Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crossed Genres close to becoming a PROzine

Below is an update from publisher Bart Leib of Crossed Genres (posted to the Outer Alliance list earlier) about their Kickstarter campaign to raise sufficient funds to elevate their wonderful magazine as a SFWA pro-rates-paying market for fiction. If you can help out at all, please do so. They are offering some nice incentives, and it would be terrific to see CG at pro-paying level. I've always had a lot of liking for that zine and for Bart and Kay personally. Like M-Brane SF, their zine ran on a monthly schedule in electronic and print formats, and also managed some very cool stand-alone book projects, and we had a lot in common as far as the kind of stories we liked, including an openness to and desire for socially progressive material. Our ToCs over our overlapping period of publication included a lot of the same writers, which always made me happy. Also, I was very proud to have one of my own stories published in CG about two years ago, an item that I wrote to fit that issue's theme. I was very happy with the story, but  I wasn't sure it was going to find a home elsewhere if it didn't work for CG, so I was thrilled when it was accepted and I showed it off far and wide when it went live not just because it was my story but because it was my story in a zine that I was a big fan of.

Hi all,

I apologize for multiple posts on this. But we're down to the wire and we need a last, big push! After saving Crossed Genres from extinction, we're trying to raise funds so that CG Magazine can pay SFWA-level pro rates for fiction! We've managed to get our Kickstarter up to $11,361 - that's over 80% of our stretch goal! Butwe still need $2,639 more, and we have only 55 hours left!

No matter what, CG Magazine will continue to encourage and publish progressive, inclusive fiction. We want to be able to compensate authors better than token payments for their excellent work! 

Also, as a market that always wants to support and help develop new/emerging authors, if we reach our goal we intend to implement a "Spotlight" feature, where each month a new author gets their first pro sale, as well as an interview and hopefully some extra promotion as well.

More info about WHY we're pursuing pro rates is in this post:

There are some great pledge rewards: you can preorder ebooks of everything we publish through 2013 for just $25, or add all our current titles (7) to that for $45! There are t-shirts and photo prints (including the well-loved cover of our LGBTQ issue by Julie Dillon), signed or OOP books, even one or two short story critiques still available! And ANY pledge of $25 or more gets ebooks of the 2013 year of CG Magazine FREE!

Please support our efforts with a pledge, or help spread the word with a blog post, FaceBook Like, tweet, or sharing via word of mouth. We have until 5pm Eastern time on Friday!

Kickstarter main page:


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quarterly #4 is out (finally)

I finally managed the long-delayed publication of the M-Brane SF Quarterly #4, compiling in print form the fiction from the last of the electronic issues of M-Brane SF. It's a really nice book with a lot of interesting entries from a lot of really fine creators. It's up now on Amazon and should appear shortly on B&N, and it marks the conclusion of the zine's regular operations. Details still to come on future projects for M-Brane Press.

Speaking of B&N, I just noticed that a number of back-issues of the zine have materialized there as Nook ebooks, which struck me as quite odd since I had never created Nook versions of them. But evidently some of the print versions that I made available from Lulu back in the day were converted by Lulu. I vaguely recall being aware of them doing this some time ago and not responding one way or another on whether I wanted this done. I guess it explains why I still periodically receive very tiny little royalty payments from Lulu even though I haven't used their print-on-demand service for M-Brane projects in a very long time. I have no idea what these issues might look like or behave like in Nook form, but they are there.

Hopefully nobody would mind too much if I returned to this site periodically to just point out things or issue updates on stuff that is interesting or stuff that I am reading, like I used to do back in the day. In recent times, I have felt kind of isolated because I have so busy with my work life, and I miss saying stuff here and in my Live Journal. But things are calming down a bit at work, and I have no regular publication deadlines for a while, and I am doing a little bit of writing again, so I think I'd feel more "normal" if I posted stuff once in a while. So I'll try to do that more often.

Monday, February 20, 2012

M-Brane SF #30 released; downloadable for free right here

The new issue of M-Brane SF is available now, for free download, by clicking right here. It features the following great new stories.

Travis King "Stumptown Physics: Toward a Unified Theory of Infinite Probability Amplitudes, Elective Affinity, and Amanda Palmer"
Mary E. Lowd "A Second Enchanted Evening"
Chris Stamp "Dandelion and Gossamer"
Corin Reyburn "Endangered Species"
Andy Dudak "The Blind Can't Hear the Stars"
Sevan Taylor "Long Haul"
Robert Drake "The Vitruvius Project"
Margaret Karmazin "Watch Over Me"
Christian Arrowmaker "Mirrors"
Jude-Marie Green "Shiver"

It also happens to be the final issue of the normal run of this zine. I am planning a return with a different format later this year, but for now, this is it. Last night I posted some comments and reflections about this.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Acknowledgments; M-Brane #30

The following is from my rather lengthy editor's notes section from M-Brane SF #30, due to release tomorrow, Monday. It contains some overdue acknowledgments for some people who made it possible for me to do the zine and the books for three years. 

