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michele laframboise

The Taming Of The Slush

by Michèle Laframboise

My latest batch of submissions has fallen under the maws of the shredders.


Eleven thousand short-stories, each carefully crafted with a unique combination of archetypes, plot twists, vivid characters and spunky titles.


Magazines do not simply abhor bad writing. They make it disappear from their slush pile.

Whatever the genre or style or narrative choice or period, slush management algorithms detect, analyze, then shred all offensive submissions.

Most mags don’t bother to send an ERL. At least, an electronic rejection letter lets you know where you stand. Even more, an ERL bearing an editor’s simulated signature can do wonders for your morale, despite the deleted submission.


Slush shredders have gone a long way from those awfully noisy machines slicing wood paper in a publishing company’s back room.

The taming of the slush has evolved into a smooth process that erases your submitted file from the targeted magazine’s queue. Moreover, the algorithm makes sure to annihilates every copy in circulation whose content dwells inside an 80% similitude interval from your rejected sub.

In the whole inhabited Galaxy.

Including the backups stored in your home generator.

The original goal was to prevent any MacArthur (a.k.a. an appalling text) from making the years-consuming rounds of overworked magazine editors. If the horror of simultaneous submissions has vanished, delayed sim subs can clog the queues for years.

Magazine editors on all civilized worlds keep refining their slush pile management. Tiny shredding programs worm their way through every nook and cranny of cyberspace.

My latest batch of submissions has been reduced to a bunch of titles sitting on empty files.

Ah, for the hallowed time of printed support! My memory being what it is, I can only guess at the nature of a submission from its title and word count, somehow preserved. I wonder what Test-Driving my new Carpet (3400 words) or Cherry-picking Data for the Zorgs (15 600 words) were about.

Well, no need to dwell over the past!

Once I finish setting up my updated version of Astounding Stories Generator™, I will release a whopping forty thousand new babies, each spiced up with my own authorial quirks.

Somewhere in this vast, cold galaxy, a lonely cyber-editor is waiting for the perfect match…



Michèle Laframboise feeds coffee grounds to her garden plants, runs long distances and writes full-time in Mississauga, Ontario. Fascinated by nature and sciences, she creates hard and crunchy SF stories, with a bit of humor slipped under the carpet.

Philosophy Note:

Besides the pun inspired by Shakespeare’s play, this story reflects a concern about the growing proliferation of AI-written works (following Moore’s Law about microprocessors doubling their power every two years since 1975) clogging the slush piles. How will future humanity tame those ever-increasing piles? The story reflects that any evolutionary progress brings an equal reaction, hence this odd arms’ race between magazine editors digitally nuking rejected copies of AI-written stories… and the “writer” buying better AI tools to multiply the amount of submissions.