Rambling On

Anthony R. Cardno's Fiction and Commentary

Archive for the ‘editors’ Category

As promised, today we reveal the front and back covers for The Many Tortures of Anthony Cardno. Bear Weiter (who is also an author in the anthology) donated a load of hours formatting the book, designing the interior (which includes artwork by his lovely wife Marlyse Comte) and creating and tweaking the covers.  I cannot thank him enough for his encouragement and his help over the past two months.

I also have to thank Michelle Moklebust and Lee Bloom for the photography on which the cover and interior illustrations were based. On Easter Saturday, we spent a good four hours and took several hundred photos — close-ups with all kinds of facial expressions, as well as “marionette” style photos for a possible different cover idea — so that I’d have a ton of material for Bear to work with. Michelle (also an author in the anthology) and Lee are to me, and while we worked, my niece Renee, Michelle’s son BJ and her nephew and niece Jake and Amanda laughed at us, offered ideas (especially Jake) and talked Doctor Who and other geeky fun.  Thanks to all of you.

And now, without further ado … the front cover:

 

TMToAC-Front

 

And the back cover:

TMToAC-Back

 

UPDATE:  The book is now available in print form from Amazon. Kindle edition is coming forthwith, and the print version will be available via Barnes & Noble and other outlets soon as well (and non-Kindle ebook format should follow shortly too).

Share

Hello, friends and readers.

You may have noticed things have been a bit quiet here on www.anthonycardno.com for a while now.  I’ve been taking some time away from interviewing and signal-boosting for actors, singers and writers in order to concentrate on my own writing. I’ve been working on some new short stories (and submitting them to markets), I’ve co-written a song (with at least one, and possibly two or three more on the way), I’ve been attending to personal and family life matters, and I’ve of course still be on the road for my day job.

I’ve also been editing the charity anthology I’ve mentioned here before.  The project has finally come together and is in the final stages before release, so it’s time to start making some announcements.

THE MANY TORTURES OF ANTHONY CARDNO is a gathering of 20 short stories and two sets of song lyrics, in which the main character is, well … me. Or some variation of me. The stories range from science fiction to literary and hit pretty much all points in between. In them, I’m an egotistical actor, a beleaguered husband, a scared young boy, an orphan, a randy college student, an alcoholic, a serial killer, a nice guy in the wrong place. In every single story, the authors find a way to tweak one of my real personality or physical traits to give us these alternate …. Multiversal, if you will … versions of me.

This isn’t just a vanity project.  All of the authors donated their words to this project, to help raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, which focuses on providing support to cancer patients and their loved ones. I’m a cancer survivor, as are several of the other authors in the book; most of the rest have first-hand experience with a loved one’s battle with the disease.  And of course, just this past month we lost Jay Lake to colon cancer.

It’s my pleasure today to reveal the complete Table of Contents for the book, which will be available in print and e-formats within the next few weeks. About a week from now, we’ll also have the reveal of the cover, being crafted by the fantastic Bear Weiter.

So, without further ado: The Table of Contents for THE MANY TORTURES OF ANTHONY CARDNO:

Foreword: I’m NOT A Nice Guy! by Anthony R. Cardno
Introduction: Who IS Anthony Cardno? by Brian White
Temperance by Christie Yant
Anthony Takes The Stairs by Eric S. Bauman
The Antics of Anton Ardno (A Todd Gleason Crime Story) by Joseph Pittman
I Have A Question by Neal Bailey
The Bar at The End of the World by Sabrina Vourvoulias
With A Flick of the Wrist by Michelle Moklebust
Scarred by Damien Angelica Walters
The Hand of God (A Davi Rhii story) by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
The Old Suit by Bear Weiter
The Optimist by Kaaron Warren
The Story Teller by Dennis R. Miller
The White Phoenix Feather: a tale of cuisine and ninjas by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Ballad of Anthony Cardno by Barry Mangione and the Musical Geniuses
Why, Anthony, Why by Frank Dixon
When The Waters Recede… by Day Al-Mohamed
The Chase by Jen Ryan
Three on a Match by Steve Berman
Brutal and Simple by Adam P. Knave
The Zombie Shortage by David Lee Summers
With Dust Their Glittering Towers: A Fly-Leaves Story by Christopher Paul Carey
Canopus by Anthony R. Cardno
Cold Statues by Jay Lake

I’m flattered by how many authors were willing to donate their work to help raise money for ACS, and I thank all of them once again. I’m particularly humbled to be presenting what I think is one of the last stories Jay Lake wrote before his untimely passing; he created this story for me in the midst of heavy chemotherapy over a year ago.

Check back next week for the cover reveal, and after that for news of the actual publication date!

Share

I’ve been a fan of publishers J.M. and Randy Lofficier’s writing for decades now, and I was honored in 2013 to become one of the authors published by Black Coat Press, their small press focused on new and reprinted adventures of classic French pulp magazine characters such as Harry Dickson, Judex, Rouletabille, the Black Coats and more.  I conducted this interview with J.M., about Black Coats’ history and mission, months ago and owe him an apology for how long it’s taken to post this.  Read along as we discuss French pulp characters, Philip Jose Farmer’s Wold Newton concept, and the overlap between the two, among other subjects:

 

ANTHONY: How long has Black Coat Press been in existence, and where does the company name come from? What was the company’s first published title?

JM: We started Black Coat Press in the Summer of 2003, just in time to be able to release our first book — Arnould Galopin’s DOCTOR OMEGA — for the San Diego Comicon of that year. The name “Black Coat” was taken from Paul Féval’s ground-breaking criminal saga which we intended to translate and publish at some point. I’m pleased to say that, thanks to Brian Stableford’s industriousness, we were able to release all seven volumes (plus a few related titles). The last one was released in 2011, so it did take about eight years!

 

ANTHONY: Where did you love for the pulps in general, and French pulps in particular, start?

JM: Like most of us, during my childhood and teen years. There is one major difference, however, which is that most English-language “classics” were readily available to me in the same paperback imprints as their French counterparts. For example, the Livre de poche imprint released editions of Holmes and Lupin, Fantomas and the Saint, Poirot and Rouletabille. Marabout published the Black Coats and Rocambole next to the Scarlet Pimpernel, Doc Savage next to Bob Morane. So the “universe” of pulp literature to which I had access was vastly greater than the ones accessible in the US or the UK.

 

ANTHONY: It seems, in the US at least, we’re experiencing a “pulp resurgence,” with publishers like Meteor House, Dynamite, Moonstone and others bringing back every 1880s to 1940s adventure character they can get their hands on. What is the attraction for modern readers to these classic, and sometimes campy, pulp characters?

JM: Some of it is nostalgia, of course. But I think there is a perennial aspect to the best pulps that transcends time and changing fashions. Sherlock Holmes, The Three Musketeers, Tarzan, The Count of Monte-Cristo, The Shadow, Arsene Lupin (to name but a few) have survived the test of time and will likely be remembered forever; their modern-day descendants are to be found on television. The TV series, especially today with its complex plots, character arcs, etc. is the inheritor of Alexandre Dumas and Paul Feval. The same people who rushed to the New York harbor to get their next installment of Monte-Cristo in the French papers (at a time when a lot of educated Americans knew foreign languages) are the same today eagerly waiting for the next episode of LOST or MAD MEN.

 

TotS Vol. 10
includes a story by
your humble interviewer

ANTHONY: The idea of having classic characters meet up is not a new one in world literature, although in the modern day I think Philip Jose Farmer deserves a lot of the credit, through his Wold-Newton Family concept, for making such crossovers more than just fun mash-ups. In your TALES OF THE SHADOWMEN anthologies, you encourage writers to cross the French pulp characters who are your forte with just about everything else in the pop culture canon.  What criteria do you follow for those stories?  Is any “crossover” concept just too out there?

JM: Jess Nevins wrote authoritatively in his intro to Win Eckert’s CROSSOVERS about the history of “crossovers”, going back to Jason and the Argonauts, the Round Table tales, etc. So yes it is hardly a new phenomenon, although I think Maurice Leblanc’s bold initiative of having Lupin cross swords with Holmes deserves a lot of credit. Regarding TALES OF THE SHADOWMEN, my only two criteria are: (1) there has to be a character from French fiction (being Black Coat Press, this comes with the territory) and (2) the story has to be in continuity and respectful of the original materials. No funny ha-ha pastiches, no killing off heroes, no dark reinterpretations. That’s all. Other than that, I welcome any crossover, the more outré, the better. To quote but a few of the more unexpected crossovers, we had stories featuring The Little Prince and Doc Savage, Zorro and Jean Valjean, The Wizard of Oz and Richard Matheson’s Born of Man and Woman, Jerry Cornelius, Pere Ubu and the movie Alphaville… This year, for example, we have a story that conflates Boulgakov’s Master and Margarita, Jean Ray’s Malpertuis and Marie Nizet’s Captain Vampire… As you can see, we roam pretty far and wide.

 

ANTHONY: What’s the weirdest crossover you’ve seen submitted to you, the type of thing that made you think ‘this can’t possibly work’ but then it did?

JM: The ones I mentioned above all fit the bill. I myself wrote the one mixing The Wizard of Oz with Richard Matheson’s horror tale Born of Man and Woman because someone challenged me to do it. I have another one mixing Enid Blyton’s Famous Five with the Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom, but I haven’t written it yet.

 

Harry Dickson:
a new anthology
coming soon!

ANTHONY: I’m sort of excited but disturbed by that concept. Did you intend TotS to be an annual anthology event when you put the first volume out?

JM: Yes, I always did, which is why I put a #1 on the spine of the first book! 🙂 That’s a clue. 🙂 Since then, we’ve also released some character-themed anthologies that include about 50% of already published stories (usually from TALES OF THE SHADOWMEN) and 50% new stories. We’ve had anthos dedicated to Arsene Lupin, Dr. Omega, the Nyctalope and Judex, and I’m preparing one on Harry Dickson.

