Temporarily Closed to Submissions
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Originally published at Unlikely Story. You can comment here or there.

Unlikely Story is currently closed to submissions. We’ll reopen in January for our Unlikely Academia Issue.

In the meantime, we’re catching up on submissions to the Unlikely Cryptography and Unlikely Coulrophobia Issues. We’ve now responded to all Cryptography subs, and we’re working our way through those we’re holding onto for a second look. We hope to make our final decisions and announce the table of contents soon. We’ve also started reading the Coulrophobia submissions, and we’ve responded to everything received on or before 10/4/2014.

Thank you to everyone who submitted work during these reading periods. Thank you as well for your patience as we respond. Both issues will be fabulous, we promise. Speaking of, our next Unlikely Entomology issue will be out later this month. We’re looking forward to sharing it with you.


Announcing Unlikely Story #10: The Journal of Unlikely Entomology
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Originally published at Unlikely Story. You can comment here or there.

We’re thrilled to announce the ToC for Unlikely Story #10: The Journal of Unlikely Entomology. In no particular order, the issue will feature…

Miranda’s Wings by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
Bookends by Michael Wehunt
Prism City Blues by Naim Kabir
Gemma Bugs Out by Victorya Chase
On Shine Wings by Polenth Blake
Coping With Common Garden Pests by Will Kaufman
Meltdown in Freezer Three by Luna Lindsey

Thank you again to everyone who submitted work for this issue. As so frequently happens, we had some tough choices to make here. Unlikely Story #10: The Journal of Unlikely Entomology will be out in November. We can’t wait to share these stories with you!

In the meantime, we continue to read submissions for Unlikely Story #11: The Journal of Unlikely Cryptography. The guidelines can be found here. We’ll be reading for our Unlikely Coulrophobia mini issue soon.


An Unlikely Interview with James Van Pelt
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Originally published at Unlikely Story. You can comment here or there.


In This Gray Rock, Standing Tall, a map literally and metaphorically leads your main character to a deeper connection with both his father and his son, and a new understanding of himself and his place in the world. Have you ever experienced a moment like that, where a physical object, or something someone left behind, completely changed your perception of that person, or yourself?

A lot of “This Gray Rock, Standing Tall” felt autobiographical. None of the events in the story are from memory, but a lot of the emotion of trying to connect with my father set the tone in the piece. He’s knee deep into Alzheimer’s, and I’ve spent a lot of time considering my relationship to him as he slips away. He’s in a care center right now, so the family has been going through the house we grew up in, preparing it for sale. My sisters found an old telescope of his, a giant brass and glass instrument that any self-respecting pirate would be glad to call his own. I’ve contemplated that telescope frequently since it turned up. Dad was an aeronautical engineer. He worked on many of the projects that were a part of the nation’s race to space. Holding that old telescope, thinking about how often he must have turned it to the stars before I was born, makes me see him as he must have been when he was young. I’m having a plaque made for it to hang on the wall below the telescope. It will read, “Jack Van Pelt, Watcher of the Skies.”

When you travel or visit a new area, are you the kind of person who likes to use a map (or GPS) to get to know the place, or do you prefer to explore and figure things out as you go along? Similarly, when it comes to fiction, do you outline, or do you start writing and find the story that way?

I have no sense of direction, so GPS is the science fictional future that I’m glad to be living in. But I’ve always loved maps. I particularly liked novels that had maps as the end pieces. The first fictional map I remember studying was the one in Ruth Gannet’s children’s book, MY FATHER’S DRAGON. I loved maps with unexplored areas, including the ones that read, “Here there be dragons.” Someone asked me about my writing process not long ago, and I told them that one part of the process I really enjoyed is when I start a new story. I type my name and address in the upper left, tab down to the middle of the page, think of a title (even if it will probably change later), and then pause before I plunge into the blank space below. That blank space is the map of unexplored territory. I have no idea what surprises await me there.

Authors are notorious for working strange jobs. Stephen King was a janitor and J.D. Salinger worked as the entertainment director on a luxury cruise line. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had, and did it inspire any stories or teach you anything you’ve used in your writing?

