Thursday, October 18, 2007

Labyrinth Inhabitant Slush Report

Well, I've learned that if you start a webzine with a bizarrely narrow focus and send a single email (to Ralan's) advertising it, you will get submissions! So far I've gotten 19 responses and sent out 2 acceptance emails, which probably makes me a huge softy in the world of science fiction editors. Observations:

I'm getting a lot of stuff about the actual Greek labyrinth with Daedalus and the minotaur. That's fine, but the labyrinth inhabitant subgenre is much broader than that! It's a subgenre about the problem of being born into an environment that is hard to understand because it's very complex, because it was built long in the past, because the reasons for building it are largely forgotten, and because it was built for the benefit of people who are now dead. In other words, labyrinth stories work as a metaphor for the problem of understanding one's place in an advanced technological society. That's a big subject.

A new entry for the "Elements I'd prefer not to see" list: works whose only connection to the labyrinth inhabitant subgenre is that they argue that the real world is the greatest labyrinth of all. (The Two Kings and the Two Labyrinths doesn't count; one of those was a real labyrinth.)

I thought LIM would be mainly about stories with poem submissions far between. In fact, though, a lot of what I've gotten has been poetry. Maybe it's because LIM's rates don't scale very much. According to LIM's Duotrope entry, I'm paying "semi-pro" rates for poetry and stories under 500 words, although I'd probably never buy such a thing. (Again, The Two Kings and the Two Labyrinths is an exception. I would pay a semi-pro rate for that.)

Also, I'm getting some stuff that's only kinda-sorta labyrinth-related. None of it has been flagrantly irrelevant, but stuff that seriously tries to be a part of the subgenre stands a much better chance with me.

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