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Quick notes


A few assorted items:

  • We (well, actually, almost entirely Susan) sent out over 90 rejections today.
  • I neglected to mention here that Macromedia has announced Contribute version 2. Contribute, as y'all may recall, is Macromedia's software that lets content contributors update the content of web pages without having to know HTML (and without the webmaster having to worry about people messing up the page design). Version 2 will include an OS X native version for Mac (v. 1 was Windows-only), support for adding PayPal to your site, support for SFTP, and an intriguing new technology called FlashPaper (Windows only, alas, for now), which lets you "transform any printable document into ... Flash format," and then include the Flashized document in your page like any other Flash movie. I haven't actually seen FlashPaper in action yet, but it sounds pretty cool. Contribute 2 hasn't been released yet, but it is (as the website puts it) "coming soon." I'm tempted to buy dozens of copies when it's released and hand them out like candy.
  • House status: paid the 3% deposit. Am in the process of closing mutual-fund accounts and selling stock to cover the rest of the down payment. Wednesday I'll go talk with my agent and read a bunch of disclosure documents and sign a bunch of papers. Saturday we'll accompany the inspector as he goes through the house.
  • Listened to a couple stories from Neil Gaiman's Warning: Contains Language in the car to and from work today—I bought the CD some time back, but haven't had a chance to sit quietly and listen to it. But now it's on my iPod so I can listen to it in the car. (Of course, now I also have a CD player in my car, but never mind that.) Was reminded again of how much I like his story "Chivalry"; hearing him read that back in '93 or so was the reason I eventually bought the CD, actually. That story opens with a very ordinary older British woman purchasing the Holy Grail from an OxFam shop; it's a perfect blend of mundane reality and magic, but what I love about it is that it manages to be moving as well as whimsical. I like "Troll Bridge," too, but that one's much darker, more unsettling and disturbing, and I'm afraid I find the music added to most of the stories really intrusive.
  • At workshop yesterday, I was surprised to hear that some of my fellow workshoppers were surprised to hear that SH gets a lot of stories set in Hell. Apparently not many such stories get published. So in case anyone was wondering: there are a lot of stories out there making the rounds that are set in Hell. Which contributes to them being a hard sell for us.
  • Things are very busy at work this week, so I may be more or less incommunicado, and/or more or less brusque in communications. (Or I may desperately try to avoid work by sending long voluble emails, hard to say.)

I think that's all for now—I gotta go edit.


Ooh, ooh! I want candy!

Jay, Mac OS X

Er. Oops. Sorry about the Hell thing.
Jay, you're a Mac user?

Stories set in Hell. Huh. I'm surprised to hear that, if only because I wouldn't have thought it approaching the status of cliche.

I do have a story in mind that does feature a number of afterlives from different religious beliefs, Hell included, but others as well. Would that count?

And while I'm cruising with Mac OS X, I personally don't really need any free software I don't have a use for (God, it kills me to type that, but it's true).

I should have noted that Hell stories are not at all out of the question for us, especially if they do something unusual. The ones we see most often are Hell-is-a-bureacracy stories, comedies about mismanagement and computer problems in Hell; the kind of story that one might imagine would have a title like "Hell.com" or "Hell Is Like the DMV." (I just made up both those titles.) We do get some nicely original takes on Hell; there's certainly no need to apologize or feel bad for having sent us a Hell story, and I don't mean to discourage anyone from sending them to us. Mostly just wanted to indicate that it's a pretty common setting (or at least seems so to me), and thus that writers should be even more careful than in other settings to do something unusual with it.

The Devil Got Me Out of Hell

by Jay Lake

I woke up one day in Hell. It was real hot. I stretched, my 38DD breasts bobbing tightly beneath my lycra minitop, then surveyed the surroundings. "My gosh, Tiff," I told myself, "you're going to have to do some fast talking to get out of here!"

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