I did temp work when I was in grad school. Most of the time is was secretarial, but I took a job for a week unloading a urea barge in the Port of Sacramento. The product came down the coast from Alaska in barges longer than a city block. At first, the urea, which are white, slightly sticky pellets, unloads by gravity onto conveyor belts. For a day, I manned a section of the belt with the urea pounding down from the containers above. The noise deafened and the dust blinded. Once the easy stuff was out, though, the rest had to moved with huge front-end loaders. They trained me on one, and for the next few days, I ran this giant machine inside the barge, grabbing bucket loads of the product and then dumping down to the conveyors. The wall of urea towered over the machine. The foreman told me to be careful not to undercut the wall, or the whole mess would come down, cover the front-end loader, and probably kill me. I spent my entire time on that job scared to death, and very, very sorry I’d taken it. It’s largest impact on my writing was to convince me I was better behind a desk or in a classroom than I was doing industrial labor.

One of the perennial points of contention in the world revolves around education — who should get educated (and to what degree), what should be taught, who should be excluded. Meanwhile, children in their classrooms ask, “Why do I need to know this?” Tell us one obscure thing you learned in school that you think is important, and why.

I teach high school and college English, so I think about education most of the time. In this era of standardized testing and common core standards, I keep coming back to what I thought were the two most important lessons I learned in high school. I don’t know if they are obscure — they feel obvious to me — but I don’t hear people talking about them. The first was that answers could be found. That lesson doesn’t have anything to do with math or science or grammar knowledge, but it’s what I got out of school. If I apply myself, and I continue looking, I can find answers. That one lesson has taken me a long way. The rest of my own education, I think, was about learning of different ways to think. I don’t remember much from my math classes, but I’m aware of mathematical thinking. I don’t remember much from science, but I know something about the scientific method. I can’t recall names and dates, but I see history as an interrelationship of forces. Those were my important lessons. High school, at least, seems to me to be the place where we learn there are answers to be found, and that there are different, logical ways to look at the world.

We all have our favorite authors, some of whom everyone has heard of, and some of whom are relatively obscure. Who is one of the more obscure writers you love? What do you love about their work? Tell us which story or novel of theirs we should drop everything to read right now.

Once again, not obscure, but I think under read, is Robert Holdstock, most specifically, his novel MYTHAGO WOOD. I’ve worn out a couple of copies, and I’ve given away several. Interestingly enough, MYTHAGO WOOD is also about a son trying to understand an absent father. “This Gray Rock, Standing Tall,” owes a lot to that book. I loved the narrative voice in it. I loved how I was half way through it before I realized that besides being a mystery, it was a dynamite romance, and I identified with its theme of mythic resonances. It’s a great book. Maybe the best epilogue ever.

We all start somewhere, and the learning curve from first publication is a steep one. What’s your first ever published work, and how do you feel about it now?.

My first story sale was a piece in a small magazine named ABERATIONS. It was called “No Small Change.” I still like the story. It was about sex, growing up, mythical superpowers and real-world powers. I think it was published in 1990, when I was thirty-six. I’d been teaching English, both writing and literature, for eight years, and I was into my first year of a two-year graduate program in creative writing. I wasn’t exactly a stranger to the written word by then. I’ve grown a lot since, but I think that story still stands up. I’m not embarrassed to call it my own. There’s a bunch of stories before that one, though, that I’m thoroughly happy have not seen the light of day.

What else are you working on have coming up you want people to know about?

I have a short story in the June Asimov’s. In the meantime, I’m working on a young adult science fiction/fantasy series. And, of course, I’m always writing more stories. I love the short form.

When James Van Pelt isn’t writing, he teaches high school and college English in Grand Junction, Colorado. His work has appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, Weird Tales and numerous other venues. His latest short story collection, Flying in the Heart of the Lafayette Escadrille, appeared in 2012. His wife and three sons think he tells a pretty good bedtime story.


An Unlikely Interview with Kat Howard
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Originally published at Unlikely Story. You can comment here or there.