 

ANTHONY: The 10th volume came out a few months ago. Has your process for choosing stories or putting the book together changed at all?

JM: Not in the least.

 

ANTHONY: Do you have any plans to bring the TotS books out in ebook format in the near future?

JM: Yes, I have been slowly making our catalog available as ebooks, but it is a slow process. I still have the Black Coats series to do and then I’ll tackle the Shadowmen. I’m also working on converting our huge library of comics (in French) for Comixology, and that is a long and time consuming process, and there are only so many hours in the day — and I’m basically the only person doing all this.

 

ANTHONY: I really need to get a tablet I can read comics on. Right now I just have the Nook Simple Touch (I’ve been slow to move to e-readers) and it’s not really good for comics. I want to circle back to the Wold-Newton concept for a moment. Farmer created a pretty distinct family tree and linked them to a particular event, the crash of the meteor at Wold-Newton.  People have referred to Black Coats’ output as “The French Wold-Newton Universe.”  Have you ever posited an event similar to the WN meteor to explain what Farmer would call “a supernova of genetic splendor” in France?

JM: No, not at all. At best, I piggybacked on Farmer’s concept; he already had ancestors of Arsene Lupin and Monsieur Lecoq at Wold Newton, because there were the two French characters he knew best. So I merely suggested a few more, a notion that has since been coopted by a few other authors. I also added some French historical content (as it were) by suggesting that the French characters at Wold Newton had a political agenda, which resulted first in the French Revolution, then, later, the ascent of Napoleon. That notion was first put forward by Alexandre Dumas, so it is not mine, entirely, but it blended rather well with Farmer’s. You can read it in greater detail here:
http://www.coolfrenchcomics.com/wnu7.htm

 

ANTHONY: In addition to “new pulp” books like the TotS series, you also publish a large number of translations of French pulps into English (the Harry Dickson and Madame Atomos books, most notably, but too many others to list here).  How do you decide what to translate and what authors to use to do the translating (when, that is, you don’t do the translating yourself)?

As far as deciding what deserves to be translated (or in some cases retranslated), obviously, I use my own judgment of what is really important. If you were doing it the other way, you would translate Doc Savage, but perhaps not Jim Anthony. So I think characters like Mme Atomos, Lupin, Fantomas, Harry Dickson, Doctor Omega, Sar Dubnotal, Rouletabille, etc. deserve to have at least a reasonable sampling of their adventures made available in English. I’d like to do Jean-Claude Carriere’s six remarkable Frankenstein novels but they’re not in the public domain and the rights aren’t available. Rocambole is something I’d like to do too, but someone else already put out a good series of abridged / condensed versions that pretty much cover it. I rely on Brian Stableford, Michael Shreve and a few more hand-picked folks to help me with the translations. The great majority of the books we publish ARE important; they all contain some ground-breaking idea, some new stylistic inventions… Whether we’re talking vampires or space travel, mystic heroes or cloaked avengers, criminal conspiracies or super-detectives, French popular literature contains a huge number of truly wonderful works which deserved to be made accessible to the English-speaking audience.

 

Doctor Cornelius
available now

ANTHONY: What is upcoming from BCP in the near future?

JM: We tend to plan ahead, so for what’s coming up, you can check this link:
http://www.blackcoatpress.com/catalog.htm#SOON

Pulp-wise, in 2014, we’ll have all 18 MYSTERIOUS DOCTOR CORNELIUS novels released in a big, fat trilogy of books; hopefully the last two never published before in English FANTOMAS novels; the last two DOC ARDAN stories (a French young Doc Savage-type hero), the end of the MADAME ATOMOS saga; a new FU MANCHU novel; a series of books from the early 1900s about DR. CARESCO and PROFESSOR TORNADA, two mad scientists and another early Martian saga.

 

ANTHONY: I think the sound we hear in the background is my bank account collapsing. So let’s go to my usual closing question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who has not read it to convince them that they should?

 
JM: If you’re a pulp mystery fan, the BLACK COATS (INVISIBLE WEAPON would be my recommendation) or JOHN DEVIL by Paul Feval; if you’re more sf-minded, anything by Maurice Renard is really quite good — he wasn’t nicknamed the French HG Wells for nothing.

Share

This has been a long time in coming, this interview with my friend Win Scott Eckert. I’m not sure how long ago I first became familiar with Win’s work, but it’s been several years at the least. He plays in the playground I love, that giant sandbox where everything in popular culture, from gothic heroines to modern masked men, can interact … and he plays in it so well. His recent stories featuring the Green Hornet and The Avenger stand out, and of course he’s learned the art of finding character connections from one of the greatest such sleuths, Philip Jose Farmer, with whom Win co-wrote THE EVIL IN PEMBERLEY HOUSE.  Here’s our long chat, with lots of illustrations:

ANTHONY: Win, thanks for taking the time to be interviewed.

WSE:  Thank you, Anthony.

ANTHONY: You’re most well-known currently as the lead “banner-carrier,” so to speak, of Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Family concept. What was your first exposure to Farmer’s work and how has it influenced your own writing?

WSE:   My mind-blowing introduction to Farmer was his “pseudo-biography” Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, at the tender age of eight. I recently had the pleasure of editing an updated and definitive edition of the book, which is a companion to his Tarzan Alive. Both books follow the Sherlockian tradition, known as “the Game,” of treating their subjects as real people who actually lived (or… still live!). In my new foreword to Doc Savage, I abandon my usual practice of penning forewords and afterwords within the context of the Game (see my pieces in the recent Farmer reissues by Titan Books), and step out from behind the curtain, so to speak. The piece is an unabashed love letter to the book and to Farmer. Which is a roundabout way of answering your question about how it has influenced my own writing. Without Doc Savage, there is no Win Scott Eckert, author–for better or worse.

The definitive, hardcover reissue of Doc Savage is available from Meteor House. It’s a true labor of love, and I hope folks will check it out.

the new, definitive edition of
Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life

the most recent edition of
Tarzan Alive

 

ANTHONY: You had the chance to collaborate with Farmer, completing The Evil in Pemberley House. I know you’ve written in other forums about how that project came to be. I’ve read the book and honestly can’t tell where Farmer ends and you begin, so I’d like to hear a little about the process of completing a novel started by someone else. What challenges did you face and how did you solve them?

WSE:   First of all, thank you for commenting that the transition from Farmer to me was seamless. I take that as the highest possible compliment. I had been reading Farmer all my life, and continue to reread his work, so undoubtedly I absorbed some of his stylistic tendencies through osmosis. That said, I was also conscious of many of Phil’s writing patterns and made sure to incorporate them into the prose when it was natural to do so, as I took over writing where he left off.

The process felt straightforward to me. Immerse myself in the chapters he had written. Study the outline for the remainder of the novel and flesh it out, where necessary. Consult the accompanying notes and follow them as closely as possible. Make judicious changes to bring small details in line with what had been published in his other Wold Newton works, particularly in Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (for the uninitiated, Farmer revealed, in the biography Doc Savage, that the real name of the man upon whom the fictionalized Doc Savage pulp novels was based was Dr. James Clarke Wildman, Jr.; The Evil in Pemberley House introduces us to Doc Wildman’s daughter, Patricia Wildman); in line with this, do not alter Phil’s words, except where absolutely necessary for continuity. This latter point is extremely important to me, and has also guided me when participating in bringing other previously unpublished works by Phil to publication, or when preparing manuscripts for reissue by Titan: do not have the audacity to rewrite Philip José Farmer. He’s a Hugo-award winning author and a science fiction Grand Master!

Once the polished outline was approved by Phil and his wife Bette, I proceeded to write, and sent bundles of chapters to them for their review and comments. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Evil in Pemberley House
is not what you think!

And The Scarlet Jaguar
is not who you think!

The Evil in Pemberley House came out in 2009 and is now out of print although I believe Camelot Books may have a few copies left in stock of both the trade and limited editions. I’m writing a series of follow-up novellas. The first is The Scarlet Jaguarand is “volume II of the memoirs of Pat Wildman,” out now from Meteor House.

 

ANTHONY: Your short stories all feature classic pulp or adventure fiction characters, which means you constantly get to play “what if X met K…” Given free rein, what are your dream match-ups that you haven’t gotten a chance to write yet?

WSE:   I would love to take on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Avengers (Steed and Emma Peel). And of course Farmer’s own pulp hero analogues, Lord Grandrith and Doc Caliban, from his novels A Feast Unknown , Lord of the Trees, and The Mad Goblin. Interestingly, Farmer left a fourth novel featuring Caliban, The Monster on Hold, unfinished.

ANTHONY: And I know I’m not the only one hoping that someone, someday, will finish The Monster On Hold and bring it to print. 😉 You’ve written tales of Zorro, the Green Hornet, Sherlock Holmes, Captain Midnight, and the Avenger for various anthologies, as well as a Honey West / T.H.E. Cat novel (co-written with Matthew Baugh). What’s your writing process like for these stories? I understand it all starts with being invited to participate, but how do you proceed from invite to publication?

WSE:   The “bible” is key. I come into these projects with a high degree of familiarity with the characters, but sometimes the publisher has a particular take to which the writers need to adhere, and that’s outlined in the bible. This is particularly important when there are several versions of a character to be addressed–or ignored, as the case may be. Adherence to canon, and honoring the character, is paramount (of course, even reasonable people can sometimes disagree on the definition of canon), and Moonstone shares these sensibilities, which is why I enjoy working with them so often on their licensed properties. For example, in the thirteenth Avenger pulp novel, Murder on Wheels, Richard Benson loses the ability to mold his face, and his hair reverts from shock-white to black. Moonstone felt that this removed perhaps the primary interesting feature of the character and mandated in the bible that the stories features the white-haired, white skin Benson with the moldable facial features–a decision I heartily endorsed. But this mandate also causes problems for some writers, like me, who also feel that adhering to canon means adhering to a realistic chronology of a character’s adventures. How to tell a story of Benson later in his career and also have him white-haired? I solved the problem in my first Avenger tale with a reference to the recent reappearance of his powers and white skin and hair. A few other writers also wrestled with this and addressed it in a similar way.

