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View Full Version : What's the right home for this fantasy story?



Ian Nathaniel Cohen
06-18-2014, 08:58 PM
Some time ago, I came across JewishFiction.net, which is exactly what it sounds like - a website for Jewish fiction, no more than 6,000 words long. The stories they've published mostly have a diaspora, Holocaust, immigrant, or Middle East conflict theme.

I sent them a "Conan the Barbarian as done by Mel Brooks" fantasy parody about an evil warlord who abducts Jewish mothers in order to magically siphon their abilities to induce guilt as part of a world domination bid.

Obviously, they didn't take it, and I'm not the least bit surprised. Not only did the story and the writing itself legitimately need work, but it just wasn't the kind of story they went for. Fair enough.

I've been revising it and expanding it, still keeping it short story length (there's no way to expand it to novella length without the jokes overstaying their welcome). However, once the new version is done, I'm not sure what to do with it. There aren't any Jewish publications that would take it (as far as I can tell), and I'm not sure whether the overt Jewish humor would alienate non-Jewish fantasy readers. For example, in one scene, a henchman being throttled when he brings the villain a minyan - a quorum of ten Jewish adults required for certain prayers - instead of a minion. In another, the hero swigs some wine before a drunken boxing fight scene, only to spit it out in disgust when it turns out to be Maischevitz wine (widely reviled in Jewish circles for its bad quality).

Any thoughts on this? Is it worth shopping this around to fantasy publications, or should I stick with Jewish publications?

PeteMC
06-18-2014, 10:50 PM
I sent them a "Conan the Barbarian as done by Mel Brooks" fantasy parody about an evil warlord who abducts Jewish mothers in order to magically siphon their abilities to induce guilt as part of a world domination bid.


I read that and thought "that sounds awesome, I'd read it!"

Then I read this



For example, in one scene, a henchman being throttled when he brings the villain a minyan - a quorum of ten Jewish adults required for certain prayers - instead of a minion. In another, the hero swigs some wine before a drunken boxing fight scene, only to spit it out in disgust when it turns out to be Maischevitz wine (widely reviled in Jewish circles for its bad quality).
and thought "huh?"

So, erm, I don't know. The idea is great, but if all the jokes are that sort of "in" humour that only Jewish people are likely to understand then might be a tough sell.

Ian Nathaniel Cohen
06-18-2014, 11:00 PM
Yeah, I was afraid of that. I guess Jewish publications it is, then...if I can find one that would take a story like this.

Not all of the humor is "in" humor - some of it pokes fun at fantasy conventions (for instance, rather than a forest where many venture and none return, I have a forest where many venture and won't shut up about how creepy the place is, or a rabbi who's identified as a purveyor of plot exposition). But enough of it is Jewish humor to the point that too many readers might have the same reaction you did.

zanzjan
06-18-2014, 11:56 PM
I dunno if I'd give up that easily. After all, George Alec Effinger was quite successful with his Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson stories, which ISTR* had a fair bit of in-humor but (as far as I know) didn't go over my head. Write it, pass it by beta readers of varying backgrounds, see if it flies, then send it out.

(ETA: plus, for a good enough story, readers may very well track down a reference they don't quite get.)

---
(* to be fair, I read them a REALLY long time ago.)

Ian Nathaniel Cohen
06-19-2014, 12:03 AM
I hadn't considered that. Thanks!

Liosse de Velishaf
06-19-2014, 12:14 AM
I would probably read this story. You might have to provide more context for those no familiar with Jewish culture, but otherwise I don't see why you couldn't sell this to mainstream publications.

King Neptune
06-19-2014, 01:49 AM
I might also read it, and it wouldn't bother me if there were a few things that I didn't get. Just start sending it around. If it's good enough, then someone will want to publish it.

Filigree
06-19-2014, 03:46 AM
UFO Publications will begin next year for their next humorous SFF anthology. www.ufopub.com/submissions/

I'd Google 'humorous science-fiction & fantasy publishers' and see what comes up. If you make this one shiny enough, consider Asimov's.

Reziac
06-20-2014, 02:44 AM
I'm not sure whether the overt Jewish humor would alienate non-Jewish fantasy readers. For example, in one scene, a henchman being throttled when he brings the villain a minyan - a quorum of ten Jewish adults required for certain prayers - instead of a minion.

And imagine the reverse ... a henchman bringing the synagogue a minion. :evil

I'm not Jewish (tho a lot of my friends are and I appreciate many things Jewish) ... but I think this is hilarious! Basically a comedy of misunderstandings, yes? Ask Shakespeare if that's been worn out yet. :D