Have you ever visited Station Island and the site known as St. Patrick’s Purgatory, which plays a central role in All of Our Past Places? If so, what was your experience going there? If not, do you plan to visit, and do you think your perception of the place will be colored by having written this story?

I’ve been to Ireland, but not to Station Island. I’d love to go — I’ve been fascinated by the place since I first learned about it, and I’m also very interested in pilgrimage sites and sacred places in general. I love the idea that there are places that connect us more closely to the numinous, where the act of going is in and of itself somehow special or sacred.

When you travel or visit a new area, are you the kind of person who likes to use a map (or GPS) to get to know the place, or do you prefer to explore and figure things out as you go along? Similarly, when it comes to fiction, do you outline, or do you start writing and find the story that way?

I am appallingly bad at navigation. I cannot read a map, and seem to have a particular talent for getting lost. So much so, that when I told people I was working on this story, there was this sort of shocked pause. Seriously, if we are ever going anywhere together, do not let me drive, even if we have a GPS.

Perhaps because I’m so bad at navigation, I also tend not to be an outliner. I write because I don’t know how the story ends, and I want to figure that out. Now, this is a technique that sometimes has its disadvantages -- I’ve had to do revisions where I started over from scratch, and for this story, I literally cut a draft apart and stapled it back together during a revision. I will also get to the end of a draft, especially of a longer project, and then reverse outline, to make sure that what I think happened in the story actually made it onto the page.

Authors are notorious for working strange jobs. Stephen King was a janitor and J.D. Salinger worked as the entertainment director on a luxury cruise line. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had, and did it inspire any stories or teach you anything you’ve used in your writing?

This isn’t weird so much as unusual. I’m a former competitive fencer, and I filled in as an assistant coach while a friend was on vacation. Not bad in and of itself, but it was for a beginning youth class, so a room full of ten-year-olds with swords, which is an interesting set of people to be in charge of. And yes, I’ve put fencing in my writing, most directly in “The Calendar of Saints,” which was published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

One of the perennial points of contention in the world revolves around education — who should get educated (and to what degree), what should be taught, who should be excluded. Meanwhile, children in their classrooms ask, “Why do I need to know this?” Tell us one obscure thing you learned in school that you think is important, and why.

Well, I learned what and where St. Patrick’s Purgatory is.

It was sort of odd, all things considered, that I didn’t know before, (I’m Catholic, the bulk of my ancestry is Irish, and I’m a huge Shakespeare fangirl) but it was my first semester in grad school. I was TAing the Intro to Shakespeare course for the woman who eventually became my advisor, Rebecca Krug. She was lecturing on Hamlet, and explains the reason why Hamlet swears by Saint Patrick when talking to his father’s ghost — because of Saint Patrick’s Purgatory. I instantly became fascinated with the place — I wrote about it in grad school papers, read Seamus Heaney’s poems about it, Station Island, and once I started writing fiction, knew I wanted to set a story there. (I also love a good visit to the Underworld story.)

In terms of the world at large, is that important? No. But it reminds me that no matter how much you think you know about something, you can always learn something new. There are always things that we don’t see, so if you’re curious, ask questions, and keep on asking. And when you think about it like that, when you think about what parts of stories get told, and what parts of narratives get taught, and how those narratives are constructed, then it does become important.

We all start somewhere, and the learning curve from first publication is a steep one. What’s your first ever published work, and how do you feel about it now?

My first published work was the short story “A Life in Fictions,” in the anthology Stories, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio. I am still proud of it, and it remains one of my favorite things that I’ve written.

What else are you working on have coming up you want people to know about?

I am very excited about the novella I have coming out in September. It’s called The End of the Sentence, and I cowrote it with Maria Dahvana Headley. It’s a haunted house story, full of mysterious letters from a prison inmate who may or may not be dead, or something worse. It has fairy tales, and mythologies, and writing it with Maria was the most fun I’ve had giving myself nightmares.

Kat Howard is the World Fantasy Award-nominated author of over twenty pieces of short fiction. Her work has been performed on NPR as part of Selected Shorts, and has appeared in Lightspeed, Subterranean, and Apex, among other venues. Her novella, The End of the Sentence, written with Maria Dahvana Headley, will be out in September from Subterranean Press. You can find her on twitter as @KatWithSword and she blogs at strangeink.blogspot.com.