 

Two great sleuths
in one fun novella!

Another example is Honey West. The Moonstone version is an amalgamation of the eleven novels and the television series with Anne Francis, which ran for one season. Both have different supporting characters. The Moonstone bible takes the best of both. But I wanted to take it one step further. To guide writing the novella A Girl and Her Cat (co-written with Matthew Baugh), I worked up a Honey West timeline. This is the sort of exercise which helps me get centered for the writing process. Fortunately, the television series (and the Moonstone comic and stories) can be neatly placed in a gap between the ninth novel, Bombshell, which came out in 1964, and the tenth novel, which came out in 1971. Creating a timeline usually reveals gaps which can be filled in. For instance, in 1971’s Honey on Her Tail, it’s revealed that Honey and Lt. Mark Storm have not seen each other in several years. So we wrote their “goodbye” scene into A Girl and Her Cat. In the 1971 book, Honey has given up her private eye practice and is now a secret agent. While we don’t show that career change in A Girl and Her Cat (Moonstone doesn’t care for Honey’s secret agent phase), we do take Honey along the path of that transition.

By the way, Honey West and T.H.E. Cat: A Girl and Her Cat, is due out from Moonstone in January 2014 in a limited edition hardcover. It’s listed for order in the November 2013 Diamond Previews catalogue. The Diamond Item Code is NOV131140. It can also be ordered from Things From Another World at a nice discount!

 

ANTHONY: Well, I pre-ordered mine from Midtown Comics in NYC. And for those interested: apparently the Diamond ordering deadline is December 6th, which is just a few days away as I post this interview. So click those links, especially if you’re a fan of 60s spy/crime/thrillers with strong female leads!

Now, You’ve also annually contributed stories to Black Coat Press’ Tales of the Shadowmen series. Those anthologies are themed rather than focusing on a single character, so how do you choose the lead characters for those stories? How involved in character and plot choice are the publishers?

WSE:   Fortunately, even though each annual book has a theme, the theme is a suggestion rather than a requirement. So, I rarely feel bound by the theme and instead focus on which French characters interest me. The publisher, Jean-Marc Lofficier, is quite ready to suggest French characters, or characters created by French writers, but is equally willing to give the writers latitude, as long as there is some kind of substantial “French connection.” Jean-Marc has plot approval, of course, to ensure that the tale meets quality standards and comports with the generally understood canon of the characters–but again, he also gives the writers a nice amount of leeway.

I’ve had the opportunity to write several stories about Doc Ardan, Madame Atomos, and the Scarlet Pimpernel, among others.

Crossovers, Volume One

ANTHONY: Sadly, you’re not in the current Volume 10: Esprit De Corps … But I am! (Sorry to highjack your spotlight for just a second there, but I couldn’t resist. Moving on…. Your Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World, Volume 1 and Volume 2, is a pretty exhaustive look at the history of literary interconnectedness that Philip José Farmer really popularized. In your researches, what connection between characters did it surprise you to discover? And are you constantly looking for new connections to make? (For instance, I recently read Jess Faraday’s The Affair of the Porcelain Dog, which has a number of Holmes connections including a lead character named Ira Adler, and Lester Heath’s The Case of the Aluminum Crutch, featuring a teenage detective named “Sherlock” Jones. You can imagine the paths my brain traveled in both cases.) And to piggy-back on that question: new crossover stories, including your own, are constantly appearing. How often, if at all, do you plan on updating Crossovers?

WSE:   There are thousands of crossovers noted in the books, and it’s very hard to pick out just a few highlights. Turning the question on its ear, the crossovers that really inspired me, captured my interest, and led me down the OCD path of creating a cohesive Crossover Universe, were those found in the writings of Philip José Farmer (such as the Sherlock Holmes-Lord Greystoke novel The Adventure of the Peerless Peer); the unnamed cameos of Doc Savage and the Amazing Five in Dave’s Stevens’ magnificent The Rocketeer (and The Shadow in the follow-up); Ron Fortier and Jeff Butler’s wonderful four-part comic series Sting of the Green Hornet; Cay Van Ash’s Fu Manchu-Sherlock Holmes novel Ten Years Beyond Baker Street; and David McDaniel’s fantastic Man from U.N.C.L.E. novels, particularly The Dagger Affair and The Rainbow Affair.

I’m sure I’m leaving many on the table, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind.

I’m always keeping an eye out for new crossovers, and taking note of them. That said, it’s a monumental task that tends to displace all other activities, and I’ve put aside the formal documentation of additions to the Crossover Universe for the foreseeable future, in order to focus on writing fiction.

Crossoves, Volume 2

This is a good a place as any to announce that Sean Levin, a fan and expert on both Farmer and crossovers, and a wonderful and talented guy, has taken over formally tracking and documenting crossovers. He’s following my Crossover Universe framework to a “T,” and doing a better job than I could have ever hoped for. So, there will be Crossoversvolumes 3 & 4 in the future, although I don’t have any further details or information to announce right now in that regard. These books are multi-year efforts, so stay tuned!

 

ANTHONY: Of course! You’ve co-edited three volumes of Green Hornet short stories with Joe Gentile (the third volume was also co-edited with Matthew Baugh), both from Moonstone Books. How do you break apart the editing chores?

WSE:   It’s very organic, a lot of back and forth. We had a lot of input into the bible, including settling once and for all on the 1960s television continuity as the setting for our books. On the first book, The Green Hornet Chronicles, Joe solicited writers and I took the first several passes at copyediting. Joe then took final passes; it was his baby, after all. For the second book, The Green Hornet Casefiles, I took the lead on author selection, although of course Joe had a lot of say. On the third book, I just had too much going on and suggested we bring in a trusted third, Matthew Baugh. Again it was organic. Sometimes Matthew took the first pass, and sometimes I did. Joe once more did final passes. I’m very proud of the work we did on those books, both in terms of the quality of writing and the proofing/quality control processes we utilized. In fact, the third book, The Green Hornet: Still at Large, won the 2013 Pulp Ark Award for best anthology.

The most recent
Green Hornet anthology

 

ANTHONY: Congrats on that! Have you edited or co-edited any other anthologies recently? Are you editing or co-editing any other anthologies in the near future?

WSE:   I co-edited, with my good friend Christopher Paul Carey, the recently-released Tales of the Wold Newton Universe, for Titan Books. The book collects, for the first time ever in one volume, SF Grand Master Philip José Farmer‘s Wold Newton short stories, as well as authorized tales by other Farmerian writers.

I should add what a pleasure it was to work with Chris on the book and our introduction, which can be read online at SF Signal; he’s such a talented writer and editor, and I know he’s going places–big places.

I don’t see any editing projects in my future. If another “can’t say no” opportunity like Tales of the Wold Newton Universe comes along, I would have to rethink that answer, but editing anthologies requires a time commitment of Brobdingnagian proportions, and right now I’m focusing on my own writing.

 

Tales of the Wold Newton Universe
available now

ANTHONY: We’ve established how much fun you have working with all these classic characters. Are you working on a novel or series-recurring character of your own creation? (In other words, what does the near future hold for fans of your writing?)

WSE:   Well, I do plan on at least three or four more Pat Wildman novellas. These would bring Pat through the 1970s and into the early 1980s . . . which, not coincidentally, is about when the unfinished Monster on Hold occurs. The Doc Caliban tales take place in a parallel universe to the Doc Wildman / Pat Wildman stories (see my introduction to the Titan Books edition of Lord of the Trees and my chronology in the Titan edition of The Mad Goblin), but nonetheless there is a tight connection between the two universes. The Pat Wildman books, taking place in the Wold Newton Universe, will lead up to the events of The Monster on Hold in the Grandrith/Caliban Universe.

Of course, I should emphasize there are no firm plans–yet–for The Monster on Hold. But I do have a lot mapped out already. So, fingers crossed it will come together. In the meantime, I plan to have fun revealing Pat Wildman’s next adventures, and I have high-level ideas for at least the next two or three.

Matthew Baugh and I are also deep into mapping out a Honey West / T.H.E. Cat follow-up for Moonstone Books. It’s a caper taking place in Europe in the early 1970s and I can tell you it’s going to be quite sexy and fun. I really enjoy the creative jamming back-and-forth Matthew and I have on these books.

I’m writing a Pat Wildman / Kent Lane short story for Meteor House’s The Worlds of Philip Jose Farmer 5. And I’ve been approached for a short story for a licensed character anthology which is going to be super-cool. I can’t discuss that further right now, but I’m really jazzed about it.

I also plan on writing a Sherlock Holmes novella for Meteor House. It flows out of the already-published short story “The Adventure of the Fallen Stone” (Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook) and will be called The Dynamics of a Meteor. The time-frame for this one is 1919, and will take place shortly after Farmer’s authorized Doc Savage novel, Escape from Loki: Doc Savage’s First Adventure.

And . . . I’m tacking my first comic book script, a Honey West tale for Moonstone. This one is going to fill in a pretty important piece of Honey’s history, and will be illustrated by the super-talented Silvestre Szilagyi, who has done some of the other Honey comics.

ANTHONY: Well, this conversation has wandered far and wide, and could keep wandering, so I’ll bring it around to my usual final question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to convince someone who has never read it that they should read it?

