[ Lees dit in het Nederlands ]
The premise of the Machine of Death – as discussed by the dinos in the comic – was as simple as it was inspiring: what if a machine existed that could predict, with infallible accuracy, your future cause of death from a sample of your blood? And even more deviously: what if these cause-of-death predictions were as cryptic as they were accurate? What if old age could mean being murdered by a mob of elderly psychopaths? If natural causes could refer to a koala dropping on your head? The possibilities were endless.
It turned out that more people than the three editors found this idea inspiring. They received an overwhelming number of submissions, painstakingly selected the best, and self-published the anthology in 2010 to widespread acclaim. The book even went on to become the #1 best-seller on Amazon shortly after its publication.
The huge success and lingering inspiration prompted the editors to open submissions for a second anthology, which became This Is How You Die (2013). Again, the writer response was overwhelming.
Which is where Friendly Fire comes in.
After falling in love with the concept, and devouring the first book, I was thrilled to discover that there was an open submissions call for a second installment. I began mulling over a submission, and the plot for Friendly Fire dropped into my head almost fully formed. After a couple of attempts to get the voice right, I landed on Linda’s world-weary, hard-boiled, but desperately hopeful point of view. And after finding the voice, the story more or less wrote itself, instantly becoming one of my favorites, as far as my own stories go.
To my great joy, the editors liked it too. In fact, they loved it. They loved it so much they bought it, even though they’d already overstocked for the second book. They weren’t able to squeeze it in, and This Is How You Die appeared without my contribution. They had bought four years of publication rights, but when that period expired, my contribution had still not been published. So the rights reverted to me, and Friendly Fire became the only story of mine I ever got paid for not getting publishing.
Which is why it is now available as a self-published ebook. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that this story is finally available to readers.
Let me know what you think!