So this week I’m reading Rage Against the Night, a short story anthology that was put out by the HWA with the charitable goal of helping one of its members, Rocky Wood (who happened to be president of HWA at the time), purchase an eye gaze machine* as he battled ALS.
This week I’m reading Hyperion, the Hugo award-winning novel by Dan Simmons, in which … uh … well I’m not really sure I can explain what’s going on, because it seems really complicated. Suffice to say there’s a planet named Hyperion that seems to be about to become ground zero in an interplanetary war between a couple of different human factions (one planetary, one space-based), and which is also haunted by a possibly shapeshifting, definitely fearsome creature, called the Shrike, which essentially teleports around impaling people and hanging them as ornaments from its gigantic backwards-in-time-traveling aluminum Christmas tree, and which is worshiped as a god throughout inhabited space, and which our small band of protagonists is currently traveling upriver, Heart of Darkness-style, to visit. Oh and also there’s a huge planetary labyrinth (one of at least nine such labyrinths on different planets) full of cruciform parasites whose significance I don’t yet know.
But other than that nothing is happening.
It’s been a while since I reached into my giant stack of rejection (and a few acceptance) letters, so I figured it was time to totter off to random.org and ask them what letter I should choose. They told me “V”, but I already did the only V in my pile, so I asked them for a different letter and they told me “W”. As it turns out, nearly all my “W” rejections are from Weird Tales, or, as indicated in the scan below, “Worlds of Fantasy and Horror”, which is, uh, not quite as catchy a title as Weird Tales. (The astute reader will not be surprised to learn that this temporary title change involved the legal system.)
This week I’m (still) reading MaddAddam, the final installment in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian/post-apocalyptic series that began with Oryx & Crake. Dystopian fiction and post-apocalyptic fiction are not the same thing, of course, but all three books in the MaddAddam trilogy qualify as both because their present-day scenes take place after the destruction of (most of) humanity, while their flashback scenes take place in the dystopian burbclaves that preceded the apocalypse. Hence you get to eat your dystopia and have it too. Or something like that.
It’s been a while since I reached into my giant stack of rejection (and a few acceptance) letters, so I decided it was about time to visit random.org and have it pick me a character to represent the name of the agent, magazine, or publisher who had rejected (or maybe accepted) a submission. When it came back with a Z, I pretty much knew that it was going to have to be a rejection from Francis Ford Coppola’s magazine Zoetrope, as I couldn’t think of any other venue starting with that letter to which I had ever submitted. Although I did find a letter in the “Z” section from one of my cousins, who had read my story “The Short Route” and sent me back a note that it should be expanded into a novel, a movie, or both. (Maybe someday, Susan!) But of course I couldn’t use a letter from a cousin for a Random Rejection, and so, Zoetrope it is!