The last couple months have been absolutely wild. To put things in perspective:
- I have relocated to Katowice, Poland for the next three years at least. Had to live on the streets basically for a week with my baggage because my landlord is a fucking asshole, and had to look for a new apartment while looking for warm places.
- I interviewed Steven Erikson and Cristina Jurado (who are both way smarter than I am and the impostor syndrome hit hard this time)
- Chose some absolutely awesome stories for issue #2. We will publish the queen herself.
- Outlined a short story, a novella, and full-fledged novel – the first one in a couple years.
- Gained some more patreon support for Three Crows Magazine.
- Very glad that I reviewed Rosewater months ago and was right that it will be among the best of the year. Want to talk to Tade Thompson as soon as possible.
In other news, I have a very serious topic to discuss. The second submission cycle for Three Crows is coming to an end and my editorial board has noticed a trend. We receive a vast amount of submission from people who absolutely misunderstood what science fiction, fantasy, and horror are. A lot of authors submit their revenge fantasies, rape fantasies, teacher-student sex fantasies, stories around race-based insults, and more.
These authors wrap some of the most sickening ideas and illnesses in the distorted concepts of SFF/horror, and try to sell them as progressive. As unexpected as it may be, but most of them are white, male, and over 40 years old. And if the first couple stories I could attribute to statistical error, the next 10-20 blame on my awful marketing skills and advertising in the wrong places, but getting 40+ stories per cycle shows that this is a trend and a systematic error in understanding of SFF.
Two things scare me the most in this situation. First, people don’t read my guidelines. Compared to most semi-pro zines, we have a rather extensive list of requirements (rather basic ones at that) that we expect every author to fulfill. If you can’t format your manuscript properly and learn what we expect by simply reading the FREE STORIES on our site – what sort of reaction do you expect from the editors? Free advice – don’t be an asshole.
Second, and this one is much scarier. There are hundreds of writers, with absolutely distorted perception of reality, race, gender, and historical issues, that feel the need to express these issues and are oblivious enough to consider them publishable. I’m not advocating for censorship. At Three Crows I’m the filter, the gatekeeper, the quality control and state censorship. And Three Crows is not a democracy – if I think something is not okay, it will never be published here, and the author will probably not get published here in the future (unless I see the shift in prose and views). It baffles me that there are men sitting in their three-piece suits somewhere in New Zealand, writing n-word 24 times in one story and thinking – yeah, that’s some good stuff right there, better show it to the world. Faux-feminist dudes that write out detailed rape fantasies only to show the revenge of the victim, in the end, come in a close second. Get help, my dudes.
There are enough of weird and scary shit happening around. I and my colleagues will continue to do everything to give the platform to those who were silenced, underrepresented, and oppressed, but not those who oppress.