WSE:   Which brings us full circle back to the beginning of this interview. My favorite book is Philip José Farmer’s Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. If you love 1930s and ’40s pulp heroes, fictional biographies, and metafictional mashups such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula novels (and by the way, both Alan Moore and Kim Newman acknowledge their debt to Farmer and the Wold Newton mythos), then this book (and the companion biography, Tarzan Alive) will be right up your literary alley.

 ANTHONY: Thanks, Win!

WSE:   Thank you very much, Anthony! This was fun.

 

You can find Win all over the internet: on his own website, on Twitter as @woldnewton, on Facebook, Pinterest, tumblr, Goodreads and Amazon and of course at most of the links embedded in the interview.

Note: If you’re interested in Meteor House, you can find my interview with publisher Mike Croteau HERE. And later this week, I’ll also be posting an interview with Black Coat Press publisher J.M. Lofficier, so be sure to come back for that!

Share

I had a chance to once again chat with Bart Leib, co-publisher at CROSSED GENRES. This time, we talk specifically about how the company’s e-magazine is preparing to move into Year Two with a subscription drive, and we end with a very cool EXCLUSIVE announcement.

Front cover of the new CG collection

ANTHONY: Just about a year ago, you successfully ran a Kickstarter to relaunch CROSSED GENRES magazine. How has the first year gone?

BART: We’ve released the first ten issues so far, and the response has been tremendous. Version 2.0 of the zine has been very like the original run, in that we’ve strived to showcase typically underrepresented groups, and readers have really appreciated it.

And that was made easy because of the very large and diverse pool of submissions we’ve been getting! We’ve been excited every month to see lots of great submissions – I don’t think we’ve gotten through a single month without having to agonize over which stories to accept. And every month the submission pool has had great representation of PoC, women, and QUILTBAG MC’s.

ANTHONY: Every issue of CG features a different theme that plays with what “science fiction” and “fantasy” can encompass. What have been some of your favorite themes from the past year?

BART: We’re especially fond of the themes which are more open to interpretation, because authors know we love it when they push the boundaries of the theme’s definition. “Discovery” (issue 4) was particularly intriguing, as was “She” (issue 6). The upcoming issues, 11 (coming in November) and 12 (December) are the Favors and Young Adult issues respectively, and we’re very pleased with the results of these ones.

ANTHONY: Every issue of CG includes a New Author Spotlight. Why do you feel it’s vital to not just publish new authors but also give the readers an insight into their process and background?

BART: During the magazine’s first three-year run, we attracted a lot of new/undiscovered authors. This was partially because we’ve always been open to stories and topics which many publications shy away from. New authors are often more willing to take chances with their writing. The result is stories which push boundaries and challenge perceptions, which take uncomfortable topics and put them front and center.

When we decided to push for the funds to bring back the magazine paying SFWA-level pro rates, there was some justifiable fear that established authors would push out new authors from CG’s pages. So we established the New Author Spotlight: We guarantee that at least one story per month will be from an author who’s never had a pro-rate sale. We included the author interview so authors would have a chance to showcase why their story, and writing in general, is important to them – and how fiction can catalyze and alter public discourse.

ANTHONY: How do you decide on the theme for each issue, and what themes are you excited for in the near future?

BART: Our process for picking themes is myriad and opaque – even for us!

A few times in the past we sat down and brainstormed a ton of theme ideas. As of now – not counting the themes we used in the zine’s first run or the first year of the new zine – we have enough remaining on the list to cover nearly eight more years of issues. When it comes time to make decisions, we look over the list and pick some themes we think will balance nicely with each other.

We usually post them in 6-month blocks. As of right now, all the themes for 2014 have been posted on the submissions page  so authors can look ahead and think about which themes they want to write for.

We’re really looking forward to reading submissions to the current theme, Unresolved Sexual Tension. 😉 The Food issue (#17, Submissions in January) and the Flash Fiction Free-For-All (#18, submissions in February) will probably be very fun too!

ANTHONY: In order to see a second year of CG, the current subscription drive needs to be successful. What are the various subscription options?

BART: We’re currently offering a one-year (12 issues) subscription. The ebook subscription includes monthly issues, as well as the collected biannual anthologies, which collect 6 issues together and include original cover art.

There’s also a print subscription, which includes everything in the ebook subscription PLUS print copies of two biannual anthologies. (Unfortunately this is only for US residents since shipping outside the US is prohibitively expensive.)

We haven’t offered a lifetime subscription except as Kickstarter rewards, but if people want that they should let us know! 😉

ANTHONY: If people don’t want to subscribe, but would like to help the magazine continue, what can they do?

BART: Buying books is always good! We have two novels, a single-author collection and four anthologies currently available, in addition to the first biannual anthology from the magazine (Find Titles Here).

ANTHONY: And the cover of that first biannual collection graces the very beginning of this interview! How else can they help?

BART: Donations are also welcome, and can be made via the website (a button on the magazine subscription page).

Beyond that – help spread the word about the magazine! We need a lot of subscriptions in order for CG Magazine to become self-sustaining, so the more people who hear about it the better!

ANTHONY: Any other news about Crossed Genres you’d like to share?

BART: We’re very happy to say that our next anthology, after a delay, is finally almost ready! Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way will be released in late October. As a taste of what Oomph will be like, here’s a look at the cover and Table of Contents:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hat Trick” – Beth Cato

“Power Line Dreams” – A.J. Fitzwater

“Exact Change” – Christine Morgan and Lucas Williams

“Short Circuit” – Kirstie Olley

“Random Play All and the League of Awesome” – Shane Halbach

“The Writing is On the Wall” – Brian Milton

“The Breeze” – Mary Alexandra Agner

“Fortissimo Possibile” – Dawn Vogel

“Knuckles” – Ken MacGregor

“A Twist of Fate” – Holly Schofield

“Trailblazer” – Anthony R. Cardno

“Mildly Indestructible” – Jay Wilburn

“Blanket Statement” – Aspen Bassett

“Great White” – Brent Knowles

“Speak Softly” – Day Al-Mohamed

ANTHONY: Oh, hey, I see a familiar name in there! I’m excited for this one. And folks, you’ll be able to order it from CG’s website and it’ll help them keep the magazine running!

 

Share

Steve B. Howell

In June, Hadrosaur Productions published A KEPLER’S DOZEN: Thirteen Stories About Distant Worlds That Really Exist, a science fiction anthology co-edited by Steve B. Howell and David Lee Summers.  In this second of two interviews, I talk to co-editor Steve B. Howell about the anthology and about the actual Kepler Mission.

Dr. Steve B. Howell is currently the project scientist for the NASA Kepler Space telescope. Kepler was launched in 2009 with a goal to discover planets orbiting other stars – exoplanets – using the transit technique. Dr. Howell is a highly distinguished astronomer having worked in the field for over 25 years. He has been a university professor, built instruments for the NASA Space Shuttle, worked as a scientist at the Kitt Peak National Observatory, and now is the science head for NASA’s most scientifically and publicly visible mission, Kepler. He is the author of over 600 scientific publications, numerous popular and technical articles, and has written and edited 8 books on astronomy and astronomical instrumentation. Dr. Howell is highly involved with informal and formal scientific education for kids to adults and as an entertaining speaker, he is often asked to talk as various functions both professionally and publically. He currently lives in Redwood City, CA where he loves to hike, prepare gourmet meals, and play blues music.

ANTHONY: What is your current role with the Kepler mission?

STEVE: I am the Project Scientist for the Kepler mission. As project scientist, it is my job to get the most science out of the Kepler mission. The job is a sort of overseer of the science for the entire mission. The work includes science for both exoplanets and work on stars themselves.

Stellar astrophysics using Kepler data, for example, studies of interacting binary stars, pulsating stars, rotations of stars as measured by watching starspots on their surface, has been very exciting as well. I work at such tasks as getting astronomers around the world involved in using the data we have collected for a variety of science purposes and to make sure we get the funding we need from NASA to accomplish our goals.
ANTHONY: Can you tell us a little about the original intent and time-span of the mission?

STEVE: The mission was designed to determine the frequency of Earth-size planets orbiting stars similar to our sun. The mission life time was originally 3.5 years but was extended to 4 years.

ANTHONY: How does the camera function?

STEVE: The camera is a 16 million pixel large format array of digital detectors. The array is about 16 inches on a side and consists of 42 separate large charge-coupled detectors. These are similar to the cameras in a cell phone only much, much better quality and tremendously larger. Kepler states at one field of view in the sky all the time. The camera has no shutter so reads out the images constantly. At NASA Ames Research Center, where I work, we use sophisticated software and a supercomputer to search all the data to look for small drops in light from any star that might indicate an exoplanet has passed in front of the star (a transit event).

ANTHONY: It seems like there’s the potential for an exorbitant amount of data to be collected. How is that all transferred back to Earth?

STEVE: There is indeed a tremendous amount of data collected and sent back to Earth. Once a month, the spacecraft turns to point an antenna toward the earth and we use about 20-24 hours of time to transfer all the data back to the ground.

ANTHONY: What’s involved in analyzing the data? I guess I’m asking how you know what’s going on in each of the systems you’re investigating.

STEVE: Each star we observe, over 150,000 of them, has its light curve examined in great detail. A light curve is simply a measure of the star brightness over time. We observe each star every 30 minutes and produce a record of that stars brightness every 30 minutes for days to weeks to years. Each measurement is looked at by our software system to see if there is a chance that the star has dimmed just enough and in the correct way to indicate a possible transit by a planet orbiting that star.

ANTHONY: How many exo-planets have been identified since the mission started?

STEVE: Kepler has found over 3500 exoplanet candidates, of which we believe that 90-90% are certainly real exoplanets. They range in size from about that of our moon to larger than Jupiter. Most are small in the 2-5 earth radius size range.

As we examine more of the data, smaller planets, similar to Earth-size, will be discovered and we expect to end up with hundreds of exoplanets near the size of our earth.