Three years ago when I published M-Brane SF #1, I wondered if anyone would ever notice or care, and I did not imagine that there would ever be a #30. Beginning this zine in the first place was a thing I had been wanting to do for years previously, but I began it more or less in the dark, not sure exactly how I’d even make its existence known to anyone. I wasn’t sure it was even worth the effort at all, but as a thing to do with my time it helped bring me out of a very depressing period of my life in part because it ended up connecting me, through social media, with a huge cadre of comrades that I’d never have met otherwise.

This new issue is the last of its kind. M-Brane SF will reincarnate later this year in a new form, but these regular monthly issues (yeah, I know it’s been seven months since the last one) must end now for reasons of personal time management. So before we start reading this thirtieth batch of stories, I want to acknowledge a few of the many people who were integral to life on the Brane over the last three years:

Brandon H. Bell, author and editor. He appeared in M-Brane SF #1 and in a couple other issues, and wrote the gorgeous novella Elegant Threat, which I published as one half of the M-Brane SF Double #1 last year. He also founded and edited our lovely, incomparable sister zine, the print-only beauty Fantastique Unfettered. He conceived the Aether Age shared universe and co-edited the anthology with me. And he’s been my very good friend this whole time, too. We have never met in person, but I feel like I know him as well as almost anybody in my immediate meatspace.

Prolific Writers: Rick Novy, Derek J. Goodman and Michael D. Griffiths supplied me constantly with entertaining and thought-provoking stories and made my job a lot easier, especially during the rocky early months of the zine when I wasn’t drawing as much attention from writers as I’d have liked. All three of these guys are involved in M-Brane Press books projects: Rick Novy’s (as editor) 2020 Visions, a seriously good antho of very near-future SF; Derek J. Goodman’s Machina, a lovely quartet of novellas that I wish to hell more people would buy (get thee to Amazon!); and Michael D. Griffith’s Skinjumper is forthcoming this year. This is a novel-length sequel to a series of shorts that I ran in M-Brane SF, and which I will repackage in book form with the new novel.

Random Actors of Kindness: Writer Dan Tannenbaum, out of pure generosity, donated a ton of time to creating ebook versions of a whole bunch of M-Brane issues and several M-Brane Press books, including my queer-fic antho Things We Are Not. Artist and writer Mari Kurisato provided two cover arts for that same antho and donated several covers to M-Brane zine issues and created the M-Brane SF logo that appears on the cover of this issue and on our print quarterlies, all for no ascertainable reason other than that she is made of awesomeness. Eric T. Reynolds (Hadley Rille Books) decided to take a chance and sign on as publisher of The Aether Age, completely sight-unseen, nothing to go on other than our description of how cool it would be. This is an example of a very cool comrade who “gets” it. I’d also put in this category a few friends who (possibly unwittingly) did a lot of promoting of my zine and my personal existence via social media, these being the intellectually stunning Harrison Brace, and the mysteriously compelling Red Bakersen and the incomparably sweet and wise poet Lydia Ondrusek (who really tries to stop me from fucking up my hair, alas to no avail).

Editor-Comrades: Without the generous feedback from, assistance from, and general camaraderie with other people who were also engaged in the crazy project of publishing short fiction zines, doing my zine would have a hell of a lot harder. I made some really great friends among my peers, such as Bart Leib and Kay Holt (Crossed Genres); Eden Robins and Caren Gussoff (Brain Harvest); Kaolin Fire (GUD); Jason Sizemore (Apex). Those are all, by the way, great writers, too, and I published all of them in M-Brane at one time or another.

Those Literati Who Remind Me Why I Do This: I am an emotional dude susceptible to crazy highs and lows, and many times during the run of M-Brane SF, I would get discouraged and wonder why the hell I was bothering with the endless labor over it. And then, wallowing in a bed of disillusionment, I’d remember that Alex Jeffers and Cesar Torres still walk the Earth and just might once again send me something to read and publish, and I’d arise ramrod straight and get back to work. Alex’s work is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and I have gotten to show it off a couple times in M-Brane SF, and in the Things We Are Not antho, and in the Double (his half was The New People). He is woefully under-recognized as an author and that needs to change.  Cesar is the author of the little gem of a book The 12 Burning Wheels (M-Brane Press, 2010) and the short story “The Nagual’s Elision” which appeared in the zine and in the print Quarterly #1 in 2010. He’s a relatively new writer and he is going to be a big deal. These are two genre-blurring writers who seem capable of almost anything with their words, and they are the names I would invoke if ever asked to prove to a jury that I am a competent editor and publisher: read The New People and The 12 Burning Wheels—case closed!

