A Canticle for Slushowitz

Found in the inbox of the Holy Blog:

"Ode to Slush Readers"
by Tony Hellmann

It comes in crates, of increasing weights,
You cannot slow it’s rush.
With pen in hand, and no evening plans
You prepare to tame the slush.

The first cover letter says it all:
The author wants to be famous,
But he had his novel spiral bound;
What an ignoramus.

The second author cannot write,
His usage and spelling are poor.
He notes this in his cover page:
"That’s what I need an editer for."

The next one is promising: a new idea,
But no S-A-S-E,
That’s okay; less work for you.
Her rejection saves a tree.

This one starts out: "Dear Mr. Jones,"
And the cover letter is stellar!
You roll your eyes and shake your head
Your boss’s name is "Ms. Heller."

Your eyes are crossed, your interest lost
But you’re paid for this, you know.
If the next fifty stink, it’s okay
Just two hundred more to go.

At last, a submission excites you,
With a gripping, original style.
You know your boss will want this one
And that makes your job worthwhile.

Copyright 2004,
Tony Hellmann
Used with permission.


Read More

PDA Problems

So I’m having this problem with my Sony Clie (PDA).

The other day, I was trying to turn on the backlight, when suddenly I got this error message, some kind of “fatal” thing. In order to turn it off, I had to pop the batteries out. So I did that, then rebooted. When it came back on, it had lost everything in internal memory, but the memory stick was fine. This is no big deal — I don’t keep important information on there, just ebooks — so I just synched up when I got home. After synching, it looked like everything was fine (it successfully reloaded all the files I had on it), but today when I took it out to use it, I see that the stuff I synched the other day is now missing again, though I didn’t run into any further fatal errors. I even had to go through the start-up rigamarole where you have to use the stylus to point on the targets and set the time, etc. So I used it about an hour ago and that happened. Since then, I haven’t tried synching it again, so the main memory remains blank, but I just tried turning it on again now, and it seems to be fine otherwise (didn’t make me re-initialize, and it saved my place in the story I was reading [which was on the memory stick]).

For the record, I subscribe to and read Analog and Asimov’s via Fictionwise. Normally, I would prefer the dead-tree editions, but I originally started reading Asimov’s on there because I find the typeface, layout, and overall page density gives me a headache. I lated added Analog to my Fictionwise subscriptions just because I found myself never getting around to reading it, and I figured if I carried it with me in my PDA, I might get to it more often.

I read SCI FICTION on there as well. Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to download the stories. So what I do is just hit CTRL + A, then copy the text and paste it into Notepad. Notepad removes all the HTML junk (thus removing the images etc. on the SCI FICTION page), leaving a pristine text file. When you paste the text into Notepad, those story quotes in the left margin of SCI FICTION show up at the beginning, right before the story begins. So they’re easy enough to delete before saving the file (or you could just ignore them). The only problem I’ve come across is that in removing all the HTML junk, it also removes the boldface text and/or italics, so that can be an issue at times.

Note: this only works exactly as described with Windows XP. When I had Windows 98, it worked the same way, except Notepad could only make very small files, so most SCI FICTION stories were too long. In Windows XP, however, there don’t appear to be any file size limits, and you can post whole novellas (probably even novels) into Notepad and still save them as txt files. This is also convenient, BTW, since txt files are pretty small, compared to Word files.

Read More

Audiobook News

I have some audiobook news to report. Locus Online is going to be reprinting my audiobook review column a week or two after it appears in the dead-tree edition of Locus. The extra cash is nice, but also good is that I’ll be reaching even more readers (I’m told “As a gross rule of thumb, the website gets 5 or 6 thousand visits per day, or 30,000 or so per week.”)

I was also excited because this presented me with some other opportunities to perhaps write original articles for Locus Online. Much to my delight, this has already bore fruit — Mark Kelly has agreed to run an “audiobook primer” type of article for audiobook newbies. I’m going to point out the wonderful ways in which you can buy/rent/download audiobooks, and highlight some good playback and listening devices so that you all won’t have to suffer the same sort of buyer’s remorse I’ve felt over the years (hopefully, of course, the audiobook review column will help with that too!).

