Dean Wesley Smith Interviewed About Pulphouse Relaunch

By Carl Slaughter: Dean Wesley Smith is back. Well, Dean has always been here, cranking out stories faster than we can read them. But after 20 years, he is bringing back Pulphouse.

CARL SLAUGHTER:  What was the original vision for “Pulphouse“?

DEAN WESLEY SMITH:  Pulphouse started off in 1987 as Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, edited by Kris [Kristine Kathryn Rusch]. We did the full run of twelve issues and then I started Pulphouse: The Fiction Magazine. The vision for both was to publish short stories and fiction that would be high quality, multi-genre, and different. We were often called “A Dangerous Magazine” but in the Fiction Magazine incarnation I went to more twisted and fun.

CS:  How long did it run and what level of readership did it have?

DWS:  It ran for 19 issues plus an issue zero, so twenty total. I think it lasted about four years and got three Hugo nominations along the way. It was always just under the 10,000 circulation number needed to be a full pro magazine in those days by Locus standards.  Pulphouse, the business, ended up doing 287 different titles in nine years of life.

CS:  How did it evolve and what impact did it have?

DWS:  It started as an idea to do a weekly fiction magazine. That quickly in 1992 became clear that wasn’t possible for a ton of reasons. It would be possible now, in this new world, but we are not going there.

It always had schedule problems and for two issues Jonathan Bond, a young turk writer edited it to try to get a younger look on the thing. And Damon Knight was a special guest editor on one issue.

For the next twenty years I had people tell me how much they loved Pulphouse, so I guess it had an impact. I was too close to it so couldn’t judge.

CS:  Why did it shut down?

DWS:  Two major reasons. Money was the first. Pulphouse Publishing Inc. was behind in money right from the start and even though the Fiction Magazine was profitable, it was too hard to keep things going on my own there at the end.

The second reason was that in 1992 I went back to writing full-time and the writing just took more and more of my attention, so we shut down the company in 1996 and paid back all the debts with writing. I went on to write over a hundred novels for traditional publishers before turning completely to indie through WMG Publishing.

One thing we are doing with the new incarnation is that if you had a subscription to Pulphouse: A Fiction Magazine when we shut down all those years ago, just let us know and we will credit you with a subscription to the new magazine.

CS:  Why bring it back after 2 decades?

DWS:  Honestly, because it was fun and it had attitude. And as a co-executive editor on Fiction River, I kept seeing stories I would say, “This would be perfect for Pulphouse.” So now that WMG Publishing is stable and Fiction River has been going now for over five years, we decided to bring Pulphouse back, let me go at it again and have fun with attitude.

Plus with the technology of this new world, it is simple compared to the old technology we were dealing with in 1992.

CS:  What’s the new vision?

DWS:  Fun and top fiction. No reader from story to story will know what will be next.  And I hope a few head-shakers, readers not believing they read that. In Issue Zero we are republishing a Robert T. Jeschonick story about sentient underwear on a quest. Stunning story that was originally in Fiction River. (Issue Zero will be all reprints. We are giving the issue free to everyone who supports Pulphouse on our Kickstarter.)

CS:  What will it contribute to speculative literature that’s not already on the market?

DSW:  I hope it allows readers to find writers they haven’t found yet. Speculative fiction these days has become very, very small and contained and so many top writers and stories are going unnoticed in the indie world by the speculative fiction world. So I hope to introduce some of those writers inside the field.

The magazine will be very focused on helping promote the writers in its pages, including free ads for their books and lots of links as well as features on the website. Extremely author friendly if I buy your story.

CS:  What’s the business model?

DWS:  Four issues a year in electronic and paper edition, with an active web site with fiction on the web site. Over 70,000 words of fiction. No reviews, no real articles. Just a focus on fiction and fun. The magazine is owned by WMG Publishing Inc. and Allyson Longueira is the publisher. Jonathan Frase is the managing editor and website person.

CS:  What’s the editorial strategy?  What genres and subgenres will be included and not included?  What percentage of new versus reprint?  Open submissions? 

DWS:  Every genre and sub genre welcome if it has the “Pulphouse” feel, meaning twisted in one way or another. Or very, very high quality. So totally inclusive of all genres. Over twenty stories every issue. It is going to be great fun.  It will have about one-third brand new fiction, two-thirds reprints. Understand that a lot of the reprints will be from the old magazines since many people weren’t even born when those great stories were published. Also a lot of great stories from authors collections that were only published indie first. That sort of reprint. It will be rare when a reader recognizes a story. Very rare I would bet.

New authors every issue. No open submissions at this point. I am finding more than enough new and experienced authors in the indie world and through other methods. But if we do open, it will be announced on the website. But we want to get this off the ground first.

CS:  What authors can we expect to see?

DWS:  I’ll attach a few of the covers to show you some of the names. But experienced names like Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Mike Resnick, Steve Perry, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Jerry Oltion, and so on, to really wonderful writers like Ray Vukcevich, Robert T. Jeshonick, Annie Reed, and many, many others.

Pixel Scroll 10/1/17 And Lockjaw The Teleporting Bulldog (Played By A Bunch Of Pixels)

(1) STONY END. At Asking the Wrong Questions, Abigail Nussbaum delivers a masterful review of the third novel in the acclaimed trilogy, “The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin”.

It might seem a bit strange to say that The Stone Sky, the concluding volume of the Broken Earth trilogy, had a lot riding on it.  For the past two years, the SF field and its fandom have been falling over themselves to crown this trilogy as not just good, but important.  Both of the previous volumes in the series, The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate, were nominated for the Nebula and the Hugo.  When The Fifth Season won the Hugo in 2016, it made Jemisin the first African-American (and the first American POC) to win the best novel category.  When The Obelisk Gate won the same award earlier this year, it was the first time that consecutive volumes in a series had won the Hugo back-to-back since, I believe, Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead thirty years ago.  That’s probably not considered the best company nowadays, but it speaks to the kind of zeitgeist-capturing work that Jemisin is doing with this series.  In that context, the third volume might almost be looked at as a victory lap, just waiting to be showered with laurels.

