Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I couldn't be prouder of #3. As I write this, I think that all writers, sponsors and subscribers should have received their PDFs via email.  Be sure to check out and hopefully patronize this month's sponsors Zumaya and Apex, two fine, fine smallish-press book publishers.  I'll have more about each of them on this blog within a day or two. I want to thank, also, the writers: this issue is so good it brings tears to my eyes (especially after staring at it all day), and it's due to all y'all.

Ah, memories

On the brink of the release of issue #3, I have been revisiting issue #1 this afternoon because I am trying to repair its files for the Lulu POD version which I put up there a long time ago but haven't been able to sell because it was thoroughly frakked. I'm so proud of the new third issue that everyone is about to see, that I had almost forgotten how great the first one was, and it seems weirdly long ago even though it's only been two months. Writers featured in that issue--stars of the genre, all--will be glad to know that I resisted any sort of temptation, while dicking with the source files, to create any sort of "Special Edition" or "re-imagining" of issue #1, such as to include giant CGI dewback lizards and Imperial walkers or a non-puppet Yoda.  I also did NOT change the content of any of the stories by adding alternate endings that were left on the "cutting room floor" (such as the alternate ending of Brandon Bell's "Do Men Dream of Bloody Sheep?" in which: "Lauri's clear, dark, android eyes locked with Andrew's and she turned her back on him. She walked away, far, far away into the dead white city, and Andrew never saw her again."  Or the alternate ending to Rick Novy's "Road Rage" in which Robbie, instead of stabbing that dude to death with a screwdriver, instead gave him a stern yet tearful lecture on social responsibility.)  Hey, blog readers, if you still have somehow not read issue #1 yet, it's free to you over there on the right!

Blog post labels

I didn't really get in the habit of labeling my posts (or really see much use to it) for the first three months or so of running this blog. Now that there are getting to be a fair number of posts, I am starting to see some groupings that make sense and I have made a pass through the history and labeled some of those that lacked labels with an eye toward creating these logical groups.  Now that I am more conscious of it as a thing to do on a blog, I'll try to maintain it better for any readers who may want to search backward on a general topic.  I will also try not to use labels that will probably only ever apply to one post, which was a mistake that I made early on and still lingers in my labels list. For example, this post doesn't need a label at all, unless I want to create a new one called "Chris wasting time when he should be working on something important."

Response time on submissions

In my writers' guidelines on "Page 2", I state that I try to answer submissions quickly, certainly in not more than two weeks.  I made an amendment to that today asking writers to cut me some slack on that for the near term.  I am concerned that I have issues booked too far ahead. Issue #3 releases tomorrow (or perhaps later today), but I am fully stocked for #4 and #5, probably for #6, probably for #7, and I have plugged a couple of things into #8 already. So I might need to give myself a bit longer with stories that are in the "maybe-to-probably" accepted category after the first reading. I will probably still be able to be pretty rapid with rejects. I don't think anyone has a submission sitting with me longer than maybe a week right now, but if it gets past two weeks, then know that the chances that I am considering it for publication might actually be greater, but that it also might be a in a larger pool of "good" stories under evaluation. I'm just getting more submissions nowadays than I was in the first couple months, and I need to be careful not to find myself scheduled out so far that a newly-accepted piece can't see publication for a year. It would be unfair to the writer, and rather tedious for me. I remain confident that I can manage all this without having to resort to having periods where M-Brane is closed to submissions or has "reading periods."  I don't dig it when other zines do that.  I understand why they do it, but I don't want it to be my practice.

POD update

It appears that the print-on-demand version of M-Brane #3 will be able to release at Lulu at the same time as the PDF. I also have figured out to to fix the frakked up Lulu versions of #1 and #2, and will be doing that as well so I can let the "store" re-open.  I have just spent some tedious time going back to both of those issues, and I think perhaps another hour of messing around with them will do the job. I discovered that I really didn't know as much about how to use my computer (it was brand new) when I was making that first issue.  The original file elements for #1 were a serious mess compared to how cleanly assembled #3 is. It has been a learning experience. I'm sure it will continue to be.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Twitter, so far

I've been on Twitter for a few weeks  now, and I have decided that I am sold on it as a way to communicate and network with people.  A number of M-Brane writers are also regular users of it, and I think it would be great if more were.  I am also pretty pleased that I started tweeting just days before discussion of Twitter became all-pervasive in the media on every TV and radio talk show because I felt like I was finally somewhat up-to-date on something.

Despite my endorsement of Twitter in principle, I would offer a word of warning to people who haven't started using it yet but are considering it: there is a clear and present danger of it being a hypnotic time-waster. You really have to watch out for that.  It has happened to me a number of times already where I somehow, without even realizing it, transition from doing some legitimate work on the computer to mindlessly staring at the Twitter screen, refreshing it every five seconds, waiting to see what someone might say. And then waiting some more.

Contributor on DoorQ

Ok, I am ready to move past the Recent Unpleasantness (the Duesberg/Pournelle Affair) and share some good news related to the gradual expansion of the brane. I have been invited to be a contributor on the DoorQ website, which will give me another forum in which to promote the zine and the reading of sf in general. I'll be posting news there related to the magazine, probably do some reading recommendations and probably put up teasers for the issues ahead of their release. DoorQ is an sf/fantasy/horror resource and social site geared toward gay fans of the genres.  Again I display my unerring talent for finding ever-narrower markets for my product: first readers of science fiction, and now gay readers of science fiction. But seriously, it will be cool to have another place to shill for M-Brane and the genre. I don't have anything up on it yet, but probably will in a few days and I'll mention it here and link to it when I do.  Where my posts over there are pertinent to business over here, I'll probably duplicate the info here so everyone who is used to reading this page doesn't have to necessarily visit another site to see what's going on. Listen to me acting like there's a bunch of people who might feel compelled to keep up with me wherever I am! (Well I do have, like, 30 Twitter followers now).

