Am I really “edgy”? Responding to critiques of a call for submissions.

Let me start this out by saying that if you invoke the name of an author (or small publisher) on the open internet, they’re probably going to eventually end up seeing what you wrote.

They may not respond, but that’s a different point entirely.

Often I’ll just respond in a comment. Maybe a tweet. Or even just by faving or retweeting.

In this case, I want to devote an entire blog post to the topic – because the point raised is one that requires clarification of what I and Alliteration Ink want and are doing.

To sum up, E. J. D’Alise didn’t submit a story to the upcoming anthology No Shit, There I Was, instead choosing to publish the story on their blog. The given reasons they didn’t submit are what I want to address. The first reason was:

[…b]ecause Alliteration Ink, like many venues, are what I call “edgy” . . . perhaps even “weird”. My stories are not edgy. They tend to be fairly straight forward. They contain little gore, no swearing, no sex, not tentacle porn. They are the antithesis of “edgy”.

This actually surprised me – because their idea of "edgy" is something different than what I have in mind when I choose editors or anthology ideas. For example, Rachael asked that part of the guidelines for No Shit, There I Was say "That said, Rachael is not terribly interested in horror, and erotica is right out. Salty language is okay, gratuitous violence, gore, or sex is not."

I am terribly interested in things that are "edgy" – if you mean things that push the edges of our understanding. For example, Ferrett Steinmetz’s "Black Swan Oracle" (originally in What Fates Impose, also available on Escape Pod) really shook me with the implications of the story. Dangers Untold, while horror, is explicitly about having horror that isn’t the same old monsters again and again.

The word I’d use to describe what D’Alise means is extreme. Extreme gore. Extreme sex. And … ick… tentacle porn.

Not really my cup of tea.

I’m interested in stories that blow my mind, not ones that make me blow chunks.

The second reason given requires a bit more in-depth analysis; I’m going to make it a separate blog post tomorrow

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  1. March 25, 2016

    I guess it all depends on how you define "edgy." I've always considered "edgy" to mean "experimental," as in pushing the boundaries of the genre and the medium, trying to break just the right rules in just the right way. Excessive graphic sex, violence, and language is one of the easiest ways to do that, of course, and so has become synonymous with being "edgy" – but there are a lot of other ways to do it. I've seen more than a few "edgy" experiments that go in the opposite direction, becoming overly artsy, absurdist, non-sequential, etc.

    I've read a few AInk anthologies, and although there a few stories here and there that I'd classify as "edgy" (by my definition, at least), the anthologies overall seem to be more or less mainstream.

    Recompose, however, does seem very edgy – but then I get the impression it's supposed to be an experimental literature magazine.

  2. March 31, 2016

    Huh. Okay, that makes sense. 🙂

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