The following market report on the anthology, Robots Beyond, as well as the follow-up interview are courtesy of Market Scoops by D.L. Snell.

The Market

  • Anthology: Robots Beyond
  • Publisher: Permuted Press
  • Editor(s): Lane Adamson
  • Pay Rate: $0.01/word + copy
  • Response Time: 30 days after deadline
  • Deadline: April 04, 2008
  • Description (from the editor): Speculative fiction is, at its heart, the art of what-if. That’s what this collection is all about: Robots Beyond the normal sci-fi boundaries, crossing into other genres with their customary logic and precision. Feel free to speculate on the role of robots in the Cthulhu Mythos, or how androids might interact with werewolves, vampires, or zombies. But stretch your imagination, and roam farther afield. More in guidelines: Complete Submission Guidelines

Note: Horror author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.

The Scoop

1. What authors do you enjoy and what is it about their writing that captivates you?
My goodness, this answer could go on for days. Right now, I’ve just started The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien -I read The Hobbit when I was 10, The Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was 11 (and several times again since), so I guess that’s high on the list. The sheer depth and breadth of Tolkien’s world-building is phenomenal. The other first “adult” books I read were my dad’s Louis L’Amour westerns; over the years I read literally everything L’Amour ever published. Aside from his wonderfully robust storytelling, you can feel his love of the lands he wrote about. I’m also a big fan of Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein; Stephen King (especially his short stories; they sparkle like gems); Ed McBain (Evan Hunter) and his 87th Precinct police procedurals (which really transcend their genre); Tom Clancy; and the Dick Francis mysteries – wasn’t it a shocker to find out his wife actually wrote those?

2. What are your favorite genres? Which of these genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
My tastes are … eclectic (as you may have gathered from the above). Ideally, I’d like to see an equally broad assortment of stories represented in Robots Beyond. Horror, mystery, western, action-adventure, fantasy – that’s the great thing about robots: they blend so well with almost any backdrop. The trick is to approach the blending from an unconventional perspective; I want to be surprised by what happens next.

3. What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
I’m not picky, as long as the setting is well-drawn and internally consistent.

4. Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
My personal preference is for a quick start – a story that doesn’t grab my attention in the first couple of paragraphs isn’t likely to get far with me. That doesn’t mean it has to be full-tilt boogie for the entire ride, but I’d better not get bored, either.

5. What type of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
I like my heroes heroic and my villains villainous, as a rule. I can deal with the occasional anti-hero, or conflicted protagonist, but overweening angst is definitely not my thing. The Tommyknockers is probably my least favorite Stephen King book, because the protagonist was such a hopeless putz.

6. Horror and violence can be blatant a la Romero, or suggestive a la Hitchcock. Which one do you prefer and why?
In the first place, we could argue some about Romero – at least as far as Night of the Living Dead; his later work was more over-the-top. There was far more claustrophobic paranoia in NotLD than there was outright gore, and the fact that it was shot in black-and-white toned the impact of the violent scenes down considerably. That being said, I think the needs of the story define the parameters of the horror/violence level. I’m not biased one way or the other; Clive Barker writes gore like poetry, while Shirley Jackson’s classic “The Lottery” makes the reader shudder without a whiff of blood. I will not consider anything for this anthology that I feel is exploitive, or stoops to the level of “splatter porn.” That’s a subjective judgment – and as the editor, I get to make it.

7. In fiction and in life, what do you find most horrific?
Untenable choices – situations where there is no outcome that avoids unspeakable harm to someone.

8. What are the top three things submitters to this market should avoid?
1 – Don’t take one of your existing stories, change the main character from a human to a robot, and think I won’t know. (Take that as a challenge if you want.)

2 – Don’t argue with a rejection. It doesn’t mean you wrote a bad story (necessarily), just that it didn’t fit my visualization of the anthology. Feel free to submit another story – but only one at a time, please.

3 – Do not send me anything without formatting it as per the guidelines. I’m very clear about what I want, and even provide a link to an example.

9. What are your top three pet peeves as an editor?
This is my first full-scale editing project, so I don’t have any – yet. I’m sure I’ll develop some in short order!

10. What quality are you seeking most in submissions to this market?
Innovative, original perspectives on the classic robot themes, with real boundary-crossing into other genres like horror, fantasy, western – whatever. As long as I’m moved in some way.

11. Any last advice for submitters to this market?
Visit the Permuted Press Robots Beyond forum for Q&A with the editor, possible story ideas, and general robotic free-for-all!

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