Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ugly Babies

Once, long ago, I watched an instructor at Marine Corps Basic Communication Officer Course look down at our class and tell us that sometimes when we plan things they just don't go right. When that happens we need to be able to call an ugly baby an ugly baby. He then looked right at the student responsible for leading the planning of our latest debacle and said, "And that, Lieutenant, was an ugly baby." What he didn't know was that this lieutenant was passing around pictures of his newborn just a day before. Later, during some break, that lieutenant started complaining about the instructor and disgustedly couldn't believe that he would call his baby 'ugly.' Several of us standing around looked at each other with upturned eyebrows. Apparently our fellow student wasn't bright enough to figure out what the instructor was talking about. Which, come to think of it, was why he'd planned such a botched up comm system. But that's not relevant right now. The point I'm trying to make is about the last few stories I've evaluated for Rage of the Behemoth. There were a few that just weren't very good. (One was absolutely excellent and had that sock-you-in-the-gut 'Wow!' feeling that I'd been looking for.) I'd thought when I started this that there would be some good writing lessons to pull out of it. There have been those but the majority of what is submitted just lacks greatness. I suppose they really aren't ugly babies so you can just forget that clever anecdote I began with, but the point remains that there is just an enormous wave of mediocrity that has to be slogged through in order to find the gems. So the slogging will continue even though we are closing in on the end of days as the available slots are filling up. The best in heart stopping, bone crunching fantasy fiction is coming your way.

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