Sunday, July 26, 2009

News and notes from M-BRANE 7

[The following is the complete text of my news/notes column from the upcoming M-Brane #7--the article by Carolyn Crow mentioned in the first item is NOT up yet on the blog, but will be within a day or two. I'll hyperlink some stuff in this blog post for convenience--I can't do that on paper, obviously, and it works so poorly in the PDF version of the zine that I have quit bothering to try. So this is meant to be a sort of online companion to this column in the regular versions of the zine.]

Some news and info:

Read Carolyn Crow’s article about Bruce Golden’s recent novel Evergreen. It’s on page 79, and is based on an interview that she did with Golden. I am also publishing it as a guest post on the M-Brane blog.

My ally in fighting the good fight for the future of short fiction magazines, Jason Sizemore of Apex Book Company (see the ad for some of their titles on page 5), has relaunched the excellent Apex magazine after a short hiatus. I am so happy that he is trying a pay-to-play concept for this new iteration. The Apex website now presents teaser portions of the fiction items which lead to prompts to purchase the issue in PDF form or in the new print version, via MagCloud’s print-on-demand service. To read my recent comments on the matter of monetizing short fiction, along with some reader comments on it, see the blog entry for July 24 [immediately below this one].

Open for submissions this month is the 8 Minutes contest, operated by D.D. Tannenbaum of the newly reconfigured Infinite Windows Press. You can find information via or I hope this contest is successful because it will result in a really cool anthology. Yours truly has made himself available as one of the early-round judges, and final judging will be done by the great Mike Resnick. In addition to cash prizes for the top stories, the twenty-five best entries will appear in the book. I know a lot of writers hate when they see a fee for a contest entry, but if you have a good story that fits the theme and can spring for the fee, please do so because all that money is going directly into paying out the prizes and defraying the publishing costs of the book.

Speaking of contests, our good friends at Brain Harvest are conducting their 2009 Mega Challenge contest (yeah, there’s a fee for this one, too, but also for a good and worthy purpose—like paying writers pro rates). They are challenging writers to use tired tropes and clich├ęs from a list compiled by Strange Horizons and to make them work, to “untrope the tropes.” Winners will be chosen by celebrity guest judge Jeff Vandermeer (whom you can see in a photo on the Brain Harvest site wearing one of their hand-knitted mustaches).

As of this writing, I am all but done with story selections for the queer anthology. I am not ready to announce the full table of contents yet, but you can expect to see it soon on the blog. I’ll mention now that you can look forward to new stories by a few M-Brane alumni such as Abby Rustad, Brandon Bell and Derek J. Goodman [links to all their personal sites are in the M-Brane Writers Links list on the right hand side of this page]. I’ve also scored a couple of excellent reprints, stories first seen in some rather prestigious places. The cover art, which I have not seen yet, but am eagerly awaiting, is being created as I write this by Mari Kurisato whose portraits have become well-known among the genre-oriented Twitterati, so many of whom have enlisted her to create their avatars. If you’re on Twitter, you may have noticed that writers Jay Lake and Shannon Page have fine new public images, both created by Mari. As for the publication date on the antho, that remains to be seen. Selecting the content is the first major step, but there are a lot of other things to tend to before announcing the date. The goal, however, is to have it out not later than sometime in October, because I want to be able to plug it as a finished thing at Gaylacticon 2009 in Minneapolis, which happens in October. I won’t be at the con myself, but I’ve found a couple of nice volunteers to do some promo for me.

The reading period for M-Brane #12, guest-edited by Rick Novy, remains open until August 31. While I don’t doubt that we’ll end up with a great issue, I am a little dismayed at how slow the rate of new story submissions has been. Somehow it has fallen from an almost unmanageable volume in June (prompting me to go to form rejections) to a trickle in July. It is true that June followed a reading hiatus in May, and for #12 we are setting a specific reading period for that particular issue, which may mean that some writers are newly writing and revising stuff specifically for it and will be sending it along closer to the end of the reading window. Maybe summer is a slow time anyway—I don’t know, this being the first summer of M-Brane.

Though there hasn’t been a lot of fresh content added to it during the last couple of weeks, we are still percolating the “Shared World,” a new collaboratively created alternate-historical milieu which will be the setting for a future M-Brane project, possibly issue #13 or possibly a stand-alone special publication. Writers who wish to throw in on the creation stage of the world may join anytime on the blog. Just call up any post with “shared world” in its title from the archive and use the shared world label at the end of the post to pull together all the relevant info. We’re pretty well set on the general alternate history premise, but a lot more needs to be figured out yet before it’s ready for use as a fictional world.

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Merc said...

Oooh, I so can't wait to get my clawed little hands on this anthology! *bounces*


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