Meanwhile, Elsewhere & Transcendent 2

In 2017 I had two stories published in these two trans SFF anthologies. These were my first experiences outside of self-publishing, having stories published under contract in exchange for a dollar amount.

Topside Press’s anthology got HEAT DEATH OF WESTERN HUMAN ARROGANCE and Lethe Press’s anthology got ABOUT A WOMAN AND A KID. Neither story could see the light of day until they were officially published in their respective anthologies, although if anyone came to a reading of mine during the year they likely saw me perform my tale about Inri and Loma.

GUTS magazine said:

“M Téllez’s “Heat Death of Western [Human] Arrogance” forced me to rethink my relation to individual autonomy. Narrated by Inri, a “third generation Slow Stepper,™” the story makes human-normal seem strange, in a way that allows readers to encounter humanness in a different way.”

Katherine Cross for BITCH magazine said:

M. Téllez’s story “Heat Death of Western Human Arrogance,” about a reptilian alien from Mars and their human girlfriend, is a masterpiece. It’s a challenging parable about how the good intentions of white liberals can dehumanize or even destroy those they seek to ‘save.’ As Inri, the story’s main character says, “there is nothing on Mars that is as aggressive,” as the “good intent” of white liberals.

Since the release of both books, they’ve seen a fair amount of positive press, Lambda nominations, and even a Stonewall book award. I must admit, I knew little firsthand about the machinations of literary prestige before getting myself into things. And while I did figure how to lay out and self-publish METROPOLARITY’s gorgeous Style of Attack Report – and our book was also nominated for a Lambda award lol – it’s just funny to me how underwhelming and vaguely unseemly the whole experience has been.

I’m not sure what I expected and I guess I was trying to see what would happen. Anyone who fucks with me knows I have an open disdain for institutions that rely on the importance of their own legitimacy to gatekeep. After getting waitlisted one year and denied the next from Clarion (SFF writer’s seminar program), after us in METROPOLARITY crew continued to experience so many bizarre instances of ‘our institution is so inspired by yet not willing to invite or pay you’ resistance & non-support to the work we were putting out, after hearing straight from a veteran sci-fi writer’s mouth that his idea of diversity was having white-passing writers from different first world countries and not the marginalized in his own… I was just like, well shit I got these editors directly inquiring for my work – let’s see what this is like.

Again, I’m not sure what I expected. Prestige does not pay the bills. Unless people who can write me checks like that prestige, you know? (And further still, what do I and those I claim to support stand to lose by accepting their money?) For the weeks and months of my time-energy involved with these two short stories, I was shocked to see how little a story paid in comparison to a university speaking gig, and further yet compared to selling my own zines direct to fans. This is the most I think I’ve said ‘publicly’ about ‘getting published’ and out of respect to the people who spent their time-energy supporting me, it’s still very restrained.

Aside from a follow-up reprint of HEAT DEATH in the upcoming Transcendent 3, I am taking a break from working with outside publishers. I’m taking a break from anything that’s not exactly what I want to be putting out.