“Appointment” Accepted for Untreed Reads New Year’s Antho

Last Christmas there was “Naughty or Nice?” a story based on a poem, “The List,” and published in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION’s  December 21 2011 post (cf. May 5 2012, Dec 15 2011, et al.).  Then this year Untreed Reads Publishing (see entry just below) put out a call for a horror anthology for New Year’s.  Stories were to be between 1500 and 5000 words, according to the guidelines, and “the bulk of the story MUST happen on New Year’s Eve.”

As it happened a little while later I wrote a poem about ancient customs brought up to date for the turn of the year and wondered, what if I reworked it in story form?  The result was called “Appointment in Time” and, at only about 1700 words itself, off it went to Untreed Reads.  Then yesterday evening the word came back:  while the competition had been tough, “Appointment in Time” had made the cut.  More information will come when I have it, including the anthology’s actual title which, as of now to my best knowledge has yet to be set.  Other information, too, such as cover art and an official release date, etc., will be forthcoming.

As for “Appointment in Time,” it’s somewhat of a steampunky tale with a great steam-powered clock in the public square of a once-British colony’s major city to chime the New Year to those waiting below, as well as to do a few other things.   It’s all in the spirit of “out with the old and in with the new.”  As for the poem, it’s as yet unpublished, whereas “The List,” the inspiration for last year’s Christmas offering in DAILY SF, can be found in my collection VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).


  1. Good going, Jim! Many times, one can extend the idea in a poem and make it work as a story. That’s what I had in mind doing at the WHC poetry panel this year, but I think our moderator had other plans. Still, it was a good panel!

  2. In a way, though, I cheated with this one since I had the Untreed Reads call in the back of my mind when I wrote the poem (from a Writers Digest weekly poetry prompt, that is — I’ve mentioned these things in some post below — which I deliberately adapted to New Year’s Eve). Then, while still looking for other story ideas, I had the poem to re-look at too and then decided to try the re-working. That doesn’t actually change the process necessarily, except that the poem wasn’t entirely a “found” object (that is, like “The List” which was written entirely for its own sake as a poem, and only many months later did the idea occur independently that it could be the basis for a story).

    If any of that makes sense. The story, in terms of structure, may seem a little bit anecdotal — something happens, which turns out to be more than what you expected (in fact what you’re somewhat led to expect) — although there is a bit of perfunctory character struggle. In this case, though, that worked for the story, with the additions being (mostly hinted at) backstory which also suggested the steampunk trappings — thus it could say a little about colonialism too, but in a universe where things work a bit differently than in ours (and thus where the real horror part of it lies, with the editor’s acceptance letter commenting that, in fact, it’s really entirely in the story’s last line).

    So, anyone reading this (you know who you are), when the anthology is published by Untreed Reads, you won’t be able to do without buying a copy just for that last line of “Appointment in Time” — right?

    (It may be worth it.)

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