An Unlikely Interview with Rhonda Eikamp
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Originally published at Unlikely Story. You can comment here or there.

The imagery of human hearts with maps in them is quite striking and lovely. Where did the idea for this central theme in The Occluded come from?

Though I hate to admit, it came from binge-watching House MD. I’d been thinking about Unlikely Story’s cartography theme for a while. I knew I wanted to use the idea of maps in a more metaphorical sense, in a modern setting. And then those wonderful CG effects came on the screen, dyes flowing through hearts, looking just like a river delta. I still had to discover what kind of “treasure” a heart map would show the way to, who would be looking for it and why.

When you travel or visit a new area, are you the kind of person who likes to use a map (or GPS) to get to know the place, or do you prefer to explore and figure things out as you go along? Similarly, when it comes to fiction, do you outline, or do you start writing and find the story that way?

I think there are two phases — a macro and a micro level — that would apply both to finding my way physically to a new location or when writing a story. I want to find my way there — and my way home — with a map (or that GPS, preferably with a nice male voice), so I need to know the beginning, middle and end. I work out a basic story outline. The end has to be there, it’s my way home, back out of the story, so I don’t get stuck inside it forever. But once I’m there, I want to be surprised. Details — the microstructure — come while I’m writing. Serendipity happens. While writing The Occluded I happened upon an article about the copyright traps used in maps up to the 60′s — it was by chance, I wasn’t researching the story at the time — and I knew I had to work it in somehow. And sometimes the details lead me off in new directions, so that by the time I hear “You have reached your destination” I’m somewhere I hadn’t planned to be, but that’s all right too.

Authors are notorious for working strange jobs. Stephen King was a janitor and J.D. Salinger worked as the entertainment director on a luxury cruise line. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had, and did it inspire any stories or teach you anything you’ve used in your writing?

I spent a few months working in the natural history museum on my college campus back in the day. They somehow had the impression I was a biology major instead of languages. I just needed the money. I spent weeks typing up tags in Latin and threading them through the mouths of formaldehyde-soaked fish. I was about to have to start on the snakes when I quit. It did inspire a story recently though — a Cinderella pastiche, of all things.

One of the perennial points of contention in the world revolves around education — who should get educated (and to what degree), what should be taught, who should be excluded. Meanwhile, children in their classrooms ask, “Why do I need to know this?” Tell us one obscure thing you learned in school that you think is important, and why.

I’ve been an avid reader ever since slightly before I could read and so most of the things that interest me in life I’ve discovered and pursued on my own. Public libraries were the maps. I discovered a lifelong love of science fiction and fantasy by picking up books randomly in libraries. Two things from school that have influenced my life greatly and/or served me well respectively are languages and the ten-finger typing course I took in tenth grade. Not obscure, but not something I would have been exposed to by chance through a library.

Also, I don’t think we’ll ever see a school system where kids stay home and learn through the Internet, or at least I hope we don’t. One of the incidental effects of public education is socialization — not just kids being together, but kids learning together. It’s what we ought to be doing throughout our adult lives — learning more about life and the world together — and so I’m very opposed to home schooling.

We all have our favorite authors, some of whom everyone has heard of, and some of whom are relatively obscure. Who is one of the more obscure writers you love? What do you love about their work? Tell us which story or novel of theirs we should drop everything to read right now.

Probably not obscure since it’s been reissued, but underrated — I’d recommend The Watcher by Charles MacLean. The first few pages are not for the faint-hearted or dog-lovers, but it’s not what the rest of the book is about. Horror, paranormal or psychological thriller — I can’t even say what it is, but I couldn’t put it down.

We all start somewhere, and the learning curve from first publication is a steep one. What’s your first ever published work, and how do you feel about it now?

