basic | detailed | tips

- BASIC SUBMISSION GUIDELINES -

Anything will do, but if you like more direction, we are happy to look at:

(Above all) things that are funny.

Things with some link (however weak) to science.

Things in English.
Things in other languages that are more or less readable when translated with Google tools.

Things with many words.
Things with few words.
Things with pictures.

Things that are news worthy.
Things that are not terribly so.

Things that educate.
Things that entertain.
Things that both educate and entertain.

Things that are important to ones well being, or perhaps to the global community at large.
Things that (at the end of the day) are really only there for the sake of being there.

Things from famous people who think that this is a pretty neat thing going on here.
Things from infamous people – they’re interesting too.
Things from everyone else.

And things whose copyright ultimately remain with the author, although it would be nice to be acknowledged as being involved in presenting it to others.

Submissions are preferred as attached word documents, or text pasted directly into the body of the email. Please send us your good work to db@mail.ubc.ca

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- DETAILED SUBMISSION GUIDELINES -

What exactly are you looking for?
This site proposes to look for writing that takes a completely free but hopefully literary stab at science humour writing. Perhaps the best way to explain this is to take a look at our current examples, or take note of things that simply wouldn’t work – for instance:

Q: What did the Nuclear Physicist have for lunch?
A: Fission Chips.
(puns can be painful)

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.
(much too cute – we hate cute)

These two positive-strain E-Coli go into a bar. The first one says, “I’m so thirsty I could suck the cytoplasm off a Bacillis Anthrax’ pilli!” and the second one says, “Moooo!!!”
(perhaps a tad too technical – jargon has been known to kill)

How do I go about submitting my own original material for the website?
Please send your piece via email using our very many hints and rules outlined below. If you do not have an email address, may we take this moment to applaud and celebrate you, and also mock and tease you at the same time.

Do I need to query or provide a cover letter?
A query is unneccessary, a cover letter, however, is up to you. We would be especially impressed if your cover uses only the letters A,T,C and G.

Can I send my piece as an attachment?
Only word doc attachments are welcomed. Other types of attachments will be destroyed immediately. We are not fond of viruses, even those of the biological variety. If you want to make us especially happy, we advise you to simply paste your piece directly into the email message. We have data that shows our oxytocin levels spike appropriately when this happens.

How long can my piece be?
Assuming that this question is related to writing and not to naughty thoughts, we, like most scientists, prefer the material to be short and sweet – say less than 1500 words. But in the interest of those who cannot stop typing, let us say that the maximum is 3000 words.

Can I have images?
Preferably not, but we will on rare occasions make exceptions to this rule. For example, lichens are very pretty to look at.

Do you want my author biography?
Yes, please. They are always good for a laugh, or good for making us feel like worthless pitiful losers, whose own meagre accomplishments pale in comparision.

Will you take previously published material?
This depends entirely on where you previously published it. You should check with those at the particular masthead who can answer this better. We prefer not to get in trouble over these types of issues.

If you publish something of mine, will I get paid?
Alas the answer is probably not. There is no fortune to be won here – fame on the other hand could be just around the corner.

What does ‘probably not’ mean exactly?
Regretfully, it means exactly what it means. Perhaps repeating it in broken latin will help, “Vae, hoc solutio est forsitan haud.” We should add that quite often we have a contest of some sort going on – does that count?

What else should I include in the submission?
The usual assortment of information. Meaning your name, the prospective title of the piece, your email address, your thoughts and musings on whether chewbacca and the ewoks are recycled costume fabric…

There is already something that covers a very similar topic to my piece. Can I still submit?
Yes, of course. Admittedly, this will actually give us tingles (of the pleasurable kind). It would suggest that this site might not be doing so badly after all.

How long will it take for me to hear a response?
It is hoped that it will take less than a week, but in truth, there is a certain delicious unpredictable factor to this question. Keep in mind that we are only a few individuals and a very very hardworking Magic 8 Ball.

How do I know if it is an editor or Magic 8 Ball who is interacting with me?
This should be relatively easy. If the responses are say:

- Sorry, your surname has no vowels. We reject your submission.
- Sorry, you are from Canada. You know, I saw a beaver once. We reject your submission.
- I smell something funny. Is that you? Sorry, we think you smell funny. We reject your submission.
- Sorry, you have no talent. Please donate to our cause. We reject your submission.

then it is quite likely that an editor has answered you. If on the other hand you recieve something to the tune of:

- It is certain.
- Reply hazy, try again.
- As I see it, yes.
- Outlook, not so good.
- Don’t count on it.

then, it is most likely Magic 8 Ball.

How can you seriously use a Magic 8 Ball for your decisions? It seems very unscientific.
Please do not mock our magic 8 Ball. It has amassed an uncanny track record, batting close to 750 when confronted with an assortment of questions, ranging from playoff hockey, French Canadian Politics, and Martha Stewart’s career moves. It even predicted the critical demise of the CatWoman movie, but I suppose that is something that was a given anyway.

What if I never hear back from you or Magic 8 Ball?
There are any number of reasons for this mishap. They include in no particular order:

Children are ill
Your message was accidently or perhaps deliberately junked.
A special Director’s Version of the “Bring it On” DVD has just been released.
It is exam time.
We are on holiday.
We are caught in the hysteria of Canadian Idol.
S.A.R.S.

If you have been waiting longer than say 3 weeks, many apologies and do please resubmit. We are not trying to be rude, we are probably just human and have forgotten.

What if a piece that gets accepted gets published somewhere else in the future?
Tis alright with us – especially if the new place has its own link. This is not very fiddly to change. If, however, you want it removed entirely, then this is more fiddly, and it may even make us frown or cry. But, at the end of day, we realize that these are your words, and so we will always try our best to accomodate.

What is the email address that I submit to?
Please send us your material to db@mail.ubc.ca

By the way, did you know your site looks remarkably similar to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency?
Would it help to say that initially this site was blood red in colour. Then was revamped to have hundreds of animated gifs of cute rodents. Nevertheless, it is true that the resemblance is no accident. Call it a ‘clone’ if you’d like. We are very fond of that particular site, especially in the way it can be maintained without formal training in computer science. Formal training is always a scary thing.

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- A FEW TIPS ON WRITING GOOD SCIENCE HUMOUR LITERATURE -

Go out on a limb. Don’t be afraid to use the words, “Uranus”, “friction” and/or “sperm” vicariously.

In your story, it is good to insert either the line “Now, at last, we can save the world!,” or “Dear God. What have I done?” For extra conflict, insert both.

Be aware that the majority of the Elements in the Periodical Table end in “ium.” This makes rhyming really easy.

Sex, drugs, blood and guts – really now, this is just an invitation to write about mate selection, pharmaceuticals, and anatomy.

When in doubt, chemists are the bad guys, physicists are the good guys, and biologists are generally the ones with the best tan lines.

Bacteria make good antagonists. Plus, they are literally everywhere – this only adds to their aura as an awesome force to be reckon with.

If you plan on using the “=” symbol, please be certain that the two sides are indeed equivalent. If they’re not, mathematicians will be irked, which to be honest, means that nothing else will happen.

Try using Boolean logic in your plot lines. Bonus marks if you can also use the word Boolean in your plot line. Extra extra bonus marks if your plot line can be expressed as a y=mx+b equation.

And finally, for the love of all that is good, please no articles on Scientology.

(please submit your efforts to db@mail.ubc.ca)