I was very eager to write a column like this one, if only so I could get my hands on some new gadgets to try out. I promised myself when I got the review column that I wouldn’t spend all the money I make from it on new audio-related devices. So I’ve made some inquiries and had some positive responses already. I couldn’t squeeze an iPod out of Apple (not even one to borrow for reviewing purposes), but they did agree to give me a couple gift certificates to the iTunes store, so I can try that out. I also scored a pair of pricy earphones (haven’t got them yet but they’re on route). So things are looking good so far.

Too bad none of my local friends have an iPod I could borrow for a few days. I might just have to give in and plunk down the cash for one myself.

Read More


Just a quick note to let everyone know I’ll be at the HWA Annual Conference and Stoker Banquet this weekend (June 3-6) in NYC. I’ll just be commuting into the city on Friday evening and for part of the day Saturday, so I won’t be there the whole time. On Friday, I’ll be going to that Q&A session, which runs 6:30 – 8:00. Doesn’t look like there’s anything scheduled after that, but if there are any parties or anything I might check in on one of those. On Saturday, I definitely plan to attend the awards ceremony and banquet. Don’t know if I’ll be around the rest of the day or not.

So, if anyone else is going, do look for me to say hi.

Read More


I just got back from a live show featuring co-headliners
Killswitch Engage and In Flames, with As I Lay Dying as opening act.  When
I saw that Killswitch Engage was coming to town, I was excited, but when I saw
that In frickin’ Flames was co-headlining, I absolutely had to go.  They’re
two of my favorite bands, playing the same show!  Plus, In Flames is from
Sweden, so they don’t get over to the States all that often, and I made a
promise to myself that if they did come here, I’d go see them.  So going to
this concert was a no-brainer, even if Lord Slushaloth had to go solo. 

The show was in New York City, at the Roseland Ballroom,
which is on 52nd St., between 8th Ave. and Broadway.  Never been there
before, but I would gladly go again.  It was a nice venue. 

Inside, it was pretty much your standard fare for a metal
concert: lots of black apparel, (often in sizes 3, 4, or 5 XL), and much of it
featuring skulls; there was a lot of long hair and shaved heads; many varieties
of facial hair and facial piercings and eye makeup; a lot of pasty white skin. 
And then there were the babes.  Even though I’ve seen it before, I’m always
surprised at how many babes are at these metal concerts.  Where do these
hotties who like metal hang out?  I’ve never met one.  (Hell, it’s
been quite a while since I met a woman who likes metal, regardless of

So, as I said, As I Lay Dying was the opening act. 
They were just okay, I thought.  They performed their one song I like,
"Forever," so that was cool, but hearing them live just reminded me why I
couldn’t get into their album: I can’t understand a friggin’ word the lead
singer says.  He’s like a dog barking most of the time (but on "Forever"
you can hear most of the vocals).  The band is certainly talented
musically, though; maybe they should just ditch the singer or tell him to adopt
a new (or alter his current) vocal style.

In Flames was up next, and they were quite good. 
They gave a solid live performance, nothing to complain about, but while I
enjoyed it very much, it didn’t blow me away.  Didn’t quite live up to the
brilliance of their studio recordings.  However…

Killswitch closed the show, and man, did they bring it. 
They’re easily the best live act I’ve seen (in my somewhat limited experience). 
Just blew me away.  Their vocalist, Howard Jones, has some serious stage
presence.  And the band as a whole just sounded great live.  I can
definitely see a live album in their future.   

Read More

When Editorial Tastes Collide!

On the F&SF message board, someone asked if Gordon ever asks what I think of stories from his pile, and whether or not Gordon has ever published something I would have rejected. If you want to see the original thread, click here.