To me, however, a great deal depended on the kind of ending Jemisin crafted for her story….

(2) STAN BY ME. This doctor makes house calls? Here in LA in October!

(3) THEY WERE JUST RESTING. Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch have launched a Kickstarter to bring back “Pulphouse Fiction Magazine” after a 21-year hiatus.

Dean returns as editor of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine, bringing back the attitude and editing eye that got Pulphouse three Hugo nominations and thousands of subscribers. Kris will function as executive editor. Allyson Longueira is the publisher, Gwyneth Gibby is the associate publisher, and Josh Frase will be the managing editor and website guru….

Pulphouse Fiction Magazine returns as a quarterly publication, with the first issue coming out in January 2018.

But before January, as was a tradition with Pulphouse Publishing, there will be an Issue Zero. Basically, Issue Zero will be a complete issue of the magazine, but will function as a test run.

Issue Zero will be given to anyone who supports this Kickstarter subscription drive if we make our goal.

They’ve already surpassed their $5,000 goal, with 17 days left to run.

(4) BURNING LOVE. The anonymous Red Panda Fraction calls Dragon Con their home convention, and seeks to justify one of their tactics to level the Dragon Awards playing field in “Why Did We Create a Red Panda Slate? 1st Post from Rad Sonja”.

Now that Dragon Con is over and our schedules have returned to normal, it seems like it’s time to explain why the Red Panda Fraction decided to create a slate for the Dragon Awards this year. It was the most controversial thing we did, and we noted the consternation among blog commenters. We appreciate the criticism that authors may not want to be on any slate because it would make them “political footballs” or put targets on their backs. If we create a recommendation list for the next Dragon Award, we will ask authors if they want to be taken off before sending anything out to the public….

“Rad Sonja” doesn’t really delve into the ethics of slating beyond the poetic “fighting fire with fire”, but instead indulges in lengthy speculation about the networking that led to certain results in the first year of the award.

Moreover, from the beginning, the most active boosters of the award have been Puppies. Among the first places to publish a story about the Dragon Awards (April 8th, 2016) was the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance (CLFA), a closed Facebook group which includes a number of major Puppy organizers. It didn’t take much digging for us to figure out that Dragon Con’s SF=literature track director, Sue Phillips, and long-time SF-lit track volunteer, the Puppy-booster blogger and podcaster, Stephanie Souders, (aka “The Right Geek”, who added Phillips to the FB group in 2014) were also members of the CLFA Facebook group. The CLFA actively promotes the work of their members on their blog. See, for example, this post from this year….

(5) FROM ARES TO ARTEMIS. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination will host “An Evening with Andy Weir” on December 9 at UCSD. Time and ticket information at the link.

 

Join us for the launch of the much-anticipated new novel by Andy Weir, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Martian. Weir will discuss Artemis—a crime caper set on the moon, in a near-future world that Weir builds with his trademark rich, scientifically accurate detail.

Artemis is the first only city on the moon. If you aren’t a tourist or an eccentric billionaire, life in this fledgling new territory is tough. Providence and imperial dreams have been nickel-and-dimed from those who have called the moon their home. That’s why Jazz doesn’t rely on her day-job. She moonlights, instead, as a smuggler, and gets along okay with small-time contraband that is, until the chance to commit the perfect crime presents itself.

Weir will discuss Artemis with Dr. Erik Viirre, Associate Director of the Clarke Center and the Medical and Technical Director of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE.

Book signing to follow. Copies will be available for purchase.

(6) JUST GUYS DOIN’ STUFF. Ashe Armstrong answers the question “What is Orctober?” at Fantasy-Faction.

Orctober seeks, as you may have guessed by now, to celebrate the orc. With the Elder Scrolls and Warcraft blowing up like they have, thanks to World of Warcraft and Skyrim, orcs have started to be viewed differently. While there are still those who love the old vision of them, grimy and lanky and full of malice, many of us are embracing a changing view of them. Orcs can be just as varied as the other races. They’re no longer an Evil Race of Evil, or at least not just that. It even happened with the Forgotten Realms books, with Drizzt and the orc, Obould Many-Arrows. In Warcraft, you had Thrall and Durotan. The Elder Scrolls had Gortwog go-Nagorm, who sought to reclaim the lands of Orsinium and help his people find respect.

(7) IN LIVING 3-D. This is great! Walk through the Center for Bradbury Studies using My Matterport.

In the spring of 2007, IUPUI’s School of Liberal Arts created the nation’s first center for the study of Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

(8) PERSONAL FANDOM STORIES WANTED. Joe Praska at The Continuing Voyage is looking for autobiographical contributions to their series “My Fandom. My Story.”

My Fandom. My Story. is a series on The Continuing Voyage that aims to share the stories of individuals; their fandoms, passions, identity, struggles and successes.  Maybe you have a passion for a certain science fiction franchise that’s helped shape your ideals as an adult, maybe your knitting hobby led you to find a sense of community, maybe your love for a specific book helps you feel a deeper connection to your family or your culture, or maybe your interest in science has shaped your career.  Whatever it is, we’d like to hear your story.

My Fandom. My Story hopes to bring to light personal stories that explore countless themes that may arise such as community, family, creativity, art, inspiration, identity, mindfulness, politics, social justice, and culture while of course exploring the fandoms and passions of the individuals writing.

(9) TRIVIAL TRIVIA

In the original and best The Wolf Man, Larry Talbot had been away 18 years working on Mt. Wilson Observatory in California.

(10) TRIVIALEST TRIVIA

Silent film actor Gibson Gowland appears in The Wolf Man as a villager present at the death of Larry Talbot. He also had been present during the Phantom’s death scene in the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera (1925), becoming the only actor to appear in death scenes performed by both Lon Chaney and Lon Chaney Jr.

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • October 1, 1957 The Brain From Planet Arous premiered on this day.
  • October 1, 1992 — The Cartoon Network started.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL

  • Born October 1, 1935 — Julie Andrews (whose best-known genre work is Mary Poppins.)

