This Week in Rejection!: New Blood

This one… I don’t even know where to start or what to say.

I went through a horror-writing period in my teens, including my freshman year of college, from which this letter dates. I dutifully went through the Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market Guide and flagged every publication — big and small — that published horror.

And, man, believe me — I tried ’em all!

Including New Blood, which you’ll see a lot of in the future. Because I kept trying them. Why? Why did I keep trying this very small magazine? Well, I don’t remember, but as you can see below, it’s probably because the editor actually said something sorta, kinda nice about the story I sent in.

He also was trying to sell me a subscription to his magazine. Gee, I wonder if the two were connected in some way…?

Oh, well. In any event, here it is:


New Blood rejection


Why I Don’t Like Earth Day

Posted on: 04/22/11

I wrote this a couple of years ago and now I’m reposting it because… Well, because I still think it’s true.


So, on this day, when we’re all supposed to be thinking about the environment, I’ve been thinking about the people who don’t think about the environment. Or, more accurately, the people who think about it, but whose thoughts run generally towards, “Eh, who gives a rat’s ass?”

I don’t get these people. Of all the politicians in the world, John McCain perfectly encapsulated the current environmental issue in a way that even the most robust tree-hating, Hummer-driving global-warming denier should understand: Worst case scenario, we’re wrong about global warming (oops!), but we still do all this work to clean up the environment and all we have to show for it is cleaner air, cleaner water, better health, etc. Oh, that would suck mightily, wouldn’t it?

It’s a win-win scenario. Assuming global warming is true and real and happening as we speak, cleaning up our act saves a bunch of lives. If Al Gore is a crackpot, then cleaning up our act leads to a nicer, healthier, cleaner world for us and our kids. How can anyone be against this, in either case?

Why are some people not just apathetic about the environment, but actively derisive about efforts to clean it up?

Well, one thing is that “earth” is a big idea. People start to think it’s too big, too ambitious, and they give up. And once you’ve given up on something, the easiest way to assuage that nagging feeling of guilt you’ve got is to beat up the people who haven’t given up.

Now here’s another problem. (This is not a new or original comment. George Carlin said it best.) Look, “Save the Earth” is a misnomer, people. We’re not saving the earth. When the polar ice caps melt and the continents flood, guess what? There will still be a ball of metals and molten rock and dirt and water (lots of water) 93 million miles out from the sun, spinning and spinning in the void.

There won’t be a lot of people on it (if any), but the earth will still be there, and quite frankly, the earth won’t give a shit about the people.

(The earth also won’t give a shit if we clean up our act. Sorry, but it’s true. The earth is not a fickle mistress — she’s an oblivious one. It comes with, oh, BEING A PLANET and not a person.)

We’re not “saving the earth.” We’re saving us. We’re saving humanity from disaster. And it’s about time we start being honest about that. “Save the earth” sounds noble — and it is — but let’s face it: It’s also disingenuous, to a degree. Because it’s not really what we’re doing.

I don’t make this call for honesty because I’m didactic or anything. (Though God knows, I am…) I make it because — in the cold-blooded calculus of it all — it makes sense.

When you say “Save the earth! Save the environment!” it sounds like you’re making a distinction between nature and mankind. To someone who is not already predisposed to worry about the environment, you’re placing the environment above humans.

Don’t look at me like that. I know that’s not what you mean. But to someone who doesn’t see all the fuss about spotted owls and doesn’t comprehend or care about the interconnectedness of life on earth, that’s how it sounds. It sounds like you’re saying, “I don’t care about you or your family or your lifestyle or even your life itself. I just care about this salamander over here. And the fjords. I really care about the fjords a lot.” When what you really mean is that you care about all of that stuff, but you’d like people to be around to enjoy it, too.

The truth is, the earth will be fine with us or without us. Earth has been water-covered before. Earth has had toxic atmospheres before. It’s all the same to earth.

What we are talking about is saving earth for us. (Again, not an original thought.) We are talking about maintaining a biosphere that is friendly to human life as we know it.

I happen to think that this is just as noble as “saving the earth full stop.” I happen to think this is a good and laudable goal. I also happen to think that — if we want some of these recalcitrant folks to jump on board — we should be honest about it.

So, I don’t think there should be an Earth Day.

There should be an Us Day.

It’s not a Save the Earth movement. It’s Save Us.

When you put it that way, the immediacy of it becomes more obvious. As does the fact that this is about all of us. That we’re all in this together.

“Save the Earth” is big and complicated and nebulous and abstract.

“Save Us” is personal, intimate, powerful.


Happy Us Day. Go recycle something.

Wednesday Warren – Searching for a Heart

Most love songs are pretty insipid, to tell the truth. “Oh, baby, I love you so much… Oh, baby, why don’t you love me back…?” But Zevon’s love songs somehow manage to distill heartache and passion into simple metaphors and moments that resonate. Here’s “Searching for a Heart” from Mr. Bad Example:

And I’m searching for a heart
Searching everyone
They say love conquers all
You can’t start it like a car
You can’t stop it with a gun

iTunes Album Link:

Kick-ass live acoustic version:

The Book That Will Kill Me Update!

Just in case you were wondering: Yes, I’m still working on it. Yes, it’s still absurdly long. Yes, I am beginning to wonder what the bloody hell compelled me to do this.

Here’s the latest iteration of it, rendered via dead trees. (Don’t worry, environmentalists: I recycle. Plus, I only use paper made from trees that deserved to die.)


The Book That Will Kill Me



Memory Monday – Future Stupidity!

The sheer idiocy of what you are about to see is, well, idiotic. Legion of Super-Heroes expert and chronicler Paul Levitz called what you are about to read “one of the silliest lines in LSH history.” And considering that this is the comic book wherein they used to pick mission leaders with something called the Planetary Chance Machine (a gadget that would literally FLING tiny planetary replicas at your HEAD at RANDOM), that’s saying something.

Now. Imagine it’s 1,000 years in the future. A nigh-utopian 30th Century, where humanity has conquered disease, the stars, and even time travel. A universe patrolled by the Legion of Super-Heroes, a literal army of super-powered teens from various planets around the universe, all working together in harmony and tolerance. One such Legionnaire is Brainiac 5, the beyond-super-intelligent member from the planet Colu. As of the time of this particular Memory Monday, the group’s democratically-elected leader is Saturn Girl.

And then one day (click to enlarge):


Brainiac 5: Genius and Sexist Idiot


The green guy spouting the sexist drivel is none other than the aforementioned Brainiac 5. He’s the smartest guy in the entire universe, in case you were wondering.

And Saturn Girl — I hasten to remind you — was the leader of the team at this point! Voted so by all the members!

Sigh. Oh, comics. Why do you break my heart?

It is worth mentioning here that this sort of sexism was actually relatively rare in the Legion comics of the day. The female members were often subjected to various “silly girls” characterizations, but they were almost always treated as equals when it came to actual super-heroing. Which makes this garbage from the smartest person in the universe all the more puzzling.

I charitably assume that writer Ed Hamilton was having a REALLY bad day when he scripted this one…

Either that or… Maybe Saturn Girl didn’t feel like going on the mission…so she used her telepathy to make Brainy give her an “out.”


(From Adventure Comics #309, June 1963. Story by Ed Hamilton, art by John Forte.)