“Hate Mail” Contest: Be in the Book!

First, here’s the cover to Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever 1998 – 2008:

As Bill Schafer notes at the Subterranean Press site, he’s the one who lobbied for this particular cover, and who was I to refuse him? Some would say it captures my natural essence. And while not every piece in the book is me breathing fire (“Being Poor,” “The Speckless Sky” and “The Child on the Train” are all in there, as examples), it’s not entirely out of character for the overall tenor of the book. And wait until you see the back cover. Bwa ha ha ha hah ha! Yes, we’re having fun with this book.

We’re having so much fun, in fact, that we want to include you in the fun. So we’ve decided to have a contest. And here’s the contest, which I’m sure you’ll agree is in keeping with the title of the book:

THE OFFICIAL “HATE MAIL” CONTEST: Write a particularly choice piece of hate mail to me, about me.

Yes, yes. Now’s your chance to tell me what you really think of me. I know you’ve been waiting.

Make it good — and by good, I mean, really nasty. But in a creative way. Just mere profanity won’t do. Make it memorable. Make it worthy of my time. Make me give it an “A” for its overall excellence in the form. Make it good enough, in fact, for us to feature in the book: The winner of the contest will be lovingly enshrined on the book jacket, while up to five additional finalists will have their contributions printed in the back of the book. And all six will get a copy of the book for their very own.

Need help figuring out what I consider excellent hate mail? As it happens, I wrote an entry on how to write me hate mail, and included a follow-up with further discussion as well. Read and learn.

And now: Rules!

1. All entries most be posted in the comment thread for this entry. Do not actually mail me your entry.

2. One official entry per person (you may otherwise comment in the thread about entries, etc).

3. By entering, you agree to allow me and Subterranean Press to print your entry in the book.

4. By its nature, this contest will feature offensive language, and the more creatively offensive the better. That said, remember that the focus of the hate mail is meant to be me, not other people (or races, or groups, etc), and remember that what you write does reflect on you, even if what you’re writing is fake hate mail. Which is to say, you’re better off focusing on me, and trying to keep it amusing. For excellent examples of how to do this, I invite you to check out the “write a scathing review” contest I ran last year. The entries there are full of win.

5. The contest runs through 11:59:59pm Eastern, June 25th, 2008. Winners will be chosen by me and Subterranean Press (or our chosen representatives) and will be announced on this site. We reserve the right not to pick winners if all the entries, you know, stink. So make them awesome.

Got it? Good. Then get to writing that hate mail, damn it. I’m looking forward to all the ways you’re going to tell me I totally suck. Impress me, people.

(And now, what I hope will be a totally obvious and unnecessary warning: The following comment thread is very likely to be full of words, phrases and concepts that will offend lots of people, even if they are offered, as most of them will be, in jest. If you are the offendable type, you’re probably best not reading any further. And if you’re the type whose co-workers or bosses or corporate policies might be offendable, you might wait until you get home to read this. Okay, now you’re on your own.)

Update: One final note for contestants: it’s entirely possible that some of your language (if it’s particularly, uh, vivid) might accidentally trigger a spam or moderation filter. If your entry does not appear immediately, don’t panic. I check the spam and moderation queues fairly frequently and will release the entries as I come across them.

Two Quick Bits About Zoe’s Tale

A couple of very quick things regarding Zoe’s Tale:

1. To the folks who won the ZT contest a couple of weeks ago: I still haven’t mailed out your books. Yeah, I know, I suck. I’ll get them out today or tomorrow. I swear.

2. Folks have been asking how they might get hold of autographed copies of Zoe’s Tale. Well, one way to do that is to see me at ArmadilloCon, which happens the weekend before the official release (which means it’s a very good bet there will be copies in the dealer’s room — and if there aren’t I’ll probably yell at someone). I’ll also be undertaking a small regional appearance schedule with Tobias Buckell (whose Sly Mongoose will be released the same day), where naturally we will sign copies of our books. More details on appearances will be forthcoming.

Aside from that, I’ve been talking to a local bookseller here about the possibility of them taking pre-orders for Zoe’s Tale, and then I would come into the store to sign the copies, and then they would ship them out to you wherever you might be. We’re still looking at the logistics of that, but if we get it all squared away I’ll give you the details in short order, possibly as early as next week.

Destroying Marriages to “Protect” Marriage

In all the hub-bub surrounding the start of same-sex marriages in California, it’s worth remembering that in November, there’s likely to be an initiative on the California ballot which would change the state constitution of California so that it specifically defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and recognizes as valid only those marriages between a man and a woman.

What this means is that if the initiative passes, then likely thousands of legal, actual, state-recognized and sanctioned marriages will disappear overnight. Thousands of loving couples will be forcibly removed from the legal state of marriage, not because they have chosen to do so, but because others have decided that they shouldn’t allowed to be recognized as having a marriage. I imagine it will be single largest forced annulment action between married couples in the history of the United States. This initiative will unambiguously, concretely and irrevocably destroy marriages. This initiative murders marriages.

Naturally, this initiative is called the “California Marriage Protection Act.”

I was married in California and lived part of my married life there, so I feel somewhat invested in this. First and foremost, the idea that marriage in general needs to be “protected” by denying it to same-sex couples is ridiculous, just as it was when people believed that marriage needed to be “protected” by denying it to interracial couples. Second and more specifically, the idea that my marriage needs to be protected by a bunch of hyperventilating ninnies in the midst of a queer panic makes me want to retch. Please do keep your clammy, quivering, homophobic fingers off my state of matrimony, if you please. My marriage has not once been threatened by same-sex marriage; heck, I’ve been to Massachusetts at least four times since same-sex marriage was made legal in that commonwealth. Roving bands of same-sex married couples did not trample my marriage rights while I was there.

But even more specifically, claiming to “protect” marriage when in fact you are intent of destroying potentially thousands of loving, legal marriages is an abomination. Every person who says they support the “California Marriage Protection Act” should be asked this question: “So, you’re willing to destroy legal marriages?” And when they try to wiggle out of answering, by, say, suggesting that “unelected judges” usurped the public will (which is incorrect, as California Supreme Court justices stand for election), or that same-sex couples shouldn’t have been married in the first place, or that their religious rights are somehow being trampled on, or that the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage anyway, they should be patiently and firmly asked the following yes or no questions:

1. Are there legally-married same-sex couples in California?

2. Will the “California Marriage Protection Act” destroy those legal same-sex marriages?

The answers to both: Yes. Which leads back to the first question, doesn’t it.

Make no mistake that supporters of the “California Marriage Protection Act” will be voting to destroy existing marriages. Every single person who says they support this initiative should be made to understand that is what they are going to do, and be made to acknowledge that fact. Every person who is on the fence about the initiative should be made to understand that this will be the consequence. Same-sex marriage is not some theoretical construct in California; it exists. And while no marriages will end if the “California Marriage Protection Act” fails, many marriages will end if it passes.

It does not profit anyone to ignore this reality, nor to ignore the shameful irony of claiming this act somehow “protects” marriage. It doesn’t. So don’t.