Friday, March 27, 2009

When SF writers fight the future and make me mad

It won't come as any kind of surprise to regular readers of this blog that I am irritated by (and usually try to avoid reading) Orson Scott Card's prolific politics columns. I have huge respect for the guy as an author and, as I have said many times, Ender and Bean have a special place in my heart. He does good work with the Medicine Show and his "bootcamp" for writers (I think there's at least a couple alumni of that among writers for M-Brane). I even give him a lot of credit for presenting his views in a tone of civil debate and respectful disagreement with whomever he is disagreeing with. A couple weeks ago when I heard that flap about the TV show Big Love depicting a particular Mormon temple ceremony, a thing that church members generally consider to be private and sacred and not for public ogling, I immediately said to myself, "I bet Card has a post about this somewhere." Ignoring my usual self-imposed ban on deliberately seeking out things that might piss me off, I looked it up.  As expected, on the National Review website, was Card's comment on the Big Love incident. It turns out that his reaction to it wasn't angry and his advice to other Mormons was to just let it go and not get all bent out of shape.  Very calm and reasonable...but he just had to cast it in terms of what he characterizes as the "open season on Mormons" created by opponents of California's Proposition 8. How about letting that go, too? His side may have won a vote on a prop and they may win some more court battles in the days ahead, but let's face it: there's eventually going to be equal marriage rights for everyone in this country whether you think it's a "sin" or not. It's an inevitable fact, just as it's inevitable that Card's church is going to continue. So how about we give peace a chance.

But that's not even what I was planning to talk about.  The writer I wanted to mention is Jerry Pournelle. I've known since the time it was actually going on that he was part of the Citizens Advisory Council on National Space Policy which advised the Reagan transition team on space matters in 1980 and boosted the Reagan administration's desire to build the Strategic Defense Initiative. Other sf members of this group were Gregs Bear and Benford, Robert Heinlein, Jim Baen, Steve Barnes and Poul Anderson. So I always knew he was generally on a different side of political matters than I have ever been.  That's fine, it doesn't bother me.  I haven't even read much of the man's solo work anyway, though I have read a lot of his collaborations with Niven, such as the one in the picture, so it's not like it even makes me see his work through a distorted political lense. But then a piece of information crossed my screen last night that really gave me pause: the Wikipedia article on Pournelle, in the section about scientific contrarian views, says that he "has advocated research to directly investigate Peter Duesberg's controversial views on the cause of AIDS." I hope this does not mean that Pournelle actually endorses Duesberg. If that is what it means, then I don't want to know about it.

Duesberg believes that HIV has nothing to do with the cause of AIDS. The retrovirus is harmless and incidental, he says.  This idea has been roundly rejected by the entire scientific community save for Duesberg and a few other psychopaths. What causes it then? Well, in Africa, they're just getting sick from malnutrition and bad water and other diseases, he says. He sat on a panel to advise South African president Thabo Mbeki on AIDS policy, and his views are considered influential in that country's failure to provide anti-retroviral drugs, resulting in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary AIDS deaths and new HIV infections.  I'm not saying that Duesberg is culpable in a sort of passive mass murder of thousands of people. But some people have said that. Oh, you might be wondering what his explanation might be for "all those gays in San Francisco" getting AIDS. This is it: use of recreational drugs, in particular amyl nitrite ("poppers"--yeah, over-the-counter poppers caused AIDS). That's why I'm not going to read Pournelle's blog anymore because I'm afraid he'll endorse this lunatic idea right out in the open and I will scream.

This counts as this week's Science Friday post.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


To writers with stories scheduled for publication in M-Brane SF from issue #4 onward: if you would like to provide an afterword for your story (some thoughts on what inspired you, or the circumstances of writing it, or whatever else you might like to say about it), I will publish it. It's too late to add these for #3, but for #4 onward it's possible. If you don't wish to do that, no big deal.  I'll see what I get just by announcing it here, and I'll probably send an email reminder of it as production commences on each issue.  I would like contributions for #4 ASAP, however, because that will go into pre-production shortly after #3 releases.  I won't impose any word-count or content restrictions on these afterwords either. I'm easy like that.

Our taboos discussion caused me to browse through Again, Dangerous Visions, the Ellison-edited sequel book to the famous Dangerous Visions, because I was looking for James Tiptree's stunner of a story, and then I got caught up (once again) in reading Ellison's intros and the writers' afterwords.  I know that this sort of thing isn't everyone's bag, but I really enjoy getting those peeks into writers' craft and thought processes, and I figure that readers who don't need that extra stuff can still just read the fiction and skip over the other stuff if they wish. Ellison says as much in A,DV, stating that the book holds 250,000 words of fiction that the reader paid for and another 60,000 in other material offered for "free."  Aside from all the fascinating intros and afterwords, I was reminded of the sheer number of astounding stories in that book. In addition to the great Tiptree piece, other highlights include Kate Wilhelm's beautiful "The Funeral," Piers Anthony's startling "In the Barn," Gene Wolfe's utterly Gene-Wolfeish triptych "Mathoms From the Time Closet," Richard Lupoff's burning mess of a novella "With the Bentfin Boomer Boys on Little Old New Alabama," and, of course, Kurt Vonnegut The Man Himself with "The Big Space Fuck." Yeah, mom, it's a story by a Big Name Author!

Cordwainer Smith

During our discussion of taboos (started a couple posts ago), I was reminded of how excellent the science fiction of Paul Linebarger--better known within our genre as Cordwainer Smith--is, and how bizarre and mysterious I found it to be when I first read some of the stories as a kid when I would encounter them in anthologies. Most of his sf stories are set in the universe of the "Instrumentality of Mankind," and form a sort of future history of an era many millennia in the future where the Instrumentality is guiding and manipulating the course of interstellar civilization. I remember being a quite young kid and reading stories like "Scanners Live in Vain," "The Burning of the Brain," and "The Crime and Glory of Commander Suzdal" and being like "what the frak did I just read?  What is this?" I am pretty sure that it's that sort of reaction that helps make a kid into a lifelong reader.

I found this site, www.cordwainer-smith.com, maintained by Smith's daughter Rosana. Housed within it is her blog. I haven't read through much of it yet, but a recent post points to some Smith stories that are now free for online reading. So if you've somehow missed out on Cordwainer Smith or don't have of his stuff on your bookshelves, there's a chance to check it out. That image up there is the cover of a collection that compiles all of the Instrumentality stories in one book.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Where to live?/ Taboo

1) When Jeff and I moved to OKC, we decided we'd commit to it for a minimum of two years. The two-year point will be reached in September, so we've accepted that it's probably more like a three year period that we will live here. We had about five thousand bucks to move with when we came here and more than blew through it all before we had new income happening, so we figure we need at least 10K for the next move. So far, our savings stand at zero. That being said, I've decided it's not too soon to start researching our next home town--and, of course, the future home of the M-Brane Tower (pictured on left), the brane's world headquarters (I expect to hear solicitations from chambers of commerce any day now, don't you know...).  Moving back to St. Louis has not been taken off the table completely, but we're more than open to other options.

