Story in FISH

Dagan Books Fish Cover

FISH by Dagan Books, an anthology of speculative fish stories, is out in the world. I wrote a little before about my story, as it was one I had trouble placing. There’s also a page on Dagan Book’s site all about fish, with a full table of contents and information about purchasing.

Thwarting the Fiends is about a boy called Broccoli, and his slightly surreal adventures in his back garden. The world he travels through is based on his make-believe play.

The inspiration was my own experiences of ancestry issues. I don’t look Northern European, and that raises questions, but I can’t answer them. I don’t know my ancestry. Nor is there any culture remaining from whatever cultures were involved. There’s a generally feeling that something was lost, though I don’t know what, and that I’ll never quite fit. There are always more questions saying I don’t belong where I am.

In Broccoli’s case, he has more awareness. Not in the direct sense, but he knows enough about his family’s cultures to imagine a world where they interact. Not in a tidy and obvious way, because fragments don’t go together neatly, but it’s there.

I wasn’t sure if anyone would see any of that, or if they’d see it an disapprove of how I’d tackled it, but either way, that’s how the story came about. And it has goldfish. Lots and lots of goldfish. So if nothing else, read it for the fish.

# Art by Galen Dara.

Dagan Books Fish Acceptance

Dagan Books Fish CoverSome time ago, I wrote a piece of whimsical absurdism. I was soon to discover it’s hard to sell absurdism. And by hard, I mean some of the rejections I got implied the slush reader wanted to take my keyboard, burn it, stomp on the pieces, then burn it again, so I wouldn’t write another just like it.

Then as I was browsing market listings, I came across an anthology for fish stories. My first thought being: “I have a story about fish!”*

I read the submission call and it sounded like they just might appreciate absurdism. So off went my fishy absurdism story, and I braced for a keyboard-burning rejection. It wasn’t that fast though, because it hadn’t reached the cut-off date and the publisher put out a few blog posts in the meantime. I didn’t make any of the most common cover letter mistakes, and my fish were real fish, but I quailed somewhat when goldfish were listed as one of the most common submissions. I should have guessed they would be, but I was in originality denial. I continued the denial by convincing myself that my goldfish were different.

But they didn’t want to burn my keyboard. “Thwarting the Fiends” will appear in Dagan Books ‘Fish’ anthology, coming out early in 2012. Yay for absurd fish!

It turns out I know or speak to a number of the authors on the list, and if I try to list them, I’ll probably forget someone (or end up listing half the list). So instead, here’s a link to Dagan’s post:

Fish Table of Contents

* This isn’t really a surprise. Probably more surprising is I only had one story about fish.

# The cover art is by Galen Dara.