Alexandra Duncan

Science Fiction. Fantasy. Feminism.

AN ACT OF SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION

Last Saturday night, I stayed home from our weekly roleplaying game because I was getting over the aftereffects of my flu shot and recovering from the Invasion of the In-Laws 2007. As I was lying around watching Flip That House! and relishing the thought of an evening alone, the phone rang. Oh God, more relatives, I thought. But no, it was Rod Clark, the managing editor of Rosebud Magazine, which runs the biennial Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction. I had submitted a story to the contest earlier this year, and was expecting the return of my self-addressed stamped envelope full of rejection and perhaps, at best, a note encouraging me to try again next year. Instead, the editor was calling me on a Saturday night.

"I've got some good news and some bad news," Clark said. "You didn't win the grand prize, but you are one of the runners up for the Mary Shelley Award."

This sounded like all good news to me.

So, in addition to some copies of the April Issue 41, in which my story will be published, and a small monetary prize, I got the best award an aspiring writer could possibly ask for: praise for her work from someone other than her parents. (No offense Dad, but you are biased.) Here, as part of my shameless act of self-promotion, is what horror writer Mort Castle, the judge for this year's contest, had to say about my story:

The "different take on a classic fairy tale or myth" is a frequent exercise in writing classes from grade to grad school, and usually that is just what results: an exercise. In Alexandra Duncan’s very new spin on the very old "Hansel and Gretel," we get a work that stands on its own—stands tall, and commands respect. This story is informed by solid historical-sociological knowledge of Gypsies, witchcraft, and the mores and customs of "Ye Olden Times." By that I mean we are reminded that just surviving day after day was tough work—for woodcutters, their children, and witches alike. It even has its moment of fairy-tale-like "fortuitous circumstance" with a hero on demand—but he’s a hero most original—and most questionable. The ending is as satisfying as any fairy tale’s should be, but far more unsettling and memorable.

You can click here for a full list of the winners and Castle's comments on their works. It sounds like there is a lot of variety in the field. I'm particularly looking forward to reading about zombie Molly Ringwald.

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