Advice for C.C. Finlay

I got a kick out of this. I received many alas-o-grams in my day, but I always kept trying, since Gordon was so wonderful about rejecting promptly, which meant I could turn my stories around way faster than with any other market. I had the great good fortune of selling one story to GVG, “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide,” which ended up being nominated for a Nebula. 🙂

Oliver Buckram

Congratulations to C.C. Finlay (CCF), who has just been named the editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (FSF), taking over from Gordon Van Gelder (GVG) who will remain as publisher. Genius choice by GVG (I always said GVG has an eye for talent).

As CCF surveys his vast new empire, he faces a critical challenge, one that will define his literary legacy and help shape the future of our field. He must pick his rejection catchphase.

GVG’s catchphrase was “alas” as in “My assistant liked it but this story didn’t grab me, alas.” Let us pause to consider the dense layers of meaning that GVG packed into this 11-word sentence. There are characters in conflict: the good cop (assistant) vs. bad cop (GVG). There’s a twist: at first, everything looks good until suddenly the grabbing mechanism malfunctions and the hero goes into a death spiral. And after…

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