And on what would have been my 501st rejection…

…I sold a story — “The Assocation of the Dead” — to Clarkesworld Magazine.

I’ve been slowly watching it creep up the online submissions queue for twenty-seven days (well, it’s mostly been paused at number two). Given that it usually takes only three or four days for them to reject me, this has given me alot of time to ponder how I would feel if it were accepted.

I’ve decided that it’s the fourth best piece of news I’ve gotten in my life. In my mind, Clarkesworld is in the top tier of SF publications.

While I guess no one ever “hits the big time,” it does feel to me like I’ve crossed over from a place where I’m “aspiring” to one where I am “doing”. Now, I might be doing poorly. After all, every terrible story I’ve ever read has first been published in a fairly reputable magazine…but still, it’s better than not even getting the chance to fail.

Comments (



  1. Chris

    Congrats! I have not been languishing in their queue for quite that long, but I have been languishing for longer than usual, and will be keeping my fingers crossed!

    (Also, totally adding you to my RSS feed, due in no small part to the title of the post “The Angst of Liking ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’”—now you have two regular readers!)

    1. blotterpaper

      Thanks, uhh wow, that puts alot of pressure on my next post…it’s actually going to be delivered to someone…someone I don’t know….but it’s a good pressure.

      The languishing was pretty nerve-wracking. I was like, “Realistically speaking, it’s way more likely that there’s a glitch, or that the editor is on vacation, than that this is positive news.”

      1. Chris

        No pressure, swears! (You do realize that selling a story to Clarkesworld also means that your writing will be delivered to people you don’t know, right…? :p)

        My languishing ended with another rejection. I’m pretty sure I made it out of the slush, though, so that’s something…

      2. blotterpaper

        Well, yeah, but when I was writing the story, I assumed that — just like all the other stories — no one would read it except for fifteen disgusted editorial assistance, so it didn’t really make me anxious at all.

  2. bradley


    1. blotterpaper

      YAY! It’s a palindrome. The best palindrome. Well maybe “Wow” is better…but everything is better than “racecar”. Racecar sucks.

  3. Alex J. Kane

    You could do much worse than selling to Clarkesworld, my friend. I’d have to say it’s my favorite magazine, followed closely by Lightspeed (recently). Congratulations.

    You write very well, and I look forward to seeing more of your stories in the future.

    1. blotterpaper

      Hi Alex,

      Thanks. I hope that you will see some more of my stories in the future too. Do not let my cool and collected demeanor fool you.. I am quite giddy about all this. And I quite enjoy Clarkesworld as well, though I don’t read it (or much of what’s being published in contemporary SF) as often as I perhaps ought to.

  4. Steve Gaskell

    Congrats, Rahul!

    Four days from sale to publication is pretty sweet, too. I enjoyed the story immensely. You have some very original and twisted ideas inside that gelatinous mass of brain goop of yours–hope to see some more of them wrought into a linear string of alphanumericals in equally prestigious places soon.

    Go Clarion East!

    PS Scanning Duotrope’s “recent responses” page by the hour is another great way to waste time while waiting for overdue responses . . . try it.

    1. Chris

      Dude, that post-human zombie story was yours?! I’ve been a bit meh about Clarkesworld as of late, but that story was great! Congrats again, and thanks!

      1. blotterpaper

        Thanks Chris,

        I really appreciate the compliment. I think I can safely admit, now, that I don’t really read Clarkesworld and am not really at all conversant with what kind of stuff they publish. Where do your “meh” feelings spring from?


    2. blotterpaper

      Hey Steve,

      It’s good to hear from you. Thanks for your congratulations. And believe me, I have Duotrope on speed-dial.

      It’s hard to believe that four years have passed since Clarion…from my cyber-stalking, I can congratulate you on your successes as well. Selling to Interzone is pretty great. Didn’t you also take some time off to write full-time? How is/did that work out?


  5. Chris

    Well, I’m not sure I’m that conversant either. I’ve only been reading it for a few months, along with some random poking around the archives. My meh feelings come, I think, from the fact that I’m often rather unimpressed with their offerings. I can’t think of a story there that I thought was bad, exactly, it’s just that I’m often surprised at what makes it through the slush (your story and Watts’ “The Things” being memorable exceptions). On the other hand, I do see what they get in the slush, so maybe I’m overexpecting…

    1. Chris

      Er, *don’t. Silly phone…

    2. blotterpaper

      I’ve been meaning to read the Watts story. I’ve been hearing here and there on the internet that it’s actually pretty good. Blindsight has also been on my “to-read” list for like three years…

      1. Chris

        Oh man, Blindsight is easily in my top-five-favorite-books-ever list. I think Watts is pretty genius, and Blindsight manages to have really cool ideas that sound silly when spoken allowed, but totally work in the book (e.g., there’s vampires! In space!). Plus, I am not easily scared (I’m a watch The X-Files and go to bed right away kind of guy), but Blindsight is on a new level of horror and definitely kept me up at night.

        Also, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume from your name and the content of your story at Clarkesworld that your family is Indian (which I hope is okay/right); have you seen this?

        1. blotterpaper

          Yes, my family is Indian. And yes, I have a submission at the Ramayana anthology and everything. The pay is low, but it would be really exciting to be on bookshelves in India (Zubaan is a pretty reputable publisher there). The proportion of the population that buys books is lower, of course, but the number of authors is also lower, and the total reading population is still really high (India boasts some of the highest-circulation newspapers in the world, for instance. I believe the Times of India has a circulation of around twenty million). If I ever publish books, I’d certainly like my name to be known in India.

  6. Chris

    Nice! Good luck on the anthology. I’m trying to put something together myself (very last minute, since I didn’t know about it until yesterday), mostly because I really like the idea of spec fiction Ramayana. We’ll see if I come up with anything…