(13) COMPELLING SF. Publisher Joe Stech has released the 9th issue of Compelling Science Fiction. You can buy the issue from the Kindle store, or download the issue from Patreon in DRM-free mobi and epub format if you’re a subscriber. They also welcome readers to their new Facebook page — facebook.com/CompellingSF

(14) CHEERING FOR CHAOS. Camestros Felapton, in “Separatism, Spain, Catalonia, Russia, the Alt-Right & Chaos-Fascism”, tries to fathom the motives behind the latest political posturing.

I don’t know what Putin’s perspective is on Catalonia but I can guess by looking at more accessible proxy mouthpieces. Our least favourite science fiction publisher, Vox Day, is very much against the Spanish government’s actions and supportive of the Catalonian government. Likewise Julian Assange. The Alt-Right, in general, are treating events in Catalonia and the Spanish government’s heavy hand suppression of the voting as vague proof of something – it isn’t clear what they think it proves but their choosing of sides is clear: Madrid bad, Barcelona good. For once they aren’t on the side of militarised police beating the crap out of ordinary people. Why not? After all, in many ways, the current Spanish government is also nationalist and its application of force to quash dissent would, under other circumstances be cheered by the Alt-Right as strong government protecting national identity.

The answer is that there is always at least 50-50 chance which side of a cross-nationalist conflict they will pick but they will tend to pick the side that creates the biggest headache for trans-national cooperation. Putin wants Western Europe divided, both as payback and strategically and the alt-right follows suit. Everybody loses except chaos-fascism.

(15) BLATANT LIVING. Ethan Mills of Examined Worlds is ready to lament “The Death of Subtlety?” (if the answer turns out to be yes.)

The problem with our civilization is the death of subtlety.  Or – scratch that.  One of many problems with a lot of the culture of the United States in 2017 is that there is less subtlety than there maybe should be.

I continue to have – albeit with somewhat diminished enthusiasm as of late – hope that subtle questioning is on the whole a better method than bludgeoning people with the truth….

(16) IN ITS DNA. The Hugo Award Book Club argues that science fiction is, in some ways, a “more political form of literature” than other genres: “The Political Power Of Science Fiction”.

…You cannot write about imaginary futures and different worlds without showing how their societies are different than our own; how they are better and how they are worse. In this sense, as others have observed, science fiction is a medium of utopias and dystopias. And the determination of what makes a society dystopic or utopic is inherently about political values.

If you believe that all humans are really created equal, your utopia likely won’t include a caste system. If you believe that humans have a right to privacy, a government surveillance state will be depicted as a dystopia. If you believe that the world needs racial purity and genetically superior heroes to save us from corruption, you might write a fantasy about a man of high Númenórean blood who is destined to reclaim the Throne of Gondor.

These are all political beliefs.

Practical politics is about changing the world. Science fiction is about exploring worlds that have been changed. The two are intertwined.

This is what the Futurians and their critics at the first Worldcon all understood: By imagining utopias and dystopias, science fiction helps create blueprints that guide us towards, or away from, potential futures….

(17) TV TRIBUTE. Inverse has been eavesdropping: “Elon Musk Named ‘Moon Base Alpha’ After Grooviest Sci-Fi Show Ever”.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced Friday that his space exploration plans now include not just Mars but also the moon. Speaking at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, Musk revealed the company’s planned next-generation rocket will make it possible to build a moon base — and the name he picked is just his latest homage to beloved science fiction, in this case, the British cult classic Space: 1999….

Musk’s proposed name for the base is Moon Base Alpha, which is a reference to the 1970s British cult classic Space: 1999.

(18) THIS JOB IS NOT THAT #@%! EASY. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination shares episode 10 of its podcast Into the Imagination, “Pictures, Pastries, and the Matter of the Universe”.

Physics is cool–and sometimes very hard to understand. …We talk to Duncan Haldane, winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize, about quantum topology and why the Nobel committee brought a bagel, a pretzel, and a bun to the award ceremony to explain his ideas. And with the inimitable Sir Roger Penrose, we explore the visual imagination as it relates to science, the work of artist M.C. Escher, and what it has to do with Penrose’s cosmological theory of the universe.

(19) ESKRIDGE PREMIERE. On October 5, the film OtherLife, written by Clarion Workshop alum Kelley Eskridge, gets its North American premiere at the San Diego Film Festival. In the film, OtherLife is a new drug that creates virtual reality directly in the user’s mind–a technology with miraculous potential applications but also applied to dangerous uses, like imprisoning criminals in virtual cells.

Click this link for time and ticket information.

(20) YOU AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A SOUND DOG. Warts and all, “The Voyager Golden Record Finally Finds An Earthly Audience” – from NPR.

Pescovitz approached his former graduate school professor — none other than Ferris, the Golden Record’s original producer — about the project, and Ferris gave his blessing, with one important caveat.

“You can’t release a record without remastering it,” says Ferris. “And you can’t remaster without locating the master.”

That turned out to be a taller order than expected. The original records were mastered in a CBS studio, which was later acquired by Sony — and the master tapes had descended into Sony’s vaults.

Pescovitz enlisted the company’s help in searching for the master tapes; in the meantime, he and Daly got to work acquiring the rights for the music and photographs that comprised the original. They also reached out to surviving musicians whose work had been featured on the record to update incomplete track information.

Finally, Pescovitz and Daly got word that one of Sony’s archivists had found the master tapes.

Pescovitz remembers the moment he, Daly and Ferris traveled to Sony’s Battery Studios in New York City to hear the tapes for the first time.

“They hit play, and the sounds of the Solomon Islands pan pipes and Bach and Chuck Berry and the blues washed over us,” Pescovitz says. “It was a very moving and sublime experience.”

(21) RED NOSES, GREEN LIGHT. Was this campaign meant to coincide with the clown consciousness-raising of Stephen King’s It? Or is it too funny for that to matter? From Adweek — “Audi Sends in the Clowns for This Madcap Ad About How to Avoid Them on the Road”.

A lot of car advertising treats the obstacles that drivers face on the road as literally faceless threats—an avalanche of rocks tumbling across a mountainside road, or a piece of cargo falling blamelessly off a pickup truck in the city.

