Rejections and reflections
I received another rejection day-before-yesterday – this time for one of my short stories. I had submitted my story, The Wyrm’s Lair, to Orson Scott Card’s Integalactic Medicine Show. I am not worried about the rejection – rejections are bound to come – but the way the rejection was given surprises me a bit. First of all, though the magazine has a website, the rejection came from a Yahoo address :p Secondly, they are supposed to respond to submissions in three months and the rejection came right on the dot on the final day of the three month period. The my paranoid side can’t help but wonder if perhaps they ever read the submission or they simply reject everything that has been with them for three months?
This paranoia is reinforced by point number three – there was no reason given, no critique of the story. It simply stated, "we can’t use it, you can submit it elsewhere now". To be honest, I’m disappointed with Orson Scott Card :p Of course to be even more honest, I’ve never read any Orson Scott Card :p He’s one of those authors that I’ve been meaning to read since I first saw one of his books on a library shelf way back in 1989. But I’ve never done so because either I never find any of his books at the bookstore or I find part of a series and never the whole series. But still, I expected a magazine run by somebody of his calibre would at least give you a few pointers when they rejected your submission.
I grew up reading about Hugo Gernsback and "scientifiction", about authors of the calibre of John W. Campbell, Horace L. Gold, Lester Del Rey and Anthony Boucher who would spend hours discussing stories with their writers and who even when they rejected a story, inspired the writer to do better. When I started writing and submitting myself, I expected something like that. But I guess I’m forgetting the fact that the world has moved on. That everybody is in a hurry, that everything moves much faster now. I have made hundreds of queries and a few submissions over the last year or so. Most of those have been met with a rejection without any explanation. Of the handful of submissions I’ve made, I’ve received one rejection where they actually took the time to analyze stuff. Everybody else used meaningless and pat phrases like "not right for me", "I can’t get enthusiastic about it" or "too busy" to get out of actually giving their honest opinion.
Is it just that the world has become so PC that nobody wants to offend anybody else? Or just that everybody is so busy that they can’t be bothered to sit down and write down their opinion? Or worse yet, that nobody has an opinion anymore? :p