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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Well, BULL SPEC is a quarterly. Issue #4 now available!

While print copies won't be available until the launch party at The Regulator on Wednesday, January 12th, BULL SPEC #4 is available now for orders and downloads and sample previewing in the usual places.

Again the cover is from Carrboro's Jason Strutz:


And behold! the contents of what squeezed into the 64 68! pages, cut-and-pasted nearly unformatted from layout for now:


Cover Art
Jet Packs! Jason Strutz

Fiction
4 Freedom Acres Andrew Magowan
12 O, Harvard Square! Nick Mamatas
16 The Burning Room David Tallerman
21 A Mathematician’s Apology Don Norum
24 City of Shadow and Glass Erin Hoffman
26 Tornado of Sparks James Maxey

Graphic Short
33 Closed System Mike Gallagher part 4 of 4

Features
32 Closed System Mike Gallagher ≈ Interview
     by Samuel Montgomery-Blinn
42 Pyr at Five & 100 Lou Anders ≈ Article and
     Interview by Samuel Montgomery-Blinn
50 Children No More Mark L. Van Name ≈
     Excerpt; Essay and Interview by Dan Campbell
56 The Greyfriar Clay and Susan Griffith ≈
     Review by Natania Barron; Article by Alex
     Granados
57 Pathfinder Orson Scott Card ≈ Article by Alex
     Granados

Departments
40 Happenings
58 Reviews ≈ Surface Detail Iain M. Banks
     by Patrick Ward; The Secret History of
     Fantasy Peter S. Beagle by Paul Kincaid;
     The Horns of Ruin Tim Akers by
     Joseph Giddings; The Strange Affair of
     Spring-Heeled Jack Mark Hodder by Joseph
     Giddings; The Way of Kings Brandon
     Sanderson by Richard Dansky; Stories Neil
     Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio by Richard Dansky;
     The Universe in Miniature in Miniature
     Patrick Somerville by Jason Erik Lundberg
64 Poetry ≈ Masdevallia Mark Brandon Allen;
     Beastwoman’s Snarled Rune Rose
     Lemberg; Enchantment Jennifer McConnel;
     with the fisher on the lake Kaolin Fire;
     The Guardian at the Fountain of
     Eternal Youth Alexandra Seide
66 Editorial ≈ The Year That Was & The Year to
     Come

And... this exercise already revealed one error, in that one of the many things which couldn't fit into these 68 pages remained in the contents list, that being Paul Kincaid's review of Sacred Space. Actually that one will have to wait for issue 5.

Anyway: what are you waiting for? Get those orders on, and if you're nearabouts the Triangle area, see you in a couple of weeks!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Call for happenings, October-March.

I missed far too many "Happenings" in issue 3:

And that's really the tip of the iceberg. There were events I didn't know about, entire reading series I neglected, on and on.

This is where you come in.

If you, dear reader in the greater Raleigh-Durham and surrounding region, had a story published, or a book sold, or an article picked up -- let me know, at happenings at bullspec dot com. If you have a story or book upcoming as far ahead as March, let me know. If you're having an event, or book discussion, let me know. If you think "Hey, I know of this event or book coming up, and that my friend Steve has a story coming out in F&SF, but I'm sure Sam will hear about it some other way." You guessed it: please, let me know!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Poetry Acceptances & An Apology

Many thanks to all who answered my call for poetry back in October! I'm feeling well fed and still enjoying the incoming submissions.

Before I announce acceptances, though, I must apologize to the poets whose work appeared in issue 3: we forgot to include your bios and are terribly sorry! So, belatedly, here's the scoop on issue 3's poets:

Rob Elkind ("Magnetic Moment") is currently employed as an Information Security Specialist (white hat). He is a long time practitioner and instructor of the Fu Hok Tai He Morn Chinese martial arts system. Also, he is a beekeeper and raises chickens with his wife and daughter in Sudbury, MA. "Magnetic Moment" is his first poetry publication.

Matt Ronquillo ("Thread Head") is a regular contributor at Haggard and Halloo publications. His work has also appeared in issue #4 of Infinity's Kitchen Magazine. His physical presence tends to cause complex systems and mechanical processes to mysteriously break down. He lives in Costa Mesa, California.

Deborah Walker ("Dolly Bone Dream" and "The Standing Stones Have Fallen but the Debt Remains") lives in London. Her poetry has appeared in Space and Time, Dreams and Nightmares, and Apex Magazine. She also writes fiction--some of which was inspired by her poems.

David Sklar ("When I Grow Up") writes in the places between the impossible magic of legend, the inscrutable magic of dreams, and the breathtaking everyday magic of the world in which we live. His works include fiction in such publications as Space and Time and Cabinet des Fées, and poetry in Wormwood Review and Paterson Literary Review, among others. His first novel, Shadow of the Antlered Bird, is available as an e-book from Drollerie Press. He is currently coediting the two-headed anthology Trafficking in Magic/Magicking in Traffic. David lives in New Jersey and works as a freelance writer and editor. For more information, see davidwriting.com.

Robert Laughlin ("With a Chance of Sucking Vacuum" and "What the Poet Wrote after His Wife Put that Big Seed Pod under His Bed") lives in Chico, California. He has published over 100 short stories and poems, many of them sf or fantasy. Two of his short stories are Million Writers Award Notable Stories, and his sf novel, Vow of Silence, was favorably reviewed by Publishers Weekly. His website is at www.pw.org/content/robert_laughlin.


