Making Wild Books, Movies, and Waves In the New Frontier

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Dear gang –

Apologies for absentia! I’ve had a lot going on, not the least of which has been the sudden deluge of last-minute entries to my latest anthology PSYCHOS: ENCOUNTERS WITH SERIAL KILLERS AND THE CRIMINALLY INSANE. Published by Black Dog and Leventhal. Due out this September. And for which the iron door slammed shut today.

Why do so many fine writers wait till the very last minute to submit their stories? Sometimes, it’s because they’ve been rigorously honing them to pinpoint precision. Sometimes, it’s because they looked at the calendar and went, “FUCK!” Then fired that thing they’d been thinking about straight into their word processor like a cannon.

I know both feelings, believe me. And whatever works works for me!

All I can say is: I have more powerful stories than I can possibly buy, even for a book that will measure 640 pages. I might squeeze in 38 stories, max. I have easily twice that amount of serious shit to choose from. Believe me. I could publish two books – maybe three – and not begin to exhaust the quality being ladled upon me daily.

So what does this say about modern writers, and the state of the contemporary short story?

In my opinion, it says some pretty good things. Particularly with regard to psychological probity: a factor that only seems to deepen, the more recent the fiction is.

This may be surprising to a lot of people who think we’re just getting stupider and stupider. There are evidence trails to suggest that. But my evidence trail does not.

I find that these writers are getting – if not smarter and smarter than previous generations – at the very least honester and honester. Their characters are admitting more, exposing more, getting more frank about both their confessions and their emotional reactions, or lack thereof. More clear in their depictions.

Does this mean better writing?

In many ways, I think it does.

The more I read, the more impressed I am by how much remains unexplored. Or would, were it not for these cunning explorers.

It gives me hope about modern literature.

For lovers of books, this is a beautiful thing.

My thanks to all the brilliant people who have sent me stories. I’d buy them all if I could. (The brilliant ones, that is!)

But for this book, the iron door has slammed down. If you didn’t slide in under it, I’m sorry.

Astonishing Table of Contents, soon!

Yer pal in the trenches,



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