Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Way back in 2017 (that feels like forever ago, thanks to the pandemic, doesn’t it?), we published Science Fiction for the Throne: One-Sitting Reads. It was (and still is!) an unabashed bathroom reader, containing 40 short stories, mostly reprints, whose lengths made them suitable for when one must sit down for just a few minutes. Then in 2018, we brought out Fantasy for the Throne and in 2021 Horror for the Throne, all from Ian Randall Strock’s Fantastic Books.

One of our contributors, Randee Dawn, has alerted us that someone has thought we had a good idea. HellBound Books published its first Toilet Zone anthology in 2019 and its second (Number Two, of course) in 2020. It is now soliciting submissions for its third (The Toilet Zone: The Royal Flush) for 2022. All three are horror stories only. I’m sure Hellbound thinks it’s improving on our example by asking for original stories, but it only pays $5 a story. It also stole one of the jokes people felt obliged to make about our books–flush fiction. See

It had to happen, right? Fiction for the Throne was a good idea, and of course we were hardly the first to do bathroom readers. The Uncle John readers were infamous, though they did tend to collect a lot of miscellany.

You can’t copyright titles and book concepts, but I TOLD Ian he should have trademarked ours.

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