For issue 4, I'm pleased we'll be publishing the following poems:
  • "Masdevallia", by Mark Brandon Allen
  • "Beastwoman's Snarled Rune", by Rose Lemberg
  • "Enchantment", by Jennifer McConnel
  • "with the fisher on the lake", by Kaolin Fire
  • "The Guardian at the Fountain of Eternal Youth", by Alexandra Seidel

Thank you to all who have submitted in the last two months!

- Dan Campbell, Poetry Editor

Friday, December 10, 2010

Local speculative fiction holiday shopping guide: Part 2!

Thanks to readers and other folks chiming in, there are a few more things to add to the already epically rambling Bull Spec holiday shopping guide. Got those stockings ready? Apparently one post was not enough to contain the awesome of this year in local speculative fiction.

Jenna Black is a Duke graduate, and a proud member of the Heart of Carolina romance writers group. She also writes amazing YA fantasy, and urban fantasy (the five books in the Morgan Kingsley series; with a new series, Dark Descendent, coming in April). I first encountered her through seeing her book GLIMMERGLASS at The Regulator, and that's the book I'm putting fully on the "recommended holiday shopping" list. "Dana Hathaway doesn't know it yet, but she's in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl—she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie." Another bonus? The sequel, SHADOWSPELL, is coming in just a few weeks, on 4 January.


Speaking of local, speculative YA, and The Regulator, another local author I learned about there is Cate Tiernan. Her latest book, her first new book in several years and the start of a new series, is IMMORTAL BELOVED: "New name, new town, new life. Nastasya has done it too often to count. And there’s no end in sight. Nothing ever really ends . . . when you’re immortal."


Next up, two words: "Math Manga." What? Yes. Durham's Melinda Thielbar is the brains (the strange, squishy brains) behind the Graphic Universe series MANGA MATH MYSTERIES, pitched as a series for Grades 3-5 that relates math to everyday life through the eyes of the students at a Kung Fu dojo." I mean, YES! Where was this book when we were learning our multiplication tables, am I right? There's a rumor (unconfirmed!) that this will be available in Chapel Hill Comics soon. Go pester Andy, not me! And, OK, maybe this isn't "speculative fiction". It's still fun. And there's kung fu. And kids who like math. Update: Andy says books 1-4 of this series are in stock! So go raid Franklin Street!


How, oh how, did I not mention AETHER AGE: HELIOS in the anthologies section of the original post? It's got two stories from Jaym Gates and it's had my attention for a full year now. Editors Christopher Fletcher and Brandon Bell have been working on this a long time, and it's finally out. If a collection of stories set in a shared world of alternate history, where the ancient Egyptians and Greeks had such things as printing presses, and space became a breathable "aether" with its own flora and fauna doesn't sound fascinating, well, get your fascination meter checked, mm-kay?


While the book is older even than this 2007 paperback version, Chapel Hill fantasy author Nick Perumov's GODSDOOM was not previously available in other than its native Russian. Perumov's Russian-language novels are legendary, particularly his Tolkien-set novels set 300 years after the War of the Ring, which is the subject of an international volunteer translation effort. Godsdoom begins a trilogy set in a world of Perumov's own creation, and is most likely unlike any fantasy you've ever read. No, not you, well-read international fantasy reader.


Local artist Angi Shearstone has done a lot of great work, both inside genre (an amazing book cover for Richard Dansky) and outside (a lovely collection of Chinese brush paintings). Her graphic novel TORCHES is a few years old now, but its ominous folklore is timeless.


How about a gift that keeps on giving? Give a subscription to Weird Tales, and if you specify that it should start with the current issue, #356's "Uncanny Beauty", it's also a local gift -- the issue features the poem "The Wakened Image" by Raleigh's Natania Barron.


Lastly, though I listed their print versions in the last post, I was clueless to the fact that you can actually quite nicely send Kindle books as gifts via e-mail, directly from the book's Kindle pages on Amazon.com. James Maxey did the covers for the electronic versions of his Dragon Age series himself, typeset the e-books himself, and, well, he did a bang-up job. If your giftee is a Kindle reader, then get them started (or finished!) on the Dragon Age trilogy by clickety-clicking your way to e-book giving:


And if e-book giving is, like, totally your bag, baby, go nuts!
Of course there's more. Happy holidays!

PS: OK, OK. I'll pitch it. Another gift that keeps on giving? A subscription to Bull Spec. And did you know you can even start that subscription with issue #1 still? That would be the 3 issues so far (Spring, Summer, Autumn) for under the tree or in a stocking, and the year's 4th issue to arrive shortly after the holidays. Or, you know, get one for yourself, and one for each of your 20 closest friends.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Third Bear Carnival very belatedly continues!

OK. The first of a couple of contests about to kick off before the Ides of December are upon us. Remember back in September, when Stephen Gordon (and Dan Campbell, sadly ineligible) posted some good ideas for how to give away 3 copies of Jeff VanderMeer's The Third Bear as part of an even-then ridiculously late entry to Matthew Cheney's The Third Bear Carnival. Stephen won a copy for his trouble, and has a chance to win another in time for holiday giving. (Sorry Dan, still ineligible.)

   

But there's a catch: there's only 2 copies available now! (Hey, I'm keeping one for myself. Executive decision. Contest runner's rights. &c.)