Our criteria for a fresh new city include: 1) a climate relatively free of winter weather, or at least no more than what we endure here; 2) a dense city center with goods and services, including our residence, within short distances; no suburbs need apply; 3) a reasonable cost of living because we're not likely to be rich any year soon; 4) sufficient ethnic/immigrant diversity to allow for ethnic grocery stores (we're cooks, and need that selection close at hand, and both STL and OKC have been great in that regard); 5) cultural/ religious/ political diversity, or at least a population that is not ninety percent right-wing fundamentalist Christian and feel that they need to tell me about Jesus every day. STL was fine in that regard, but OKC gets a D-minus for it. We understand that criteria 1 and 5 run into conflict often in this country, but I'm sure there are options for us.

2) Feel free to keep talking about the taboo subject (last post).  I'm still trying to think up a real hair-bleaching, paint-peeling, vapors-inducing shocker of a premise, and when I do, I'll post it in the comments (but y'all'll need to provide your own smelling salts).

Monday, March 23, 2009


Sf Signal, in its Mind Melds section, recently posed a question to some writers about whether they have had difficulty getting something published or found themselves self-censoring due to some sort of taboo that they were violating. Are there still such taboos in science fiction, they were asked. Way back in the day, especially before the New Wave, sex and swear-words were rare in sf, but are there new things that arouse similar uneasiness now? The writers had some varying opinions on the topic, and then there were a bunch of comments by site readers. The comments were mostly fairly tiresome and unenlightening (as people arguing with each other in blog comments tends to be) but it got me thinking about the subject.

If you're a reader or a writer and can think of something That Dare Not Speak Its Name in an sf story, go ahead and leave a comment here. I'd love to hear what you think.  And if you're a writer, maybe go ahead and write the controversial tale and send it to me and I may publish it in the zine. I haven't turned away a story yet due only to its subject matter (unless it was just not in the genre, like a story about the Ghost Hunters guys finding evidence of the ghost of the Loch Ness Monster), and I am having a hard time dreaming up a subject that would make me blanch and say, "No, this story is waaaay too controversial and taboo-ridden." Obviously it would need also to be an entertaining story, not just some piece of prose constructed just to be shocking. Writers for and readers of M-Brane already know, of course, that I don't buy into the "rated PG-13" mentality that has overrun almost the whole culture. I don't think everything needs to be for kids, and I don't think it would be even in the least desirable for me to try to tailor it for such an audience.  Most everyone else seems to be servicing the kindergarchy already anyway. So there have been and will continue to be (as soon as 4/1 when #3 comes out) some swear words and sexual references published here and there in M-Brane. And there are some stories in upcoming issues that get fairly edgy in their subject matter. But I don't think I've published or scheduled for publication yet anything particularly "taboo."  I probably would, however, if someone came up with it. But would I even recognize it as such?  Let's find out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

BSG finale: loved it

The main reason I don't frequently bring up TV shows and movies on this blog is that my focus and main area of interest in the sf genre is in its written form.  And the M-Brane zine, of course, is exclusively about the written form. Another big reason that I stay away from the other media is that I tire quickly of hearing/reading snarky fanboy comments about TV shows and movies.  I almost got sucked into reading some that online regarding last night's Battlestar Galactica series finale, but quickly realized what I was doing and quit it.  I don't care what anyone says about it: I loved the finale. It may not have wrapped up every little thing to everyone's liking, but it did wrap it up in a stunning fashion. And so ends for me the only show that I was faithfully following. Friday nights are free again. Frak yeah.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Science Friday: Gravitons and Buckyballs

The second hour of today’s installment of NPR’s Science Friday was chockablock with science fictional science, the cool stuff you want to hear about if you’re a reader or a writer of the genre.

Physicist Lisa Randall talked about gravity and explanations of the universe involving physical dimensions beyond what we can directly observe. Specifically, she discussed the fascinating idea that gravity’s relative weakness as a force might be explained by gravity existing primarily in a fifth dimension but leaking into our observable universe. She speculated that when they finally get the Large Hadron Collider running, it might be possible to verify the existence of a thing known as the "Kaluza-Klein mode of the graviton." This means (I think) a graviton—which is theoretical particle that transmits the force of gravity—that would be “heavier” because it has “momentum from the extra dimension.” Detection of such a weird thing would be a straightforward (in terms of particle physics) way of verifying experimentally some of these ideas that are indicated in the math but which there has been no way to study so far. Go Hadron Collider.

The next segment featured chemist Harry Kroto, the Nobel Prize-winning discoverer of buckminsterfullerene, or carbon-60, the buckyball. Readers who have read much hard sf written since, say the mid-90s, have run into buckyballs and things like carbon nanotubes again and again. Kroto said that the next big thing—the discovery that will change everything—will be when science gains an understanding of how “self-assembly” works. He said that it should be possible, for example, to dip a disc into a solution and come out with a DVD, or mix some chemicals together and end up with transistors for micro-processors. Self-assembly is the way life works, and it should one day be a thing we can achieve artificially. Think of Mars’ space elevator in Robinson’s Red Mars building itself out of carbon nanotubes, or the all-pervasive nanotechnology of Stephenson’s The Diamond Age creating everything ranging from fanciful playthings for the rich to mundane household items. During the segment’s opening, they said they’d talk about other applications for the buckyball, like “bucky paper,” but they didn’t get to that. I heard of the “paper” a couple of years ago, however, and selected it recently as the material that the soldiers’ body armor in my story Neglected Project is made of. Cool stuff. Kroto was highly entertaining during this segment and even found an opportunity to take a swipe at Creationism--funny because it somehow did not come up during the first hour of the show...which was all about Darwin.

That soccer ball-looking image is a crude representation of a buckyball.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hugo nominees announced

The list of nominees for the next Hugo awards is up on Locus. I'm still working on Anathem, nominated in the Best Novel category.  Other novel nominees included Doctorow and Scalzi, whose nominated books I have not yet read, but have been hearing a lot about lately. I'll point out that Elizabeth Bear is nominated in the novelette category for "Shoggoths in Bloom," published in Asimov's. I haven't read a lot of her novel-length stuff yet, but her shorter fiction is achingly beautiful, and if I got to vote in this, she'd have my vote for the Hugo. Just saying (in case any of you are voters).