But let’s face it. The real problem on the roads is the other drivers. Or, if you like, the clowns who share the streets with us…

As simple as it is, the concept also lends itself to brilliant visuals, as the Audi drivers have to deal with all sorts of clowns driving all sorts of clown cars (and buses). It’s all set to a whispering version of Sondheim’s “Send In the Clowns” by Faultline and Lisa Hannigan.

 

[Thanks to JJ, Joe Stech, Chip Hitchcock, Camestros Felapton,  Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jamoche.]

Pixel Scroll 3/6/17 Holy Pixels, Scrollman!

(1) FAME AND FORTUNE. Mark Lawrence, who contends there is a close correlation between the number of Goodreads reviews a book has and sales, has created a series of graphs that illustrate the number of GR reviews received by various segments of top-selling fantasy books.

The level to which A Game of Thrones outsells the rest of the field is quite staggering, particularly when the publication date means this difference will *increase* significantly when converting figures to a sales estimate.

But when we widen the field of that fantasy lens still further to include urban fantasy, paranormal romance fantasy, YA fantasy, literary fantasy and fantasy written for children… even the mighty GRRM is dwarfed.

(2) BAD NEIGHBORS. In The Australian, James Bradley reviews Stephen Baxter’s Massacre of Mankind, where H.G. Wells’s Martians come again.

As before, the attack begins in England. This time the Martians arrive in greater numbers, establishing a beachhead and overwhelming Britain’s armed forces. But this is only the first phase. With England secured, a second wave arrives, attacking cities around the world with ruthless and terrifying efficiency.

At his best Baxter produces big-picture Clarkean science fiction of a very high order. And while he could never be accused of being a high stylist, novels such as his Xeelee sequence or his recent Flood/Ark and Proxima/Ultima duologies are exhilaratingly accomplished exercises in hard science fiction. The Massacre of Mankind is a more intimate creation, and perhaps because of that takes obvious pleasure not just in pastiching Wells’s style, but the science and technology of the original novel’s setting.

Baxter has huge fun imagining a solar system informed by the theories of the “discoverer” of the Martian canals, Percival Lowell, and others about planetary evolution.

The narrative structure of the original, in particular the extended prelude to the actual attack, lends it a gorgeous elegiac power. While the decision to reproduce that here makes The Massacre of Mankind overlong, the intertextuality is frequently surprisingly entertaining. This is most evident in flourishes such as the complaints of several characters about the inaccuracy of Walter’s original account (and the almost-cameos by the “man of the future”, Wells himself), but it has its serious side as well.

(3) REBOOT. Dean Wesley Smith says Pulphouse Fiction Magazine is coming back.

As you can see from the pictures, we are doing an Issue Zero again this time that will be limited and part of a Kickstarter later in the summer. First issue comes out in January 2018 and the magazine will be quarterly, with about 70,000 words of short fiction every issue. It will be the size and shape of Smith’s Monthly.

I will be mixing some of the stories from the old Pulphouse days along with brand new fiction. I figured most of those older stories have long been forgotten and they need a new life. For each story we will push the author information and be clear to the reader if the story is new or if a reprint, where the story was originally published.

The magazine will have an attitude, as did the first run. No genre limitations, but high quality writing and strangeness.

(3) THE BOOK IS CLOSED. I reported yesterday that three actors are leading the wagering as favorites to become the next Doctor Who. Now Den of Geek says one has become such a popular choice that one UK bookmaker has stopped taking bets on him.

Peter Capaldi is leaving Doctor Who at the end of the year, and incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall is the man tasked with finding his replacement in the TARDIS.

As ever, it’s tough to put much stock in what bookies say on the matter. But, nonetheless, the latest story to emerge from Ladbrokes is an interesting one: they’ve stopped taking bets on Kris Marshall landing the gig.

The My Family, BT adverts and Death In Paradise star, who recently left his role in the latter, has become such a favourite with punters that Ladbrokes have decided to pull the plug and stop accepting bets.

“A surge of punters have backed Marshall so we’ve had no choice but to close the book,” Ladbrokes’ Alex Donohue told the – sigh – Daily Mail. (You really don’t have to click that link and show them any support.)

“If he does get the gig,” Donohue added, “the bookies will be exterminated first.”

…The bets-being-suspended-on-Kris-Marshall story in no way confirms that he, or anyone, has got the part.

(4) DATLOW BOUND FOR ANTIPODES. Every year Canberra-based SFF fans “get together to celebrate everything creepy, geeky and fantastical” at Conflux, and the lucky International Guest of Honour at Conflux 13 will be Ellen Datlow.

We have to keep pinching ourselves to make sure this is real, but (deep breath) Conflux 13 is bringing none other than Ellen Datlow to Australia!!!

Ellen Datlow has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for over thirty-five years as fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and editor of Event Horizon and SCIFICTION. She currently acquires short fiction for Tor.com. In addition, she has edited more than ninety science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies, including the annual The Best Horror of the Year, Lovecraft’s Monsters, Fearful Symmetries, The Doll Collection, The Monstrous, Children of Lovecraft, Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror, and Black Feathers.  Forthcoming are, Hallows’ Eve (with Lisa Morton), and Mad Hatters and March Hares (stories inspired by Alice’s Adventures in in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There).

Conflux 13 will be held September 29-Ocober 2 in Canberra.

(5) FIGHT TO THE FINISH. Unbound Worlds brings back Cage Match. Mark-kitteh comments: “SF character cage matches. I think the Dune sandworm is a bit of a ringer though – how would they even get it in the cage?”

What the hell is Cage Match?

Great question. A long time ago, on an internet far, far away, there was a website called Suvudu, which had been founded by some editors at Del Rey as a place to nerd out about sci-fi and fantasy. In the barely remembered year 2010, those editors decided it’d be a real kick to pit their favorite SF/F characters against each other in a fight to the death, and it’d be even MORE of a kick if they brought in some authors to write short scenes illustrating how they thought those fights might play out. And on top of that, they invited users to come vote on the outcome of those fights.

And apparently you all liked it, because we’re still doing it seven years later.

