John Joseph Adams
|Posted on Monday, December 05, 2005 - 05:12 am: |
I just posted to my blog an interview with Matthew Corradi, author of "Journey to Gantica," which appears in the January 2006 issue. "Journey to Gantica" is Corradi's first publication.
|Posted on Monday, December 05, 2005 - 08:30 am: |
The slush god?
John Joseph Adams
|Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - 05:43 am: |
That's me: I'm The Slush God.
Here's what it says in my FAQ, since some people do see "The Slush God" and go WTF?
Slush (or "The Slush Pile") is a publishing term that refers to unsolicited manuscript submissions. When a magazine has an open submissions policy, that means anyone in the world may submit a story or article if he/she chooses to do so. The magazine in question evaluates the manuscript and decides whether or not it meets their needs. Some manuscripts are purchased then published in the magazine. The majority are evaluated then rejected.
So, my primary job responsibility at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is to read the slush. Thus, I'm The Slush God. A writer jokingly addressed me as such in a cover letter once. I found the title amusing, and took it for myself when I launched my blog, as it seemed fitting.
I'm not sure about the etymology of the term, but here's a working theory put forth by some colleagues of mine over lunch many moons ago.
The term slush came about back in the old days, when writers would actually hand deliver manuscripts to the magazine's offices. When the offices weren't open, the writers would toss their manuscripts over the transom (what's a transom?), into the office. So when the editors came to work (or back from lunch), they would have to wade through the pile of submissions, which was in some way similar, apparently, to wading through slushy snow. Thus, the slush pile. This is also appears to be the source of the term "over the transom."
|Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - 06:43 am: |
I've always wondered where "over the transom" came from. Thanks!
|Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - 07:25 am: |
From the etymology of "slush":
we can create an alternative hypothesis of the etymology of "slush pile". It's perhaps a carry-over of the term "slush fund", which referred to "extra" money obtained from sale of the leftovers and extras -- slush-- from a ship's cargo. (This stems from a now-defunct use of "slush", referring to fatty leftovers.)
It seems like a short mental hop from "slush fund = spare monies" to "slush pile = spare stories".
|Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - 07:30 am: |
1. A horizontal crosspiece over a door or between a door and a window above it.
2. A small hinged window above a door or another window.
These were probably a good deal more popular before climate-controlled rooms became commonplace. Definition borrowed from http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=transom
|Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - 01:55 pm: |
Slush = white snow covered with black soot. Often in mounds or irregular piles along the sides of roads.
Slush pile = white pages covered with black type. Often in toppling mounds along the sides of desks and offices.
I don't think it's much more complicated than that.
|Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - 03:54 pm: |
Good thing that that plethora of manuscripts received from prolific hacks isn't made up of 100% high quality fiction of the unsolicited variety. An editor wouldn't know what to do with that much good reading!
John Joseph Adams
|Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - 05:41 pm: |
So...has anyone read the interview, or Mr. Corradi's story?
|Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - 07:24 pm: |
I'd love to, except we furiners haven't got the January issue yet.
|Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - 10:01 pm: |
I've read both. The interview was entertaining, just like all of the slush pile interviews have been. The story was a densely packed fairy tale about a girl who learns better. Usually I enjoy those kinds of stories in F&SF, but with this one I couldn't help wishing to see it slow down and fleshed out more. It seemed to me like there was a small book's worth of invention in the story, and a lot of the moments rushed by too quickly for me. I wanted more... which isn't necessarily a bad thing for a first time writer to leave his readers wanting.
|Posted on Thursday, December 08, 2005 - 08:37 am: |
"Slush pile = white pages covered with black type. Often in toppling mounds along the sides of desks and offices."
Then what do we call electronic submissions eating up megabytes of space that could otherwise be used for pics of scantily clad movie stars?
I read both. The ending wasn't terribly novel -- though I thought the use of clocks was particularly neat -- but the story was beautifully written and constructed. As a novel, there's a risk that it might become, or at least feel, too derivative. (Mushroom folks might seem too much like Alice's adventures, for example.) I am curious as to whether the word Gantica is from somewhere or just made up. (Googling it, it seemed to be related to some D&D thing. God, I hope not.)