A Short Story For Saturday

Here are the opening paragraphs of Martin Amis’ 1992 short story, “Career Move“:

When Alistair finished his new screenplay, Offensive from Quasar 13, he submitted it to the LM, and waited. Over the past year, he had had more than a dozen screenplays rejected by the Little Magazine. On the other hand, his most recent submission, a batch of five, had been returned not with the standard rejection slip but with a handwritten note from the screenplay editor, Hugh Sixsmith. The note said:

I was really rather taken with two or three of these, and seriously tempted by Hotwire, which I thought close to being fully achieved. Do please go on sending me your stuff.

Hugh Sixsmith was himself a screenplay writer of considerable, though uncertain, reputation. His note of encouragement was encouraging. It made Alistair brave.

Boldly he prepared Offensive from Quasar 13 for submission. He justified the pages of the typescript with fondly lingering fingertips. Alistair did not address the envelope to the Screenplay Editor. No. He addressed it to Mr. Hugh Sixsmith. Nor, for once, did he enclose his curriculum vitae, which he now contemplated with some discomfort. It told, in a pitiless staccato, of the screenplays he had published in various laptop broadsheets and comically obscure pamphlets; it even told of screenplays published in his university magazine. The truly disgraceful bit came at the end, where it said “Rights Offered: First British Serial only.

Read the rest here. The story also can be found in Amis’ collection, Heavy Water and Other Stories. Previous SSFSs here.