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Old 09-03-2010, 12:47 AM   #1
Vintage Season
Pulps and dime novels...
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Clarkesworld Magazine is recruiting readers for their slush army!

The following note is reprinted with permission from Neil Clarke, of Clarkesworld Magazine. I am not eligible to serve as a slush reader, because Clarkesworld is one of the markets to which I submit stories, but some of you might enjoy the opportunity to read new, previously unpublished science fiction before the rest of the world ever gets to see it.

- M.D.B.

Quote:
Think you have want it takes to read through piles of stories and separate the good from the not-as-good?

Can* you read a daily average of five stories and explain why you like or dislike them?

Are you willing to do this as an unpaid volunteer (OK, you'd get some occasional free Wyrm Publishing books.)?

Do you want to be a slush reader for Clarkesworld Magazine?

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, you should contact Neil Clarke (neil@clarkesworldmagazine.com) by September 3rd. Please include answers to the following:

1. Name
2. Preferred email address
3. Why you’d like to do this
4. The real reason you'd like to do this
5. A bit about your experience (done this before, are you a writer, how long have you been reading short fiction in this genre)
6. How long you’ve been reading Clarkesworld
7. Three favorite CW stories
8. Least favorite CW story and why
9. What magazines you read
10. Three favorite short fiction authors
11. Rank in order: Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction

All applications will be kept confidential.

WARNING: Slush readers cannot submit stories to Clarkesworld.
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:13 AM   #2
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Interesting, I did some reading for them a couple years ago.
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:15 AM   #3
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Plus, if you whitewash their fence, they'll show you their sore toe!
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:52 AM   #4
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Interesting...

Perhaps if they will clean my house - as an unpaid volunteer - we can work out a deal.

Seriously, this looks like a great opportunity for a few people to read some good fiction interspersed with a lot of bad fiction.

Don

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Old 09-03-2010, 10:58 AM   #5
Vintage Season
Pulps and dime novels...
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Dr. Drib: Effectively, yes. That is the risk when reading through any slushpile. For a few, it may be a worthwhile risk, while others will prefer to let someone else do all the slush-work and only read the final selections.

In other words, if this is for you, you'll know. If you looked at the posting and asked "Why would I want to do that?" then you probably aren't the right person for the task... but you are still welcome to enjoy the final selections.

- M.D.B.
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:33 PM   #6
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Neil's a great guy, I used to buy books from him all the time in my pbook days.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:05 PM   #7
Dr. Drib
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage Season View Post
Dr. Drib: Effectively, yes. That is the risk when reading through any slushpile. For a few, it may be a worthwhile risk, while others will prefer to let someone else do all the slush-work and only read the final selections.

In other words, if this is for you, you'll know. If you looked at the posting and asked "Why would I want to do that?" then you probably aren't the right person for the task... but you are still welcome to enjoy the final selections.

- M.D.B.


You're absolutely right: The person reading your post will know if it is something to find interesting.

As an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), I started a literary magazine. I was also named to Contributing Editor status to the official literary magazine at UALR; and also, as the Entertainment Editor for the official newspaper at that university; plus, my former job as Publications' Editor for the Arkansas Press Association gave me quite a bit of experience. With that experience, I can safely say that I've seen my share of the tripe and bilge that rises unbidden like pimples on a teenager's face....and also, I've seen the occasional gems.

This would be rewarding volunteer work for someone who wants some good experience as a Reader.




Don
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Old 09-05-2010, 04:56 AM   #8
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I suspect that the people who complain about editors all the time might learn from trying this. Personally, I'd rather pay for what I read and know it has at least passed a few quality tests, even if it's not a guarantee I will like it.
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:57 AM   #9
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Clarkesworld won the Hugo award for best semi-pro magazine at the Aussiecon 4 (the 2010 World Science Fiction convention) on Monday, so you might get to read some good stuff, or then again, maybe not...

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Old 09-08-2010, 01:16 PM   #10
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Clarkesworld won the Hugo award for best semi-pro magazine at the Aussiecon 4 (the 2010 World Science Fiction convention) on Monday, so you might get to read some good stuff, or then again, maybe not...
That might attract 10,000 extra no-talents to submit their writing. Do you want to dig through that to find the one good story-- for free?
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:47 PM   #11
Vintage Season
Pulps and dime novels...
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What puzzles me is the number of people who, although not interested in participating as a slush reader, feel compelled to criticize the publisher for making such a request in the first place. The Clarkesworld slush pile has grown to the point where the few volunteers they have risk falling behind for any given period, and falling behind could delay the next issue... while dumping unread submissions might result in good stories slipping through the cracks.

Neil Clarke tried to be up front about what is offered, and what is requested, in his initial message. If it appeals to you, you know how to respond. If it doesn't appeal to you, you are under no obligation to do so. He is making each issue of the finished publication available to all, for free, online.

- M.D.B.
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Old 09-09-2010, 04:59 AM   #12
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Folks, I must do this on a daily basis as part of my more than full-time job as an editor. It's the very worst part of my day. Sheer bloody drudgery. And it's enough to wring tears of despair from your eyes and coax curses of anger and frustration from your lips. Wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

There is a reason why this unsolicited material from wannabes is known in the business as the 'slush pile' and is largely ignored or handed to a student intern in the bigger houses. Slush pile, trash can, garbage heap; call it what you will.

With a hit rate, in my case, of maybe one possibility in two hundred submissions, it's a wonderful way to waste 99.5% of the long and dreary hours it takes. Do it for fun? Sure, by all means.

But, personally, I would rather spend my fun time French-kissing a ferret. Neil

Last edited by neilmarr; 09-09-2010 at 05:05 AM. Reason: trypos -- ailing netbook keyboard.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage Season View Post
What puzzles me is the number of people who, although not interested in participating as a slush reader, feel compelled to criticize the publisher for making such a request in the first place.
Mobileread is a discussion forum, not a unquestioned press release forum.
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:44 AM   #14
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What puzzles me is the number of people who, although not interested in participating as a slush reader, feel compelled to criticize the publisher for making such a request in the first place.
I think it's fair to let people know what they would be getting into. I saw this and thought "oh, that sounds interesting", but then came to my senses and realized the sheer drudgery. You really don't want apathetic people going through the submissions, so it's best to get this all out in the open up front.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:27 AM   #15
Vintage Season
Pulps and dime novels...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilmarr View Post
Folks, I must do this on a daily basis as part of my more than full-time job as an editor. It's the very worst part of my day. Sheer bloody drudgery. And it's enough to wring tears of despair from your eyes and coax curses of anger and frustration from your lips. Wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy....
Neil, you are in the industry, and do this for a living. I have no issue at all with your perspective, and thank you for sharing it.

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Originally Posted by ardeegee View Post
Mobileread is a discussion forum, not a unquestioned press release forum.
Nor was the initial post intended to be an "unquestioned press release." By all means question it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by queentess View Post
I think it's fair to let people know what they would be getting into. I saw this and thought "oh, that sounds interesting", but then came to my senses and realized the sheer drudgery. You really don't want apathetic people going through the submissions, so it's best to get this all out in the open up front.
Again, Neil Clarke tried to do exactly that in his initial request.

My only issue with the comments is that some of them seemed to be snarky, for no other reason than that they could be snarky. Call me old-fashioned, but when the existence of a publication depends upon volunteer effort, it didn't seem like an out-of-bounds request to pass along.

- M.D.B.
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