ANTHONY: There’s a distinct naming convention for stars and planets identified through the mission, correct?

STEVE: Yes, it is simple. The first planet we found that we could absolutely confirm as a planet we called Kepler 1b. The next was Kepler 2b and so on. The “b” is used to designate that we are talking about the planet in orbit about a star and not the star itself. So far, we are up to naming over 100 confirmed exoplanets.

ANTHONY: One of the things I liked about the format of A Kepler’s Dozen was the introduction to each story, which included hard data on the stars and planets the authors set their stories on or near. How much input did you provide to authors in terms of choosing stars to write about?

STEVE: The book had one firm rule – each story had to be about a real Kepler discovered and confirmed exoplanet. The authors were given the details of the planets they choose to write about and had to stay scientifically true to those data in their story. I believe this is the first such science fiction book that uses real exoplanets.

ANTHONY: I think that’s correct. Was there any thought of including even more planetary or system data with the stories?

STEVE: Each author was free to include whatever data they wished about the planet or planets they chose for their story. Some stories simply name the planet as a destination others use more information to develop the story.

ANTHONY: Tell us a bit about your own story in the collection, “A Mango and Two Peanuts.”

STEVE: Well, that story formed in my head soon after David and I agreed to work on this anthology. Kepler 37 was just discovered and we were really busy working on the science paper to announce it. There was a sort of race as to what would come out first – the science paper or the Anthology? The science paper won by 3 weeks.

The hard part was the ending. If you read the story you may see that a number of possible endings are possible. I think I choose a rather unusual one, certainly one that fits me well. I tried to integrate a number of favorite topics, persons, and other information into the story using them as spring boards toward the story line.

ANTHONY: I identified a bit with several of the characters in the story, the ones who know they are part of something bigger but don’t really understand the science behind the mission. Do you find that’s a normal thing when dealing with missions the size of most NASA projects?

STEVE: Yes, this is a realistic view of some of the players in real missions. The work on a space mission in very complex and involves hundreds of people from engineers to software programmers to astronomers like me. At each stage, each person’s contribution is important and taken together they make it all work. Some folks are more in tune with the science and some are not, but all are crucial parts of the whole. I am blessed to have such a great team working on the Kepler mission

ANTHONY: The mission has faced some challenges with the craft’s reaction wheels. How does this impact the mission going forward?

STEVE: Indeed! In fact, as of May 2013, just about when our book was released, Kepler lost its second of four reaction wheels. The collection of science data may be finished for the exoplanet part of the mission, but we are exploring ways to revive the reaction wheels and to look at what other science mission the telescope might be able to do. This work in on-going and we should know the answers by end of summer.

ANTHONY: What do the reaction wheels do, and what makes them particularly hard to fix?
STEVE: Reaction wheels are used to point the Kepler telescope very precisely. This precise pointing allows us to collect very precise photometry, giving us the ability to detect the small (<1%) drop in light from a star as a planet passes in front during a transit.

ANTHONY: And my usual closing question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?

STEVE: Wow! This is tough. I read a lot and on many different topics. I’ll stick to Sci Fi for this answer. My favorite Scifi Book (so far) is The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (1897) because he used real physics principles and the possibility of what we might be able to do with them to create his “monster”. It was one of my early scifi reads as well and that probably adds to the interest. I think the simplicity of the principle and the human condition story that ensues are good elements to make one think as they read along.

You can learn even more about the Mission at NASA’s Kepler Website. You can order print copies of A KEPLER’S DOZEN directly from Hadrosaur Productions, or find the ebooks on Smashwords.

And you can read my interview with Steve’s co-editor, David Lee Summers, by clicking on the little link at the bottom of this post that takes you to the previous interview.

 

Share

David Lee Summers

In June, Hadrosaur Productions published A KEPLER’S DOZEN: Thirteen Stories About Distant Worlds That Really Exist, a science fiction anthology co-edited by Steve B. Howell and David Lee Summers.  In this first of two interviews, I talk to David Lee Summers about the anthology and a little bit about his other writing.

David Lee Summers is the author of seven novels and over sixty published short stories. His writing spans a wide range of the imaginative from science fiction to fantasy to horror. Novels include a wild west steampunk adventure (OWLDANCE) and VAMPIRES OF THE SCARLET ORDER, in which vampire mercenaries fight evil. David edits the quarterly SF/F magazine TALES OF THE TALISMAN, and has also served as editors for the anthologies SPACE PIRATES and SPACE HORRORS. When not writing, David operates telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

ANTHONY: Let’s talk about A KEPLER’S DOZEN first. What inspired the anthology?

DAVID: Steve Howell and I have been friends since I returned to Kitt Peak National Observatory a little over five years ago.  I was one of the Observing Assistants for the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope and he was the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope scientist.  Over the years, Steve learned about my interest in writing, and even picked up one of the anthologies I was in.  A couple of years ago, Steve left the National Optical Astronomy Observatory to work for NASA as the project scientist for the Kepler Space Mission.  The Kepler space telescope has done a remarkable job finding planets around stars.  Looking at the Kepler web site as I type this, I see over 3000 planet candidates and 136 confirmed planets.  As someone who grew up and went through college and grad school only knowing about the planets in our own solar system, this is absolutely remarkable, but there’s a real danger of all these planets just becoming statistics.  So, Steve’s idea was to assemble an anthology that showcased some of these planets and imagined what it would be like to see these worlds up close.  It becomes a way to visualize the wide variety of planets the Kepler telescope has discovered.

ANTHONY: Was there an open call for submissions or was it invite-only? Might we see “Another Kepler’s Dozen” in the future?

DAVID: A Kepler’s Dozen was invite-only.  We did that because we wanted each story to feature a unique planet and this allowed each author the opportunity to ask questions about the planet they chose.  That said, one of the stories came in during the last reading period for Tales of the Talisman Magazine.  I thought it was a great match for the anthology.  Steve agreed and we invited the author to make a few minor revisions and we included it.  Since we assigned the planets for A Kepler’s Dozen, more exoplanets have been found in the so-called habitable zones of their stars.  This is the area where you might conceivably find life as we know it.  So, yes, we’d like to do a follow-up anthology.  I’d like to make this one at least semi-open.  Perhaps there would be a way to sign up and select from a list of available planets (still over 120 to choose from!).

ANTHONY: How did you split editorial duties with you co-editor, Steve B. Howell?

DAVID: We both read for overall story.  If there was something about the story we didn’t like, we discussed it and came up with a solution to propose to the author.  From there, I read for the more in-depth grammar and spelling issues and he read to make sure the planets were portrayed as accurately as possible given what’s known.  He allowed some leeway on that since, in fact, very little is known about all these worlds.

ANTHONY: Steve is a project scientist for the Kepler mission, correct?  What unique perspective did he bring to the project?

DAVID: That’s right, Steve is Kepler’s project scientist.  Of course he had a good handle on the most up-to-date information available from the Kepler telescope.  Beyond that, he brought a real sense of fun to this project.  It was clear he was delighted about people imagining what these planets might be like.  One thing both science and science fiction share are people asking “what if” questions.  What’s more, scientists thrive on challenges to conventional wisdom.  So, he clearly liked it when authors challenged a picture he might have about the planets.  In fact, in his own contribution to the anthology, Steve suggested that there could be a subtext hidden in the planet data that hasn’t been seen yet.

Front cover of A KEPLER’S DOZEN

ANTHONY: The Kepler mission hit a big snag last month with the failure of a second “reaction wheel” (out of four on the craft), affecting the telescope’s ability to remain focused on fixed points. What effect will project termination (if repairs aren’t possible) have on the search for habitable planets outside of our system? Is a second, improved Kepler mission a possibility?

DAVID: In fact, there was another mission in the works before Kepler’s problems started.  It’s called TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) and it’s tentatively scheduled for launch in 2017.  My understanding is that while Kepler focused on one region of the sky, picked because of a large number of sun-like stars, TESS will focus on nearby stars, so we’ll learn more about stars we might visit in the near future.  Also, I gather there’s a good chance Kepler will continue to operate.  The reaction wheel problem just means that it won’t be very likely to detect Earth-sized planets, but it will continue to collect data and monitor Jupiter-sized planets.

What’s more, there are actually a lot of ground-based exoplanet surveys such as the HAT survey being conducted in Arizona and Hawaii by a group of Hungarian Astronomers.  HAT stands for Hungarian-made Astronomical Telescopes.  There are also ongoing searches at the 1.5-meter telescope at Arizona’s Whipple Observatory and at observatories in South America.  So, despite Kepler’s problems, the hunt for exoplanets is far from over.

ANTHONY: A neat feature of the book is that the introduction to each story includes data collected during the Kepler mission. How much guidance was given to the authors in terms of choosing the stars/planets to be used in their stories?

DAVID: As a starting point, the authors were sent to the Kepler Mission website at http://kepler.nasa.gov and allowed to browse for a planet that captured their imagination.  In some cases, the authors came back and had questions about details of the system for Steve.  In other cases, authors asked about planets that would fit a certain set of criteria they had in mind for a story.  Steve and I worked with them to find planets that would work in their stories.  Sometimes a story idea had to be modified slightly, but with so many planets to choose from, modifications were actually pretty slight.  Of course, Steve read the stories for accuracy and again made some suggestions, but those tended to be slight and only had minor impact on the stories being told.

ANTHONY: Tell us about your own story in the book, “Hot Pursuit.”

DAVID: “Hot Pursuit” tells the story of a band of space pirates who are hired to help transport stolen technology back to Earth.  The technology’s creators kill the agent and want to do the same to the pirates who get away with the stolen goods.  The pirates take refuge near a so-called hot Jupiter called Kepler-17b.  This planet orbits its sun every one and a half days.  Keep in mind that Mercury orbits our sun every 88 days.  What’s more, the star Kepler-17 is an active star, meaning it has flares and starspots.  This is good for the pirates because being near this star and planet makes them undetectable.  The problem is, they can’t stay for long or else they will burn up.

