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From New York Times Best-Selling Author Alethea Kontis's introduction:
"Edmund Schubert gave me the best answers I've ever heard in five years of interviewing authors--answers so great, that I suspect he will be receiving penguin-themed gifts until the end of time... (see the infamous 'penguin interview' on pp.158) Even better--I have this lovely short story collection of his to keep me company and remind me what a complete carnival freak he really is. It's true: Edmund and I will never be Cool. We'll just have to be Awesome instead. And we're okay with that."
Introduction - Alethea Kontis
Foreword - Edmund R. Schubert
The Trouble with Eating Clouds
Nothing Interesting To Do
Reality-Check on Register Two
The River Is Forever
Of Love and Leather Flight Jackets
Jeannie in a Bottle
Fourth and Goal from the Forty-Eight
Good With Directions
A Mid-Winter's Hydro-Engineering Project
A Solid Deal
Just a Piece of String
The Penguin Interview
Dedd & Gohn - comics (artwork by Tom Barker)
"Jeannie in a Bottle" was actually derived from an earlier short story of mine, "Losing It," about a man who woke up one morning to discover that his daughter had ceased to exist. After reading "Losing It," a lot of people wanted to know why or how the little girl had disappeared. Despite my (still) unwavering response that it didn't matter how or why--that was never the point of that story--I heard the question often enough that I couldn't help thinking about possible answers. "JIAB" is one--and only one--possibility, but it intrigued me enough to merit its own story.
"JiaB" is also a perfect example of the need for a writer to believe in him or herself and never quit. Of all the things I've written, maybe three or four have been accepted by the first editor I submitted to; the rest endured numerous rejections before finding a home. "JiaB" was subjected to all that and then some.
First submitted to Weird Tales, "JiaB" came back from WT with a very encouraging personal rejection from the editors. With that in mind, I submitted it again to another magazine, feeling good about my chances after getting such a positive response from Weird Tales. The next editor (whom I shall mercifully allow to remain nameless) also took the time to write a personal note, but this particular editor said that he found the story "boring and predictable." Those were his exact words. Boring and predictable. After Weird Tales had been so positive.
What did I do? I did the same thing I do every time I get a story back from an editor: I sent it out again. Because that's what writers do when a story is rejected; they send it back out.
And I kept sending it out until Gary Fry of Fusing Horizons sent me an e-mail saying the story was "dazzlingly original; just the kind of thing I'm looking to put out."
If you wonder if I was tempted to send Mr. Boring & Predictable a copy of that e-mail along with a big "In your face!" you shouldn't wonder very long. (For the record, I didn't do it, but boy was I tempted.) The experience did, however, teach me an invaluable lesson: editors' opinions are just as subjective as everyone else's.
As an added bonus, Fusing Horizons is a British magazine, so being published there made it possible for me to add "Internationally Published Author" to my resume.