Populist rage

I guess today's a good time to suspend for a day my usual resistance to having real-world-crap being the subject matter on this brane. I've always felt that the American public is rather docile, even when pushed really hard, as compared to some other publics, like the French, who have never hesitated to call a general strike over things that barely make the news when they happen here. Apparently the AIG bonus payment situation, however, has been some kind of grotesque icing on the cake of shit that has been baking for the last couple of decades and has now driven everyone totally bugfuck. On today's Talk of the Nation on NPR, some time was spent on this and there were many on-air guests and calls and emails all saying the same thing: this is crap, it's unfair, we're mad and not going to take it anymore. Now that the populist rage against the obvious fraud that the so-called financial system has been for a long time has finally manifested, I find (to my disappointment) that I am already sick of it. Why?  Because the AIG bonus crap is trivial, ephemeral and utterly insignificant in comparison to the stuff that people should have been enraged about long ago.

A tiny number of examples, in no particular order: 1) How did it slip past everyone that making millions and billions of dollars in salaries and bonuses and corporate profits without making a tangible product or offering a service that any sane person wants to buy is plainly unsustainable (derivatives, credit default swaps, stupidly inflated house prices, the idea that the economy will always grow at a crazy rate forever, etc.)? We're all pissed off about it now, but I said it years ago and was always  laughed off as some kind of communist. The rage should have started years and years ago.  2) Millions more people lose their ability to have health insurance every year. How about some more populist outrage about that? I know I'm enraged: I lost mine a couple years ago and have not been able to get back into it since. 3) Thousands of our soldiers have, in recent years, been put in coffins: a general consensus now exists (save for in the extreme extra-chromosome right wing) that the Iraq War was, at best, a huge tactical blunder and a mind-boggling boondoggle of  bad situation management after the initial invasion. I have yet to meet in person anyone who is screaming with rage about that. I hear about them in the media sometimes, I guess. 4) Every President since Nixon has sworn that America will quit being enslaved to Middle Eastern dictators by oil dependency.  The problem has only gotten worse with each passing administration.  I fear now that Obama won't be able to do anything about it either, because all his political capital may be stripped away in short order now that everyone has been pushed over the edge by some insurance company douche-bags getting some bonuses. Yeah, it's outrageous and stunningly tone-deaf on the part of the the company, but it's small potatoes compared  a lot of what we should have been pissed off about all along. President Obama wasn't kidding when he said it'd get worse before it got better.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Book View Cafe

I meant to mention this a couple days ago: writer Sue Lange (whose fine story "Zara Gets Laid" will be a highlight of M-Brane #5 in June)  wrote a blog post at Book View Cafe about M-Brane and also about Cynthia Ward's Market Maven Newsletter. Please go there and read it.  Sue is right on in what she says (and not just because she agrees with my remarks in M-Brane #2's editorial). And while you're there, take a minute or two and browse around Book View. It's a really neat thing with a lot of really impressive talent participating in it.

Research and revision

I'm a bit more than mid-way through my first-ever reading of Haldeman's The Forever War. I'm also in the middle of Neal Stephenson's Anathem--the lethal two-books-at-once situation. But Haldeman's book is a fast-paced page-turner while Stephenson's is decidedly not, so they fit different reading needs and moods at different times.

Haldeman's book is widely regarded as a major classic of both the sf genre and the war novel genre, and I am reading it with special attention to the way combat is depicted and how the off-duty culture of soldiers is handled as compared to some other military sf stories that I was more familiar with. I'm also comparing it a lot with those things in the story I've been writing.

I used to mention more often on this blog my novel-in-progress, now code-named Neglected Project. It's set in the pre-history of a far-future milieu that my friend Pat and I co-devised a while ago (the universe of Really Neglected Project). Anyway, I got inspired and started banging it out last summer and it emerged as largely a military sf story--or at least with a lot of the trappings of such being used to convey the main idea. The manuscript now stands at a bit over 60,ooo words and it probably needs another 30-40K to be done. My progress has been very, very slow of late, and I realized that some of what's stalling it is that I haven't been sure how to dig into some of the scenes that still need to be finished or, in some cases, first-drafted.  I've had what I felt were a lot of false starts with some the combat sequences that my plot demands occur in some detail and which need to have a real feeling of wild action. 

But I've been looking back at some scenes in other sf war lit and reading this new-to-me book by Haldeman and glancing over some portions of Neglected Project...and starting to think that maybe I wasn't doing too badly to begin with and just need to revise and polish rather than start over.  That's an encouraging way to feel, and it makes me feel like diving back into it. I may even come up with a real title someday.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

M-Brane writers' links updated

I just added a few more new writers to the M-Brane writers' links list (in the right-hand column a few kilometers down under Twitter and the archive). If you have had a story published or are scheduled to have one published in M-Brane SF and have a site but don't see a link to you, let me know via email or Twitter or a comment to this post and I'll add it promptly.

Reminders: M-BRANE #2 still exists even though #3 is coming soon

I set a goal at about the time of the release of issue #2 that I wanted to see 25 new subscriptions or the equivalent in single-copy PDF sales or print copy sales of that issue by 3/15.  We didn't quite make it: there was a serious slow-down in new sign-ups for a couple weeks...but it has picked up again slightly. And I did go ahead over the weekend and show it to a bunch of VIPS and sf bloggerati and other genre-interested folks in much the way I did with issue #1 (though without the fully free public posting of it). So between the regular readership and all of that extra promotional stuff I did, we've gotten a really excellent exposure for the issue #2 writers, and I'll keep at it the rest of the month.  But it's in no way too late to make it a bit better: readers of this blog who may not be on the magazine subscription list yet can go ahead and start 
up the astounding year with issue #2 right now or purchase just issue #2 (click over there on the right on that "subscribe" link, be transferred over to PAGE 2, and there you'll see all the options currently being 

Issue #3 is set for 4/1 release and it is going to rock out.  People will love it. They'll blog about it.  The Twitterati will tweet about it. (Something that I just noticed about it a few minutes ago: writers Catherine Gardner and Garrett Calcaterra are both in it, and they both happened to also be published together in the recent Arkham Tales #2.) I think I might even have a special surprise lined up for the third issue, but I don't know for sure yet, so I'll shut the frak up about it for now.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Winter: Over with

Jeff and I have decreed the winter season, at least in this part of the country, to be ended for the year. The weather is nice enough today that we have gone ahead and gotten the patio furniture set back up and Jeff is starting to gear up for the spring gardening season. Though this past winter, now ended, was relatively mild with no serious ice storms or appreciable snow accumulation, it was characterized by what seemed to be endless stretches of unacceptably cold temperatures. We will accept no recurrence of such conditions until the onset of next winter.

Now that it's over, we are probably only a week or two away from the time when most of the native Okies start their long season of non-stop complaining about how hot it is. Not us, though: we welcome the heat of summer. I wanted to take a picture of the back patio as it is now with the table and chairs in place and post it here, but Jeff insists that I wait until he has filled the area with pots of plants.