I have a two-humped curve — let me rephrase that. I started writing in the 90′s, published in some magazines that were the definition of obscure and some that were better-known, such as Space & Time, and then I quit for ten years. I don’t know if you would call this a writer’s block. It was a combination of getting a family going and seeing the rise of machine intelligence in the form of the Internet at around the same time. Magazines were ceasing print and going digital left and right and I felt very unmotivated by the idea that whatever I wrote would become ether. Does that make me a Luddite? Print is a beautiful, lasting thing — concrete and compact and there in your hand. If most households are like mine, where nothing’s ever thrown away, then I could always imagine someone in a hundred years finding a copy of that obscure small-press magazine in their great-aunt’s basement, reading a story of mine and being moved by it, which is the only real reason to write. I still feel funny about stories of mine that are published online. They’re children of a lesser god. But I’m working on it.

What else are you working on/have coming up you want people to know about?

By the time readers see this, I’ll have had a hand in the utter annihilation of science fiction, with a story called “The Case Of The Passionless Bees” in Lightspeed’s June issue Women Destroy Science Fiction. I also have fiction coming up in Phobos, The Golden Key, and the Fringeworks anthology Grimm and Grimmer: Black (that Cinderella pastiche). There’s a list of older stories available online at my blog. And I’ll always be watching Unlikely Story for their next quirky inspiring theme!

Rhonda Eikamp is originally from Texas and travelled a lot before settling in Germany, so her life often feels like an extended trip away from home, maps not included. When not writing fiction, she works as a translator for a German law firm, working her way through the labyrinthine maps of German legalese. Her stories can be found in Daily Science Fiction, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and Lightspeed, with others available online through her blog at http://writinginthestrangeloop.wordpress.com.


Journal of Unlikely Cartography Issue 9, June 2014
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Originally published at Unlikely Story. You can comment here or there.

Table of Contents

How a Map Works by Sarah Pinsker
How to Recover a Relative Lost During Transmatter Shipping, In Five Easy Steps by Carrie Cuinn
The Occluded by Rhonda Eikamp
All of Our Past Places by Kat Howard
This Gray Rock, Standing Tall by James Van Pelt
The Cartographer’s Requiem by Shira Lipkin

Editor’s Note:

Last year we ran a contest of sorts to help us choose the title (and theme) of this issue, and when Sarah Pinsker first suggested “Unlikely Cartography,” my instant reaction was, “Yes, that.” I have loved maps since before I knew what they were. I remember when I was young, pulling my father’s topographic globe off the bookshelf and onto the floor, running my hands over it and, when my dad walked in to find me sitting amidst a heap of fallen books, asking, “What is this?”

By which I meant, of course, “What is the meaning of the signifiers, both graphic and linguistic, spread across this strange ball?” I didn’t have all those words yet, of course, since I had only just started learning my alphabet, but my dad understood. It became a new game for us: I’d spin the globe, close my eyes and put my finger down. When the globe stopped, my father would tell me a story about the people who lived there.

Maps describe the world — not just as it is, but as it is seen by the people making the maps, incorporating their worldview, their (often unstated and unexamined) predispositions and their concerns and interests. A map might show political boundries or geological features, might show safe waters for shipping or house prices in a neighborhood. It might show you how to get from one place to another.

At the same time, a map defines the world. A line on a map dictates languages, laws, opportunities, possibilities. Change the lines on the maps, and reality shifts to adjust.

The stories that follow encompass all of that, as the characters search for themselves, for those they have lost, and for those they have yet to find, and, as one does when one keeps one’s eyes open, find more than they expect.

Bernie Mojzes
June 2014

Cover art by Vivian Gu

Journal of Unlikely Cartography Issue 9, June 2014
dragonfly
rgrump

Originally published at Unlikely Story. You can comment here or there.

Table of Contents

How a Map Works by Sarah Pinsker
How to Recover a Relative Lost During Transmitter Shipping, In Five Easy Steps by Carrie Cuinn
The Occluded by Rhonda Eikamp
All of Our Past Places by Kat Howard
This Gray Rock, Standing Tall by James Van Pelt
The Cartographer’s Requiem by Shira Lipkin

Editor’s Note:

Last year we ran a contest of sorts to help us choose the title (and theme) of this issue, and when Sarah Pinsker first suggested “Unlikely Cartography,” my instant reaction was, “Yes, that.” I have loved maps since before I knew what they were. I remember when I was young, pulling my father’s topographic globe off the bookshelf and onto the floor, running my hands over it and, when my dad walked in to find me sitting amidst a heap of fallen books, asking, “What is this?”