The Haters: Actually they were blessedly few in number but extant nonetheless, those who felt they needed to bash me for my “lifestyle” or for my “normalization” of what they see as abnormal behavior, sending me hate mail, attacking my partner, and so on. And some of them do remain housed within the fiction genres and the small-press publishing world, and the big-press world, too. I won’t dignify any of them by actually stating their names. The Outer Alliance, of which I am proud to have been a founding member, rose to stand against them not with violence and ignorance and hate but with reason, science and art. If the Haters don’t come around, then they may eventually find themselves cordoned into a tiny little intellectual ghetto as stifling as the whole-real-life one that I spent most of my life in. So why do I even mention them here in this makeshift elegy to the end of the First Age of M-Brane SF? Because their very existence occasionally (and ironically) pulled me out of the very deepest depths of depression in the early days of the zine: out of sheer cussedness and pissed-offedness, I rose from the dead to battle my arch-enemies. I’ve seen some blog chatter in the last year about how science fiction is somehow an inherently rightwing, closed-minded (ie. “conservative”) genre. That’s a bunch of bullshit. SF is fundamentally a forward-looking and therefore, by its very definition, a progressive and open-minded genre and I have a huge stack of zine issues and books to prove it. If the impression of the genre is otherwise, then it’s because we don’t speak up enough when assbags spew venom.

The Departed: We lost a few friends. Author Glenn Lewis Gillette, whose story “Time Enough for a Reuben” was the first story of the first issue of M-Brane SF, left the world, succumbed to disease. He was a great writer and a cool dude and we miss him. Author Jamie Eyberg—who was a great Twitter friend to me personally—appeared a couple times in the zine with really cool stories, and we lost him, too, along with his wife in a tragic accident in 2010. The very last sentence of his final blog post before he died still haunts me and occasionally inspires me to action: “Sometimes life really does get in the way.” Don't forget it. I’ll also mention Emily Moore. She had nothing to do with the M-Brane world but she was a very dear friend and the very best friend ever to my partner Jeff. She was also a talented creator, and would have been a great published writer had she made it a few more years. She died in November at much too young an age.

Those Too Numerous to List: Sometimes when I see an entertainment or sports celeb receive some kind of honor and thank “God” or “the Lord” for it, I think to myself “If I were getting this kind of award, I’d say to everyone that God had frak-all to do with it, no miracle involved, I did all this by myself, thank you, good night.” But it’s not really true that all of the cool shit I have been able to do could have happened without help. It wasn’t from God, but it was from all the people above and all the many, many more that I did not mention by name here but whose contributions, friendships, kind words, nicenesses, great art and general coolness are nonetheless deeply appreciated. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

M-Brane SF #30 Contents Announced

Below is the list of authors and stories that will comprise the forthcoming new issue of M-Brane SF. It is our 30th issue, after a hiatus of about seven months, and it will be the last one in its familiar format. A couple months ago I said that there would be a 30th and 31st issue, each with six stories, before ending the zine's run and shifting to a new concept, but some of the stories I wanted to include between those two issues fell though (my fault for being too slow at grabbing them) and I eventually decided to put these ten stories together into a somewhat fatter issue #30. Posting for the last time the ToC for my beloved zine kind of makes me want to cry, but it also fills me with a little bit of pride for the work that M-Brane SF did in bringing forward so much really great work from a lot of new writers. It was a really great run. And it's not over anyway: I will relaunch M-Brane SF in a new format later this year. The new issue will appear shortly and its subscribers will get their usual PDF download. Also, on publication day I will post its entire content for download on this site, and all of its stories will appear in print as part of the M-Brane SF Quarterly #4.

Travis King "Stumptown Physics: Toward a Unified Theory of Infinite Probability Amplitudes, Elective Affinity, and Amanda Palmer"
Mary E. Lowd "A Second Enchanted Evening"
Chris Stamp "Dandelion and Gossamer"
Corin Reyburn "Endangered Species"
Andy Dudak "The Blind Can't Hear the Stars"
Sevan Taylor "Long Haul"
Robert Drake "The Vitruvius Project"
Margaret Karmazin "Watch Over Me"
Christian Arrowmaker "Mirrors"
Jude-Marie Green "Shiver"


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