The Little Difference Engine that could

24 08 2010

I got used to the IBM laptop scroll nipple that perched itself in the middle of my keyboard. Most people hate that thing at first, but after awhile it makes you useless on any other laptop scroll device. Well now I have this big fancy laptop and about a third of the time I am doing things I have no intention of doing. The keyboard is Cadillac comfortable for typing, but my ham-hoc hands keep making the little mouse pad-like thing do all sorts of gymnastics with the cursor. Just typing this paragraph I have already erased a line, zoomed in 500% and out 1000%, jumped to a different page and opened google earth. It requires a light touch.

I got back on the submissions horse today, sending out three to some of my favorites- Clarkesworld, Electric Velocipede and one more. Had good news from Apex. A recent submission has been sent on to the second round. I can only hope that the fifties I kept sliding Mr. Sizemore at the Hypericon will have the desired effect… probably shouldn’t have mentioned that. I am going to sound really smug here so please forgive me, but the story I sent Apex was a story written for Apex. It was influenced by a writer they like named Peter M. Ball (it goes without saying that I like him too), and it was designed as a story of unfolding horror that is at the same time a tale of liberated innocence. I typically don’t keep publications in mind when I write. I write what I want, but over the course of years I have come to really get a sense for Apex and I put that to use in writing this story.

What I’m getting at is that it does pay to read the magazines you are submitting your work to. There are subtleties that will be invisible on the submissions page that are none-the-less very real guidelines that the editors are looking for. Most editors recommend reading a back issue or two, but I would go one further and say that if you are planning on regularly submitting to a magazine then you should become a regular reader of that magazine. It may not change how you write, but it could lend you the little clues that guide you submissions more successfully.

That is the science of fiction, short and sweet. I’m climbing back on several horses these days so keep an eye out for me.

Andrew Porter

Principle cosmologist to the Upper Hudson polyharmonic




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