This is the second part of our editor spotlight series where I attempt to highlight the contributions of the editors behind the scenes of Sybil’s Garage. Today’s editor is Rajan Khanna. Raj, as we call him, is responsible for introducing me to various excellent species of craft beer and because of that pretty much ruined me for any beer with less than 7% alcohol. Raj is one of those easygoing fellows whom you feel you’ve always known even when you first meet him. Such was his introduction to Altered Fluid, our writers group. Everyone had felt he was already a part of the group before he had joined. Raj is also a talented fantasist, often wowing the group with his stories of faerie noir, gay-themed Sherlock Holmes stories, and assassins who kill with magical playing cards. Rajan has started to sell a lot of stories recently, some to very big markets, and I’m quite sure you’ll be hearing his name spoken a lot in the next few years.
Rajan Khanna’s short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Shimmer, GUD and The Way of the Wizard and has received an Honorable Mention in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. He is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop and a member of the writing group, Altered Fluid. He sometimes narrates for Podcastle and Starship Sofa and writes for Tor.com. His website is www.rajankhanna.com.
“This was my second year helping out with Sybil’s Garage and my respect for the magazine has only grown in that time. I think it was really hammered home recently at Readercon when Matt had an informal reading of stories from attending contributors and I found all of the stories so powerful and I was proud of my humble contributions to the overall finished product.
To be honest, though, my contributions were small and primarily composed of reading slush, and doing some copyediting. As far as the reading slush part goes, it can be trying of course. I think sometimes the hardest to take are the stories that have such promise, but don’t manage to deliver on that. Or those that start out with an interesting premise and then go in the direction of well-worn cliche. Something I definitely appreciate about the slush process for Sybil’s, however, is that Matt encourages all the slush readers to give some story feedback in the rejections that we send out. I can’t say that we’re able to do that in all cases, but it can be incredibly gratifying when you receive an email back from someone saying that they appreciated the comments you gave. A friend and fellow writer of mine who submitted to Sybil’s agreed that it was one of the best rejections he’s ever received.
Then there are the acceptances. It’s also a great feeling to have something land in your queue and to realize that it’s special. That there’s something impressive there. Slush that we like is always passed on to Matt for his final word, but when one is accepted, it’s exciting. In the end we’re just gatekeepers, but to be able to let something brilliant through is what makes the job worthwhile.
I should end by saying that Sybil’s Garage is truly the baby of Matthew Kressel. While we help, Matt does all of the heavy lifting. We mostly just run around trying to move things out of his way to clear his path. His is the final word on the stories, he handles the design of the cover and of the interior art and interstitial pieces. He sets up the printing and shipping, manages subscriptions, handles the bulk of the promotion and manually formats the electronic editions. I think it would be fair to say that each incarnation of Sybil’s chews up a big part of Matt’s life. But his passion for creating it, his vision, is what makes it so excellent and unique in the industry. I could say that I feel the industry is better for it being around, but the truth is that I know it is. That I can help in any small way is my pleasure.”