Thursday, November 22, 2012


Keep Kharms and be an Absurdist

I have mentioned that I am editing the next issue of the fiction magazine Sein und Werden. The guidelines can be found in an earlier post below (October 5th). One big thing I have learned as a guest editor for this publication is this: most people who submit stories don't read guidelines. It's not so much that they don't read them properly; they don't read them at all. I asked for ironic, whimsical, absurdist comedies less than 1000 words, specifically stories with a European flavour (i.e. the work of Kafka, Calvino, Lem, Čapek, Nesvadba, Hašek, Babel, Vian, etc). But I received mostly conventional science fiction or fantasy stories averaging 3500 words in length.

A few noble writers did follow the guidelines and to them I am eternally grateful! However, I have accepted some of the stories that weren't what I was looking for, because they are rather good stories. So I have arranged the following deal with Rachel Kendall, boss of the publication: a free ebook will be produced in tandem with the print issue; and the ebook will be much longer and will feature all the stories I am sent that I like but which aren't absurdist comedies...

It seems that the next issue of Sein und Werden is in danger of losing the right to its title: The Ironic Fantastic! In order to get it back on track, I've decided to make the final third of the magazine a 'tribute section' to the great Russian absurdist Daniil Kharms. I want stories in the style of Kharms! And if you don't know what that means, check out this website for clues. Kharms' work might seem too brief, superficial, simplistic, on first reading, but it's not. It's about time, space, reality, perception... I wrote my own Kharms pastiche last year. If you want to help celebrate this unjustly neglected writer, please email your Kharms-style tales to: rhysaurus (at) Thanks!

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