Bewildering Stories Editorial
by Jerry Wright
News and ViewsHow's that for a pretty tame title. And yet it fits.
We do indeed have some news. Primarily about Sam Ivey's Gilboy's Quest. It is hot of the press (as someone once said in a fit of triteness) and ready for y'all in all its wonderfulness. Oh, yeah, you could order it from Borders or Barnes and Noble. Or... You could go to our Bewildering Press website and order it there with FREE shipping in the continental U.S.
This worked out really well. Also, of course, free shipping for Grim Legion as well.
What else in the way of news? Well, we ought to have Advance Reader's Copies of Mike Lloyd's Observation One ready shortly. That will make Mike happy, and we'll need a couple of proofreaders to go through the whole thing. It is amazing how much stuff pops up when the book hits real paper.
"ObsOne" should be followed by Colin P. Davies' Tall Tales on the Iron Horse collection of short fiction, and we hope to have Katts and Dawgs ready by then, as well. Who knows. We'll keep flailing at it until we run out of money.
I was sitting in a restaurant in Modesto, California yesterday morning. I was in a booth waiting for my breakfast (at 4:30 in the morning. Yeah, 6:30 AM flight) and I couldn't help but overhear their conversation. I wish I hadn't been able to.
Bill Cosby does a routine where he talks about some people's vocabulary: "...foul, foul, filth, foul, foul..." and yeah, that is what it was. Almost every modifier used by these two young men (who other than that seemed well educated) was "this 'f'ing thing and that 'f'ing thing, and well, "f' that!" And so on. It added nothing of intelligibility to their conversation. If anything it reduced meaning. And why? No particular reason. And it almost put me off my breakfast. Fortunately, they left before my food came.
Which puts me close to my next subject; obscenity and profanity in Bewildering Stories. Don has noted that I don't like obscenity, but don't generally object to profanity where writers are trying to have their characters express strong emotion. I am always reminded of the comment that "bad language is the effort of a weak mind trying to express itself strongly!" I always get a bit of a laugh out of that.
Nowadays, it seems like people don't even understand the difference between obscenity and profanity. And there is a difference, and a rather big one. Different societies actually find one of these types of language more objectionable than the other, depending on cultural mores. To me, crude language relating to bodily functions such as excretion and urination is generally tawdry and unnecessary. This is what Don refers to in our submission guidelines as "scatology" and crude language relating to sexual equipment and relations is generally what I consider "obscene". I find this to be especially obnoxious when it is just inserted as an interjection with no underlying meaning. "Feh!" I don't want to read it, and I don't want to inflict it on those of our readers who expect better of us.
But what about profanity? What is often called "cursing"... My feelings on this are actually rather bizarre, perhaps. Profanity is the taking of something that should be sacred, or holy, and using it (as one text phrases it) "in a worthless way". "Damn"ing something generally means asking God to remove any blessing or consideration from something, or to send it to "Hell". As I sincerely doubt that God listens to such mouthings, nor do I believe he's going to send some thing, action, or person to a place of eternal torment, the whole exercise becomes something with a null emotional content to me. Meaningless. And yet people find emotional release in such terms and phrases.
My dad, for example. If he felt the need to swear, about the strongest phrase he would use was "Hell's Bells!" Funny, now that I think about it. So, anyway, there is the source of MY concept of PG-13 rated stories. Hope I didn't bore y'all, but if so, hey... Publisher's prerogative.
Coming up soon... Our 5-year anniversary. Yep, Bewildering Stories is heading into Year 6 with our first July issue. Actually, if one wanted to get technical, our FIRST Bewildering Stories issue was the Purple Prose edition which came out in June of 2002. However, our first REAL issue came out the first week of July in 2002. And it is all there in the archive.
Copyright © 2007 by Jerry Wright
for Bewildering Stories