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Pure. Comedy. Gold.

As some of you know, my brother-in-law Peter is a writer of some repute who has written Star Trek novels among other things. Once, a fellow who was courting Peter's sister asked whether or not he had Peter's approval. Peter granted his approval but warned "If you hurt her, I will drop you into a warp core."

Long story short, said fellow broke the woman's heart and Peter wrote up a character based on the cad into a Star Trek novel. And dropped that character into a warp core. Apparently the original draft of that scene was so exquisitely horrific that Paramount asked him to tone it down (which didn't stop him from showing an unexpurgated copy of the scene to people acquainted with the guy.)

The moral of the story: science fiction authors should really not be messed with.

Publish America is learning that lesson the hard way. Since one of the most prominent writerly-scam-busting groups is an arm of the Science Fiction Writers of America (check out their Writer Beware page for scams to watch out for) Publish America made some dismissive remarks about science fiction and fantasy on one of their websites.

As a rule of thumb, the quality bar for sci-fi and fantasy is a lot lower than for all other fiction. Therefore, beware of published authors who are self-crowned writing experts. When they tell you what to do and not to do in getting your book published, always first ask them what genre they write. If it's sci-fi or fantasy, run. They have no clue about what it is to write real-life stories, and how to find them a home.

Hmmmm . . . do you see a little resentfulness here? "No, don't expect people who have actually been published to tell you about the publishing industry! Listen to us! We know what we're talking about!"

Now, anybody who has read crevette's infamous review of Night Travels of the Elven Vampire (and if ya haven't, you can read it here) will know what kind of "real-life" stories Publish America accepts. But to drive the point home that Publish America will, indeed, accept anything, a group of writers, many in the sci-fi and fantasy realm, collaborated to produce a big stinky pile of literary poo called Atlanta Nights. Each writer was assigned one chapter, some characters and a fragment of outline and told to write as badly as possible. One chapter was written twice, another was omitted and yet another was scrambled by computer into utter incoherency. The result was submitted to Publish America.

Publish America accepted it. The contract was sent out and some time later, the ringleader posted on a message board what had been pulled off.

Within hours, the acceptance was rescinded. Funny, that.

If you want to sample this ghastly concoction, you can download it from this page, which will also link you to where you can get an actual printed copy from lulu.com (who will also print anything, but without charging you an arm and a leg to buy your own books, or snowjobbing you into thinking you've actually been published by a real publisher.)

I love watching a scam fall apart and I think the house of cards that is Publish America is about to come crashing down soon. Stay tuned.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Feb. 24th, 2005 03:12 am (UTC)
That is too funny!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )