Why live anywhere else?

Why live anywhere else?
Trackside Shrubbery

Where I collect rejections from publishers and the stories they rejected

In order to succeed, I must be prepared to fail as often as necessary to achieve success. Here, I aim to publish 100 rejections from publishers in the order I receive them together with the stories that were rejected.

To be good at one's vocation, one must simply avoid being bad.
To be great, one must purposely aim for awful.

Get up once more than you fall.
Put your ideas into action.

This is near to a way.

Monday, 28 February 2011


Dear Bulent Akman,

It sounds like our note about this story didn't reach you; sorry to hear that.  I'm enclosing another copy below.

Thanks very much for querying!


Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 00:44:12 -0700
To: "Bulent Akman" <bulent_akman@yahoo.ca>
From: Fiction Editors <fiction@strangehorizons.com>
Subject: Re: FICTION SUB: The Ratiocinator

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission.  Unfortunately, we can't consider stories that have previously been published elsewhere.

Your submission has appeared online, at
(http://b8a.blogspot.com/2007/09/ratiocinator.html).  Like most sf magazine editors these days, we consider any appearance on a publicly accessible web page to count as prior publication.

I'm sorry to say that your submission will therefore be deleted unread.


Karen Meisner, Susan Marie Groppi, and Jed Hartman
Fiction Editors, Strange Horizons
Submission guidelines: http://www.strangehorizons.com/guidelines/fiction.shtml


Dear Editors,

Thank you for allowing email submissions, I can't tell
you how convenient it is for me.

Sadly, I waited 70 days for a reply regarding my story
but no reply was forthcoming.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards, Bulent Akman.


Dear Author,

This message is to acknowledge the receipt of your fiction submission.

To help us keep our response times down, please don't submit further
stories until we accept or reject this one.  We will get back to you as
soon as possible.

Our response time currently averages about one month, but that's only an
average.  Please wait 70 days after submitting before querying.  We always
respond to submissions within 70 days; if you don't hear back from us
within 70 days, please query immediately, as it always means our response
has gone astray.  Please don't wait longer than 70 days to query.  We
really mean this; 70 days is the maximum upper limit, not an average or an

If you haven't read our submission guidelines on our site (at the URL given
below), please take a few minutes to look them over.  (Last guidelines
update: 16 June 2006.)

If you need to contact us, please send email to
fiction@strangehorizons.com, which goes to all three fiction editors.  All
correspondence about fiction should go to that address.

This is an automated response.

Thank you,

--Karen, Susan, and Jed

Karen Meisner, Susan Marie Groppi, and Jed Hartman
Fiction Editors, Strange Horizons
Submission guidelines: http://www.strangehorizons.com/guidelines/fiction.shtml


The Ratiocinator

By Bulent Akman

Eviction - originally, the physical expulsion of
someone from land by the assertion of paramount title
or legal proceedings

Larceny - the felonious taking and carrying away of
the personal property of another, without his consent,
with intent to deprive the owner of the property

Gifis, Steven H., dictionary of legal terms

One day, the entire population of the planet Earth was
evicted and moved to a replica world. Not only humans,
but plants and animals, down to the smallest bacteria
and virus. The process was seamless and transpired
over 24 hours, each section of the world disappearing
under cover of night.

Earth itself was molecularized in order to feed the
enormous power demands of an advanced spacefaring
civilization, once the potential threat posed by
humanity was removed, the rest of the solar system,
including Earth's sun, was also molecularized.

This alien race had not yet fully abandoned all
morality, hence, the replica. More efficiently built
than an actual planet, using construction methods and
materials far beyond the technology of the people of
Earth, orbiting a synthetic star, in a reproduction
solar system, mirroring the astronomical behaviour of
it's referents in every way that modern human
technology could detect.

However the economies created by the aliens were not
without their costs. The replica solar system had a
short lifespan, only a few thousand years.

Humanity had until then to find a way off the planet.

Humanity wasn't even trying.

Interstate Jones, a drifter, doctor of philosophy,
sculptor, handyman, political lobbyist, Sunday school
teacher, librarian, roughneck, soldier of fortune,
attorney and beautician, studied the classifieds and
noticed an opening for physics professor at the State
University. Well, he reasoned, I haven't been a
physicist yet, I may as well apply.