SPACE PIRATES, another Summers-edited anthology

ANTHONY: How does this story tie in with your short stories in the SPACE PIRATES, SPACE HORRORS and SPACE BATTLES anthologies from Flying Pen Press?

DAVID: “Hot Pursuit” features Captain Ellison Firebrandt and the crew of the Legacy, who are also featured in the Full-Throttle Space-Tales anthologies Space Pirates, Space Sirens, Space Tramps, and Space Battles.  Chronologically, this story takes place immediately after the one in Space Sirens.  My story in Space Horrors is, so far, the only one I’ve written for the Full-Throttle Space Tales series that does not feature the crew of the Legacy.  That one is a vampire story set aboard a Bussard Ramjet, an idea that came to me while spending an evening in Robert Bussard’s Santa Fe home.

ANTHONY: What projects are you working on currently?

DAVID: Currently I’m wrapping up work on my second wild west steampunk adventure, Lightning Wolves.  It’s a sequel to my novel Owl Dance.  In the new story, Russians have invaded the Pacific Northwest in 1877 and are advancing into California.  New weapons have proven ineffective or dangerously unstable and the one man who can help has disappeared into Apache Country, hunting ghosts.  A healer and a former sheriff lead a band into the heart of the invasion to determine what makes the Russian forces so unstoppable while a young inventor thinks outside the box to create a new kind of weapon.

ANTHONY: And my usual closing question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?

DAVID: This is a tough question because there are so many books I love!  So, let me narrow it down and pick my favorite anthology.  It’s called A Very Large Array and it’s a collection of stories by New Mexico science fiction and fantasy authors.  It was released in 1987, edited by Melinda M. Snodgrass and contains stories by Roger Zelazny, Jack Williamson, Stephen R. Donaldson and Fred Saberhagen.  This is the anthology that introduced me to Suzy McKee Charnas and George R.R. Martin.  If the names in this anthology haven’t convinced you to read it, then let me just say that what makes it wonderful is that it collects an amazing range of science fiction and fantasy writers from the early greats to contemporary masters.  There’s hard sci fi, horror, and fantasy.  It is one of the most compact windows into the universe of speculative fiction.

You can follow David on Twitter @davidleesummers. His blog is located at davidleesummers.com. You can order print copies of A KEPLER’S DOZEN directly from Hadrosaur Productions, or find the ebooks on Smashwords.  You can also find stories by both David Lee Summers and myself in FULL-THROTTLE SPACE TALES VOLUME 6: SPACE BATTLES.

Come back on Thursday for my interview with David’s co-editor, Steve B. Howell.

Share

Worlds of Philip Jose Farmer, Vol 3

One of my favorite independent publishers is Meteor House, who specialize in works related to the great Philip Jose Farmer. Meteor House is one of the prime motivators (along with Titans Books’ reprint line) behind the resurgence of interest in Farmer’s work in general and in Farmer’s Wold-Newton Family work in particular. I had a chance to sit down with Mike Croteau, the founder of Meteor House, to talk about the imprint, its goals, and of course about Phil Farmer.

Anthony: How long has Meteor House been in existence as a publisher?

MIKE: Meteor House launched in 2010. After publishing the fanzine Farmerphile: The Magazine of  Philip José Farmer from 2005 to 2009, it felt like the right time to take the next step, to start a company and publish some books.

ANTHONY: Where does the company name come from?

MIKE: The “Meteor” in question refers to the Wold Newton Meteorite which crashed in Wold Newton England in 1795. This historical event plays a significant role in many of Philip José Farmer’s works.

ANTHONY: The focus of your efforts is clearly on the great Philip José Farmer. How much of an influence has his work been on you personally?

MIKE: To really get this answer, you need to pick up Titan Books’ brand-new reprint of The Wind Whales of Ishmael. I was honored to be invited to write the foreword to that edition, and in it I take about 1,700 words to answer that question! I will say that between maintaining Farmer’s official website, Facebook page, Meteor House, my book collecting, selling books from his estate for his heirs, rereading his books and still trying to read a lot of the books that influenced him…it’s safe to say that Philip José Farmer is my full-time hobby.

ANTHONY: You started with plans for annual Words of Philip Jose Farmer anthologies. Tell us a bit about the focus of the series and the kinds of writing readers can expect.

MIKE: Each issue of the  fanzine Farmerphile, which I mentioned above, contained never-before-seen material by Farmer himself (stories, articles, speeches, letters, excerpts), all culled from his “Magic Filing Cabinet,” so named because every time it is searched a new discovery is made. Each issue also contained tributes to Farmer and critiques of his work, by his fans and his fellow science fiction writers. Everyone who contributed to Farmerphile really did it for the love of Phil—because the only payment was two contributor copies! The money from sales went to cover printing and postage expenses, while the lion’s share went to Phil himself (thus making it worth his while to let us continually search through his files).

With The Worlds of Philip Jose Farmer anthologies, we shifted gears a bit. Since Phil was no longer with us (he passed away in February 2009) it was no longer about writing tributes to him that he would get to read. While each volume still contains stories, articles, speeches, letters, excerpts, interviews, tributes, critiques, all by or about Farmer, we also obtained permission from his estate to allow writers to create new licensed fiction using his creations. So we are able to publish new stories about some of his most popular characters and worlds, like Greatheart Silver, John Gribardsun, Roger Two Hawks, the World of Tiers, Khokarsa, members of the Wold Newton Family, and many others.

ANTHONY: When will the next Worlds of PJF volume be out, and what authors/focus can we expect?

MIKE: The first three volumes in the series were all released each year at FarmerCon, our annual gathering of Farmer’s fans (now being held in conjunction with PulpFest). This year, however, volume 4 is being delayed because Meteor House is releasing two other books at FarmerCon this summer. The first is a joint venture we’re doing with Altus Press to reprint Farmer’s biography of the Man of Bronze, Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. Altus Press is publishing the ebook and trade paperback edition, while we’re publishing the deluxe hardcover edition, which is full of bonus material.

The second book we’re releasing is the second in our series of original signed limited edition novellas: The Scarlet Jaguar by Win Scott Eckert. Win is one of the foremost experts on Farmer and his Wold Newton Family, as well as the Wold Newton Universe that Win helped expand from Farmer’s original concept. This story is a sequel to the novel The Evil in Pemberley House, which Farmer and Eckert co-wrote and was published in 2009.

So, to finally answer…wait, what was your question? Oh yeah, the next Worlds of PJF book. As soon as we get back from FarmerCon we’ll kick into high gear to get that out well in time for Christmas. The book is actually pretty far along, except there is more material than can be used, so we’re in the process of culling that down. But there is still so much work to do on the other two books we’re bringing out we’re focusing our energies on those first.

Each book in the Worlds of PJF series has a theme. Volume 1 was subtitled “Protean Dimensions” and it focused Farmer’s near utter disregard of literary boundaries. The second volume, “Of Dust and Soul,” looked at Farmer’s interest in the softer sciences like philosophy, psychology, and theology, among other things. The third volume, “Portraits of a Trickster,” focused on the trickster nature of many of Phil’s characters, as well as his own.

I actually don’t want to say too much about the next book yet except to say that it will focus on, of all things, Farmer the science fiction writer. That is, a science fiction writer in the “classic” sense, one who wrote about space exploration, the far future, alien invasions, and the like. But I am excited to announce that it will have a foreword by Robert Silverberg!

Meteor House re-issues a Farmer classic

ANTHONY: I’m a big Silverberg fan, so that’s doubly exciting for me! How has Meteor House grown since you started? And where do you see the company going in the near future?

MIKE: In 2010 we published one book, The Worlds of PJF 1. In 2011, we also published just one book, The Worlds of PJF Volume 2. We started slow as we made the adjustment from fanzines to books, which turned out to be a bigger adjustment than expected.

In 2012 we published two books, The Worlds of PJF Volume 3, and our first signed limited edition novella, Exiles of Kho by Christopher Paul Cary. Chris was the coauthor, with Farmer, of The Song of Kwasin, the third and concluding novel in Farmer’s Khoharsa series (begun in the mid-1970s with Hadon of Ancient Opar and Flight to Opar). Exiles of Kho is an origin story about that world, and it is currently out of print.

So here we are in 2013 and we will be publishing four books. The first, due out in June, is our first non-Farmer title (although he is mentioned in the book), The Abnormalities of Stringent Strange by Rhys Hughes. Rhys is a brilliant writer who is hard to classify, although I guess surrealism is probably the one word that does the best job to describe his works. Stringent Strange starts off as a 1930s-style aviation pulp, then turns into a time-travel science fiction novel, then gets rather surrealistic, and then it gets weird. This book is currently only available as a signed limited edition, and it is nearly sold out.

Then, of course, we have the three books already mentioned. The hardcover edition of Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (full of bonus materials), The Scarlet Jaguar, and The Worlds of PJF 4.

Other than The Worlds of PJF 5, and another signed limited edition novella, or two, we don’t have nearly as much planned for 2014. But I’m fairly sure that will change.

ANTHONY: As a small independent publisher, what challenges do you face in promoting your books, and how are you working to overcome those challenges?

MIKE: Having maintained a website about Farmer since 1996 (and his official site since 2001), there was a built-in audience for the Worlds of PJF series, but not enough of one to sell out an edition of 500 copies. We do a lot of social media, of course. To date we haven’t spent a lot of money on marketing, except for the money we put into hosting FarmerCon at PulpFest. We’re very proud of our books, from the artwork and design, to the contents, to the editing, layout, copyediting, etc. We believe we put out books that are just as good as any publisher of any size, so word of mouth is important to us. It’s a good sign that a small percentage of our customers who only buy one of our books.

