Screw-up places submissions, rejection letters online

Last year Geoff Ryman, Julian Todd and Trent Walters began accepting online submissions for their mundane science fiction issue of Interzone. I wrote a story specifically for the issue titled "Where Away You Fall," which I submitted into their online submission system. The story was a hard science fiction tale of very high altitude ballooning which, according to the editors, didn't fit with their mundane manifesto. Not a problem. Don't be a writer if you can't take rejection. I turned around and submitted the story to Analog, where the story was accepted and published in their just-released December 2008 issue.

So imagine my surprise when someone e-mailed to say they'd found a copy of my story on the internet. At first I thought someone had copied the story from Analog, but when I followed the e-mailed link I saw a Google cache of the submission I'd sent to Ryman et al. For some reason Google was able to access all the submissions for the mundane Interzone issue, along with many of the rejection letters. Among the writers affected by this are myself, Terry Bisson, Carrie Vaughn, James S. Dorr, Jeff Crook, and many more. It appears that these submitted stories and rejection letters are no longer live on the web, but they are still stored in the Google cache (you can view some of them by clicking on the cache function of individual pages found through Google searches such as this one).

Just as writers have a responsibility to not abuse the submission process, editors also have a responsibility to not let those submissions and rejections show up on the web. For the record, Interzone is not responsible for this screw-up because Geoff Ryman, Julian Todd and Trent Walters ran the submission process through their own website. I have no problem with their decision to reject my story. What I have a problem with is letting that submission and rejection letter be placed on the internet for all the world to see.