Slush piles are awesome. You go in with no idea what you’ll find, and at the end of the reading period, you come out with at least a few pieces of gold. This one, there was a lot of gold. Which is when a slush pile sucks. You have a budget, and an acceptable wordcount, and the bargaining that follows might impress the devil. “But if we can shave 50 words off of each of the other stories, I can accept this one!” Add to that the stories from people you know–which are doubly hard to reject–and stories that might almost be there, and stories that are AMAZING but don’t quite match your guidelines, and, well, the rejection phase is awful. There were several stories that pretty much had to be pried out of my hands, because they weren’t genius loci, but they were just so damn good!
However, the final wrangling has been done, and I have a table of contents just chock-full of amazing stories. The happiest thing for me is that there are at least 4 stories that are first-time sales for their authors, and that always makes me wildly happy.
So, without further ado, the TOC! (This is not the final order by any means!)
Santa Cruz–Andy Duncan
And the Trees Were Happy—Scott Edelman
Blackthorn—B. Morris Allen
Ouroboros in Orbit—Jason Batt
Scab Land—Wendy Wagner
The Forgetting Field—Caroline Ratajski
The Town the Forest Ate—Haralambi Markov
Imperator Noster—Sonya Taaffe
The Other Shore—Rebecca Campbell
The South China Sea—Z.M. Quynh
Iron Feliks—Anatoly Belilovsky
Forest For the Trees—Steven S. Long
Drowning Again—Ken Scholes and Katie Cord
The Grudge—Thoraiya Dyer
Twilight State—Gemma Files
In the Water, Underneath—Damien Angelica Walters
The Gramadevi’s Lament—Sunil Patel
Blue & Grey and Black & Green—Alethea Kontis
Heartbeat—Laura Anne Gilman
Long Way Down—Seanan McGuire
The Snow Train—Ken Liu
The City–Vivienne Pustell
The Crooked Smile Killers—James Lowder
Threadbare Magician—Cat Rambo
Serenity Eternal–Steven Silver
Beer and Pennies—Rich Dansky
The Sleck–Keris MacDonald
The Transplant Specialist–Sarah Goslee
Cactus Flowers and Bone Flutes–Mercedes M. Yardley
So, by my count, we have 14 men and 18 women, and a bunch of stories set in non-North American spaces, which is fantastic. Carrie Sessarego will be writing introductions to each story, as well as a little about the history of genius loci as a concept. Lisa Grabenstetter and Evan Jensen will be providing some amazing interior art.
I’m finalizing terms with Ragnarok Publications right now to publish this for us. We’ll be funding the authors and art through Kickstarter, with basically the same set-up as had for War Stories, so keep an eye out for the Kickstarter info soon.
I’m working out the cover art right now, but it’s from an author I absolutely adore, so I can’t wait to share that. After the Kickstarter gets going, we’ll be working on edits and art.
And, finally, a heartfelt and immense thank-you to the slush readers: Travis, Adrienne, Camille, Carey, Margaret, Caitlin, and Cara. I couldn’t have done it without you!