The story is here: http://compellingsciencefiction.com/stories/oelinium.html and the link to Compelling Science Fiction magazine main page is here: http://compellingsciencefiction.com
This was the very first short story I ever wrote, back in late 2012. However, while I started writing short stories in 2012, I didn’t start submitting until 2013, and this one was no exception. Also, because it was my first short story, I automatically assumed it’d be my “in the drawer” learning curve attempt, that my “real” short stories would come later. Also, when I did start submitting short stories in 2013, I found that 8000 word pieces are a really tough sell anywhere--yes, there are a few venues that publish in that range, but not many. And even those typically prefer shorter tales. Because of all those things, this story remained in a dark corner of my hard-drive for a long time. Finally, I said to myself “what the hell” and submitted to Analog, expecting a form rejection.
So I was floored when Mr. Trevor Quachri from Analog sent me back a long personal rejection letter on Oelinium, praising the story and encouraging me to send more. He also had a few comments for things to improve. While it was a rejection, this really opened my eyes to the fact that you just can’t judge your own work (and yes, that goes for other direction too--stories I think are commercially viable turn out not to be). I quickly made the changes suggested by Mr. Quachri, and re-submitted to a couple other pro magazines, with form rejection outputs.
This made me realize that some stories really just appeal to certain venues and not others. There weren’t many magazines like Analog, and an even smaller subset that want 8000 word tales. So it languished for a long time, and I forgot about it as I worked to get other stories published. Then, a few months ago, I saw a new professional hard sci-fi magazine on the market, Compelling Science Fiction. As I read up on these guys, I realized I really identified with their mission, which was to bring real science-based SF back to the market. I dusted off Oelinium, made several changes (the best editor is perspective of time), and submitted. And here we are.
Anyone who’s read my other blog posts knows that I tend to gripe about the state of short form science fiction these days. A lot of the venues considered science fiction are really more focused on emotion, publishing stories in which the science element is slight, or even missing altogether. Now while I want to be brought to tears or made to laugh as much as the next guy/girl, to me, there is something special about Science Fiction. This genre is about wonder; it is about fascination; it is about imagining what could be. Removing those elements turns it into something else. That something else might still be great, and don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading some of the mood pieces in softer SF magazines. But I often find myself missing “real” science fiction, the stuff that filled me with amazement when I started hauling thick SF novels out of the library at 10 or 11.
Well, Compelling Science Fiction is the real deal. The mission of this magazine is exactly that--compelling, science based SF. I wholeheartedly support that goal, and if you like good science fiction, I hope you will too.