Trek trailer

OK, since I'm letting TV/movie crap bleed onto the brane today, here's another one: click to see new Star Trek movie trailer on YouTube. If this movie is anywhere near as godsdamn cool as this trailer...hmmm, I'm not gonna get my hopes up too much.

"SyFy": Stupid

Have you all heard that the TV's  SciFi Channel (also known derisively as "Skiffy Tube") is changing it's name this summer to...SyFy? I don't talk about TV and movie affairs very much on this blog, and SciFi (or SyFy) is one of the reasons for it. I've come to view these other media as being, at best, step-siblings of the actual sf genre. Though I was excited about the potential of this channel when it first launched all those years ago, I think it's been largely a potential wasted. For a channel that has the ability to produce a large amount of it's own content, and whose new slogan is "Imagine Greater," there has longed seemed to be a real dearth of imagination there. Who keeps putting up the effing money for these goddamned giant snake movies?

Yeah, I get it that nobody wants to watch on TV the kind of stuff that I like, those moldy old 1950s and 60s TV shows, and all of those long boring old thinky movies of the immediate pre-Star Wars era, and the older ones from the 1950s with "bad special effects." So I'm not saying that SyFy should just be re-running old stuff all of the time.  But if they're going to produce original content, why can't they once in a while look to the written genre for some inspiration?  So many awesome books are screaming for a film adaptation, and I can't even count the number of times that I've heard of some great story on the way to the screen on SciFi just to never see it happen. They have had some original content that's good: I really liked the Children of Dune film from a few years ago (much better than the Dune miniseries that preceded it), and Battlestar Galactica (about to end its run) is an all time fave of mine. When they import something from Britain, like Doctor Who or Torchwood, they also do well.  It keeps Ghost Hunters away for an hour or two.

The reason for the name change is that they think that the new word, pronounced exactly like the old one, will better encompass the whole range of programming that they offer without making anyone feel limited.  I guess they focus-grouped it or something and figured out that "SciFi" conjures thoughts of space, aliens and the future. But "SyFy" apparently does a better job of conjuring thoughts of ghosts, giant snakes and re-runs of movies like Field of Dreams and Pirates of the Caribbean. Brilliant.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


The other day I finally opened up M-Brane SF for advertising. Though I resisted it for a while, I thinks it's going to be a good thing for the future of the magazine, and will probably help us reach the ultimate goal of becoming a professionally-paying market for writers a bit faster.  So far I have been confining my sales pitch on it to other genre-related book and mag publishers because I think that's what the readers would be most interested in. So it would be a good fit both for M-Brane's readers and its advertisers.  I would be open to selling some ads to people selling other kinds of products, but I think it's best to keep it reasonably appropriate to the magazine's genre. I guess if I just wanted to sell lots and lots of non-genre-related ads, I could have gone into the gay porn business instead of the written science fiction business...  Doh!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Science "Friday": Quirks and Quarks/ Grand Vision continued

1) I've been trying to ignore the existence of the CBC radio network in Canada, averting my thoughts from the idea that its programming is probably available via live streaming and podcast just like NPR's programming. I just don't have time in my listening week to add another whole country's public radio shows. But this morning I broke down because I kept hearing of Bob McDonald's Quirks and Quarks science show.  So I went to the CBC site, turned my gaze away from most of what it had to offer, zeroed in on this one show and signed up for the podcast.  I am listening to it right now.  It's way cool. It's sort of like Wisconsin Public Radio's To the Best of Our Knowledge but with content similar to that of NPR's  Science Friday (but without the people calling in to the show). Our Canadian readers probably all know it's on at 12:06pm on Saturdays on Radio One.  One of the subjects of the installment that I am listening to this morning is dark matter and efforts to detect it in a straightforward way. 

2) Those interested in the bright future of the M-Brane zine, please read Thursday's post if you haven't already. I'm dead serious about what I say. There is no good reason why we can't attain that level of readership and have it be, from the writers' standpoint, a pro mag. It's only about half of what circulation one of the old-line pro digests (Analog, Asimov's, F&SF) gets, and their circulations are frankly pitiful considering that these are the "big" magazines of our genre, completely dwarfing the handful of other pro-level mags that exist. I'm also not convinced that they will successfully adapt to the new, emerging ways of doing things. The readership goal, as I stated in a comment to that earlier post, is not a prerequisite to being able to go to professional rate for the stories. That can start happening when we cross the three-to-four thousand circulation level.  This is based on some calculations (don't worry, I won't bore you with them) involving what an issue of M-Brane would cost me in payments to writers at SFWA pro level and how many subscriptions or other kinds of income need to be brought in to fund it at that level. It will be a huge cost: M-Brane is always going to publish a lot of stories.  There were eight in #1, nine in #2.  There will be ten in #3, and I think I have eleven or twelve booked for #4. I am not ever doing a mag like the webzine Clarkesworld that only runs two stories per issue nor am I ever putting a low word-count ceiling on the writers. I want it to have both quality and quantity like the old digests. Of course, the stories won't be the sole expense when it reaches that point: I won't be able to do it all by myself like I do now if it's a prozine. The stature of the zine will draw in far, far more story submissions than I can slog through alone, so I would have to add some editorial help and pay for that, too. 

Another positive aspect to having a big-time readership, is that I could more cost-effectively produce the print edition.  If I had demand for even a 100 copies of it, I could get it out for little more than half its current cost (btw, a few copies remain of print #1 and #2 via the "subscribe" link, and I'll have the Lulu store open again with the release of #3 in April).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Grander Vision

The last few years have featured, for me, a lot of getting beaten down: shoved out of my career, then a stupid job, then another stupid job, then my dream of owning and operating my own restaurant to then see that slip away over two years, then a whole heap of financial ruin, another stupid job, then moving to OKC (largely an impulsive blunder) where I had a lot of failure at finding a decent job and then settled on yet another stupid one…for considerably less money than I was getting even at the previous stupid one in St. Louis. I realized a few days ago that all of this distress has kneaded into me a real reluctance to embrace any kind of big idea, grand vision or dream ever again.

When I decided to start M-Brane SF, it was a very small-scale unambitious idea. I set up this blog a couple months before launching the zine and started getting the word out, thinking that all it was and all it ever would be was a small-circulation, small-time zine, a nice little hobby for me and maybe a home for me on the web to eventually try to promote my own writing career…in a very small, very ungrand, very non-visonary, not-expecting-anything- out-of- life kind of way.

