Monday, March 02, 2009

A Chap O'Keefe story I almost published

The webzine Beat to a Pulp features "The Unreal Jesse James" by Chap O'Keefe (Keith Chapman [I don't think he's the same Chapman who created Bob the Builder]). It's an interesting story and I almost published it in Finnish translation some years back. I was editing an all-story issue of Ruudinsavu/Gunsmoke, the magazine of the Finnish Western Society. Keith sent me this story, which had been left unpublished for some years, even though he had submitted it to several magazines, including, I think, Fantasy & Science Fiction. (I hope I'll be corrected if I'm wrong about this!) So, the Finnish translation would've been its first publication world-wide.

I'm sorry to say, though, that I ran out of time and space, so I dropped Keith's story out. I'm happy to see it has found a venue and thrilled readers!

5 comments:

Chap O'Keefe said...

You're right in all respects, Juri. It was also rejected by Realms of Fantasy and Weird Tales. I think the multi-genre approach worked against it. The slush-pile readers quickly saw it didn't fit their pigeonholes, which from their point of view was all they needed not to give it consideration. Strangely, everyone else I've shown it says they love it. Some have said it's the best short pulp story they've read this year . . . but, of course, it is only March!

Todd Mason said...

You never know about editors, and what they think fits their vehicle, not necessarily something so rigid as a pigeonhole...two of my better vignettes, widely rejected elsewhere, were enthusiastically taken by their eventual editor/publishers, and were given further recognition (the one Algis Budrys bought was shortlisted by Ellen Datlow; the one Claude Lalumiere bought was on the shortlist for two of the smaller awards). Not that either has been reprinted yet, mind you! (Though one was rather closely replicated by a sequence in a short-lived animated series on MTV, and that series disappeared shortly after I started inquiring about those similarities.)

Juri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Juri said...

Keith, thanks for comments! I may still have use for your story, if that's okay with you. I still have the file you sent me.

Todd, editors and publishers are just like that everywhere. I've had some books or book ideas rejected by some publishers, but taken by others, including the baby-name books (written with Elina) that have been widely popular.

David Cranmer said...

Juri, It's such an original tale and reminds me of all those old pulps like AMAZING STORIES that I still collect.