(6) OSBORNE OBIT. TCM’s Robert Osborne is mourned by Steve Vertlieb:

Robert Osborne passed away this morning at age 84. He’d been in ill health for some time. Robert was the face of Turner Classic Movies since its inception, and was a wonderful fountain of enthusiasm, sincerity, and palpable adoration of classic cinema. Those of us who watched the cable movie channel these countless years came to look upon Robert as a friend, a tireless champion of the arts, and as the very definition of integrity. We all knew that he’d been ill, but were afraid to ask about his telling absence of late from the network. A true motion picture historian, Osborne’s warmth and passion for films and their creators will be sorely missed by movie lovers everywhere. Rest In Peace, Robert. Your own star shall shine ever brightly among a luminescent galaxy of stars.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • March 6, 1928 — William F. Nolan

(8) CREATED IN 7 DAYS. Skyboat Media wants to raise $7,000 via Kickstarter to create an 11-hour audiobook of Queers Destroy Science Fiction.

With your help, if we can fund in 7 days, Skyboat will be able to produce an 11 hour digital audiobook for you of the short story and flash fiction portions of Lightspeed Magazine‘s QUEERS DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION! It will be a glorious vocal celebration of inclusivity, diversity and all things science fiction-y!

KICKSTARTER’S ALL in 1: We are doing this for only one week. Our project is aligned with Kickstarter’s theme of 1s and 0s; this means we are offering only digital rewards.

The book was published by Hugo winning anthologist John Joseph Adams and guest edited by Seanan McGuire.

So far they have raised $1,263 of the $7,000 goal.

(9) CASTING CLASH. At ComicsBeat Heidi MacDonald tracks the issue — “Finn Jones leaves Twitter after trying to explain why a white Iron Fist isn’t problematic to an Asian person”.

Don’t get me wrong, Jones has a right to talk about his show, but when he explained to an Asian person, Geeks of Color’s Creative Director, Asyiqin Haron, how to feel about race…he got busted whitesplaining. Then, when the heat got too much for him, Jones just deleted his twitter account.

Pretty much the same thing happened when Tilda Swinton and Margaret Cho had a tense email exchange over the Ancient One

(10) FAUX-MEN COMICS. Trae Dorn at Nerd & Tie says “The Fake X-Men Comics From ‘Logan’ Are Incredible”.

When Logan director James Mangold asked Marvel comics if he could include X-Men comics in the final Hugh Jackman Wolverine installment, he was told he could as long as they weren’t any real comic books. To create the old-school style books for the movie then, Mangold reached out to Joe Quesada and Dan Panosian to create the pages of the books for the movie….

They’re all, frankly, fantastic, and really capture the feel of the X-Men books from the 1980s. I love the way they look just close enough while retaining a slightly off aesthetic letting you know this is another world. It just adds to the fabric of a world which just feels lived in.

There’s a gallery with the post.

(11) THE FLAW IN THE OINTMENT. It’s a hell of a lot more entertaining when somebody else is on the receiving end of these pleonasms. Jonathan McCalmont unleashes “Rabid Cuddlers” at Ruthless Culture.

…Unfortunately for the puppies, while it must have been comically easy to convince a bunch of teenaged nihilists to troll the Hugo awards, it was never going to be easy to convince basement-dwelling trolls to set aside their Japanese pornography long enough to read a bunch of over-written Catholic fantasy novels. The fact that Gamergaters turned up to harass liberals but didn’t stick around to spend money explains why prominent puppies have  downplayed their involvement, decreased their ambitions, and failed to step back from the movement in time and wound up being forced to repeatedly beg for financial support from their dwindling fanbase…

…The puppies’ experiences as nerd-fuhrers may well come to define their adult lives but their flirtations with moral entrepreneurship failed to secure them the kind of following that might provide access to the lucrative world of conservative cultural commentary. Even worse, their attempts to cultivate a right-wing alternative to the stuttering multiculturalism of mainstream genre spaces appears to have resulted in little more than a handful of underwhelming blogs supporting the work of a few self-publishing authors….

…The social and ideological instabilities of the puppy movement should come as no surprise once you realise the gulf that separates adolescent edge-lords  from a bunch of stupid old men who want fandom to go back to the way it was in 1953. What is surprising is the speed at which a movement whose ruthlessness once made international news has been reduced to bleating about politeness and passing out internet hugs. Liberal genre culture may be ponderous, self-serving, and morally confused but it was never quite that pathetic….

(12) ABOUT. Who doesn’t enjoy a flash of humor at the end of an author bio? Here’s the last line of Kendare Blake’s

She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their two cat sons (Tybalt and Tyrion Cattister) and their red Doberman dog son, Obi Dog Kenobi.

[Thanks to JJ, Mark-kitteh, Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

Dean Wesley Smith Interview

Dean Wesley Smith

Dean Wesley Smith

By Carl Slaughter: Dean Wesley Smith is a busy guy. He publishes, he writes, he teaches workshops, he operates a collectables bookstore chain. He writes 80,000 words a month for his own magazine. And he’s training for a marathon.

CARL SLAUGHTER: Why launch your own magazine?

DEAN WESLEY SMITH: I suppose it just seemed like a good idea at the time. In reality, as I was getting started firing back up my writing after making a many-year transition from media and ghost writing, I needed some sort of really crazy goal. I tend to work well with crazy goals.

So one day I was glancing through my digest collection (I have pretty much every digest in science fiction, mystery, and western put out from 1943 until 2000 or so) and I noticed the Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine. Then I picked up a copy of the Zane Gray Western Magazine. For some reason, the thought hit me that wouldn’t it be fun to fill entire issues of magazines as some of the pulp writers did at times with pen names in the 1940s and 1950s.

And from there the crazy idea started. My magazine would be the same size as the monthly Asimov’s magazine, only I would write it all. A full new novel, four or five short stories, a novel serial, and other stuff, all written by me. My wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch was the one who came up with the name Smith’s Monthly.

Now, 36 issues later, I haven’t missed a month. 36 novels, about 140 short stories, and numbers of nonfiction projects as well, including a golf-humor book.

CS: Are your stories all speculative? If not, what other genres?