Interstate Jones, possibly the worlds' smartest man,
knew how to get any job he wanted. He just walked to
the University and started teaching physics to the
first group of students he found. It didn't matter
that they were first year pre-law students. It didn't
matter that there was already a professor teaching the
class. Jones just went in and did his thing and before
anyone knew anything, the entire class including their
law professor was taking notes on Unruh-Minkowski
equations and discussing Hamiltonian operators and
everyone was generally getting very excited indeed.

Jones reasoned any person of modestly above-average
intelligence could be taught anything if you made
things addictively fascinating. For all his
intelligence, he didn't understand why everybody
didn't do things that way all the time. The only
person who knew the real answer to that question was
so smart even Jones didn't understand her sometimes.

Little sisters can be annoying that way.

Naturally the administration discovered what was going
on and sent security to stop him from trespassing.

The security guards did very well on the next quiz.

Finally, their options exhausted, University
administration hired him as a tenured professor with
the highest salary in the history of the school.

On Wednesday, Professor Jones and his students built
the first prototype zero point energy phase space

On Thursday, Universities around the world had
duplicated his results.

On Friday an Astronomy class on a field trip to the
asteroid belt found carved into the side of a large
asteroid something unusual, words in several
languages, clearly alien.

Professor Jones had guest lectured their astronomy
class on xenolinguistics after guest lecturing the
tourism and hospitality students next door on
n-parallel processor design and construction.

As the asteroid spun into full view outside their
portholes, the entire class gasped as the meaning of
the words became clear to them.

The nearest English equivalent meant: Temporary
Replacement Solar System. Made in the Horse Head
nebula, for questions or comments, contact...

When Interstate Jones heard about this, he shrugged,
took down the contact information, sued the
spacefaring alien civilization for infringement and
incredibly, Jones won. It was all the more incredible
because before Jones won his case for humanity, among
the aliens there was no concept for court, law,
lawyer, unlawful eviction, larceny, judge, jury, tort,
negligence, or even legal in the human sense of the

A shamefaced and puzzled galaxy spanning civilization
put everything back where they found it.

Jones walked out of a lecture one day and disappeared,
possibly off-planet, possibly kidnapped by the
government, possibly just bored with all the attention
and hiding out in a log cabin in the mountains

Lenny Vin was new to waitering. He didn't know how
long either the new name or the new job would last.

Kids from the local college came here to drink
bottomless coffee and study.

Recently they'd been doing incredibly well in school.



Thanks for your submission to Taddle Creek. I'm afraid it's just not right
for us, but please do feel free to submit again in the future. Thanks again.

Conan Tobias




Tara was born on September 23, 2010.
This makes Tara a Virgo.

On September 24th, Doctors injected nanites into both of her auditory nerve bundles, between her eardrums and her brain.

The nanites would lie dormant for the first two years of her life. Then her parents would start feeding her supplements. The supplements would stimulate and feed the nanites. The nanites would grow into wetware DRM circuitry that, when activated, would receive and filter all sounds requiring a license.

Tara's DRM would activate sometime around her 6th birthday. She would only be able to listen to broadcasts if she had purchased a license, the signals would be sent directly to her audio wetware.

Fastforward a decade: At a local concert.

"Hey Tara! Glad you could make it! How 'bout this band!" said Michael, a boy from school Tara thought was totally cute.
"Yeah, it's really heavy," said Tara, having no idea what kind of music was playing because her parents hadn't given her enough cash to pay for the digital rights to the concert so all she picked up was the sqeaky
unamplified voice of the singer and the weak, unamplified undistorted, unflanged sounds of the singer's band.
"Uh, right," said Michael, who couldn't understand how such a cool girl could misread a slow romantic ballad so badly, he couldn't admit even to himself the possibility that she just hadn't paid for the concert.
"So Michael, I gotta run, I promised my friends I'd get back right away," said Tara, who'd come alone but was now desparate for a means of escape.
"Yeah, sure," said Michael, sensing there were questions better left unasked.

Tara walked home burning with humiliation, why hadn't her parents paid for the full DRM service? Then she could have heard the concert the way it was meant to be heard, but with their outdated hippy ways, all she could hear
was unmodified acoustic instruments which meant she was limited to the occasional string quartet. At least they'd bought the tv/radio package, otherwise she wouldn't even have been able to aspire to normalcy.

Sometimes she wanted to rip the wetware circuitry right out of her head. Even though she knew it would only make her deaf.

Sometimes she felt the urge.

And tomorrow, what was she going to say to Michael?