Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Well, that's.... odd.

Hello all, sorry for my long absence. It's not that I haven't thought about blogging, it's just that I've been writing other things. Like museum labels. And Call of Cthulhu adventures. And strongly worded emails. And... ergh. Yeah.

Truth to tell, I actually did write something resembling a work of actual fiction a few months ago. It was a short story, and I wrote it as a submission to Machine of Death volume 2. Ordinarily I don't even think about writing fiction--truth is strange enough, honestly, and I don't feel I have a gift for that type of storytelling. But an idea hit me, and I figured why not write it down. For those who haven't heard of it, or are too lazy to click the above link, Machine of Death is an anthology in which all the stories have a single premise--there's a machine that can unerringly predict an individual's cause of death from a blood sample. That's it. The idea first came from this comic, by the amazing Ryan North. The first volume hit #1 on Amazon last October, pushing Glenn Beck's newest book off the chart for a day and earning his considerable animosity. It's available as a CC by SA pdf, free of charge, on the MOD website. And it sold so well that the editors decided to put together a volume 2.

So I bought the book, and I enjoyed it, but when volume 2 submissions were solicited I didn't think twice about it... until I had a sudden idea for a story a scant 10 days before the submission deadline. I busted a move, wrote a story in 4 days, and got it in on deadline. As did nearly 2000 other people! This week is the week when authors find out which of the 1958 stories submitted were chosen for publication, and let's just say I'm not getting my hopes up.

But to keep us entertained, a couple weeks ago the MOD website put up a "title cloud" of all the story titles submitted for volume 2. The rule is, the title has to be a cause of death from your story--so this title cloud is a hodgepodge of silly, sad, horrific, hilarious ways to die, and it's available as a pdf download or as a poster to purchase.

Of course I did what ever other author did, and immediately downloaded it to look for my story title in the tiny tiny fine print. I couldn't find it, but I found something else that was frankly more disturbing than the thought of death by Rapture:

Do you see it? Look closer.

Yes. That's my name, among nearly 2000 other causes of death. I actually had a sort of Donnie Darko moment where I wondered if it was just that I was going insane, and if I blinked and looked again my name wouldn't be there anymore, and then a giant vampire rabbit would show up in my bedroom and a plane would fall on me. But nope, it's there for realz. I checked in with the MOD folks, and they reassured me that someone else hadn't written a story where the protagonist dies of Me. Far less sinisterly, it was just some sort of glitch with importing the story titles between tetchy pieces of software. I'm really sort of thrilled--even if my story isn't chosen, I can legitimately say that Machine of Death put my name in print....