Feb. 1 to March 15, 2003

1 Art Frank Wu "The Exquisite Corpuscle"

Detail of which will be front cover art. 



March 16 to April 30

2 Story, "A Game of Death" Shockley 



May 1 to June 15

3 Poem "A Better Blood" Tim Pratt  

1 Story - "Crimson Mud, Drying Blood" Jay Lake  

1 Poem "Exquisite"

Christina Sng DONE

June 16 to August 30

4 Art Nigel Sade

2 Art - Aurora Lemieux 


2 Story - "Game of Contact" 7300 words Mike Jasper

Sept. 1 to Oct. 15

5 Play - "Summer Children" Diana Sherman


3 Story "Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky" 4400 words

Ken Brady

C3 Art - Maia Sanders

Oct. 16 to Nov. 30.

6 Story "Start the Clock"

Ben Rosenbaum

4 Poem Maggie Hogarth

"Elemental Combinations"

C4 Poem - Alan DeNiro 

Dec. 1 to Feb. 29

7 Poem M. A. Mohanraj  "Catch Me If You Can"


5 Story Heather Shaw


C5 Story Kristin Livdahl "The Wizard's

Lost Teeth"

to April 15


6 Art - Richard Doyle


C6 Art - Michaela Eaves

to May 31


7 Story Bruce Holland Rogers

C7 Story Greg van Eekhout  

to July 16

Story JAY LAKE   COMPLETES CYCLE with a Story which combines elements from all the stories. 

to Aug. 30

Art MATT TAGGART  : BACK COVER inspired by Jay's Story.  Complete illo to be the last thing in the book, with a close-up of it as the back cover art. 




Publisher: Deb Layne

Editors: Frank Wu and Jay Lake

Publisher: Wheatland Press.




This group project "The Exquisite Corpuscle" is a twist on "The Exquisite Corpse", a game played by the Surrealists.  

Here is a description of the game (stolen from a different website):

Among Surrealist techniques exploiting the mystique of accident was a kind of collective collage of words or images called the cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse). Based on an old parlor game, it was played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.

The technique got its name from results obtained in initial playing, "Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau" (The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine). Other examples are: "The dormitory of friable little girls puts the odious box right," and "The Senegal oyster will eat the tricolor bread." These poetic fragments were felt to reveal what Nicolas Calas characterized as the "unconscious reality in the personality of the group" resulting from a process of what Ernst called "mental contagion."

I had wanted to do something like this for several years, so it's satisfying to see it finally flying.  Being an artist, I do a lot of artwork directly illustrating or inspired by other people's stories.  So I though it'd be cool if someone else wrote something inspired by my artwork, thus continuing the chain.  To this end, I hired poetess Christina Sng to write some wonderful poems inspired by my artwork which was in turn based on other people's stories.  You can see the results here: The Sad Girl and Resurrection Man. Christina also wrote some poems inspired by my portfolio pieces Indifference, and Keep the Universe Beautiful.

We also did something similar for the Lake Wu project.  The 1973 Nebula award for best short story went to a wonderfully horrific confection by James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Sheldon) called "Love Is the Plan  - The Plan is Death."  This story inspired me to do a portfolio piece.  For the Lake Wu project, Jay wrote a story with the poetic title "Who Sing But Do Not Speak", inspired by my art and the original Tiptree story.

For this project, our title "The Exquisite Corpuscle" comes from the initial painting by Frank Wu, which you can see after you've handed in your project for your six-week time slot. 

The rules are pretty easy.

We start with, for example, one person doing a piece of art (me); then the art is handed to someone else, who writes a story inspired by or commenting on the art; the story is then handed to a third person (but not the art), who writes a poem inspired by the story; the poem (but not the art or story) is then given to someone else, who writes a play, etc. In this track, we have a total of seven people (like "The Magnificent Seven" or "Seven Against Thebes") who carry the thread.

And we have a total of three tracks; the first track started Feb. 1; the second track (B) and third (C) will start May 1, and each person has a timeslot of six-weeks to do their thing. Tracks B and C start with a storywriter and a poet, respectively (see chart above).

If you're starting out one of the three tracks, your only guidance is the phrase "Exquisite Corpuscle," which you can use as an inspiration or muse, but you don't necessarily have to work that particular phrase into the story or use it as a title, it's just a starting point.  Otherwise, what you'll get is the thing created by the person ahead of you in line, and you go from there.

As for stylistic things, anything goes, but, because of the nature of the project, I suspect the wackier the better, we want things, wondrous things, loony things, loopy things, things unlike anything you've ever done before, profound things, sad things, happy things, funny things, surprisingly insightful things, inciteful things, sharp things, round things, edgy cute things, deep things, sad and mournful things, beautiful but ugly things, ugly but beautiful things, things half the audience won't get but those that do will love, gentle and humane things, spikey things, sad things with funny endings, funny things with sad endings, things with too many ideas, risky things you couldn't sell elsewhere, you get the picture.  Stretch out your creative wings, take risks! Have fun!

Also, I have been asked about rights.  We are purchasing book rights, but you are free to sell First North American Serial Rights (and other rights), with the proviso that you inform the editor of the magazine (etc.) that you are shopping it to, that the work will be published in The Exquisite Corpuscle project.  Thanks!

All these works will be published together in a book by Wheatland Press.  Because of the long time table involved, the book will probably be published in the fall of 2004 (in time for WorldCon over Labor Day, or World Fantasy Con over Halloween).