Friday, December 5, 2008

Rejectomancy Redux

Here's a link to a 1968 rejection letter of Ursula K Leguin's Left Hand of Darkness, which the following year was published and won a Nebula, and the next year won a Hugo.

AND, if you have read the book, you will honestly admit that every word of the rejection is true.

Ursula K. Le Guin writes extremely well. [snip] The book is so endlessly complicated by details of reference and information [...] that the very action of the story seems to be to become hopelessly bogged down [snip]

Yep. That's UKL, and that's LHOD. And many readers, including myself*, loved it that way.

The rejection is implicitly indicating that the Editor is looking for more action-oriented speculative fiction, whereas UKL's work is more contemplative and theme-oriented. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the editor or the book, they just aren't a match.

Don't engage in rejectomancy. "No" means "no", and that is all.

*Darn, I can't figure whether that should be "including [me, myself or I]", and I don't care enough to look it up. I think that me or myself are both acceptable. Tricia?


Shawn S. Deggans said...

Exactly. Could you imagine Le Guin changing her work to be more action-packed? It's a numbers game.

Dal Jeanis said...

Yep.. That would like be a gazelle pasting on feathers to be more like a bear... or something.

Tricia said...

"including me" is correct. I wouldn't use "including myself," but it might be acceptable in some circles.

"The Left Hand of Darkness" is one of my favorite books. It doesn't need to be "action-packed." The moral is to keep serching for the right place for a story, I guess.