Well, frak that. M-Brane SF is instead going to be a great big gigantic deal with vast ambition and a laser-like focus on a bright, huge future. It’s not in my real (and almost forgetten) nature to have it any other way. The official New and Emboldened Plan is not written yet, but here’s a little item from it: By one year from now, I intend to announce that M-Brane SF will be a professionally-paying market for its writers and that we have a monthly readership of not less than ten thousand people.

As we go, I will document here the various ways I will go about making this happen.

FLURB #7 is up

In my web notes in M-Brane #1 and in my editorial in M-Brane #2, and now on the blog, I am recommending Rudy Rucker's webzine Flurb. Issue #7 is online, and it's full of good stuff. I really like this one because of its attractive readability and its fine content.  One little thing that I don't like about it is that it does nothing toward what I increasingly see as the important agenda of finding good and fair ways to monetize short fiction. Flurb is entirely free to the reader...and it's a non-paying market for its writers.  It does, however, have a prestige factor (imparted by Rucker) that's way beyond what a lot of free, non-paying webzines can offer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some other mag updates

I noticed that Asimov's is out with its 400th issue, which is pretty impressive. I was at a used book shop last week that had on its shelves possibly as many as 200 of those. Their website publishes online teaser portions of some of the stories but also some of the non-fic and editorial content.  Currently up is an interesting article by Robert Silverberg about his experience over the years with reading and then re-reading A.E. Van Vogt's famous and famously weird novel The World of Null-A. Silverberg is old enough to have read it when it was published as a serial in Astounding and hailed by editor John Campbell as one of the greatest feats of sf. If you're interested in Van Vogt or Null-A at all, do check out Silverberg's article. I was familiar with the novel, but had not known how many revisions it had gone through over the years.

Realms of Fantasy is evidently not shutting down after all.  It's been acquired by another publisher and is said to be continuing as normal in May with McCarthy staying on as editor. More details on it can be found at Locus Online. It's an unusual piece of good news for genre print fiction mags these days.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

#3 Lulu test promising/ Subscription drive anemic

1. In my ongoing effort to make M-Brane available for POD via Lulu, I uploaded the issue #3 file and examined it for for failures. It looks fine, and I think I can say with renewed confidence that this edition can be made available simultaneously with the PDF release on 4/1 (see previous post for contents and cover image of #3). The Lulu versions of #1 and #2 are still too error-ridden, but I am considering fixing that now that I know how. I still have a few print copies of #1 and #2 and they remain for sale via the "subscribe" link. 

2. A while ago, I set a goal of getting 25 new subscriptions or equivalent in donations or sales of single copies or print copies of #1 and #2 by 3/15.  It's 3/10, and we're not there yet. Just saying. It does appear, however, that some more awareness of the existence of the zine is penetrating through the web. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Announcing ISSUE #3 Contents

The April issue of M-Brane SF will rule. As a sort of teaser and to get the writers' names out there a bit early, I'd like to list the next issue's astounding contents:

"Hard Frost" by Rhian Waller
"Business as Usual" by Lou Antonelli
"The Sufferance" by Richard Howard
"See Saw" by Catherine J. Gardner
"End Day" by S.C. Hayden
"Embrace" by T.J. McIntyre
"Time Noir" by Larry Ivkovich
"Tripsy" by Garrett Calcaterra
"Sleepless Sleep" by Bob Brill
"The Barking Death Squirrels" by Douglas A. Van Belle

Those are the stories, and they are exciting. Like last time, there is a great variety of style and subject matter, ranging from off-world adventure to Earth-bound crisis and from comedy to tragedy. It's due for release April 1.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Kepler Mission

I forgot about doing my "Science Friday" post yesterday...I think the biggest deal of the week is probably the launch of Kepler spacecraft, tasked with looking into space for evidence of terrestrial-type planets in orbit of other stars. Though about 300 planets outside out own solar system have been detected (most spectacularly the direct telescopic observation of planet Fomalhaut b and three planets of HR 8799 last fall--see my 11/17/08 post), they are thought to be mostly huge gas giants. Kepler will search for rocky planets, and hopefully find some in orbits of their stars where the surface temperature would allow for liquid water.

The mission sounds a bit dull when they describe it as staring for three years at the same spot of space, but if it gets good data, it will be one of the coolest scientific achievements ever.  I really hope that the worldwide economic going-to-crap doesn't doom space science. I've long thought that one of the single greatest technical achievements of humanity is the Voyager 1 probe which still functions, has passed our solar system's termination shock and is expected to enter true interstellar space by 2015. We sf people already know that there are rocky, habitable-zone planets all over the universe, but when Kepler shows it in a straightforward way, it will be another huge accomplishment.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mellonta Tauta

"Get ready your spectacles and make up your mind to be annoyed. I mean to write at you every day during this odious voyage..."

Have you all read this ridiculous story, "Mellonta Tauta," by Edgar Allan Poe? (I mean "ridiculous" in the best possible way--I am not insulting the founder of American genre fiction) Click on the title to go over to the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore's website and check it out if you don't have it in some anthology on a bookshelf already.  It's a piece of what could be called early sf in the sense that it is set a thousand years in the future, but it is also intended (I assume) as a sort of satirical attack on the society of the time. It's also laugh-out-loud funny and quite crazy.

It is written in the form of a letter, the author being a passenger on some kind of hot air ballon or airship. Apparently there are hundreds of people on this air voyage, which is supposed to be a vacation for them, but the narrator finds it entirely dreary: "Heigho! When will any Invention visit the human pericranium?" He wonders. "Are we forever to be doomed to the thousand inconveniences of the balloon?" Haven't you always wanted to be able to ask something like that? Much of the story is the narrator's observations of their world with reference to the ancient past, his understanding of it being fraught with errors and (mis)informed by another balloon passenger named Pundit.  At one point he even sets down the letter-writing to go ask Pundit something: "Let me see!  I will go ask Pundit and be back in a minute..."  As if he is talking to someone on the phone rather than writing a letter.  It is hilarious. The story ends with the balloon collapsed and heading down to the sea and the narrator hastily yet cheerfully finishing up his missive, saying that he'll cork it in a bottle and toss it into the sea.

That ending reminds me a lot of the much later Lovecraft and Lovecraftian stories with the image of the journal writer madly writing down events write up to the last second as doom arrives at the door. I love that stuff for its geekiness: it's writing for writers. I can imagine blogging that way now: "This may be my last post. The alien horde is literally across the street now...oh no...here they come!!!" 

