Leave a False Name

As mentioned in the guidelines, at least for this first reading period all submissions should be anonymous.  That is, use a different email address, remove any identifying information from the manuscript, send a cover letter if you like but absolutely do not include your publication history, your many, many social media pointers or the secret workshop handshake.  Wear gloves, wipe your fingerprints, and don a putty nose. Whether you’re Neil Gaiman or Neil from the neighborhood, if your mask slips you’re out.   If we buy the story it’s up to you under what name it gets published.


First, it didn’t occur to me until far too late in the process how much Orthogonal was inspired by D.F. Lewis and his publication Nemonymous.  If this project will be anything it’ll be, as Lewis coined it, a megazanthus, a hybrid of anthology and magazine.  If we manage even a fraction of the kind and quality of fiction he published between 2001 and 2010, I’ll consider it a success.

Second, I think we’re all a bit too much in each other’s faces these days.  If I recognize your name and I’m not already a fan of your work, odds are pretty good I know you from social media.  The 24-hour Twitter cycle makes saints or savages of us all; whether I agree with everything you’ve ever written or your insane ranting has made me wish a nest of flaming maggots up your urethra, I’d like to approach whatever you’ve sent fresh, minus the admiration or the imaginary schadenfreude at your burning and itching.

Finally, anonymity has been getting a bad rap recently.  No question, the modern Internet is a full time irritating reminder that some people reveal their worst selves when they feel free from consequences.  However Mardi Gras, Stanley Kubrick bacchanals, and the entire history of the four-color comic book also suggest some interesting things can happen when people put on masks.  Anonymity gives us no shortage of trolls;  let’s see if given the right creative circumstances it might also give us something magnificent.








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