Win Eckert carries on Farmer’s legacy

ANTHONY: Why does Farmer’s work still speak so strongly to readers after all these years? What has prompted the resurgence in interest that seems to be occurring?

MIKE: That is hard to answer. The seeming resurgence might just be due to the state of publishing these days. Most of the great authors from the early days of science fiction, even the biggest names, are going out of print to make room on the shelves for all the current writers. I suppose this is natural. So when someone like Titan Books decides to reissue a dozen Farmer titles, it seems like he’s “coming back.” Then again, other than the Riverworld series, Farmer has mostly been published by smaller presses (Subterranean Press, Monkey Brain, Ramble House, Meteor House, Overlook Press, Bison Books, Creation Oneiros, IDW, Baen, etc.) over the last decade or so. So his books are staying in print, but for the most part they are through specialty publishers and you have to buy them online.The Titan reprints I mentioned above are different, since they have major distribution and we haven’t seen anyone print this many Farmer titles since Ace in the 1970s.

As for his resurgence, I think some of it has to do with his fanbase and the big following of his Wold Newton theory. I believe it was the idea of marketing many of Farmer’s books as “Wold Newton Novels” that got Titan Books interested in reprinting Farmer in the first place. And guys like Danny Adams, Win Scott Eckert, and Christopher Paul Carey completing some of Farmer’s unfinished works, and giving readers “new” Farmer, has kept the interest level up.

But to answer your question as to why his works speak so strongly to readers, to me the most remarkable thing about Farmer is that his knowledge was very broad, and in many places very deep. So he put so much into each book. If you ever come across something in one of his books, a random fact about a place he created, like the natives not having any generic words in their language, and you think, “that was a throwaway he probably made up on the spot,” you’re wrong. If he goes into detail about something, he’s done the research. Farmer is one of those writers who, no matter how many times you reread one of his books, you always discover something new.

And he was into so many things which people are still discovering are cool, like pulp heroes, and alternate universe/timelines, writing fiction about real people, or trying to prove someone you thought was fictional was in fact a real living person, and other outside-the-box thinking.

ANTHONY: And my usual closing question: What is your favorite book and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it in order to convince them that they should?

MIKE: Let’s see, you started this interview on a Tuesday, but I started typing this on a Thursday, and now it’s Saturday, so…which answer should I give? I have a hard time picking my favorite Farmer title, or in most cases my favorite from any author. It often depends on the person I’m recommending the book to. But since it’s Saturday, I’ll go with today’s answer: The Maker of Universes. This is the first book in the World of Tiers series and introduces Kickaha (aka Paul Janus Finnegan, note the initials), who although an ancillary character in the first book, by the third book takes over as the focus of the series. If you’re not familiar with Kickaha, think Tarzan, but without the Victorian restraint that Edgar Rice Burroughs gave him. Even if The Maker of Universes isn’t always my favorite book, Kickaha will always be my favorite of Farmer’s characters.

 

You can learn more about Meteor House at their site.

You can still pre-order the re-issue of Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life and the new Pat Wildman novella The Scarlet Jaguar.

Share

William Miekle

William Miekle is a Scottish author who works largely in the horror, dark fantasy and urban fantasy realms. He recently launched an anthology project similar to the one I’ll be putting out later this year, where the profits will go towards cancer research. My own project is a mix of genres and authors, while William’s is straight-up horror with stories provided by some of the biggest names in the business. So I thought now was a good time to chat with an author I seem to share a lot of common interests with.

ANTHONY: The Unspoken is an anthology intended to raise funds for cancer research. How did the project come about?

WILLIAM: Cancer is a monster. I can’t fight it. But as a writer and as an editor there is something I can do. I rallied up some friends, and friends of friends, and asked them for some stories. They responded brilliantly. We’ve put them together in a wee book. And now it’s out there, earning money for cancer charities. I’m very proud of everyone involved.

ANTHONY: What’s your personal connection to cancer?

WILLIAM: My Dad has cancer. More than one kind in fact. He’s fighting hard, but cancer is a devious bugger. It hides, it lurks, and it pounces when you think it’s down and defeated.

It has been a presence in my life for as long as I can remember. I first came across it in the late Sixties. My Gran’s brother came back to town to die with his family. I was fascinated by this man, so thin as to be almost skeletal, wound in clothes that were many sizes too large for his frame, his skin so thin that I could see his blood moving… not pumping, for it had long since stopped moving enough to keep him alive long. He rarely spoke, just sat by the fire as if trying to soak up heat, his eyes frequently wet from tears, not of sadness, but of pain. He lasted for months in that condition until it finally took him and I knew then that cancer was a monster.

Since then it has taken others, both friends and family, a young mother with two pre-teen children, a cousin who was like a big brother to me, and a girl I never got to know for she was taken before her twentieth birthday. Other family members are still fighting. There’s my Dad, who meets it all with a good humour that is humbling, and my godmother who has battled bowel cancer into remission twice.

ANTHONY: Why call the anthology “The Unspoken?”

UNSPOKEN

WILLIAM: There is a taboo in talking about cancer, and death. I remember it well as a child, watching my mum and aunts whisper, taking care that we, the children, were kept distanced from it, kept away from the horror, as if in fear it might somehow be contagious. Couple that with the reticence many people feel when talking about things that affect their bodies and there is definitely a lot left Unspoken.

ANTHONY: What authors are involved in the anthology, and did their personal experiences with cancer influence the stories they chose to tell?

WILLIAM: The lineup is stunning.

Ramsey Campbell – Introduction

Tim Lebbon – Just Breathe

Simon Kurt Unsworth – Photographs of Boden

Steven Savile & Steve Lockley – The Last Gift

John Shirley – Where the Market’s Hottest

Anna Taborska – Underbelly

Stephen James Price – Pages of Promises

Scott Nicholson – Heal Thyself

Stephen Laws – Harbinger

William Meikle – The Unfinished Basement

Nancy Kilpatrick – Alien Love

David Riley – A Girl, a Toad and a Cask

Barbie Wilde – Polyp

Johnny Mains – The Cure

Guy N Smith – The Big One

Pete Crowther – Cankerman

Steve Duffy – X for Henrietta

Gary McMahon – Bitter Soup

Cover art by Simon Marshall Jones

I know from private correspondence that each one has been touched in some way by cancer, whether it be personal, family or friends, but I’ll let their stories speak for them – the rest is a private matter for them to speak about if they wish to.

ANTHONY:  Tell us about your story in the anthology.

WILLIAM: The Unfinished Basement is a cancer metaphor story – there’s several in the collection.

I write about monsters, and have been doing so for a long span of years. Just recently I’ve started thinking more about why and taking a harder look at my motivations. A look back at several recent things I’ve done was revealing. THE INVASION features an alien invasion that comes in the form of an organism from space that eats anything in its path, transforming it into something different and unnatural. My short story THE COLOUR THAT CAME TO CHISWICK features a colour out of space that gets into beer and, when consumed, eats the drinker away from the inside out. THE UNFI|N|ISHED BASEMENT features gross body changes and loss of identity, and even my current work in progress, ostensibly just a little creature feature disaster story, features genetic modification leading to crawling chaos. I may not have been consciously aware of it, but it’s obvious to me now that the Big C has been on my mind.

ANTHONY: You write short stories and novels. Does your writing process change at all from one format to the other?

WILLIAM: To me it’s all just writing. The story itself dictates its own length. The end format is just another method for me to deliver the story. I’ve been published in all lengths, in print, ebook, audio, and on film and I’ve read stories at storytelling evenings in a variety of bars. I’m sure when the time comes for media to get delivered straight into people’s brains that I’ll be ready with something to publish that way too.

ANTHONY: You also are known for writing stories with characters like Doyle’s Professor Challenger and Sherlock Holmes, Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos and Thomas Carnacki. What draws you to these classic (and somewhat public domain) characters over and over again?

WILLIAM: Nowadays there is a plethora of detectives in both book and film who may seem to use the trappings of crime solvers, but get involved in the supernatural. William Hjortsberg’s Falling Angel (the book that led to the movie Angel Heart) is a fine example, an expert blending of gumshoe and deviltry that is one of my favorite books. Likewise, in the movies, we have cops facing a demon in Denzel Washington’s Fallen that plays like a police procedural taken to a very dark place.

My interest goes further back to the “gentleman detective” era where we have seekers of truth in Blackwood’s John Silence, Sherlock Holmes and William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki, and, mixed in with that, a deep love of the American PI books and movies of the ’40s and ’50s.

I’ve written numerous stories set in the late Victorian / Early Edwardian era, for Sherlock Holmes, Carnacki, and Professor Challenger. I was raised on Doyle, Wells and Robert Louis Stevenson and I love that historical period they covered in their work. It’s also the time period I’ve come to prefer for my own writing and I can see me settling in there for a long time to come.

ANTHONY: You also have your own continuing series, like The Midnight Files. Tell us a little bit about them.

WILLIAM: I read widely, both in the crime and horror genres, but my crime fiction in particular keeps returning to older, pulpier, bases.

My series character, Glasgow PI Derek Adams, is a Bogart and Chandler fan, and it is the movies and Americana of the ’40s that I find a lot of my inspiration for him, rather than in the modern procedural.

That, and the old city, are the two main drivers for the Midnight Eye stories.

When I was a lad, back in the early 1960s, we lived in a town 20 miles south of Glasgow, and it was an adventure to the big city when I went with my family on shopping trips. Back then the city was a Victorian giant going slowly to seed.

It is often said that the British Empire was built in Glasgow on the banks of the river Clyde. Back when I was young, the shipyards were still going strong, and the city centre itself still held on to some of its past glories.

