Thursday, August 05, 2010

By The Numbers—A Brief Look at IGMS Submissions

I thought this might be interesting to some people. 

Some disclaimers:

1) I am one of four assistant editors in IGMS.  (Sara and Eric’s numbers are likely to be MUCH higher)

2) I don’t keep track of their numbers.

3) Edmund Schubert is a slave-driving werewolf vampire android.  The arithmetic he employs is unrecognizable to anyone in this dimension.  I urge you, on peril of your sanity, to not consider it.

A sample of 386 submissions reveals the following:

64 submissions passed to the slavering, hairy, fanged robot.

161 submissions recommended for form rejection

187 submissions recommended for personal rejection

NOW.  Of those 64 accepted:

21 were Science Fiction

1 was horror

23 were Fantasy

19 untracked

“Untracked” because I wasn’t keeping details when I started slushing.  I paid dearly for my lack of diligence; those months in Edmund Schubert’s Asylum/Salt Mine for the Clinically Non-Precognizant have taught me a valuable lesson. 

Let’s assume that the genre percentages remain the same for those 19.  My math gives me +9 stories for science fiction, +10 stories for Fantasy, and +1 story for Horror. 

“AHA!” you cry.  “Witness the failure of the American educational system!  YOU HAVE ADDED A STORY, YOU FIEND!”

I’m rounding up for simplicity’s sake.  The real numbers are something like 8.7 for SF, 9.6 for F, and .95 for H.  I guarantee you—if I get .5 of a story, I am not going to pass it along to Edmund.  Nossir.  Like I said, I’ve learned my lesson.

So, it’s about a half-n-half split between science fiction and fantasy, with Horror looking really underrepresented.  Which disturbed me at first, because I write things that a lot of people might call horror.  But looking back at my list of submissions…I don’t think that I’ve read lots of Horror in the slush pile.  There have been zombies; there have been ghosts.  But horror is more than monsters; it’s a sense of dread or foreboding that prevails through the story.  Dread or threat is the principal emotion in horror writing, in my opinion; which is why Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot can be classified as Horror,  but his collaboration with Peter Straub, Talisman, cannot.  (And we shan’t mention Black House.)  A lot of the stories I read that others might call Horror (because of the m-m-m-monsters) I call contemporary fantasy. 

I’m sure I’ve offended someone with my crass generalizations.  And my math.  I’ve probably offended Steven King and Peter Straub.  I invite you all to slander me on the IGMS forums.  Go ahead.  I can take it.  I’ve been to a Salt Mine/Asylum run by Edmund Schubert.  There’s no horror like that horror, lemmetellewe.

--Scott M. Roberts

Assistant Editor, IGMS

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