“Thoughts and Prayers”

Out today in The Arcanist: my flash fiction story about the gamification of tragedy, “Thoughts and Prayers”.

I first wrote this in November 2015, after a mass shooting (I think), when I saw the outpouring of “support” on social media — especially from the government, who did absolutely nothing, and continues to do absolutely nothing… except send thoughts and prayers. At this point the phrase has become rote, and while I know there are people out there who are genuine, it’s really more of a “do it on social media so everyone knows how much you ‘care'” thing. I’m a cynic, yes, but there’s a reason for that.

The whole mess has only gotten worse since 2015, as the disasters somehow get worse and the platitudes somehow get emptier. And yet the first dozen publications I submitted this story to passed on it. One said “not speculative enough” (which, okay, the speculative element is slight), another called it “too message-y”, and another said I didn’t push the concept far enough. But I was telling the story the way I wanted to tell it, and The Arcanist was my lucky 13.

Here’s hoping you enjoy the story, and that if it comes true, you find a way not to participate. But if you’re forced to… well… my thoughts and prayers go out to you.

(And yes, I know there was an amazing episode of BoJack Horseman that covered this same topic. I highly recommend it.)

About Josh Roseman

Josh Roseman (not the trombonist; the other one) has been published in -- among others -- Asimov's, Escape Pod, and Evil Girlfriend Media. In 2015, he released his first collection, The Clockwork Russian and Other Stories, and followed it up with 2016's Memories of My Father. When not writing, he mostly complains that he's not writing. Find him online at roseplusman.com, or on Twitter @listener42.
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