Never give up! Never surrender!

As of the moment I have a number of short stories and a novel out for consideration. While I have a story coming out shortly in a new anthology and have placed another in one coming out this fall, lately I've either been fielding rejections or find myself simply waiting for a response. In some cases, it's a long wait.

That's why I'm especially pleased with the publication of Beyond Steampunk, which contains my story "Father Russia." I wrote this three years ago and have had several rejections. Yet I knew it was a good story. (Some rejections are deserved, and I file those stories away to be worked on sometime in the future, if ever.) I didn’t give up. It wasn’t that the story was flawed. It was a matter of finding the right editor and the right fit.

Along came the call for submissions to Beyond Steampunk. What they were looking for was “alternate history” stories that avoided the obvious settings for such stories, such as Victorian England. When I saw this, I knew I had something that ought to work. And I submitted “Father Russia.”

The story is about Trofim Lysenko. If you don’t know who he was, you might want to Google him. He was a charlatan who became a leading scientist under Stalin, and who argued that he could create new species of plants by grafting one to another. The next generation, he claimed, would have the attributes of both. It was bogus science but, for a period of time, Lysenkoism held sway in the Soviet Union.

In my story Lysenko is summoned when Stalin falls ill and is asked to apply his theories to human subjects. To wit, to oversee the transfer of Stalin’s head to a new and healthier body. I guessed correctly. There is little, if any, alternate history set in Stalinist Russia, and the story was accepted for publication.

So, my advice is to be honest with yourself. If a story doesn’t sell, take a good look at it. Sometimes it shouldn’t have sold as – for one reason or another – it doesn’t really work. On the other hand, if you believe the story succeeds and it was a matter of editor who either couldn’t appreciate it or simply wasn’t on the same wavelength as you, then don’t give up. Keep submitting it. With luck, it will eventually find a home.

This one did.

#sfwa
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Published on April 22, 2018 15:02 Tags: alternate-history, lynsenko, stalin
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Daniel M. Kimmel
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