So here's the contest. Starting now (like: NOW!) send at most ONE e-mail to [contests at bullspec dot com] with the title "CONTEST: THIRD BEAR CARNIVAL" and the contents being a blurb-length (100-200 words) review for a nonexistent book, complete with book title and author, inspired (however broadly) by The Third Bear. Be creative, be funny, be surreal. 2 winners (chosen by me, the executive decider, &c.) get announced on the blog and copies of the book. Valid entries must include the name to whom to credit the review and a mailing address to which to send the book. And, sorry, it's available only to where the deliciously inexpensive USPS media mail travels, so that's the United States, its territories, bases, embassies, etc. But you know what? You can enter the contest from elsewhere, but if you win, you don't get mailed the book. Fair enough? Yeah. Sorry about that.

Deadline is one week from NOW: Wednesday 15 December at high noon EST. Happy insanity!

Quick announcements.

Whew!

  • Officially booked as a dealer for StellarCon 35, 4-6 March, 2011 in High Point, NC
  • Accepted a story from Jason K. Chapman!
  • Melinda Dansky is now Bull Spec's advertising honcho; if you've a book or game or comic or related event to promote with us, she'll have the rate sheet and all that fun stuff
  • Bull Spec poetry editor Dan Campbell has had a poem accepted by the amazing new speculative poetry journal Stone Telling!
  • Bull Spec associate editor Alex Granados will be stepping down after issue 4, to focus on his new column for the North Raleigh News edition of the News & Observer. Congrats, Alex!
  • Pittsboro's David Drake has finished his translation of Ovid's Metamophoses IX: 1-272 ("Hercules") from the Latin
  • Started publicity for Bull Spec #4 Launch Party/North Carolina Speculative Fiction Night #2 on Wednesday, 12 January at Durham's The Regulator Bookshop
  • Very shortly, finally going to get two (yes, 2!) contests going. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bull Spec's holiday shopping guide...

If you've got somebody on your list who loves genre fiction, there's been a locally written book published either this year or late last year which is perfect for them. While gift certificates are great (Check IndieBound for bookstores near you good  Quail Ridge, The Regulator, Flyleaf, and more!) sometimes a great gift comes from putting the right book in the right hands.

I've thought of a few ways to try to organize this list: chronologically? by author? by city? Finally, though some books are harder to classify than others, I went with genre for novels, and then broke out anthologies, collections, and a few other categories at the end. I hope you enjoy, and I hope you find a great local gift in your favorite local store for everybody on your list. (And don't forget yourself!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

December/January events!

Whew. December is nearly upon us. After you recover from the weekend's turkey-coma, wake up! December is getting off to a good start:
And as you prepare to face either the hordes of Black Friday or a more casual approach (say, 2 PM on a weekday?), if you have a someone for whom a book or comic or game might be an ideal gift, coming soon will be a quick cheat sheet of (mostly!) local speculative fiction. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Quick acceptances round-up.

It's been way too long since I last talked acceptances, so:
  • Raleigh's Dale Mettam, "We Don't Do Quests". Humorous fantasy. 3000 words.
  • Amber Sistla, "Fadeout". Near future science fiction. 2500 words.
  • Charlottesville, VA's Don Norum. "A Mathematician's Apology". Science fiction. 1700 words. (Issue #4 content.)
  • Tiny Connolly, "Selling Home". Post-apoc science fiction. 5000 words.
  • Winston-Salem's Stuart Jaffe, "Perchance". Modern fantasy. 3000 words.
  • Elizabeth Creith. "Here Be Dragons". Post-apoc science fiction. 3300 words.
  • Kenneth Schneyer. "Less Than Absent". Science fiction. 1000 words.
  • Durham's Rebecca Gomez Farrell. "Bother". Near-future science fantasy? 4000 words. (Issue #5 content?)
  • Tim Pratt. "Hell's Lottery". Modern dark fantasy. 3100 words. (Issue #5 content.)
  • Durham's Andrew Magowan. Near future science fiction. 5000 words. (Issue #4 content.)
  • D.K. Thompson. "The Gearaffe That Didn't Tick". Science fiction. 3000 words.
  • Hillsborough's M. David Blake. "Absinthe Fish". Surreal/bizarre/something. 1500 words. (Issue #5 content?)
  • Jason Erik Lundberg. "Complications of the Flesh". Hard to classify. 4000 words.
  • James Maxey. "Tornado of Sparks". Science fantasy? A "Dragon Age" story originally published in The Solaris Book of New Fantasy. 5600 words. (Issue #4 content.)
Previously accepted issue #4 content:
  • David Tallerman. "The Burning Room". Fantasy. 4000 words.
  • Nick Mamatas. "O, Harvard Square!". Hard to classify. 3100 words.
  • Erin Hoffman. "City of Shadow and Glass". Science fiction. 675 words.
Hope you enjoy! Now back to other things. Like figuring out what I'm going to say tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hey, thanks Durham Magazine!

Durham Magazine's Matt Dees blogs about Bull Spec, the issue #3 launch party at Flyleaf Books this Saturday afternoon, and next Thursday's NC Speculative Fiction Night and says: "Pick up a copy if you want to be on the cutting edge of the literary scene." Thanks, Matt!


Matt was very encouraging when I asked him for magazine advice way, way back in January. I've tried to "Dare not to suck!" as best I can, and I'm grateful for the shout-out.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Less than a week to the issue #3 launch party! A video walkthrough! And some reviews of #3 are coming in.