DWS: My roots are in speculative fiction, but I write across the board. That comes from my ghosting days for New York publishers. They would call me and ask me to write a book because some famous author was sick and I needed to write that. I figured I could write anything with a little study, but I must admit Cozy mysteries are tough and I might have to slash my wrists if forced to write Regency Romance.

But in Smith’s Monthly most stories (except the mystery stories) have an element of speculative fiction or Twilight Zone elements to them.

CS: Any ongoing series?

DWS: I have a bunch of series.

Poker Boy is a goofy superhero series that has only had one novel but about thirty-five short stories.

I also have a time travel western series called Thunder Mountain with a dozen books in it and a space opera series called The Seeders Universe series. Plus there is a mystery detective series where a bunch of retired Las Vegas detectives play poker and solve really twisted cold cases. That’s called the Cold Poker Gang series. Plus there are other series.

CS: I see a lot of cowboy covers. Are these traditional westerns? Alternate history? Steampunk?

DWS: The western cowboy covers are all the Thunder Mountain novels. Alternate history time travel, set mostly in the west. Great fun to write, very complex since I have come up with a mathematical way of making it all work.

CS: I also see a lot of mystery. Are you active in the mystery genre? Do you sell to mystery markets? Won any mystery awards?

DWS: I have had one story published in Ellery Queen, won no awards in mystery. But I have written a bunch of thrillers. One thriller that I never really mailed out was the only book I had rights to coming into indie publishing besides my first sf novel out of Warner from 1989. So I put that one thriller in and also serialized my first novel in Smith’s Monthly, without one word changed from the Warner Questar edition.

The mystery covers are for the Cold Poker Gang novels.

CS: I also see a lot of what looks like erotica/romance? How much relationship versus how much speculative? How do you integrate one into the other?

DWS: Nope, don’t do any erotica. I did that back in the day, meaning way back in the 1980s, writing letters for Penthouse for money. No interest in writing that anymore. But most of my novels have a light romantic element to it.

CS: I also see a lot of ghost stories. What, no zombies, no vampires, no superheroes?

DWS: The ghosts are an offshoot of my Poker Boy series. Basically they are ghosts that are recruited after they die to join a team to help people.

I have all the rest of that in my Poker Boy series. Almost every issue leads off with a Poker Boy story. He and his team, which includes Front Desk Girl, Stan, the God of Poker, and Lady Luck herself save the world regularly from all sorts of fun things.

CS: How do you build a series around poker?

DWS: I wrote a thriller called Dead Money about a major professional poker player setting up a team and solving the death of his father. Never written another book in that series, but the hero of that thriller shows up at times in my Cold Poker Gang novels.

Not really around poker, just a way for a bunch of retired detectives to get together to work on cold cases.

CS: Are all the stories written exclusively for the magazine or are there also reprints?

DWS: At first I wrote exclusively for the magazine, then decided that stories that had been in DAW and Baen anthologies over the years should be brought forward. Readers didn’t see most of those stories twenty and thirty years ago. Now I have used Smith’s Monthly to gather most of my main published fiction together, including stories published originally in F&SF.

I do not put in any of the horror stories I published way back in the 1980s and early 1990s. I was nominated twice, I think, for a Stoker Award, but don’t feel those stories fit in Smith’s Monthly, so they are vanishing into the dust of time.

All novels are written originally except for the two I mentioned. I don’t have any others I own rights to out of the hundred plus novels I wrote for traditional publishers over the years.

CS: Are you still selling to speculative markets or are all your speculative stories going into your magazine?

DWS: At the moment everything is just going into my own magazine except for two or three a year that are for invite anthologies. I keep threatening to start sending out other stories. But I have my own magazine, so can’t figure out why I should.

CS: How many stories go into each issue?

DWS: Four or five short stories. If the novel is very short, down around 45,000 words, I will put in six short stories. Also a serial novel or serial nonfiction book most issues as well.

CS: How many total words?

DWS: Every issue ranges from 65,000 words to 80,000 words. A few have been larger. About the same size as an Analog Magazine.

CS: Any plans to accept submissions?

DWS: Nope, just my stuff. I read slush for a lot of years with Pulphouse and with Star Trek: Strange New Worlds anthology series. Never again will I read slush.

CS: What’s the business model?

DWS: I sort of look at every issue of Smith’s Monthly as a stand-alone collection of my work. So I have 36 of them out now. No repeats of any stories from any issue.

So they are all available in paper and in electronic format from any sales place in the world. And they sell regularly. Not many copies per issue, but when you add up sales from around the world and 36 issues, it’s a pretty good amount of money every month. Surprises me at times, actually.

Also, we do subscriptions to the magazine in either paper or electronic format.

And I have a Patreon page that supports my blog and every person there gets a copy of Smith’s Monthly as well when it comes out.

Then two months after the issue comes out, WMG Publishing Inc. publishes the novel from the issue as a stand-alone novel. Those do pretty well.

And I will be putting short story collections together starting this next year with stories from the magazine.

So lots and lots of cash streams from the magazine.

CS: What’s the marketing strategy?

DWS: I really don’t have one to speak of. I get it out everywhere and then we publish the novel.

CS: How do you crank out this kind of volume while still working on Fiction River and other fiction projects, plus workshops?

DWS: For three years now on my blog, as I have been doing this magazine, I have been doing a daily blog (haven’t missed a day) about the writing. Scares people because I basically do other things all day long and only write about three hours a day late at night. It doesn’t feel like I am doing much volume at all, but people find it encouraging. And I’m not a fast writer. I do about a thousand words an hour. It just adds up.

CS: Besides Fiction River and Smith’s Magazine, what other fiction projects are you involved in?

DWS; I am the CFO of WMG Publishing Inc, so that takes time and we do a great deal of things there. WMG has over 600 titles now. I do the workshops for free for them because I love teaching and learning. Also, we have a new magazine project planned that we will announce in the middle of this coming year. I will be the editor. Great fun.

One thing that takes a large amount of my time is WMG has two brick-and-mortar stores here on the coast. Collectable stores and one has a bookstore inside the collectable store. Comics, a few hundred thousand comics, plus toys, games, you name it. All my hobby and passion. I don’t run the stores, but I am around them all the time.

