, as two anthologies that stalled seem to be back on the cards for me. Well, for Ren, anyway.

The point about writing genre fiction is that you have to love the genre with all your heart and your twisted little soul—it isn’t possible to do half-hearted sci-fi or horror or slipstream or cyberpunk or whatever. You have to swim in that particular ocean with all the joyous abandon of a happy dolphin or you’re wasting your time. Ren Holton does, fortunately for me. In fact Ren in his/her leather coat is never happier than when curled up with a coffee and a large tome of science fiction. S/he just reviewed James Sallis’s excellent short story collection Time’s Hammers for The Small Press Review (UK) and fell in love all over again with that particular writer’s style. I hate the s/he bit you know, but when I picked a pen-name for sci-fi it was deliberately genderless and as Ren Holton has been described as male in one set of end notes and as female in another anthology’s preface, I feel properly birfucated about my own identity.

Now I’m going to stick my neck out a bit and say that while erotica editors are the nicest people I’ve ever met, and literary fiction editors are the most erudite, I have the closest relationships with science fiction editors. To a man and woman (and all other genders/organisms, let’s not be exclusive here, we are talking alternate worlds, after all) they are just the best folk to email back and forth with. I love ‘em! And not just because they accept my work (although that’s generally a good start to a relationship) but because they nearly always go the extra mile for a writer, giving concrete examples of HOW they want stuff submitted, WHERE a story fell down for them, WHY they are suggesting changes to a piece etc. Particular kudos here to Lane Adamson over at Permuted Press who is taking subs for Robots Beyond and who is proving to be a treasure (and no, he hasn’t accepted anything of mine … yet). If you have a story that meets his needs, read the instructions carefully, fulfil them, and send it in—maybe we’ll anthologise together?


  1. Lane Adamson
    11th January 2008

    As this is my first editorial undertaking, I may be more bitter and jaded once the ROBOTS BEYOND project is completed. Until then, I’m striving mightily to respond to all submissions–especially the ones with any semblance of merit–the way I’d like to be responded to.

  2. SallyQ
    16th January 2008

    I’ve had the same experience, Kay. The science fiction editors who get back to me nearly always explain why they’re rejecting a piece (or why they’re accepting it, which does happen sometimes). They’ve helped me see plot holes that I hadn’t noticed, or just told me that whilst it wasn’t for them in that instance, they liked the premise, which is a great boost when being rejected.


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