Extinction (DOG EAR)

Extinction (DOG EAR)

ated to see this one occur.

TheJurassic publishing house has finally announced its closing. Got an email concerning this and ordered their last anthology.

I first became aware of Jurassic when my wife and I visited The Tate Gallery in London and viewed apocalyptic biblical paintings by George Martin. In the gift shop I found a collection of books with short stories written by unknown writers, each picking a painting and telling a tale behind them. Of course, some were bad but some were really, really good. And I found that my copy was one of a series, with a number stamped inside it and everything.

I went on to buy several books from them. Some of them weren’t to my taste but really, I liked the concept – a small publishing house that put out the word to lessor writers (i.e. those nibbling around the edge of real publishing but not mucking about in self publishing) to submit. And I’ll admit that I wrote my heart out for them and hoped (like some lusty literary gigolo) to get between their covers.

One story (for a western anthology that had to have some connection to hell) I wrote the Pandemonium and Southern, a tale of a western town desperate for rail service that signs with a questionable railroad, one that will bring them anything, and only asks for one export – souls. I really liked that one. Didn’t get in.

Another, a very short story for Christmas, told of a spaceship (filled, it turns out, with very small travelers), that beams down an ambassador to the trainset town around a Christmas tree. So incensed is he at the inhabitant’s stoic reaction to his presence, he orders a small plasma charge detonated over their town. Of course, all this comes to light when the fire brigade arrives to put out an electrical fire, and suddenly the scale and all that is explained. Ho ho ho.

Wrote for a contest where you had two days to get in 750 words about a world-changing event in 1913. I had a nifty little story about the historical founder of the Saud house, and how he realizes that the coming war in Europe will be a mechanized one, and that he’d need to drill for oil (years before they actually did). Turns out that his drillbit is chewing its way closer and closer to an ancient lamp with an angry genie inside it – I’d just finished Arabian Knights and knew how explosively pissy genies could be. It was a fun little tale that I worked hard under word count and deadline to get out. But no, didn’t make the cut.

And the one I was proudest of was to meet a requirement to write of old world explorers who pushed the bounds of chaos back. I chose the French Montgolfier brothers who launched the first hot air balloon into the skies of the 1780’s. Turns out that there are gargoyles up there, creatures who (like apaches) fight against every inch of human encroachment. They fought against those building belltowers, and their likeness was captured by those who built the great cathedrals. And now they would fight balloonists. This one, I really loved. The brothers were well-defined (one was coarse, one prissy). Their manservant as stout and dependable. The muzzle-loaders were fun to write about. The balloon was researched. The story just fit together in a way I was particularly proud of. And no, it didn’t get selected.

But in all of these attempts, the editor (Jason) was very diplomatic and sympathetic. Jurassic did not rely on form letter rejections – in each of them, Jason took the time to tell me what he liked and explain why it didn’t make it (either from the writing, or the number of submissions, or whatever). But even though I was getting rejected, I really enjoyed the challenge. It was a great house to write for.

And now they are gone. That saddens me, as to me they represent the concept of what a publishing house should be.