Short fiction publisher Empire & Great Jones has grown into a three-tentacled monster with their newest line Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. Zetetic is a word with Greek roots and means really awesome publication . . . er, something. This line of short fiction, like E&GJ’s other lines, is semi-pro ($.02/word, or higher, depending on how their Patreon campaign goes) and is generally open to submissions.
Unlike sister journals Spark and Ember, Zetetic publishes their stories online, where all can bask in their glorious glory! And I’m not just saying that. With stories from Stone Showers, Dino Laserbeam, and Clive Tern, it really is pretty glorious. The fiction is short, the fiction is odd, the fiction is memorable.
Check out their June issue here.
With us today is George Wells, managing editor of Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. He’s here to tell us about the journal, what they look for in submissions, and the best book to hold close as the apocalypse of the written word approaches.
Zetetic’s homepage states that We want to create a space where readers can find unique writing that they can connect to, that will make them say, “This was quite unusual, but I loved it.” Can you offer a specific example of a writer or work (outside Zetetic) that fits the bill? What, to you, is something that is weird and wonderful?
Kurt Vonnegut is an early example. My senior English teacher in high-school had a book rack of stuff that he liked but wasn’t part of the curriculum and we were allowed to borrow those from him. I read Slaughterhouse Five overnight and came back the next day a bit irritated with Mr. Veatch for not including that on the curriculum instead of When the Legends Die, the book we were working through at the time. He listened to my rant, expressed his delight at my appreciation of the book, but informed me that the school board would never let him do that.
Despite the fact that Vonnegut is still such a popular author, there’s something so odd about the way he wrote that I find his popularity a bit surprising—but encouraging.
I also read In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan, and remember being entranced by this world that didn’t make any sense but somehow did.
Life after God by Douglas Coupland is another example. It’s a novel told in short stories and vignettes and accompanied by simple drawings. I’ll admit that I even tried to write in that style, failed miserably, but ended up with something completely different and unusual for me, so maybe I got the headspace right, at least.
And I did enjoy When the Legends Die, too, by the way.