Lulu Print Wars: Episode IV A NEW HOPE

I wish to publicly thank writer Dan (D.D.) Tannenbaum (whose excellent story "The Hole That Max Found" is scheduled for M-Brane #5) for assisting me via email and phone today with the confounding Lulu font problem that I have been documenting on this page, and which has threatened the possibility of me offering the print editions of M-Brane using Lulu's otherwise pretty user-friendly POD service.

It's not all completely resolved yet, but I have just moments ago performed another Lulu test, inspired by my conversation with Dan. It seems that the Cambria font might have been the sole problem and that if I just use something else, then I can make this happen and re-open the Lulu store. But...I am not ready to say it's a done deal yet, and I will not have time to rework the existing issues for Lulu formatting right away.  So no #1/#2 omnibus. I will proceed into production on issue #3, however, with this bit of new success in mind.  So what I said in an earlier post and on "Page 2" about the print editions of #1 and #2 still stands for now. If all works as it seems it may, I will be able to get future issues into Lulu. 

Second Chance Books

Today I visited a local used book shop that I hadn't been to yet called Second Chance Books and Comics. It has a very large science fiction section--actually two sections, one for hardcover books and one for paperbacks. It has even more books than the other store near my neighborhood that I usually visit. They also have the biggest collection of old pulp digest magazines that I've seen in a store: many, many issues of Galaxy, Worlds of If, Astounding, Analog, Amazing Stories, Asimov's and others, with issues going back to about 1950. Unfortunately for a cash-strapped reader like myself, they don't sell anything very cheaply.  They appear to be experts on what they have and they price things accordingly. Sometimes I'll be tempted to rifle through the inevitable book section in an actual thrift store like St. Vincent DePaul because one just might turn up amid the heaps of discarded religious books, diet books, get-rich-now books, and romance novels a real gem. Like, for example, a hardback edition of Greg Bear's Blood Music for twenty-five cents. That's exactly how I got my copy of it. It would be so sweet to stumble upon some little-known decroded shop somewhere that has shelves upon shelves of sf novels all for twenty-five cents or five for a buck.  Well, that's not what Second Chance is, anyway. It's a very nice store, not in the least decroded.  I never can really remember what to even look for when I am in such a place, but I did come away with a couple of Delany paperbacks (Nova and Triton, in editions published during the Fred Pohl days at Bantam) for seven bucks. Not bad. Though if I could have gotten into a time machine and gone back to 1977, I could have had them for four. But they would have thought my new-style ten dollar bill was fake.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Philip Jose Farmer Dies/ slight page re-model

1. You can read about this all over the web today, but I wanted to quickly mention that Philip Jose Farmer has died at age 91. His story "The Lovers," involving a human having a sexual relationship with an alien--described in terms quite startling for the time it was published--broke the ice on having frank talk of sex and depictions of sexual situations in sf, a genre that was largely devoid of such things before writers Farmer.

He was also a great bender and blender of genres, creating stories with elements of sf, fantasy, historical and mainstream literary fiction. Even if you haven't read any of his stuff--or even if you have read it and didn't like it--you have still been living in the world as it is post-Farmer if you are a reader or writer of sf. It is hard to overstate his influence on his contemporaries and then their descendants, on and on to the present. He's one of those writers--like perhaps and Heinlein and Van Vogt and Dick are--without whom things would probably be a lot different in the genre.

2. Uh, yeah the page looks different. It's purely cosmetic. Everything is as it was otherwise. I was just getting tired of looking at the other one, but don't have time right now to eff around with making something really custom and cool.

More on the Lulu glitch/ Print goes back to local

Those of you following the tedious twists and turns of M-Brane's print edition will have read the post below about how my Lulu plan for print-on-demand sales of it is not working out after all just when I thought all was well.  The problem lies in the fact that for some reason their system is rendering the font called "Cambria" into gibberish. Cambria is the font for the body text of 100 percent of M-Brane.  So, clearly, this is a problem. In fact, for the moment, it's a totally unworkable problem. I'm just not going to redesign the whole thing around that only to find that some other problem has arisen, like happened during the CreateSpace nightmare. I have been advised that I can generate a PDF of M-Brane that will "embed" the Cambria font in such a way that the Lulu printer can render it correctly if I spend a couple hundred bucks on the newest Adobe package. Since that won't be happening real soon the Lulu store is closed indefinitely.  I have to say that I do not understand why I can take any old damned file, including the zine's PDFs, to any household printer sitting on anybody's desk or even a place like FedEx-Kinko's and get a perfectly fine print-out of it, but a big commercial printer that makes books for a living can't handle it. I just wonder if POD is really ready for prime time unless you are doing a very, very simply-designed document and willing to limit yourself to Arial, Helvetica and Zapf Dingbats (that's what the online Adobe converter did to it, by the way...which gives me even more pause about actually buying their program). 

So...here's the final status of the print edition until technology catches up with me: I'll have the print copies run off at the local copy-monger like back in the day (since the even the crappiest, most scurrilous printer around here can deal with Cambria) and mail them out myself.   It will be run in all black and white on the cheap paper--otherwise it would be stupidly expensive. A purchase of it will include the PDF as well, just as an extra thing to have.  I'll get the price details and order procedure added to the subscription info later today. And then I'm leaving this topic for awhile and concentrating on getting onto other electronic platforms like Kindle.


I have temporarily shut down the Lulu store.  A problem with how one of the fonts actually shows up in print (as opposed to how to it looks in the supposedly "press-ready" version on-screen) has come to my attention.  Of course this would happen the day after I gave the plan some good praise.  I need to research it further and will update later.

If you were about to order the print #1/#2 volume, I apologize for the delay. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lulu vs. CreateSpace

I'm not sure how badly I really want to shill for POD publishing service Lulu yet since my relationship with it only just began, but I am willing to go ahead and say that my initial experience with it has been reasonably easy, user friendly and efficient...whereas my experience with POD service CreateSpace FREAKIN' SUCKED! 

Just yesterday, in a matter of a few minutes (or certainly less than an hour), I uploaded to Lulu and made available for sale a print edition omnibus (a word I am always looking for an excuse to say) of M-Branes #1 and #2. There's very little learning curve involved in understanding their interface, it walks you step-by-step through their process, and (best part) they let you download your document and look at it right then and there after it has been made "print-ready" for their system. If all is well with it, publication by way of one's virtual "storefront" is immediate. They also accommodate pretty much any page size including the normal, every-day letter-size pages of M-Brane.