And both stories have a major eBay store. All kinds of great stuff on the eBay stores. For example, I just found something very neat we are putting on one store. It is the program book from the 4th World SF Convention in LA. 1946-47. It has 40 signatures in it of members who attended that convention. In other words, 40 signatures of first fandom fans. Amazing.

CS: Speaking of workshops, what’s going on on the workshop front?

DWS: I am doing ten, online, six-week workshops every month. They rotate through a bunch choices every other month or so. I love doing them still. The moment I start getting bored, we’ll shut them down. Full schedule is at www.wmgpublishingworkshops.com.

We also do four workshops every year here on the Oregon Coast for professional writers only. Those have writers coming in from all over the world and are fantastic fun. That schedule is up under Coast Workshops at the top of my web site.

CS: You’re approaching 70. Any plans to retire?

DWS: I suppose I am approaching 70, but actually only 66. Stuns me when I say that number and I have no idea what retirement even might be. So nope, just doing my magazine and playing in collectables.

CS: What’s on the horizon for Dean Wesley Smith?

DWS: Besides continuing to write, do my own magazine, edit a new magazine project this coming year, play and work around my two collectable stores, and help keep WMG Publishing on track, I’ve set a running goal.

That’s right, running. In the last number of years I have dropped about 70 pounds from my heaviest weight. When my friend book-collector Bill Trojan died suddenly at Worldcon in Reno, I sort of woke up. He was only a couple years older than me, but heavier.

So I still have about fifteen pounds to go, but I hope to run a half-marathon (13 plus miles) every month of 2017 until November when I will run a marathon.

I figure that if I can do 36 issues in 36 months of my own magazine, I can run a measly 26 miles.

So that’s what is in the future for me. Thanks for having me.

Pixel Scroll 10/11 Slaughterhouse Hive

(1) C. E. Murphy is “home from Octocon” with several good stories.

I brought about eight pounds of fudge to the con, and passed it out to the attendees of the Golden Blasters film festival on Friday night. Probably the best two bits of that were saying to people, “If you’re allergic to anything except gluten you can’t eat this, but it’s gluten-free,” and having one woman LIGHT UP when she was told it was gluten-free and safe for her to eat. (Eggs, dairy, corn, nuts: basically all those things go into my fudge unless I’m making Special Batches.) The other best bit was handing a box of vanilla-and-cranberry fudge over to my friend (and guest of honour!) Maura McHugh, who doesn’t like chocolate and who put on an expression of Noble Acceptance of Not Getting Fudge when I came through waving the batch of chocolate fudge. But I was prepared for her, and she shrieked and leapt up and hugged me. 🙂

(2) A six-part Frankenstein horror series starring Game of Thrones actor Sean Bean has been acquired by A&E for broadcast in the U.S., according to Variety.

The Frankenstein Chronicles was created by British production house ITV, and features six hour-long episodes set in 1827 London. Bean plays inspector John Marlott, on a search for a murderer who leaves behind a trail of mutilated body parts which have been assembled into complete human forms.

Set in 19th century London, the show will include plenty of gas lamps, horses, and opium — a bust of an opium den is reportedly how Bean’s character stumbles upon the trail of Dr. Frankenstein, and or his monster, in the first place.

But does Sean Bean survive the first season?

(3) The other day I ran a news item about Dean Wesley Smith, and in his latest post, “Writing workshops: caveat emptor”, Brad R. Torgersen says how much he learned at the Rusch/Smith workshop he attended.

One of the best things my wife and I ever did, was pony up some cash for my first writing workshop. Having endured years and years of rejection letters, by 2008 I was hoping to bust out of a serious slump. My wife asked the question, “What else can we do?” I’d never done workshops before. They were too expensive, and they required too much time away from work and home — especially the king of all science fiction and fantasy workshops, Clarion. But it was precisely because I’d never done a workshop before, that my wife and I determined to get me to one. She asked me which workshop looked best, for a “get your feet wet” event, and I chose the weekend-long Kris and Dean Show being put on in Lincoln City, Oregon, at the eclectic Anchor Inn — by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. This was June of 2009. It turned out to be something of a watershed event, for me as an aspiring professional. In two delightfully exhausting days, Kris and Dean ran the table: from matters of craft, to matters of publishing, as well as self-promotion, book-keeping, personal writerly habits, known pitfalls, and of course myths and conventional (false) wisdoms.

I walked away feeling like I’d learned more in one weekend than in all the many hundreds of hours I’d spent reading “How to write books” books.

Torgersen, noting that most people need to be cost-conscious, offers practical advice about how a beginning writer can decide what workshops will meet his or her needs.

(4) Where better to make revelations about Gotham than at this weekend’s New York Comic Con?

Paul Reubens, the actor best known for his iconic role as Pee-Wee Herman, will play The Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot’s father in “Gotham” season two, star Robin Lord Taylor revealed during the show’s panel at New York Comic Con.

“He will be showing up very soon,” Taylor teased, before letting his fan enthusiasm out. “Pee-Wee Herman is playing my dad! What the hell? Oh my god!”

Fittingly, Reubens has already played the role of the Batman villain’s father before — he appeared as Tucker Cobblepot in 1992’s “Batman Returns.”

(5) Another George R.R. Martin work has been optioned for television – “Cinemax Orders SKIN TRADE Script”.

I am very excited to announce the Cinemax (HBO’s sister company) has optioned the television rights to “The Skin Trade,” the offbeat “werewolf noir” novella I penned back in the late 80s. The deal is closed, and Cinemax has ordered the pilot script. This being Hollywood, of course, you never know where things will end… but if they like the script, we’ll shoot a pilot, and if they like that, hey, who knows, maybe we’ll get a series on the air. Which would be very cool. I have always thought there was a TV series (or maybe a feature film) in Willie Flambeaux and Randi Wade….

“The Skin Trade” has had a storied, and complex, publishing history. It was originally written for NIGHT VISION 5, the fifth volume of the prestigious annual horror anthology from the late lamented small press Dark Harvest, where it appeared together with original contributions from Dan Simmons and Stephen King, some stellar company. The novella was very well received, and went on to win that year’s World Fantasy Award.

