“I’ve always looked to see what the winning word for the national bee was,” says Electric Velocipede editor John Klima, “and when ‘autochthonous’ won a few years ago, I felt like I had to do something. I went and checked on the last ten years’ winning words, and saw a whole list of words that I didn’t know the definition to or how to pronounce.” So he put out a call for submissions on a message board, inviting writers to submit stories based on the winning words, and wound up publishing two of the stories he received in his science fiction magazine. He mentioned the idea again at the 2005 World Fantasy convention and got verbal commitments from even more writers. The following year, an encounter with Bantam Spectra editor Juliet Ulman led to a deal offer.
The resulting anthology, Logorrhea: Good Words Make Good Stories, features 21 stories from many of speculative fiction’s rising stars, including Jeff VanderMeer, Alan De Niro, and our bookblogging pal Matthew Cheney, as well as seasoned pros like Michael Moorcock and Alex Irvine, even the mainstream literary author Michelle Richmond. “I let the authors chose their own words,” Klima says of the setup, and though not everybody named their stories after their words, most did, leading to titles such as “Vivisepulture” and “Appoggiatura.” (Clearly having fun with the concept, Leslie What named her story, based on the word psoriasis, “Tsuris.”) “There are more than 70 winning words at this point, and I knew I would have about 20 contributors,” Klima adds. “With the writers choosing their own words, it let them find something that really spoke to them.” And that still leaves enough for two more sequels!