It was a warren of tall sandstone buildings and narrow streets, with Edwardian trams still running through them. The big stores still had pneumatic delivery systems for billing, every man wore a hat, collar and tie, and steam trains ran into grand vaulted railway stations filled with smoke.

To a young boy from the sticks it seemed like a grand place. It was only later that I learned about the knife gangs that terrorized the dance halls, and the serial killer, Bible John, who frequented the same dance floors, quoting scripture as he lured teenage girls to a violent end.

Fast forward fifteen years, and I was at University in the city, and getting an education into the real heart of the place. I learned about bars, and religious divides. Glasgow is split along tribal royalties. Back in the Victorian era, shiploads of Irishmen came to Glasgow for work. The protestants went to one side of the city, the catholics to the other. There they set up homes… and football teams.

Now these teams are the biggest sporting giants in Scotland, two behemoths that attract bigots like bees to honey. As a student I soon learned how to avoid giving away my religion in bars, and which ones to stay out of on match days.

Also by the time I was a student, a lot of the tall sandstone buildings had been pulled down to make way for tower blocks. Back then they were the new shiny future, taking the people out of the Victorian ghettos and into the present day.

Fast forward to the present day and there are all new ghettos. The tower blocks are ruled by drug gangs and pimps. Meanwhile there have been many attempts to gentrify the city centre, with designer shops being built in old warehouses, with docklands developments building expensive apartments where sailors used to get services from hard faced girls, and with shiny, trendy bars full of glossy expensively dressed bankers.

And underneath it all, the old Glasgow still lies, slumbering, a dreaming god waiting for the stars to be right again.

Derek Adams, The Midnight Eye, knows the ways of the old city. And, if truth be told, he prefers them to the new.

He’s turned up in three novels so far, THE AMULET, THE SIRENS and THE SKIN GAME, all out now in ebook at all the usual online stores and in shiny new paperback editions from Seven Realms Publishing in 2013.( All three books will also be appearing in Portuguese language editions in 2013/14.) The Amulet is available in audiobook at Audible.com, and there’s also a film company looking for funding to bring him to life, several short stories, and an anthology appearance in the forthcoming CTHULHU 2012 anthology from Mythos Books.

Derek has developed a life of his own, and I’m along for the ride.

ANTHONY: The e-book of The Unspoken has been available for a short while now. What’s the response to the book been like from readers?

WILLIAM: Slower than I hoped actually. Anyone who has read it has been very positive, but sales are sluggish. I’m hoping interviews like this one will help raise the profile.

ANTHONY: When will the print version of the anthology be available?

WILLIAM: It should be along later this year, funds permitting.

ANTHONY: Where does the money raised by the anthology go?

WILLIAM: The money is going to The Beatson Cancer Research Institute, an organization who have done a lot of tireless work in helping sufferers for many years – including my dad.

 

The US Kindle edition is available on Amazon: The Unspoken. And if you’re interested, here’s the link for Amazon UK.

You can learn more about the Beatson Cancer Research Institute by visiting their website.

You can also learn more about William’s writing on his website, and follow him on Twitter.

Share

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Today, I welcome my old friend Bryan Thomas Schmidt back to the site. Every so often, Brian and I like to catch up on his latest editorial and authorial goings-on. He’s recently successfully funded a Kickstarter and has another on-going right now, both for anthologies of science fiction short stories. So, without further ado … my latest chat with BTS:

ANTHONY: Welcome back, Bryan. Good to chat with you again.

BRYAN: Thanks, Anthony. Always good to be here.

ANTHONY: Congrats on finishing Beyond The Sun. That was your first Kickstarter success story and from the Table Of Contents, I think it’s going to be well received. Of course, I admit I’m biased, since I have a story in there, but Robert Silverberg, Nancy Kress, Mike Resnick, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Cat Rambo, Jennifer Brozek, and many more recognizable names are a part of it. I feel lucky to be included.

BRYAN: Me, too. It really came together in an amazing, blessed way, and the stories are far above what I expected. Tons of variety on the theme of colonial science fiction stories, and just top notch writers. I’m grateful.

ANTHONY: Was the success of Beyond The Sun part of the impetus for your present Kickstarter Raygun Chronicles?

BRYAN: In part. Every Day Fiction wanted to work with me. And being a small press, they were throwing around ideas to fund this. They really want to pay writers pro rates, and they also wanted to take it to the next level of writers. Plus, they had some great writers they’ve been working with who deserve a better audience. With my experience and contacts, I was able to recruit some top name talent to the project to appear alongside this developing talent, which will ensure greater interest in the project than we would have had without it.

ANTHONY: For sure, with names like Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Mike Resnick, A.C. Crispin, Allen Steele, Seanan McGuire, Brenda Cooper, Robin Wayne Bailey and Sarah A. Hoyt, who could resist?

BRYAN: I know, they are great choices. That’s three Star Trek writers (Smith, Rusch, Crispin), two Star Wars writers (Crispin, Rusch) and five others with experience and demonstrative skill in space opera. Resnick has the Starship space opera series from PYR, Allen Steele has written several, including Apollo’s Outcast, his latest, a YA in a definite Heinlein vein, and Hoyt’s Darkship novels from Baen. Seanan and I met at a Con last year, and I’ve heard her wax on about her love of Firefly, so that’s what I pitched her. “How’d you like a chance to write a story with the Firefly feel?” She jumped on it. Crispin, Resnick and Cooper actually had trunk stories that were perfect. Everyone was very quick to jump aboard when asked.

ANTHONY: You have reprints as well as new stories, correct?

BRYAN: Yes, we have picked some reprints from a defunct space opera zine called Ray Gun Revival, which EDP funded. There were a lot of old school stories with larger-than-life characters and that older feel, but still contemporary, and a few with diverse takes and I thought they deserved a bigger audience and would make a great remembrance as well for RGR fans, so EDF suggested we combine the two and add some new stories  and Raygun Chronicles was born.

ANTHONY: Tell us about the Kickstarter. How’s it going?

BRYAN: Well, we’re almost half funded with 9 days to go. We launched in January and end March 7th, so we need $500 each day for the next 9 days to fund. If we don’t fund, it doesn’t happen. It’s tough because Kickstarters often start slow and drag until you reach a certain level. Then, if it’s a success, people pile on. Projects which fund 50% tend to be more likely to get 100%, so we’re hoping the next 9 days will be exciting, but it’s hard. No matter how you spread the word, people often think “I’ll do it tomorrow” or it gets buried in posts. With all the people who love pulp fiction out there, I know we have an audience. The challenge is to find it. We had a PR firm signed up before we launched, but right after we launched, they backed out, which was a big blow, because we hadn’t planned a huge PR campaign on our own. They were handling it. With all we have going on, including one of the publisher’s first son being born in the midst of this, we’ve really had to scramble. But it’s paying off. Last week was our best week since the launch. We got $900 in new pledges and had our best day ever with over $500 coming in. So that’s the big hurdle. Now we need some slightly smaller big days to make it happen.

ANTHONY: This is your third anthology project as editor, correct?

BRYAN: Yes, I edited Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales 6 for Flying Pen Press last year, and then Beyond The Sun, but in addition to Raygun Chronicles, I have an anthology of military fantasy, Shattered Shields, I’m coediting for Baen Books with Jennifer Brozek, and a YA reprint anthology I’m packaging as well. I have 9 more ideas in development.

ANTHONY: So you enjoy editing anthologies? Why?

BRYAN: Yeah. Anthologies allow me to create a concept and play with other writers, including my own writing heroes like Rusch, Silverberg and Resnick. I also get to help and encourage writers in developing their stories and pay them decent money to do it. And since I love doing that, it’s become part of how I make my living, and it’s a blessing to do what you love, you know?

ANTHONY: For sure. So tell us a bit about some of the Raygun Chronicles stories.

Bryan: Well, as far as the new stories go, Peter J. Wacks has written us a story called “Space Opera” which has a conductor conducting an orchestra as a historical battle replays. It’s actually quite well executed and unique. Brenda Cooper’s “Holly Defiant” about a writer who discovers a talented singer and fears she’s about to be kidnapped by slavers and sets out to save her, finding surprising connections to her (the writer’s) past. That’s just the new ones I’ve seen. Some will be written once we fund. As far as reprints, both Milo James Foreman and TM Hunter have series about classic-style space opera heroes named Captain Quasar and Aston West, and these tales are full of action, humor and satire and a lot of fun. We also have a bit of all-American fun with humans tracking down a UFO in Lou Antonelli’s “The Silver Dollar Saucer,” A.M. Stickel’s Star Trek inspired “To The Shores of Triple, Lee!”, another of Mike Resnick’s great and funny Catastrophe Baker tales, and a never before released short from AC Crispin which is excerpted but expanded from her fantastic space opera novel Starbridge about three travelers fighting to survive and find oxygen to continue their journey, who discover a new sentient life form.

ANTHONY: Sounds great. How can we help?

BRYAN: Well, for as little as $5, you can get the ebook of the entire anthology when it’s published. For $25 you get both print and ebook. There are hardbacks available for as little as $40 and also t-shirts, exclusive bookmarks, story critiques and more. We tried to offer something for everyone at various income levels. We even have a trip to OryCon for the book launch at the highest level. All you have to do is go to the Kickstarter and select your level to preorder the book, and we’ll do the rest. It’ll be in your hands in November.

 

For those curious about the type of book Bryan puts together, you can find the announcement of the Table of Contents for BEYOND THE SUN at sfsignal.com.  You can also find the TOC for his first anthology, SPACE BATTLES, on sfsignal.com as well. You can follow Bryan on Twitter @BryanThomasS, sign on to his Facebook Author page, and visit his website, where he also posts transcripts of the weekly Science Fiction / Fantasy Writers Chat #sffwrtcht that he hosts on Twitter every Wednesday night at 9pm Eastern.

Share