Hey there! It's less than a week to the issue #3 launch party at Chapel Hill's Flyleaf Books. It's a great lineup, with:
  1. Pittsboro science fiction and fantasy author David Drake, who is planning to read from next year's Out of the Waters, sequel to The Legions of Fire, the first book in his new epic fantasy series, which was featured in the issue.
  2. Durham author Melinda Thielbar, who will read from her story "You're Almost Here", a first-person rip through a possible near future.
  3. Carrboro writer and illustrator team Jeremy Whitley and Jason Strutz, the story and art behind Firetower Studios and in particular The Order of Dagonet. They're going to (seriously!) do a live comic book reading and illustration.
Secondly, a video walkthrough of issue #3 is now available for folks interested in having somebody else flip through and describe the issue's contents:



Lastly, some reviews of issue #3 are trickling in:
  1. The Portal's Alexandre Donald: http://sffportal.net/2010/10/bull-spec-issue-3-autumn-2010/
  2. SFRevu's Sam Tomaino: http://www.sfrevu.com/php/Review-id.php?id=11424
That's it for now...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We Want Poetry!

With issue 3 available for pre-order, our poetry editor is hungry for more poems. Please feed him! We want poetry that takes one outside the ordinary, grabs the reader in the guts, and offers up a feast. The best guide to our taste is to read past issues of Bull Spec: send us something that would go well with the other poems we've published, would complement the stories, would add a little spice or would distill the essence of the whole in a single drop.

We're particularly fond of verse that shows a story, whether it spans 10,000 years in ten lines or measures a moment in one hundred. Give us something speculative: entice the reader's imagination, open up their soul, ask them to feel more than when they picked up the page.

Genre is a guide, not a blueprint. We're happy to read poems that are clearly within the realms of science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, cyber/steam-punk, the surreal, the realism of magic, and/or the weirdness of what everyone knows but refuses to talk about. But we're just as eager for poems which weave in between and outside of these (often obscured) boundaries.

Please have a care with form. Our poetry editor wants poems, not flash fiction. Rhythm and rhyme, assonance and alliteration, metaphor and meter all have their place--but should never be noticed upon first hearing a poem. They are merely stones to step the reader from the known to the unknown.

Please send your poem(s) to poetry-submissions at bullspec dot com and let us know: (1) where you are writing from; and (2) if it has been previously published, where and when. If sending multiple poems in one submission, please let us know if they are meant to be published as a set or individually. Please send no more than 3 poems at once. You can put the poem(s) in the body of a plain text email or in a rich text attachment if particular formatting is required. A line count is much appreciated.

Please note: we are not yet open to non-local submissions of fiction. We are open to both local and non-local submissions of poetry (especially extraterrestial submissions from resident aliens orbiting Durham, NC). Please read our guidelines for further information, such as (the few) limitations on subject matter and details regarding rights purchased and payment made.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

BULL SPEC #3 has gone to the printers! (Pre-orders, anyone?)

Whew. It's been quite a ride, but Bull Spec #3 is now in the printer's hands. That means:


Some notes of interest:

  • United Kingdom orders or subscriptions may select United States shipping! Yeah!
  • I'm working on Australia. Honest. Let me know how hard I should be working on that in the comments.
And just look at the cover, from local artist Jason Strutz!


So, what are you waiting for? Stories from Katherine Sparrow, Melinda Thielbar, Lavie Tidhar, David Steffen, and introducing Denali Hyatt; interviews/articles with David Drake (along with an excerpt of his novel The Legions of Fire, Joe Haldeman, Brandon Sanderson, William Gibson, Paul T. Riddell, and Firetower Studios' Jeremy Whitley and Jason Strutz, and Tachyon Publications on turning 15; poetry from Deborah Walker, David Sklar, Rob Elkind, Matt Ronquillo, and Robert Laughlin; reviews; trilingual flash fiction (thank you, Gio Clairval!); "Happenings"; and, of course, Mike Gallagher's next installment of "Closed System"; and more story illustration by both Mike and Joey Jordan.

Whew. 3 months. 64 pages. And 3 months to do it all over again. Issue #4 will bring new fiction from David Tallerman, Nick Mamatas, Erin Hoffman, and, of course, more. (Interviews with Mark L. Van Name, Clay and Susan Griffith, Lou Anders, John Claude Bemis, ...) So why not just subscribe and not have to worry about missing anything? You know, you can still subscribe back-dated to issue #1...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

First two interviews videos are on YouTube.

Well, it's not nearly a podcast, but at least (after 8 months...) the first two interview videos are up on YouTube. Each had to be split into 3 parts to fit the "max 15 minute clips" format there, but, hey, at least they are up!

LEE HAMMOCK:

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:


SCI-FI GENRE COMICS & GAMES:

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Third Bear Carnival: a Bull Spec contest with 3 identical prizes. First, the meta contest.

I'm quite late to the festival which is/was Matthew Cheney's Third Bear Carnival. But to make up for this tardiness, I have 3 copies of Jeff VanderMeer's recent collection The Third Bear which need a good home:

   

Actually, I have 4 copies. But the first 3 copies are for a contest to be determined by a preliminary (meta?) contest, which itself awards the 4th copy as its prize.

Confused? You have barely scratched the surface of bizarre, in any number of ways.