Contrast this with CreateSpace: First problem was my page size.  I uploaded my zine to them and then waited one business day for a reply by email. Which took at least three days because my first attempt with them was on a Friday a few weeks back when I was putting out #1. The email reply I received was a lengthy litany of little problems with my document formatting, but the biggie was that my 8 1/2 x 11 pages were too big. Biggest page size is 8 x 10 with them. I can't believe I didn't just stop there, but I pressed on because it appeared that they would be slightly cheaper for my theoretical print readers to purchase from than Lulu.  I sat here and painstakingly reformatted the whole goddamned M-Brane #1 to slightly shrink the page dimensions. And that was just for the interior contents. The cover was a complete other fiasco.  Each upload of my repaired documents required another "one business day" for a reply, until finally, blessed holy day, they sent me an email approving my files and informing me that I am now ready to publish on CreateSpace...AFTER I purchase from them a "proof copy" for about $8.00 plus about $6.00 shipping...and WAIT up to three weeks to receive it. Then I gave up on CreateSpace.  It'll be a cold day in hell, apes will rule the earth, and squid will swing from the trees before I purchase a "proof" copy of my own zine unless I am turning around and selling it right away, and I'm not going to wait that long for it to show up either. Not in the age of the interweb and its series of tubes.

One glitch that Lulu shares with that other company is the apparent impossibility of printing stuff on the inside cover.  It makes the process a bit incompatible with how zines are often laid out. I don't think they anticipated anyone wanting to use this service for magazines. But I am satisfied with my Lulu experiment so far. One reason I gave it another look was because I follow Wil Wheaton on Twitter and on his blog and he is always talking about how great his new book, self-published via Lulu, is doing.

Monday, March 2, 2009


1) I put a "teaser" partial copy of issue #2 up on issuu (click). It's like one of those annoying things that you sometimes see on paid-subscription websites  where they'll let you look at parts of the stories, but not all of it. It's just another way for people to get an idea of what it is.

2) Because I'd like the writers to get a lot of exposure, I told the M-Brane #2 crew that I'd do some kind of big complimentary handing-out of their issue with much fanfare, probably to a lot of the special folks who got directly-sent copies of #1, and consider releasing the whole thing like we did with #1 if I can achieve 25 new paid subscriptions to the magazine (or an equivalent amount in donations or single-issue or Lulu sales) by 3/15. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it's not by any means a sure thing that we'll make that goal in two weeks because it's been really erratic so far. If we did make the goal, however, then the next few issues are definitely funded and I can keep being optimistic about the rest of the year. 

3) I've been thinking of selling ad space in M-Brane. I've not pursued it with a lot of vigor yet because the whole idea frankly bores me.  I think it can be a good way to prop up our funding, however--the third leg of a tripod consisting of subscriptions, single sales, donations and ads...I guess that's four things. OK, so not a tripod, but more like a coffee table. I need to set some rates and get the word out soon.  I am even considering "auctioning" it. Hey, if any of you people out there are selling anything you wanna advertise, let me know. I'd trade even-up with other zine editors--we always did that back in the fanzine days.

4) I'd like to start soliciting some artwork for the zine, particularly stuff for the front and back covers and also maybe some incidental pieces for the interior. I'm not sure if I want to lock into commissioning stuff to actually illustrate specific stories. In fact, I'm pretty sure I don't. We'll see, though. If you are yourself a science fiction artist or know people who are, then by all means contact me about it or spread the word.  Here's the catch, however: I'm not offering any payment at this time.  I don't offer much for fiction either, but in the case of art it will just be love and exposure. 


I have placed for sale on Lulu, the print-on-demand publisher, a double-issue edition compiling the contents of issues #1 and #2. It is available in both print and download options.  The print edition is $9.65, which is about as cheap as I could get it.  I think that's maybe a reasonable price for a printed, bound version of those 116 pages, but who knows what the shipping will be on that. That's been my whole hang-up with these print options the whole time: the book might not be too expensive, but they'll really let you have it on postage.  Just for the hell of it, I made it available for download from there also, for a fee. Most regular readers have already seen both issues in PDF (and #1 is free for the downloading all the time anyway), so that won't be of much interest to most of you guys. But as we go forward and more people find out about it (and when we get, say, issues #3 and #4 out), then I expect maybe some people will want an option like that. The M-Brane Lulu "store" can be reached by clicking here.  I will also get a link up on "Page 2"--that place you go to when you click over there on the left for subscription info or writers' guidelines.

Like the print edition of #1 (as those few of you who saw it know), the Lulu print omnibus lacks interior color--it's not like M-Brane's full of pretty pictures anyway. I reproduced in miniature the color covers of both issues on the front of the double-edition.  Then, within it, the reader will find those front covers reproduced again in their normal page 1 positions, but rendered in black and white. There is no master table of contents: the pagination of the thing is exactly like that of the stand-alone issues. It's as if they have been stacked #1 on top of #2 and bound together.

A single-issue way to buy #2 in print is not yet ready--I will update on that shortly (or at least by 3/15) like I've been promising. 

I'm also going to put up a way to buy the single issue of #2 in PDF from this site as another option for folks who maybe aren't ready to commit to the whole subscription. All of this will be  accessible through that "CLICK HERE" spot in the upper left which whisks the reader away to "PAGE 2."

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Our second issue is loosed upon the world. Those of you who are subscribers or who receive it as your compensation for your fiction sales to the zine (or who have stories in it), should have the PDF in your email boxes now or within moments.  Keep watching this site for news about the print edition, if you have interest in that format. It's due out on 3/15, and I hope to have a standard way of purchasing it figured out and set up by then. Then, once that's settled, I will try to move the whole calendar for all formats to the first of the month.

I'm pretty pleased with this new issue.  #1 will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first, but #2 is special in that it means that M-Brane is now officially a "periodical"...because there's been more than one single issue now. Theory becomes fact.  This zine is for real, is here to stay, and will appear in monthly installments like clockwork. 

#3 is going to pre-production already, and I'll probably announce its contents in a few days.


I was hoping to commence the PDF release of M-Brane #2 by this morning, but I spent all day yesterday playing and still have a bit of work to do on it. It's close, but it will probably be later this evening or tomorrow morning before it starts showing up in the e-boxes of subscribers and writers. Unlike issue #1, I am not planning to put up its full contents for free on the web and will not be inviting the issue's writers to do so on their own sites either. I'm a little torn on this matter because while I don't want to give it all away for free--because we need more paid subs to guarantee the first year--the subscriber base is still pretty small and does not by itself provide very wide exposure for the writers.  I am considering a compromise that may enable both better exposure for the writers and more subscriptions for the zine.  I'll have details later. Ok, back to work.


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