By which I meant, of course, “What is the meaning of the signifiers, both graphic and linguistic, spread across this strange ball?” I didn’t have all those words yet, of course, since I had only just started learning my alphabet, but my dad understood. It became a new game for us: I’d spin the globe, close my eyes and put my finger down. When the globe stopped, my father would tell me a story about the people who lived there.

Maps describe the world — not just as it is, but as it is seen by the people making the maps, incorporating their worldview, their (often unstated and unexamined) predispositions and their concerns and interests. A map might show political boundries or geological features, might show safe waters for shipping or house prices in a neighborhood. It might show you how to get from one place to another.

At the same time, a map defines the world. A line on a map dictates languages, laws, opportunities, possibilities. Change the lines on the maps, and reality shifts to adjust.

The stories that follow encompass all of that, as the characters search for themselves, for those they have lost, and for those they have yet to find, and, as one does when one keeps one’s eyes open, find more than they expect.

Bernie Mojzes
June 2014

Cover art by Vivian Gu

An Unlikely Interview with Kelda Crich
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Originally published at Unlikely Story. You can comment here or there.

In the spirit of our issue of deliberately terrible fiction, we asked our authors some deliberately terrible questions. Luckily, they were kind enough to play along. Here’s what Kelda Crich, author of All Flesh is Grass had to say…

Where do you get your ideas?

I tell you where I don’t get them, and that’s my dreams. Last night I dreamed of needing some milk. And in my dream I nipped to the corner shop and bought some. I don’t even drink milk. Sleeping: what a time-waster.

Have you written anything I’ve heard of?

I was once published in Misty. When I was ten. Misty was a very famous spooky land girls’ comic in the UK. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I sent them a spooky joke.

Nope, I haven’t heard of that. Have you considered writing more like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling? They seem to be pretty popular and rich, so maybe you should do that.

Do they write stories about nipping to the corner shop and buying milk? Because I’ve got plenty of them. Also skeleton jokes.

I have a really great idea for a story about a cowboy and an astronaut who are best friends. It’s kind of like Toy Story, except set during the time of The Great Gatsby, only it takes place in the Lost City of Atlantis. Robert Redford would be perfect for the movie version. Why don’t you write it, and we can split the profit 50/50? Maybe 70/30 since I came up with the idea and that’s the hard part. What do you think?

You fool. Did you copyright that idea? Because somebody might steal it. You can copyright an idea by writing it down and then posting it to yourself. The stamp’s frank proves the copyright privilege. But never open the envelope. To be extra safe, write @ after every original idea. (It should be c in a little circle, but I don’t have one of those on my keyboard.)

And on a slightly more serious note (but only slightly), given your story is gracing the fine pixilated pages of an issue of deliberately terrible fiction: Do you have any regrets?

What? Terrible fiction? I . . . Is it too late to withdraw?

Kelda Crich is a new born entity. She’s been lurking in her creator’s mind for a few years. Now she’s out in the open. Find her in London looking at strange things in medical museums or on her blog: http://keldacrichblog.blogspot.com/. Her work has appeared in Lovecraft Ezine, Spinetinglers and the Life After Death anthology.


An Unlikely Interview with Andrew Kaye
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Originally published at Unlikely Story. You can comment here or there.

In the spirit of our issue of deliberately terrible fiction, we asked our authors some deliberately terrible questions. Luckily, they were kind enough to play along. Here’s what Andrew Kaye, author of Whinny If You Love Me: A Love Story had to say…

Where do you get your ideas?

The usual places: In the smiles of good friends. The laughter of children. The warm embrace of costumed superheroes. The bathroom.

Have you written anything I’ve heard of?

