I didn’t write “The Happiest Place On Earth” specifically for Superversive’s Venus Anthology.
I wrote it for a magazine that was having a contest with the theme of “After Humanity”. The idea was to come up with stories that took place on Earth after the human race had become extinct.
The concept intrigued me, and the core of my idea was what would the animatronic figures on Disneyland’s Pirates Of The Caribbean ride do after the tourists stopped drifting by in their little boats and they had all the time in the world to live their little pirate lives drifting on their artificial sea.
It was a poignant, bittersweet idea, and I enjoyed exploring it. I created my characters as free roaming androids, fleshy but not wholly organic. A plague, I decided, had wiped out the human race, but the theme park androids weren’t susceptible to human diseases.
I wrote the story and sent it out and never heard back. I’ve looked since, and I can’t find the website for the magazine that I sent the story out to. I suspect that they went out of business.
It happens. I write stories for a particular collection or publication and the story is either rejected or the publication closes down or the collection is not published. I keep such “orphan stories” in a special file in my computer and when I hear about a new call for submissions I first check my orphan file to see if something I’ve already written but not sold could be suitable.
Submitting “The Happiest Place On Earth” to the Venus Planetary Anthology was a long shot. I felt, at the core, that it was a story about love, in the abstract, and I felt (still do) that it’s a damned good story. But it wasn’t about the romantic, sexual kind of love one usually associates with Venus. After all, you don’t get a “venereal disease” from baking someone cookies.
But I’d already sold “mDNA” to the Mercury Anthology, and I like working with Superversive, so I figured, what the heck. The worst they can say is no.
Nonetheless, the story was accepted. The editors asked for some edits, mostly a way to tie the story more directly to the planet Venus, and I added some new material. I’m happy with how the edits turned out.
I was concerned at first how this story would fit into the rest of the collection, but I’ve read over an early edit of the book as a whole and none of the stories really “fit”. I mean that in a good way–this is one of the more varied collections that I’ve been a part of.
The contributors all took the concept of Venus and ran in their own directions with it, the planet, the goddess, even a small town called “Venus, Texas”. It’s a fun, thought provoking group of stories and I’m proud to be a part of it.
And I’m glad that “The Happiest Place On Earth”, with Mayor Walter Wolf of Storybook Village and Princess Power of Hero City and all the rest of my characters, found a home.
A home on another planet. It happens.