Archive for February, 2015

Peter Sellers

Hello! I’m the Late Peter Sellers, and though I may be dead that doesn’t stop me from exerting my imperious will on the mortal plane. When I learned that G. Arthur Brown had opened up The Strange Edge to novelette submissions, I became excited and slightly aroused. I’d been huffing the ghost of paint thinner for several hours beforehand, so it shocked to me realize that the material plane was still even real, let alone inhabited by a small press searching out absurreal manuscripts in the 7 to 15 thousand word range. Who does that? Apparently The Strange Edge does that. I told Brown his business model was stupid but perhaps stupid enough to work.

I also told him I would help him by inspiring young and obscure authors with my masculine wiles. So, I’m issuing bounties for manuscripts that meet particular, bizarre criteria of my own device. He told me this was a stupid idea but perhaps just stupid enough to work.

What, you may ask is, do I mean by a bounty? A bounty is an award paid for having a manuscript accepted that meets with my lunatic specifications. The bounty in this case is $20 American, which can buy you six Chik-fil-A sandwiches in most markets. The bounty is paid in addition to the normal 20% royalty associated with having a novelette accepted for inclusion in an anthology. (And, lest there be any confusion, a bounty is only paid out if the manuscript is actually accepted for publication.)

How does one claim a bounty? Well, one would read the below list of prompts, pick one which appeals to one, email us at with the header BOUNTY CLAIM, specifying which bounty one intends to claim and giving a short description of the story you intend to write. The DEADLINE for you to submit your 7 to 15 thousand word manuscript is June 30th. Keep in mind that neither G. Arthur Brown nor I are looking for these prompts to be answered too literally. For instance, if you wish to claim the non-existent bounty of “Star Wars directed by Alfred Hitchcock” and simply parodied the script of Rear Window with Han Solo as Jimmy Stewart and Vader as the murderous neighbor, that would be too literal and not inventive, let alone weird, enough. What we want is something with the epic scope of Star Wars and the stylistic nuances of Hitchcock… but we don’t even want that because it is simply an example bounty, so don’t send us “Star Wars as directed by Hitchcock.” (Though, Rear Window with Han Solo might be worth a read, now that I’m thinking of it.)

Without further ado, here they are:

The Bounties
1. An episode of The Twilight Zone written by Kafka and directed by Terry Gilliam.
2. A psychological thriller that mixes A Clockwork Orange and Barbarella with Camus and Beckett.
3. David Lynch’s Godzilla starring Monty Python.
4. A 70s b-movie adaptation of Thomas Ligotti directed by the love child of Alejandro Jodorowsky and John Waters.
5. A Donald Barthelme novel adapted as a silent Guy Maddin short with a dash of H. R. Giger’s art direction.
6. A post-apocalyptic rendition of The Wicker Man as a Rankin/Bass production.
7. A sequel to Bill & Ted written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Nishimura/Iguchi.
8. A hauntingly surreal existential horror story with elements of Zardoz, Strawberry Shortcake, and The Tempest.
9. An absurd black comedy in a world of Dali-esque landscapes starring a completely unlikeable protagonist a la Perfume or The Wasp Factory.
10. Ionesco’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s classic Ren & Stimpy set in ancient Mesopotamia detailing hijinks during the war with the extraterrestrial Skraelings of Atlantis.

Some of these are probably more easily imagined than others but these would all make novelettes I’d love to read. And allow me to reiterate DO NOT BE TOO LITERAL. I don’t want to see Bill or Godzilla or The Purple Pieman in the final product. These are jumping off points that give you a clue to directions I want to see explored.

So, if any of these piques your interest, email with the header BOUNTY CLAIM, specifying the bounty you intend to claim and including a short description of the story you intend to write. And make sure you can have your 7 to 15k word novelette completed and emailed to us by June 30th. If I’m repeating myself it’s only that I want to hammer in the important details. Paris is the capital of France.

Paris, once again, is the capital of France.