Random Rejection: Pulp Eternity, “The Fold”

As it’s been a while since I dipped into my trove of rejection letters, this week I turned to random.org, asked them for a letter, and got an “E”. So I reached into the folder and pulled out this nice one, from Pulp Eternity, which is either from the end of 1998 or the beginning of 1999:

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In a case of “failure to know your market”, I apparently sent Eternity Press a copy of “The Fold“, a cautionary tale of origami gone wrong — no, I’m just kidding. It is in fact a dystopian SF story where the wealthy and powerful have used a “dimensional translater” to sequester the hoi polloi in a polluted pocket dimension, while the upper class remains in the pristine environment of Earth. At least, that’s what the rich would like the poor to think …

Unfortunately, Eternity Press wasn’t looking to place hopeless dystopias in Pulp Eternity,. The “gloom and doom” mentioned in the letter was no doubt worsened by the fact that this version of the story probably featured the original ending, which is even more of a downer than the one in the version of the story that eventually appeared in Albedo One in 2001. Without giving away spoilers (uhh, specific spoilers, anyway), the original ending was comprised of approximately 70% gloom, 28% doom, and 2% “Everybody’s Dead, Dave“. The revised ending keeps the gloom, but cuts the doom down to 20% or so, and adds around a 10% shot of “Maybe it’s not the end of the world yet”. Even that was a bit of a tough sell back in the cheerful late-90s fiction environment. These days, it’s starting to seem quaintly optimistic …

I have posted the text of “The Fold” before, so I won’t do so again now, but you can go back and read it here if you are in the mood for some cross-dimensional border-crossing hijinx.

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