I thought my response might be interesting for others to read, so I’m cross-posting it here:

Gordon solicits my opinion on stories all the time. I read and react to pretty much everything Gordon buys (but most of the stuff he rejects I never see). I don’t know how much my opinion sways him either way; you’d have to ask him, but I’m sure it varies on story to story.

I don’t know that I’d say “Damn, I wouldn’t have published that,” but there have been times we have disagreed (which should be no surprise, as I don’t like every story Asimovs or Sci Fiction publishes either even though I do like a great majority of it). Though Gordon’s tastes and mine are pretty much in tune, there are inevitable differences of opinion.

It’s hard to say about seeing those same stories in the slush. Reading slush is different from reading for acquisition. When I read slush, I’m not only reading for my own editorial taste; I’m also reading for what I think Gordon will like. I also set aside stories that I think have potential (even though they might be flawed), because an encouraging rejection from Gordon (perhaps with helpful comments) can be of great use to a beginning writer trying to develop his/her craft.

So, I’d like to say that no, I wouldn’t have rejected them were I to come across them in the slush; I’d like to think that I would at least see the potential that Gordon saw in them, even if I disagreed on their overall merit, but it’s impossible to say for certain.

Read More

Wrath Page Updated

Updated the “Wrath” page to include:

[Causes Wrath]: With your non-disposable submission, you include an SASE that far larger than necessary (generally, anything larger than 9″ x 12″ is too frickin’ big).

Read More


[buylinks book=”wtf” align=”right”]

For more information and updates about the anthology, subscribe to the RSS feed, or follow editors John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen on Twitter (@JohnJosephAdams & @Douglas_Cohen) and/or friend them on Facebook (John / Doug). You can also visit their websites at www.johnjosephadams.com and douglascoheneditorial.com, or contact them directly (John / Doug).

If you’d like to request a review copy, interview the editors, or just learn more about the anthology, please contact Saga Press publicist Katy Hershberger.


edited by
John Joseph Adams

a Saga Press original
Horror / September 20, 2016 / 368 pages
hardcover / 978-1481434997 / $26.99
trade paperback / 978-1481434935 / $16.99
ebook / 978-1481435000 / $7.99
Download the Hi-Res Book Cover



Read More

Temporal Anomolies

Seems I had my blog set in the wrong time zone. It was on Atlantic instead of Eastern Standard (Cory Doctorow is gonna kill me if he finds out about this!). Where the hell is Atlantic time anyway? It was an hour later….so that would be east of me, right? What the hell is east of here but west of Europe? A few islands in the Caribbean? Oh, Greenland, perhaps.

Ah, Google enlightens me: http://www.firstscience.com/site/time.asp. Much of South America, apparently…

And this accounts for how I posted this before I posted that stuff I already posted…. (Or have I discovered time travel?)

Read More


[buylinks book=”wtf” align=”right”]

The following content can be found in WHAT THE #@&% IS THAT?:


  • INTRODUCTION by Douglas Cohen
  • MOBILITY by Laird Barron
  • FOSSIL HEART by Amanda Downum
  • THOSE GADDAM COOKIES by Scott Sigler
  • DOWN IN THE DEEP AND THE DARK by Desirina Boskovich
  • LITTLE WIDOW by Maria Dahvana Headley
  • THE BAD HOUR by Christopher Golden
  • NOW AND FOREVER by D. Thomas Minton
  • THE HOUSE THAT LOVE BUILT by Grady Hendrix
  • WE ALL MAKE SACRIFICES by Jonathan Maberry
  • GHOST PRESSURE by Gemma Files
  • FRAMING MORTENSEN by Adam-Troy Castro
  • THE CATCH by Terence Taylor
  • HUNTERS IN THE WOOD by Tim Pratt
  • WHOSE DROWNED FACE SLEEPS by An Owomoyela & Rachel Swirsky
  • CASTLEWEEP by Alan Dean Foster

Visit the FREE READS page to read selections from the anthology.

Read More