I suppose it's my turn to talk about the slush.
I've not chosen one story yet for this issue. Why not, you might wonder?
I'm a writer, too, so let me begin with a story about a story.
Once upon a time I wrote a story about a kid at war. It was held over at a few zines for voting; it won an honorable mention in a major contest. It's a good, solid story. (Even my critters like it, and everyone knows how hard it is to please them.) It's a violent story, a war tale. One editor didn't take it because North Virginia Tech shootings had just happened, and they didn't feel the timing was right. Their perogative, right?
(Well, this is a family blog, so:) I call b.s.
In my opinion, it is part, though not all, of a writer's duty to push the envelope on difficult issues. We strive to put new twists on old destinies. I think you see some of that in every issue of Electric Spec. There are many difficult themes worthy of examination, and I find fiction a wonderful opportunity for such dissection.
What I don't find are very many stories taking that opportunity.
So why am I not taking any stories lately? They're mostly well-written. They're mostly from published authors. They're mostly solid stories. However, they're also mostly milquetoast.
I don't need violence--that's not what I meant by my example. In my story the conjunction of youth and violence was more a device to put a familiar face on an unfamiliar problem anyway.
Find your device. Say something. Make me think. Make me feel. Warp what I know into something new, and you'll find your words glowing from computer screens across the world under the heading "Electric Spec."