So, contest the first: in a comment on this blog post, design for me a contest which gives away the other 3 copies. You have a little less than one week. At or around noon (Eastern US Time) next Monday (20 September), I will pick the winner and start said contest, to be open for one week. The winner of the first contest gains immortal fame, etc. and also one copy of The Third Bear for themselves. The winner(s) of the second contest gain, of course, immortal fame, etc. and also one copy of The Third Bear as well.

Eligibility: anyone may submit one contest idea and even win, but books are eligible to be sent only where USPS media mail travels. Be creative. Be ... creative.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A sneak peek at issue #4's editorial...

Hey all; while I haven't even put together issue #3's yet, I have something already burning its way out of my mind and into draft for issue #4: the important SF/F books of 2010.

There's still a few months left, but here is a sneak peek at what and why:
  1. The SHINE anthology edited by Jetse de Vries (Solaris). Optimistic SF is hard and important; if we as speculative fiction writers cannot see our way convincingly to something optimistic from where we are, perhaps that is as good an argument as any that we're in a lot of collective trouble here on this shimmering blue rock. SHINE delivered this, but not in a token, "oh, they found some optimistic stories" way. Rather, it was with great stories. So that's important, and hopefully sets the tone for what makes a book important to me.
  2. THE DERVISH HOUSE by Ian McDonald (Pyr). I'm not going to talk to much about this, as I'll let the review in issue #3 from Richard Dansky do that; but while the book has its critics for being labelable as (paraphrasing Saladin Ahmed in late 2009, off-handedly responding to the jacket copy) "yet another terrorism in the near future arabic world book" it does almost the inverse of what the SHINE anthology does. In a way similar (to me) to how THE WINDUP GIRL did so in 2009, THE DERVISH HOUSE shows us, clearly and believable, where we are currently going. It shows a possible positive future in negative space. Of course, that is likely my reading through my incredibly narrow lens into the book, which attempts to fit as many nearly square pegs into a rigidly square hole as possible, but: there it is.
  3. THE ALCHEMIST & THE EXECUTIONESS by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell. This book, a pair of novellas (yes, yes, I heart novellas) by two of this generation's most imaginative authors, would not make this list on its beautiful, dark fantasy alone; or on its deep, convincing worldbuilding; or its touching and very human characters. That is because this list is not about "the best" books -- those qualities I mentioned might indeed put this book onto such a list, but I will not be doing such a list, so that leaves me with my own list. It is something else about this book, combined with its quality, which brings it here. That is: this is not actually a "book". It is produced first and exclusively (so far) as an audiobook from Audible. Let me say this again: two of this generation's most imaginative storytellers took an amazing pair of novellas and it is published directly and only as a digital audiobook. Something about that tips the scales from a "best" list to my "important" list.
And there's still those months left to go. And there are a couple of other books (and "books") already on my radar for consideration:
  1. SACRED SPACE by Douglas E. Cowan (Baylor University Press). This is a non-fiction book which tackles the idea that much of our science fiction is a quest for meaning. Baylor University Press sent it my way some time ago, but I haven't had a chance to dig into to see how it does at its task. It is asking an important question, which gets my attention.
  2. The AETHER AGE anthology edited by Christopher Fletcher and Brandon Bell (Hadley Rille). This book has had my attention since its inception as a "Shared World" anthology -- to be published as a Creative Commons share-alike world. These things have happened before, but this one is really in a position to be interesting and important, as it asks a couple of questions. What might have happened if the printing press and literacy had been widespread as early as 3000 BCE? Can a CC-SA licensed book really be, well, good?
  3. The GATEWAYS anthology edited by Elizabeth Hull (Tor). (Did I mention this was the year of the anthology? It was. So many good ones.) Based on some reviews, this one has me quite curious. Pohl wrote (and writes!) on some important themes (consumerism, overpopulation) and an anthology of work inspired by his is indeed something I hope to find time to check out before the year runs out.
  4. The MONGOLIAD. I don't know at all what to make of this yet. But another attempt at a serialized novel (the last one I followed was King's THE PLANT) along with illustrations, maps, all kinds of odd weird historical fiction goodness. From Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, and more.
Honorable mention is METATROPOLIS, which came out from Tor this year; but it was first published (in audio!) in late 2008, and first in print last year from Subterranean. So it might not fit into a 2010 list, despite my aforementioned ability desire to squeeze merely square-like pegs into the square hole that is my idea for what makes a 2010 book important. And I might change my mind and put this on the list proper, anyway. Hey, it's my list, right? I make the rules. And a selection of "outsider anarchist fiction" and "the idea of mutual aid economics and horizontal structuring" certainly, certainly fits the bill.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

So many, many things.

First, a "fall" flyer is here, which stretches from mid-September through November. Contents are basically:


GUIDE TO LOCAL EVENTS
FALL 2010

SEPTEMBER
12 McIntyre’s Books hosts Warren Rochelle for a reading and signing of his new novel The Called
21 Duke University hosts William Gibson for a local stop on his tour promoting his new novel Zero History


OCTOBER
22 Quail Ridge Books hosts Scott Westerfeld for a reading and signing of his new young adult novel Behemoth, sequel to Leviathan
26 Mark Van Name reads from and talks about his new science fiction novel Children No More at The Regulator Bookshop; author’s proceeds donated to Falling Whistles, a child soldier rehabilitation charity

NOVEMBER
12 Clay and Susan Griffith will read and sign their upcoming novel The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire at Quail Ridge Books
16 Cate Tiernan will read and sign her new young adult novel Immortal Beloved at The Regulator Bookshop

Not listed there is NC Comicon on 13-14 November in Morrisville. When there's a little more room off the top, I'll get a new flyer put together, hopefully to include the Bull Spec #3 launch and a few more things in the works along the local rumor mill.

