On August 23rd, 2010, I read my first slush stories for Clarkesworld magazine. Today, I just read story number 625. Some have been recommend worthy, many have been unremarkable, some have been utter garbage. I feel pretty lucky to have seen four of the pieces I recommended show up in the magazine itself:
"Salvaging Gods" by Jacques Barcia
"The Children of Main Street" by A.C. Wise
"Ghostweight" by Yoon Ha Lee
"Tying Knots" by Ken Liu
Now the magazine itself is pretty fantastic. I don't want to detract from the rest. CW offers some great, thoughtful, engaging fiction (that's why I volunteered to be a part of the editorial team in the first place). However, I thought I would just take a moment to point these ones out because they seduced me, engaged me, made me think, made me wonder, made me teary-eyed (and it's all about me ;))... I liked them enough to send them up the pipeline for editorial approval, and the editors liked them enough to publish them. To put it in perspective: We get around 30 stories a day, vying for 12 or 13 slots a year. There are/were seven slush readers working like mad.
These four stories (as well as a handful of others I've recommended, some of which missed it by that much) keep me reading slush through the yucky days. As pessimistic as I can be, whenever I open the slush pile, I'm optimistic. "Maybe today I'll find a gem." Often, that optimism gets curb stomped, but every now and then I am completely gobsmacked-surprised.
Thanks Jacques Barcia, A.C. Wise, Yoon Ha Lee, and Ken Liu for making my work a joy.