I recently celebrated my 50th rejection from Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores (not quite sure how this should be recognised - a golden email, perhaps?). I've had some near misses with these guys before, and here they delivered a variation on the theme with a good-cop-bad-cop routine:
I really liked this story and in many ways savored the author’s quips and whims of the whip smart, tart mouthed, elderly archaeologist. I don’t think I will be forgetting her any time soon
the character interactions border on irritating and unfortunately the story depends on them as there is not much else going on. Even the framing device is superfluous to the banter. All told it doesn't make much sense, and comes off as more of an inside joke than a story meant for publication
I have read several stories by the author that are consistently good...
...but the wheels and levers that makes the story work didn’t hold up for me.
The feedback ends with a real stinger:
The story includes the killing of insects; not sure if that's a problem according to CRES's submission guidelines.
Seriously? I can't kill a mosquito? In a fucking story?? What sort of batshit crazy world is this?
I'm currently reading an anthology of Buddhist Beat writings, and looking forward to giving it a two-star rating on goodreads.com (ain't poetry great, the way there's so much white space the pages almost turn themselves - shame about the words). In one of the few moments that pokes its head above the bilge and arse gravy, William S Burroughs, a Buddhism sceptic, reluctantly takes part in a Buddhist retreat, and the first thing he does is fashion a fly swatter:
"I think this no-killing obsession is a nonsense. Where do you draw the line? Mosquitos? Biting flies? Lice? Venomous insects? I'd rather kill a brown recluse spider than get bitten by one. And I will not co-exist with flies. Little spider in a web at the window. He's all right. But I hear a rustling on the shelf above my bed. I light a candle and there is a spider about an inch across and a brown spider at that. Might be a brown recluse. Any case, too big to live in my vicinity. I feel better after it is dead, knowing it can't get on my face while I am sleeping."
Well, there's your answer, Bill. Nowadays, you can't kill it even if you've made it all up...
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2084 - The Meschera Bandwidth
2084. The world remains at war.
In the Eurasian desert, twenty-year old Adnan emerges from a coma with memories of a strictly ordered city of steel and glass, and a woman he loved.
The city is the Dome, and the woman... is Adnan's secret to keep.
Adnan learns what the Dome is, and what his role really was within it. He learns why everybody fears the Sickness more than the troopers. And he learns why he is the only one who can stop the war.
Persuaded to re-enter the Dome to implant a virus that will bring the war machine to its knees, the resistance think that Adnan is returning to free the many - but really he wants to free the one.
24 0s & a 2
Twenty-four slipstream stories. Frequently absurd, often minimifidian, occasionally heroic.