More recently, the novella was purchased by Mike the Pike Productions, who played a big part in taking the project to Cinemax. To handle the adaptation, script the pilot, and produce the show (should we get a greenlight), we’ve tapped a terrific talented young scriptwriter named KALINDA VAZQUEZ, whose previous credits include work on PRISON BREAK and ONCE UPON A TIME….

(6) Europa SF profiles Science Fiction Studies Special issue On Italian Science Fiction.

Here is the direct link — Science Fiction Studies #126 – Volume 42, Part 2 – July 2015, SPECIAL ISSUE ON ITALIAN SCIENCE FICTION, Edited by Umberto Rossi, Arielle Saiber, and Salvatore Proietti.

(7) Science fiction writer Patrick S. Tomlinson is quoted in the recent Washington Post article “Most gun owners support restrictions. Why aren’t their voices heard?”

Once again, their voices are missing from the debate.

Gun owners who favor tighter restrictions on firearms say they are in the same position after the mass shooting in Oregon as they have been following other rampages — shut out of the argument.

The pattern, they say, is frustrating and familiar: The what-should-be-done discussion pits anti-gun groups against the National Rifle Association and its allies, who are adamantly opposed to any new restrictions on weapons…..

“There’s this perception that people are neatly divided into folks who want an M1A1 Abrams battle tank to drive to work and those who want to melt every last gun and bullet into doorstops,” said Patrick Tomlinson, a science-fiction writer and gun owner in Milwaukee who favors universal background checks and longer waiting periods for gun purchases. “There seems to be no middle there, but I know there is. I’m in it.”

Tomlinson has two novels out with a third on the way, and his short fiction has appeared in anthologies.

(8) Slate blogger Marissa Visci answers the question, “What Does It Mean When a Book is Stamped With the Words ‘Author’s Preferred Text’?”

Sifting through Slate’s mailroom recently, we found a new edition of Neil Gaiman’s first novel, Neverwhere, with three words printed beneath the title on its glossy cover: “author’s preferred text.” It’s not the first time those words have graced a Gaiman cover—you’ll also find them on the 10th-anniversary edition of American Gods. So we wondered: What does this mean? What is an “author’s preferred text?” And what makes one text more preferred than other texts?

It turns out that the “author’s preferred text” is the director’s cut of the literary world, only far less ubiquitous. The definition is, in part, pretty self-explanatory: It’s the version of a particular work that the writer prefers, editorial interference be damned. The phenomenon is not limited to Gaiman, though he may be its most frequent practioner. Stephen King released a mammoth new edition of The Stand, subtitled Complete and Uncut, in 1990, in which he not only restored gargantuan passages that had been cut in the editing process, but moved the story’s time period ahead by a decade….

For Gaiman, the “author’s preferred text” is, in part, a way of restoring some of the text that was lost in translation during its Americanization. One thing that the new edition reinstates is some of the humor that Gaiman claims was eliminated from the initial U.S. version, as he wrote in his intro:

My editor at Avon Books, Jennifer Hershey, was a terrific and perceptive editor; our major disagreement was the jokes. She didn’t like them and was convinced that American readers would not be able to cope with jokes in a book that wasn’t meant solely to be funny.

(9) And Neil Gaiman will be appearing on stage, unencumbered by editors, at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Center in Long Beach on November 14. Details here.

The bestselling and award-winning author—whose notable works include the comic book series The Sandman as well as novels Coraline, Stardust, American Gods, The Graveyard Book, and extends to screenplays, song lyrics, poetry, journalism and multimedia—appears for one inspiring evening!

(10) Efforts to restore an old B-29 to flightworthiness continue to pay off.

Doc is a B-29 Superfortress and one of 1,644 manufactured in Wichita during World War II. Since 1987 when Tony Mazzolini found Doc on sitting and rotting away in the Mojave Desert, plans have been in the works to restore the historic warbird to flying status to serve as a flying museum.

They now have all four engines running.

(11) Honest Trailers – Aladdin has been created to commemorate the movie’s 25th anniversary.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, David K.M. Klaus, Roger Tener, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

More Is Better For Dean Wesley Smith

Smiths-Monthly-Cover-13-web COMPDean Wesley Smith is celebrating his second anniversary writing a new novel for every issue of Smith’s Monthly, a magazine that consists only of his own fiction, over 60,000 words per issue.

At the moment he produces novels in four major series, including the time travel Thunder Mountain novels set in the old west, the galaxy-spanning Seeders Universe series, the urban fantasy Ghost of a Chance series, and the superhero series staring Poker Boy.

Smith reflects in his introduction to the 24th issue:

Occasionally, back in the old pulp days, one writer would fill an issue of one magazine or another, often with stories written under pen names.

And a few authors, Lester Dent to name one, wrote a novel a month for years.

But no one had tried filling a monthly magazine before every month.

Yes, I am that crazy.

Smith blogs daily, too, and in today’s post offers a unique metric for indie author sales success.

So what are good sales now? Everyone seems to have some idea, some made-up number in their head that they will be happy with. (And they never hit it, of course.)

Plus that number often has nothing to do with business and real accounting.

So one more time into some basic business numbers. Even if you think you might know this, read it again. Trust me, it will help.

Example:

I write a novel. 40,000 words. It takes me 40 hours at $50.00 per hour (rate I pay myself for sitting and having fun making stuff up. Figure your own time and hourly rate.)

So my time cost is $2,000.00. I have set costs of proofing and cover art of $300.00.  And I have other costs of $200.

So for the sake of this example, I have $2,500.00 investment cost in a novel. That’s my investment in the property. (As if I spent that much to go buy a house on a corner to rent. Yes, copyright is a form of property.)

I want to make a 10% annual rate of return on my investment. By any standards in any business, that’s a damn fine rate of return.

So I need to make $250.00 PER YEAR to get that rate of return.

Or about $21.00 per month in profit from sales.

Needless to say, Dean Wesley Smith is not someone who feels it is detrimental to an indie author’s career to write more than three novels a year…