BBQ, Pink Flamingos, Bits

An interview with The Stars Now Unclaimed's Drew Williams about BBQ, and what it really means:

Were those moments as perfect as I remember? Almost certainly not: with seven kids, at least a couple of us were fighting, at least a handful of my uncles were probably embarrassingly drunk, and with my family, a day like that was as liable to end with a trip to the emergency room as anything else - I once got shot in the head with an arrow! - but those aren’t the parts I remember, you know? In memory, the sunlight’s always perfect, the sweat doesn’t stink and the blood doesn’t hurt, and every piece of BBQ that came out of that smoker was done to perfection.

What disaster fiction can teach us about pink flamingos (and the role of the advertising agency):

The Meg is a black swan - no one expects a prehistoric sharkDeep Blue Sea is a pink flamingo. The inevitable conclusion of making hyper-intelligent sharks is that you're going to get some people well and truly et.

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Other bits

  • Currently over 100 items already in for The Best of British Fantasy, plus my own, um, exploratory reading - a really interesting experience, and I look forward to sharing more about it
  • Speaking of 'Best of'...: Maria Dahvana Headley's "Black Powder" (from The Djinn Falls in Love) has been selected for The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy and Saad Hossain's "Bring Your Own Spoon" is in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year.
  • New events coming up in October and November - two publishing talks and some cameos-in-support-of-a-book-to-which-I-contributed. (I'm not sure what the word is for that.)
  • I'm not at either FantasyCon or World Fantasy. But I have already booked for next year's WorldCon. (And, for non-SF/F types, yes - those are three completely different things and, yes - that is confusing, and probably deliberate.)

"What are your influences?"

This week's newsletter is about influences. Also Facebook, Fighting Fantasy and, uh, mayonnaise:

One particularly fascinating bit of aboutness - an aboutness molecule - the humble Facebook ad. We don't see them. Of course we don't! I've held approximately 7,500,000 focus groups, and I've never once heard someone say that they noticed a Facebook ad. I don't. You don't. No one does! And yet, someone does, because, guess what, Facebook made $39.9 billion on those ads last year. Billion. That's a lot of not-noticing. This isn't social acceptability bias either, as even in quantitative surveys, we say we don't see those ads. 91% of the UK population says they've never made a purchase through a social media ad. 87% have never clicked a brand communication through Facebook. And yet, someone is placing - and winning - a forty billion dollar bet that they do.

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Plus, NewCon's Ian Whates says very nice things about the Best of British Fantasy project. Subscribe to that too!


The Best of British Fantasy

I'm editing The Best British Fantasy. I'm delighted to be working with Newcon's Ian Whates, and have the opportunity to showcase the brilliance of British creativity.

So... I need some fantasy.

What am I looking for?

Best: In the immortal words of the Atlantic Monthly's Ellery Sedgewick: "My selection is made according to the whim of one individual." 

British: This is about authorship, not publication. It doesn't matter where the work was first published: I need the author to be a citizen of the United Kingdom or long-term resident. I would like to read stories from UK citizens residing outside of the UK. I would like to read stories from (the other) immigrants that now make the UK their home. And I would like to read stories from UK-born people who live in the UK. Basically, I would like to read stories.

Fantasy: I define fantasy as 'contains some element of the fantastic'. This is deliberately broad, and includes everything from the most epic of epics to the most literary of, uh, literary. Paranormal romance, magical realism, sword & sorcery, steampunk - I think great quality lurks in every subgenre. Try me.

The caveat is, NewCon already publishes terrific science fiction and horror 'best of' series (check 'em out). I'm not going to poach from their fields.

This is a reprint market for short stories

I'm looking for stories that are, ideally, between 2,500 and 6,000 words. Exceptions can be made, although if you're flogging either a novelette or flash fiction, that's unlikely to happen. 

Stories means stories. No poetry, non-fiction or extracts from longer works, please.

I am looking for reprints. Stories must have been first published between 1 January and 31 December 2018. Please ensure the reprint rights for the story are available before sending it to me. As well as anthology and magazine publication, I am happy to consider stories that first appeared in a digital format, as a self-published story, as bonus content in a book, in a magazine, in a small press, as a limited edition, in a chapbook, whatever, etc. etc. 

This is a paying market, offering 1p a word for reprint rights on accepted stories, up to a maximum of £60.00, along with contributor copies of the book. There will also be some non-onerous, non-mandatory publicity requirements/opportunities for contributors as well.

How to submit a story

I am very happy to hear from authors, agents, or publishers.

Please send the story (as Word/PDF/mobi/epub, pls), publication details, and brief bio to jared@jurassic-london.com. 

Deadline 1 December 2018, but the sooner the better. I am happy to read pre-publication copies, provided the final story does publish within the calendar year.

If you include [BoBF] in the subject line I will get to it faster and know that you read this whole thing.

Spreading the word

Please share this link far and wide. I'm keen to cast a wide net and read as broadly as possible. I want BoBF to represent the diversity of voices and talents and backgrounds present with the UK. 

You can also help by leaving your own suggestions - stories, authors, anthologies, even magazines or publishers - in the comments below. Or tweet them at me at @straycarnivore. Or email them to me directly at the address above.


Waithood and The Podcast Opportunity

Yesterday was Wednesday, and that means... a newsletter!

‘Waithood’ is the period between being adult and being able to achieve ‘adult’ goals: marry, have children, own a home, have a career or a business. Waithood is that liminal status when you’re supposed to be doing things, but lack the capacity to do them. The term originated out of studies into a new generation of youth in Middle East and North Africa, the insight behind it is more broadly applicable.

Later this month, I'm joining Acast's Sophie Herdman at an as-yet-undisclosed London location to talk about "The Podcast Opportunity" with the PRCA. Details here.