Remarkable what you can find at one of those large, sprawling, craft-filled market days for a buck. I certainly don’t need any more old paper clogging up the office, but when I recently stumbled across a vendor selling classic science-fiction magazines for cheap, my willpower vaporized like it had been raked over by a ray gun (note the period-correct terminology).
This example is the April, 1963, issue of Fantastic Stories of Imagination, with acover by Frank Bruno. It caught my eye in particular because of the the Fritz Leiber story blurbed on the cover. Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books were a major influence behind my teenage enthusiasm for sword-and-sorcery novels, but his stuff was never just pulp. Leiber went on to be named one of the earliest science-fiction Grandmasters by the SFWA.
But what really made me pull out my wallet was the early Roger Zelazny tale listed on the table of contents. Zelazny is one of my favorites SF writers of the generation that debuted in the 1960s, and Fantastic was one of the publications that nurtured his early career. His story, The Malatesta Collection, is not bad, but it’s evident that he hadn’t yet hit his stride. (This issue came out a full three years before his first novel was published.) It’s a somewhat overwrought tale about a future society uncovering a cache of books, and the contents aren’t quite what they expect. Still, when you really like an author, it’s a treat to find some forgotten story of his.
Fantastic was published as a digest-size magazine from 1952-1980. It was revived as a webzine by Wilder Publications a few years ago, but just ceased publication on January 18 of this year. Fantastic’s time may have passed, but finding any of these old issues for a dollar is money well spent.
Well. If you ever wanted to make a writer’s day, month or year, you might want to try something like this.
My friend Bert W., whom I’ve known since grade school, is a veteran world traveler. You name the place, he’s been there, probably twice.
His latest adventure was a trip to the Mount Everest base camp. Fortunately, he managed to avoid being buried by the recent earthquake in Nepal, but judging by some of the pictures he sent back, it was a close call.
While standing in that rarified air at the top of the world Bert took the time to snap a couple photos that will have me smiling for the rest of the month—my Connor Rix books at Everest.
Bert, I may live only 700 feet above sea level, but this took my breath away. One of my creations has now traveled farther than I ever have. A million thanks and a hearty salute for you, sir!
Indie publishing has opened up more opportunities than I can even keep track of, but the really intriguing possibilities involve those concepts that you rarely (or never) find in traditional publishing—shared universes, cross-overs and collaborative marketing.
I’m working on a new project that’s hip deep into all of that. I’ve signed on to write a novel set in the Apocalypse Weird series by Wonderment Media, due out later this year. Apocalypse Weird is a big, sprawling multiverse saga involving every apocalyptic scenario you can imagine. Some great writers are producing hugely entertaining works in this series.
The Apocalypse is off to a great start. They’ve published nine books since the February launch and plan two more per month for the next several years. And now, Wonderment is conducting a crowd-funding push through Indie GoGo to take it all to the next level. There are some excellent perks offered at ten different contribution levels. If you’ve been looking for a fresh way to support the new wave of publishing, this is your chance to help build something that will spur the creation of great books for years to come. Follow the link and check it out. If you want a taste for free, The Red King by Nick Cole is the volume that kicks it all off. And check out my novel Follow the Chupacabra for confirmation of why I might be suitable for spinning yarns of end-times weirdness.
Need more? Here’s the very cool book trailer by AW author Eric Tozzi for his entry in the series, Phoenix Lights:
This just made my day. The PULP-O-MIZER allows you to create your own pulp magazine covers, and the results are simply fantastic. For a test run, I placed Connor Rix in the pulp setting he always deserved. Rix was made for the pulps. He could have kicked Doc Savage’s ass any day of the week.