OK. Second! Bull Spec #3 has cover art, and Firetower Studios' Jason Strutz is the source. He's posted a nice little walkthrough of starting with a sketch and building it into the finished piece:


You can see how far he came from my original!

Hm. I'm sure there was more to mention when I sat down...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Further afield. Some things beginning to unwrap.

So: making a bit of a regional and further push as I put the wraps on issue #2. (Which includes another box, though I have to decide how many.) A lot (lot!) of the regional pushes (Acme Comics in Greensboro, Barnes & Noble of Burlington, Black Bear Books of Boone, etc.) are pending, but a few further afield places are giving me a shot.

CHICAGO: Quimby's Bookstore will take anything, so I'm not special. But it was nice to get an e-mail receipt from them, so I know they've received the books. So, my fine Chicago friends, give me a stock check, will you? (And see if you can resist that cover for #2, eh?)

PORTLAND: Powell's took a look at an evaluation copy, and I doubt they've received their shipment yet. But maybe tomorrow. So, my fine Portland friends, give me a stock check, will you?

And I'm still looking for places in Charlotte and Wilmington to be willing to even take a look at an evaluation copy. If you've got ideas, let me know!

And something which has been a bit under wraps for a bit is starting to leak out, so I'll go ahead and put it out there. Soon I'll be making a bit of a push for benefactors, patrons, etc. There have been more than a few folks who have been incredible with their support, not just in terms of money for printing copies and buying words, but deliveries, flyering, time, etc. So I'm going to recognize a few of them, and shamelessly invite more folks to join in on that side of things. (Particularly since I'm burning through the last of the convention sales to print that last box of #2.)

September 2010 events flyer.

The flyers seem to be a fairly popular little thing, so here is the September 2010 Local Events/News flyer. It is a PDF file which you may and probably should print out a bunch of times and put everywhere.

Inside:


SEPTEMBER 2010

1 Michael Jasper’s contemporary fantasy webcomic In Maps and Legends (art by Niki Smith) returns with a new issue
2 Mark Van Name reads from and talks about his new science fiction novel Children No More at Quail Ridge Books; author’s proceeds donated to Falling Whistles, a child soldier rehabilitation charity
7 Quail Ridge Books hosts bestselling epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson for a reading and signing of his new novel The Way of Kings: The Stormlight Archive, Vol. 1
12 McIntyre’s Books (Fearrington Village) hosts Warren Rochelle for a reading and signing of his new novel The Called
21 Duke University hosts William Gibson for a local stop on his tour promoting his new novel Zero History

ALSO



And look for Bull Spec #3 in late September!

And the current list of local stores in which you might find Bull Spec:


DURHAM
The Regulator Bookshop
Sci-Fi Genre
Barnes & Noble (Southpoint)
Barnes & Noble (New Hope Commons)
Ultimate Comics (9th St)
Gothic Bookshop
Sweets & News (Northgate)

CHAPEL HILL
Internationalist Books
Chapel Hill Comics
Ultimate Comics (Farrington Rd)
Flyleaf Books

CARY
Barnes & Noble (SE Maynard)

APEX
All Fun & Games

RALEIGH
Quail Ridge Books
Foundation’s Edge
Capitol Comics
Game Theory
NCSU Catalyst

WAKE FOREST
Story Teller’s Book Store

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Issue #1 is back in stock. In a big, big way. And quarters. And more.

So. I can't really say enough about Publisher's Press, without whom I don't think it would have been possible to start an honest-to-goodness, full-size, glossy, thick stock, some color print magazine at all. When I sold out of issue #1 at NASFIC I figured I was done with issue #1, period, end of story.

But then folks kept asking for #1. Heck, bookstores called me and asked for #1. So, I caved. I called up my printer and asked about one last run. Deliriously happy with the quote, I ordered one last box, and soon at least Chapel Hill Comics and Quail Ridge Books will have some of them. (I think Foundation's Edge still has a couple as well.)

I now have 173 more copies (!!) which brings the total issue #1 print run over 500, which, combined with the PDF downloads, sends issue #1 over 1000 total. A big, big milestone. If, by some miracle (by which I mean NASFIC coming to Raleigh every quarter...) that keeps up, one of my big goals for Bull Spec -- SFWA qualification -- has a chance of happening.

Another of my big goals was to get all 4 "quarterly" issues into calendar year 2010. Given that it took 4 months to put together issue #1, and another 4 to put together issue #2, I had to hit the ground running with issue #3. Well, issue #3 ("Autumn") is shaping up; the fiction's booked and nearly edited; art is starting to come in; the poetry's in; some reviews are in; an interview is in (Paul Riddell) and another is half in (the local writer and artist behind The Order of Dagonet). I've got a lot of work to do on the David Drake interview (i.e. actually put it together and send it to him) but there's more.

Joe. Freaking. Haldeman. I had an amazing pair of chats with him at NASFIC, from how he writes (longhand, fountain pen by lantern light, 300 words a day) to what he thinks of 100K word novels, Dexter, audiobooks of his own stories, and more. I haven't decided if I'm going to present it in "interview" or "article" mode yet, but I have a lot of work to do in either case. (Much more on an article, but it's probably time for me to dust off some of those old journalistic skills. An article can also be more dangerous; by necessity, or at least in order to avoid Sahara-like dryness, an article needs a hook or angle to it, it needs to be trying to say something. We'll see.)