I’ve lately grown bored with traditional writing, and I’ve branched out into new and exciting techniques. My last project was an epic fantasy novel called The Great Ring of Power: The Adventures of Dick Malicious, Wizard First Class: A Fictional Novel in Three Parts: Episode 1 of 9 of the Malicious Circle Series. The novel was written entirely in condiments on over 200 slices of bread. You probably haven’t heard of it though because the bread went moldy and I had to throw it out, but my cousin took pictures of each slice and I’ll upload them on deviantART once he remembers the code to his cell phone.

Nope, I haven’t heard of that. Have you considered writing more like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling? They seem to be pretty popular and rich, so maybe you should do that.

I have to disagree with you. My young adult fantasy novel Dick Malicious and the Sorcerer’s Stone hasn’t been selling very well. And my horror novel The Squirts, which is about a sentient fire hydrant that starts murdering children in a small suburban town, has performed pretty poorly as well. I think the real money is in imitating Tolkien. It’s worked for a lot of authors so far.

I have a really great idea for a story about a cowboy and an astronaut who are best friends. It’s kind of like Toy Story, except set during the time of The Great Gatsby, only it takes place in the Lost City of Atlantis. Robert Redford would be perfect for the movie version. Why don’t you write it, and we can split the profit 50/50? Maybe 70/30 since I came up with the idea and that’s the hard part. What do you think?

I think if you change Toy Story to The Last Unicorn, The Great Gatsby to The Age of Innocence, and the Lost City of Atlantis to the Cloud City of Bespin, you might have something I could work with. Robert Redford would be perfect for the role of Manny Coreman, the tough-as-nails robotic manticore I’m envisioning.

And on a slightly more serious note (but only slightly), given your story is gracing the fine pixilated pages of an issue of deliberately terrible fiction: Do you have any regrets?

I regret nothing!

Andrew Kaye hails from the suburban wilderness of Northern Virginia with his wife and kids. His (definitely not terrible) fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction and Electric Velocipede, among other fine magazines. When not writing, Andrew draws cartoons and edits the humor magazine Defenestration, which are parts one and two of his seventeen-step plan for world domination. Feel free to bother him on Twitter @andrewkaye.


An Unlikely Interview with Siobhan Gallagher
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Originally published at Unlikely Story. You can comment here or there.

In the spirit of our issue of deliberately terrible fiction, we asked our authors some deliberately terrible questions. Luckily, they were kind enough to play along. Here’s what Siobhan Gallagher, author of Twisty had to say…

Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. Though for “Twisty” it’s the dissatisfaction of a poorly done twist (or many twists). I suppose an alternative title for this could’ve been, “Dean Koontz: Why the The Taking sucks!” But maybe that’s too extreme…or not extreme enough.

Have you written anything I’ve heard of?

Well I do have this one piece--

Nope, I haven’t heard of that. Have you considered writing more like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling? They seem to be pretty popular and rich, so maybe you should do that.

Why not do one better and write horrific tales of horror for children? Money maker right there!

I have a really great idea for a story about a cowboy and an astronaut who are best friends. It’s kind of like Toy Story, except set during the time of The Great Gatsby, only it takes place in the Lost City of Atlantis. Robert Redford would be perfect for the movie version. Why don’t you write it, and we can split the profit 50/50? Maybe 70/30 since I came up with the idea and that’s the hard part. What do you think?

Sure! And we’ll call it “Dr. Strangelove Rides Again”.

And on a slightly more serious note (but only slightly), given your story is gracing the fine pixilated pages of an issue of deliberately terrible fiction: Do you have any regrets?

My only regret is that I don’t have more tea. But really, if some sort of joy or entertainment value can be derived from a piece of fiction, is it still bad? …Well yeah, probably is--but at least it’s not boring! Boring fiction is the worse. Perhaps that’ll be the next year’s issue, Unlikely Boringness.

Siobhan Gallagher is a wannabe zombie slayer, currently residing in Arizona. Her fiction has appeared in several publications, including AE -- The Canadian Science Fiction Review, COSMOS Online, Abyss & Apex, and the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology. Occasionally, she does this weird thing called ‘blogging’ at: defconcanwrite.blogspot.com.

 


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