July 11th, 2008


Post a Rejection Letter Friday

Over at ktempest, it has been declared Post a Rejection Letter Friday, in response to someone telling her it was illegal/immoral to do so, which in turn was in response to a rejection letter someone got and made public that called Arabs "towel-heads." Or something. It's a whole kerfuffle. Obviously, I fall on the side of the issue that says it's not only okay to make your rejection letters public but one really ought to if the letter contains such rampant bigotry. I think other writers have a right to know which editors they may not want to work with, because sometimes, as with the Bad Moon Books situation, it really is about the company you keep.

However, none of my rejection letters are suitably hilarious to share with you here, so I'm reaching back into history, with the help of Andre Bernard's brilliant non-fiction book Rotten Rejections: A Literary Companion, for some of the best of the best. Or best of the worst, depending on how you look at it.

Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen - "We are willing to return the manuscript for the same (advance) we paid for it."

Crash, J.G. Ballard - "The author of this book is beyond psychiatric help."

The Bridge Over the River Kwai, Pierre Boulle - "A very bad book."

The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck - "Regret the American public is not interested in anything on China."

Under the Moons of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs - "It is not at all probable, we think, that we can make use of the story of a Virginia soldier of fortune miraculously transported to Mars."

The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M. Cain - "I think it is only a matter of time before you reach out into more substantial efforts that will be capable of making some real money as books."

Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser - "Immoral and badly written...the choice of your characters is unfortunate...not the best kind of book for a young author to make his first book."

Sanctuary, William Faulkner - "Good God, I can't publish this. We'd both be in jail."

The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank - "The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the 'curiosity' level."

The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame - "The form of the story is most unexpected."

The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass - "It can never be translated."

The Blessing Way, Tony Hillerman - "If you insist on rewriting this, get rid of all that Indian stuff."

Animal Farm, George Orwell - "It is impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.A."

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde - "It contains unpleasant elements."

I love that last one. Unpleasant elements. Ah well, at least it doesn't have any of that awful Indian stuff!

I don't know if Bernard's Rotten Rejections is still in print, but if you can find a copy, snag it pronto. It's not only very funny, it's a superb reminder that even the greatest writers had to pay their dues before hitting it big.

Body Maintenance Week

It's Friday afternoon, and thus ends Body Maintenance Week. I hadn't planned it this way, but my schedule just sort of turned this week into being all about my bod, and it turned out to be kind of a good thing, getting everything out of the way at once. Observe:

Tuesday: doctor checkup; haircut

Wednesday: blood test

Thursday: chest x-rays

Friday: dentist checkup

The irony? All these appointments have thrown off my regular routines, and as a result I've done very little exercising this week. Ha! Take that, health! Revel in the awesomeness that is me!

Next week will be Soul Maintenance Week, mainly due to attending Necon Thursday through Saturday night and Readercon on Sunday morning for the Shirley Jackson Awards presentation.

International Horror Guild Awards

The nominees for this year's International Horror Guild Awards have been announced! You can see the list, and indeed the whole press release, over at Ellen Datlow's blog.

So instead of listing all the nominees here, I wanted to take this opportunity instead to say congratulations to my friends Sarah "No LiveJournal" Langan, imago1, ellen_datlow, mssrcrankypants and p_straub55 on their nominations, and in the case of p_straub55 a double congrats for also being named this year's Living Legend!

Doctor Who: "Midnight"

After the award-worthy awesomeness of Steven Moffat's two-parter "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead" -- skeletons walking around in spacesuits + ghosts = spooky goodness -- Russell T. Davies' "Midnight" was something of a letdown. It had a killer setup, I thought, and I was really liking the first half, but then it devolved into little more than a redux of the Twilight Zone episode "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street." Except this episode actually had a monster. Sort of. But it seemed almost entirely tangential to the plot. And a year ago I never would have thought I'd say this, but there wasn't enough Donna.

There was also a rather ham-handed shoehorning of Blondie McBlonderson on the video screen and another, entirely too off-the-cuff mention of the Medusa Cascade, which as I've mentioned before seems to be turning into this season's Bad Wolf. I can't wait to find out what the heck that is.

But we're rapidly approaching the end of season four here in the States, and from what I've heard, the final three episodes are all linked as a three-parter, so I'm guessing -- hoping? -- things will pick up again.

I can't wait for Moffat to take over from Davies after this season!