Epidapheles and the Insufficiently Affectionate Ocelot
I’m thrilled to say that I have a story in the latest issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It’s called Epidapheles and the Insufficiently Affectionate Ocelot, and it recounts the adventures of the decrepit wizard Epidapheles and his familiar, an invisible sentient chair named Door, in their quest to save a kingdom whose regent has fallen victim to an unhealthy fixation with his pet ocelot.
This is my third Epidapheles story. I started writing these things a long time ago, and they tend to arrive at the blistering pace of one every two years. The installment right before this one appeared, very unexpectedly, around the fifth week of Clarion, muscling aside a terrible case of writer’s block and introducing me to a valuable writerly strategy: jot down the most ridiculous title you can think of, and then write a story under it. It’s not a technique I’ve seen recommended in many writing books, which tend to emphasize things like “character development” and “plot structure” and “emotional honesty”, or whatever. I think ridiculous-title-based story construction is the wave of the future.
F&SF was the first magazine I ever submitted anything to, way back in the dark ages of 2003. Gordon van Gelder, the editor, sent me a very nice note explaining why that story wasn’t ready for prime time. It was my first real rejection, and I remember being very grateful to him for softening the blow.
It’s seven years later now, and I find myself grateful all over again.