Rejection letters, correspondence, and miscellanea from the otherwise empty annals of the Journal of Universal Rejection.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Dear Lecturer M          ,

Thank you for (sort of) submitting your chapter on Aristotle's Rhetoric for inclusion in the Journal of Universal Rejection. 

I assume that when you wrote:
"The reason for writing is to ask whether you would be so kind as to ignore this chapter prior to rejecting it, and perhaps fail to let me know of any notable omissions or errors?"
that this was a Rhetorical question.  Because it is a Rhetorical question, it requires no answer.  That is, the answer is self-evident. 

You suggested that I not read your chapter submission.  However, I have rejected that request.  Also your request that I not tell you of notable errors or omissions is rejected.  Here are several:
  • When you quote Aristotle, you make-out like he spoke the King's English.  I am pretty sure he spoke Welsh or something.
  • When you claim "emotion and reason are fundamentally intertwined and so such dichotomies between head and heart are flawed," I failed to feel that this sentiment came from your heart.  It seemed to be arrived at by a lot of heavy brain-plodding reasoning.  If you really felt that sentiment in your heart, couldn't you just whip it out and say "Bam! It's because I feel that, brother!  Bam!"  Ya feel me?
  • You misspelt police as polis.
  • You failed to discuss other interesting words that start with rh, such as rhizome, rhinoceros, and rhythm.  Not to mention Rhesus monkey.
  • You use a piece of feminine bodywear as a source.
  • Too many sentences started with "So."
So, for these reasons, and none at all, we are rejecting your piece.

Best of luck in your future sir,
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Friday, October 14, 2011

Limericks II

It's limerick time again.   Unfortunately I really have no sense of metrical rhythm, so please suggest improvements in the comments section. 
Reprobatio Certa equates,
To a uniformly negative state,
And since every submission,
Is met by derision,
I await my inevitable fate.

- Neeraj Oak

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Dear Author(s):

The pictures in figures 1A and 1B of your manuscript "Hantaviruses Infects Cells" do not have a dimensional scale. Based on this, the captions of these pictures seem to be misplaced. The captions you have submitted say
 "Figure 1: (A) Infected Cells. (B) More infected Cells."
Obviously, they should have read
"Figure 1: (A) Photoshopped potatoes. (B) More Photoshopped potatoes."

We are delighted to announce that we reject the submitted paper because there seems to be no connection between the claims of the effects of Hantavirus and these pictures of potatoes.

Cesar A. Rodriguez-Rosario
Associate Editor of Journal of Universal Rejection

Post scriptum from the Editor-in-Chief:  Not to be a stickler, but shouldn't it be "Hantaviri Infect Cells" ...? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The ICψ

Dear Readership,

We like to keep you informed of important upcoming conferences and congri (which is the plural of congress, for those not in the know).  In that vein, we are reposting a letter from Dr. Kirby (a possible U.S. goverment operative) after the break regarding a very important upcoming congress, the ICψ.  We were so impressed with his eloquent writing skills that we decided to purloin the phrases 'in the know' and 'in that vein' for use in this introductory paragraph. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Red Dawn

Dear Russian people,

Thank you for submitting the results of your recent експеримент, and congratulations on already listing it on your CVs.  Unfortunately the results were in Russian.  (Why does this keep happening to us?  We're really not prepared to handle all these foreign languages.  Some would say we should tap our editorial board and/or use Google Translate.  And at times we do.  To quote T.S. Eliot: "Almost at times the Fool" and "Do I dare to eat a peach?")

So as to your експеримент.  I did figure out that word.  Because as a mathematician I know epsilon, pi, rho, eta....  But otherwise I couldn't make heads or tails of it.  In fact it frightened me a little.  It is probably only because I grew up during the 80s on a steady diet of hiding under our desks practicing for the event of a nuclear holocaust, watching "Red Dawn," and ingesting other Cold War propaganda.  I don't know why the propaganda here was so effective, but I can't hear Russian in a coffee shop without breaking out in a cold sweat, scoping for the quickest route to the exit, and crossing my fingers that the "Wolverines" show up soon.  Of course as a mathematician, that is also what happens to me any time any one talks to me or makes an abrupt movement in my direction.