But yet, wait, wait, there's more. Yes, more.

Bull Spec #2 is now available at the Greenville Barnes & Noble, as well as "Sweets & News" at Northgate Mall in Durham. Boo-yah! The empire grows.

Bull Spec #2 is under evaluation at: Powell's (Portland, Oregon); Burlington B&N; Acme Comics in Greensboro; Coffee Hound Bookshop in Louisburg, NC; Downtown Books & News in Asheville, NC; and, though they may not realize it yet, Black Bear Books in Boone, NC. I don't know what it is, it's a personal crusade of mine at this point to get Black Bear Books to carry the magazine. I visited them only once (twice? does stopping only for Bald Guy Coffee count?) but absolutely loved the place.

OK. Whew. Is that it? No. There's more. But no time. Another day. And much work to be done before then.

But a quick last missive: Issue #3 has none (zero) booked advertising. That's bubbling its way pretty high up the todo list right now.

Friday, August 13, 2010

How far is Pittsboro?

For most of us around the Raleigh-Durham area, luckily that answer doesn't fully apply when talking about McIntyre's Books. Fearrington Village is about halfway from Chapel Hill to Pittsboro along US 15-501, which is far, but maybe not too far for a couple of local events of Bull Spec interest:

The first is so recently booked that it isn't yet on the village calendar but it has made it onto Mark Van Name's events so I think it's safe to say it's official. Mark will be at McIntyre's on Sunday, August 29 at 2 PM, reading from and talking about his new book Children No More (Baen, August 2010) and, I think it's safe to say, Falling Whistles.


And if, after learning that Fearrington is not quite all the way to Pittsboro, it still seems too far, fret not. He'll be at Quail Ridge Books on Thursday, September 2 at 7:30 PM.

The second bit of McIntyre's related news comes in the form of Warren Rochelle, who while now living elsewhere has deep ties to all of Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh. He'll be at McIntyre's to read from and sign his new book The Called (Golden Gryphon Press, September 2010) on Sunday, September 12, at 2 PM.


And if that's too far away in time to worry about; if you missed Stephen Messer's Windblowne (Random House Books for Young Readers, May 2010) stops at The Regulator and Flyleaf Books, don't miss him at Quail Ridge next Thursday, August 19 at 6:30 PM. (Come early for the Wimpy Kid ice cream truck's free ice cream...)


Whew. It's getting hard to keep up with all that's going on in speculative fiction 'round these parts. I like it.

PS: I have to commend McIntyre's small science fiction and fantasy section's taste. Lev Grossman's "The Magicians" and in particular R. Scott Bakker's "The Darkness That Comes Before" and its sequels are, in this one fool's opinion, cornerstones of the last decade in North American Fantasy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Two new homes for Bull Spec! Also, flyers! Also, a brief aside on selling out.

I'm very happy indeed that there are two more places in the Triangle where folks can get their hands on a copy of Bull Spec #2: The Durham County Library's Southwest Regional Branch on Shannon Road, and Duke University's Gothic Bookshop.

I want to talk about the library first, not only because it was there first chronologically but because, well, it's very awesome for me on a personal level to know that somebody can walk into the library and discover worlds, as I did all through my youth at my "home" public library in Marion, Indiana. The magazine was already at the Durham main branch's North Carolina Collection but the hours there are a little more limited, and it is primarily used as an archival and research room. Now, folks can come in, flip through without tweezers, etc. And I love this. I absolutely love it.

Secondly, I'd been trying to figure out a way to approach Gothic Bookshop for a while. It's in the heart of Duke campus, so it's not a place I generally pass by on the way to or from anywhere, I'm not a regular customer there, and it's been a good long while since I had a serious connection with Duke. But, from the world of random events, I saw that they were looking for somebody to hand out flyers at NASFIC for the upcoming William Gibson book tour, and, hey, I was driving to NASFIC from not too far from campus... so I ended up with a stack of bright yellow flyers and finally that random connection to the store; now it's in stock, so, "Let's Go Duke!" and head to Gothic, eh?

Thirdly, flyers. While versions will come and go, here are some flyer links:

OK. Lastly, selling out. Of issue #1, that is. All I have left which aren't spoken for (I do have a Northeast Raleigh local delivery loop to make, very sorry for the delay out there, folks) is a very short stack of bookstore returns with bookstore stickers on them. So when I get a chance (ha!) I'll be removing the ability to order print copies of issue #1 or start subscriptions with issue #1. Lesson learned? Get issue #2 while it lasts... UPDATE: another box of issue #1 has arrived! It is in stock in a few local stores and, of course, online.

PS: All the local folks who were very disappointed indeed that copies of Raleigh native (alas, now Portland's own) Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey could not be found? Yeah. I think there's a pretty good chance that The Regulator and Gothic might have some copies soon. Just saying.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Welcome aboard, Alex and Dan!

Folks may get the idea that I need to get help. Well, I have.

Alex Granados is coming on as associate editor. He'll be doing some fiction editing, handling the rewrite process, copy editing, and, when I get things sorted out enough to even be able to get help on that front, reading story submissions. His background is, like mine, in the newspaper world, and I've been so very fortunate to run into him.

