Saturday, June 25, 2016

Quick Thoughts - "Medium"

In some ways I'm very glad that I've had a story out almost every week for the past two months, because with everything that's been going on, in America and beyond, has been a bit numbing to me personally, and it's easy to let my thoughts sink into some dark waters. It's been healthy, I hope, to try and think about happy things instead. Like the fact that my contemporary fantasy story, "Medium," is out now in the first ever Book Smugglers Quarterly Almanac! It's an amazing project with a cover illustration based on my story (which is so gorgeous!) and I'm incredibly proud (and humbled) to share a table of contents with such an amazing line up of writers.

Art by Kristina Tsenova

I actually already wrote a bit about this story over at The Book Smugglers blog, so you might already know the kind of inspirations that went into this story. What I didn't go into there and can now is the sort of strange journey this story had to getting published. I actually wrote this story for a themed call (Success). I wanted to work a little bit with the idea of success, and the more traditional superhero story was a great place to start. Part of what I liked about writing this story was playing with victory, and the cost of victory and the responsibility of being a superhero. I think much of the time the emphasis is solely on winning. But in light of things like the Superman movie and beyond, where collateral damage is accepted and not really cared about, I wanted to look at a different kind of success. A moral success.

So that's an added wrinkle in what went into the story. The wrinkle in its publishing adventure is that it was rejected for the call (which is no surprise, as I subbed a lot to that publication and it was all rejected). And because it's sold and out now the sting of this particular rejection is dulled a little and I feel I can talk about it. It's nothing against the very good people who rejected the story, but I was told that the story was the last story rejected. Basically, that they accept 3 stories per issue, and mine was number 4. I think I stared at that email a little bit. I mean, it was nice to know that they liked the story, but I'm not sure I needed to know just how close I was to making the cut. Still, they said I should resubmit it if I thought it would be appropriate for a different theme. The publication, of course, closed for good shortly after.

But the story has a happy ending! Because lo and behold later in the year the Year of the Superhero call went up and I was all over that. All. Over. That! And I am super super excited to be published by The Book Smugglers, who I have admired since they started putting out original fiction. They are a great source of fiction and nonfiction and all things SFF. And I am so pumped to be in the inaugural issue of the Almanac, which has an awesome physical edition that will be coming out early next week. Seriously there is so much awesome swirling around this. The reprints look phenomenal (I've read 2 of them and loved them both). The original fiction not by me is by John Chu!!! I've loved his work at Lightspeed and and beyond and am super excited to once again share a TOC with him (we were both also in QDSF!). And the nonfiction comes from some genre all-stars!

So yeah, definitely check out this collection. I will probably be looking at the other original story as part of my next month's Book Smugglers review, so there's that to look forward to, and otherwise, thanks for reading!

All the best,

Charles Payseur

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