Speaking of coffee shops, you did mention in your (thankfully English) cover letter that the results of your paper were regarding "the effects and impacts of dry coffee creamer on the consistency, volume and taste qualities of freshly brewed caffeinated beverages in general and hot coffee in particular."  I guess that is not too scary.  I must have braved-up a lot by marrying an East German  (who has the bad habit of shouting "Halt - Oder ich schieße!" whenever I come into a room...). 

So I will take a deep breath and reject your piece.  The rejection is not due to any flaw in your conclusion (remember, I didn't even read it), but rather is decreed by the most recent round of SALT talks (Strategic Acceptance Limitation Treaty).

Remember, I come in peace.  Please do not hurt me.

Glasnost and perestroika,
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The "Good Catch!" Awards

Note from the Editor-in-Chief: Our dear esteemed editor Sonia Lyris sent me the following epistle to post on the blog:

Dear Dr. Emmons,

Do please let our faithful readers know that we have now awarded our first three "good catch!" awards to those keen and faithful readers who caught our deliberate error in my posted rejection to Mr. T     's story. The erudite John Lee was kind enough to send us a useful link for understanding the origins of the phrase. Correctly used, it should of course be "to pore over", as to "examine closely" not "to pour over" as in to "splash my attention upon, as with a pint of wretchedly cheap beer, a dirty boot, and an ill-considered plan."

Our readers have yet again proved themselves keen, and our editorial staff cannot help but be proud.

For those disappointed not to have gained one of the coveted "Good Catch!" awards, fear not: we will be inserting additional deliberate apparent errors in the future. Stay keen!

Sonia Lyris, Short Fiction Editor

If it were I, I'd've deliberately put an error in there.  Maybe she did.  I'm not the kind of editor that looks for errors.  Congrats to John Lee and the other two unnamed awardees!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Completely Untitled

Dear Mr. T     ,

If only your stated certainty of our affection for your submission could make it so! Alas that our mortal urgings to the universe, gods and various demons do not influence the course of events or indeed our opinion of your submission. Alas.

We have had our editorial team pour over your self-avowed unfinished, unpolished, and indeed (we confirm) unedited work to find some redeeming quality, which we did find in the next-to-last paragraph, which, while failing to cash the barely legible check of the preceding handful of disjointed paragraphs, brought a smile to our faces:

"The easiest way to fail in life is to die too soon. The second easiest way is to die too late."

We'd like to say that the same applies to your story, but there is no story as far as we can tell, so it is difficult to discern if it had died too soon or too late.

Bluntly, Mr. T     , we have strict rules here. We do not publish incomplete manuscripts. Ever. Except when we do, of course. It could happen. In the multiverse, they say, anything is possible.

Except in your case. We must reject your story on the grounds that despite one or two good lines, it does not have a beginning or end (the middle, as always, is arguable). It is, to quote you "neither complete nor titled" and, yes, we can see that you "haven't proofread [it] at all".

We thank you for your submission and hope you will, next time, consider sending us a shopping list.


This Lady of Rejection
Sonia Lyris, Short Fiction Editor

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Schroedinger's Improper Care of Felines

Dear Prof H:

We received submission of one of your cats in an unmarked leaden box to the Journal of Universal Rejection. 

Your inclusion of a radioactive isotope-triggered cat termination device was of questionable moral grounds.  The box was delivered on 25 August, 2011, at which point your cat existed as a dual waveform alive/dead cat for several days.  Sadly we were unable to retrieve the box or read your instructions re: disabling the radioactive isotope-triggered cat termination device until today given a zombie velociraptor-induced backlog on mail service here at the Journal of Universal Rejection.

I have opened the box, and things are not well with your cat.  Although not observed until now, it is quite clear that the cats waveform collapsed awhile ago due, quite probably, not to the decay of radioactive isotope and release of toxic gas, etc., but rather to a lack of appropriate food and water.

Although we do dutifully reject all submissions here, please do not send us any more of your pets. 

Thank you,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Editor's post scriptum:   Thankfully Prof H. really only wrote a pre-submission enquiry.  However as a warning we have decided to reply as if he had really sent his cat.  No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog post.  Let's keep it that way, folks