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Posted
4 March 2010

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Words

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.


13 Comments

Posted by
David Wesley
4 March 2010 @ 2pm

Way to go!


Posted by
Keyan
4 March 2010 @ 5pm

That’s terrific, Ramsey. I remember reading E & the Insufficiently Enraged Demon at Clarion and loving it… and you said then that you had another story with the same character. So I shall be very pleased to read about the not-loving-enough ocelot. Congrats!


Posted by
Shweta
5 March 2010 @ 3pm

Way to go Ramsey! I love that Clarion story — thrilled that you have more of these! Where’s the first?


Posted by
lapsed.cannibal
6 March 2010 @ 1pm

Thanks guys. I’m pretty excited.

Shweta — I haven’t actually looked at the very first one in years. Should probably unearth it and see what time has wrought. :)


Posted by
Sam Clifford
7 March 2010 @ 2pm

Excellent work. I just finished reading it and I enjoyed it so much I’m eager to know where I can find the other Epidapheles tales.


Posted by
Justin
9 March 2010 @ 1am

Ramsey, you are totally my hero. I especially love the spot-on writing advice. I once created a database app that spit out random Amphigorey-style titles, like “The Tainted Sofa” or “The Forlorn Cupcake”. It was great fun.


Posted by
lapsed.cannibal
13 March 2010 @ 2pm

Sam – Thanks very much for the kind words. There aren’t any more out there yet, but hopefully will be soon.


Posted by
lapsed.cannibal
13 March 2010 @ 2pm

Justin – that’s brilliant! I really love that idea.

It kind of sucks that we have to trick our subconscious into giving up the goods this way, doesn’t it? Seems like there ought to be a more efficient methodology.


Posted by
Peter
18 March 2010 @ 7am

Awesome news. I’m gonna go out and get me some Ramsey flavoured F&SF!


Posted by
Lisa
23 March 2010 @ 12am

That was an amazing story! I haven’t laughed that hard in a LONG time.. I really look forward to another of those! Seriously, if you were to write a book I would absolutely have to purchase it!


Posted by
lapsed.cannibal
23 March 2010 @ 8am

:) Thanks Lisa.


Posted by
Ellen Kushner
24 March 2010 @ 6pm

I am so pleased! I loved the Epidapheles story we workshopped in our Clarion week, and am delighted that you get to share him now with the world. Congratulations.


Posted by
lapsed.cannibal
24 March 2010 @ 9pm

Awesome, thanks Ellen! So glad you liked that story.


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