Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Titles that are anti-appealing

So, I just got a list of books that are on sale, via BookBub, which I suppose happens every day, but I seldom pay that much attention.

Today I happened to have time, so I opened the mailing and glanced over the titles that are being offered for sale today.

This is one of them:

So, if you would like a copy of this collection of all Simak’s short fiction, today you are in luck! It’s 1.99 for the Kindle version on Amazon.

But what I mostly noticed was a visceral reaction to the title “I am Crying All Inside,” which can best be summed up as NO NO NO.

Wow, does that not sound a bit like anything I want to read. Only after that reaction did I realize that this is a collection.

Other stories included here:

— I Had No Head and My Eyes Were Floating Way Up in the Air

— Small Deer

— Gleaners

— Ogre

— Madness from Mars

— Gunsmoke Interlude

— The Call from Beyond

— All the Traps of Earth

Now, given those titles, which would YOU choose as the title for the whole collection? I think it’s a no-brainer. The most interesting title is the first in the list — I mean, your eyes are what? — but that isn’t the one that ought to be the title of the collection.

The one story title that is both evocative and non-horrific is The Call from Beyond. That’s the one I would have used.

Agree? Disagree?

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12 Comments Titles that are anti-appealing

  1. Craig N.

    I note it’s also volume 1 of 12: he wrote a lot of short stories.

    “The Call from Beyond” is even better as the title for an introductory volume than it is for just any collection: it’s soliciting the reader.

  2. Kim Aippersbach

    Yes, “The Call from Beyond” would work, but there is something about the juxtaposition of “Crying All Inside” with the stars/spacesuit image that I find intriguing, and possibly suggests more about what the stories might be like. “The Call from Beyond” would work for almost any kind of sci-fi story, but clearly these are stories more about people’s inner lives and the emotional impact of scientific discovery/exploration. At least, I hope they are, because that sounds like something that would really interest me. (If they’re just all sad or tragic I’m not interested, but the rest of the titles I think promise more than unhappiness.)

  3. Mary Catelli

    If Simak’s stories are like his novels, yes, there is more than unhappiness.

  4. Pete Mack

    With a list of titles like that, “The Call from Beyond” is surely coming from Cthulhu’s dreams.

  5. Elaine T

    I Had No Head.. etc., seems rather long for a title. I rather liked All the Traps of Earth.

    Kim, a lot of Simak’s novels were rather quiet stories about decent people. I liked them a lot. Not depressing, thoughtful. Presumably his shorts are similar.

  6. Evelyn M. Hill

    Sounds very similar to Harlan Ellison’s “I have no mouth and I must scream.”

    Speaking of anti-appealing, I read the first page of a novel and now I’m not sure whether I want to read any more. I go back and forth. It’s definitely an eye-catching first sentence, but it’s also kind of off-putting:

    “Like the Marquis de Sade, Winnie the Pooh, and many others, I had my own secret place to go to.”

    Would /you/ keep reading?

  7. Elaine T

    Evelyn, depending one what made me pick it up in the first place I may skip to a random page in the middle to see what that’s like. Or just put it down, as I said, it depends on why I picked it up to look at. I suspect I would find I don’t trust the author, and not go farther, whichever decision tree I followed, though.

    BTW, the main page of the blog isn’t showing new posts and comments even when I refresh. But I see them in the sidebar if I select one post to read.

  8. Pete Mack

    Evelyn–
    I would definitely keep reading, at least for a while. That is a good hook: funny, but a little unsettling.

  9. Rachel

    Evelyn … hmm. That’s quite a line. I think I’m kind of with you: it’s pretty off-putting. I think I would be impressed by the line, but not go on.

  10. Kristi Thompson

    For some reason I’m compelled to mention here the most anti-appealing SF title I’ve come across: Brian Aldiss’s The Saliva Tree. Though I’m sure there must be worse out there…

  11. Rachel

    Well, Kristi … thank you for sharing? Although I think my life was complete before I heard of that book.

    It must have taken dedicated effort to come up with a title so completely awful. Not sure why an author would want readers to recoil in visceral revulsion from his book, but I guess for some reason that seemed like a good thing to someone.

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