Dan Campbell is coming on as the new Bull Spec poetry editor. He'll be handling the poetry page(s) up until layout, so he'll be reading submissions, evaluating them, editing them, and then sending me poems to publish. I couldn't be more enthusiastic about his enthusiasm for this.

So: cheers! Welcome aboard, I hope I don't lead us into the rocks, but it's good to have a few folks on lookout and manning the sails.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday at NASFiC is going to be awesome.

So. It should be the biggest and best day of the convention, and there's a few last-minute things to mention. (Did I mention that I rhyme some of the time?) First, there's another scheduled guest appearance at the Bull Spec dealer table. local author Mark Van Name will be on hand to sign his just-out book Children No More from 4-5p, and, if I can track down a typewriter, he'll be writing flash fiction for charity on demand for Falling Whistles, the charity he's supporting with Children No More. If we can't track down a typewriter, we'll be taking ideas and e-mails down. This should be completely awesome. Did I mention that this should be completely awesome?


Put that together with: Clay Griffith coming by to talk about the forthcoming from Pyr The Greyfriar from 1-3, David Halperin on hand to talk the forthcoming from Viking Journal of a UFO Investigator from 2-4, and the afternoon should be a very fun time to stop by.

Also late to appear on the NASFIC schedule is: John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly are doing a Kaffe Klatch session which, having just been scheduled a handful of hours ago, is not in the printed schedule. Check the daily schedule and talk to them about editing anthologies like The Secret History of Science Fiction, about Fractal, about IAFA, ... and if you'd like to have a copy of The Secret History of SF on hand for them to sign, well, I can think of at least one place to get it...

But one thing you won't find? Mur Lafferty's books. We sold out! Now that's a good day.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

More NASFiC scheduling: Clay Griffith coming by on Saturday!

I already mentioned that David Halperin is stopping by; if you missed him today there's still Friday (11a-1p, 2-3p) and Saturday (2-4p) to chat about Journal of a UFO Investigator. Well, though I still don't know when a few other folks will be coming by in concrete terms, I'm really pleased to invite folks to come by Saturday from 1-3p to talk with local author Clay Griffith, whose book (along with wife Susan) The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire Book 1 is forthcoming from Pyr (November):
In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. Millions of humans were killed outright. Millions more died of disease and famine due to the havoc that followed. Within two years, once-great cities were shrouded by the gray empire of the vampire clans. Human refugees fled south to the tropics because vampires could not tolerate the constant heat there. They brought technology and a feverish drive to reestablish their shattered societies of steam and iron amid the mosques of Alexandria, the torrid quietude of Panama, or the green temples of Malaya.
It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming.
Princess Adele is heir to the Empire of Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. She is quick with her wit as well as with a sword or gun. She is eager for an adventure before she settles into a life of duty and political marriage to a man she does not know. But her quest turns black when she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan. Her only protector is the Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires from deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans.
Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar is the first book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, Vampire Empire brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.
So the table won't be vampire-free for much longer...


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Treats. Let me tempt you with them.

So: if a panel of John Kessel, Natania Barron, Gwendolyn Clare, and Paul Celmer can't tempt you to come out to the Bull Spec #2 launch party at Quail Ridge Books tonight, maybe these will. Mrs. Bull Spec has once again brought out the big guns:


Three (count 'em, three!) varietals of rice crispy treats. Sure, there's your standard (in this case, a little more on the gooey side) 'plain':


And then it gets a little more interesting, with M&Ms and Reese's Pieces:


And then something really cool, coconut raisin almond:


So there. Shamelessly: come enjoy some local speculative fiction and, of course, there will be snacks!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Scheduled and scheduling.

First, some upcoming things which didn't make Issue #2's "Happenings" which I've recently learned about:

  • I had local author John Claude Bemis' The Wolf Tree in Happenings, but not the book's launch party at Purple Crow Books in Hillsborough on August 28
  • Brandon Sanderson is reading and signing from Way of Kings: The Stormlight Archive, Vol. 1 at Quail Ridge Books on September 7 at 7:30 PM
  • William Gibson (!!!) is bringing his Zero History tour to Duke University on September 21 at 7:00 PM

Second, and on the topic of scheduling, I've started putting together a schedule of folks you might see at the Bull Spec dealer table at NASFiC/ReConStruction this weekend. While I don't know yet when some other folks will be dropping by, David J. Halperin has gotten the ball rolling by scheduling some time to meet and greet and talk to folks about his upcoming book (February 2011) from Viking, Journal of a UFO Investigator. I first heard about the book from SFScope, but did not read that last paragraph and had no idea that Dr./Prof. Halperin was writing from, literally, down the street from me. That bit of information only came via meeting him at a lunch outing with the Raleigh Write to Publish Meetup Group. Since then I've been very much looking forward to reading a book described like this:
The book is "structured like The Wizard of Oz and influenced by the work of Philip K. Dick, Philip Pullman, and Madeleine L'Engle, the book tells the story of a 1960s teenager whose mother is slowly dying. He keeps himself sane by spinning a story in which he duels with the embodiments of death, unravels the mysteries of time and existence, and becomes lover to the most desirable girl he can imagine, all in a world in which nothing happens that is not conspiracy. Eventually, the boy descends into the nether-world and emerges transformed. Much of the UFO content in the book is based on factual lore."
 And David is polishing up another book as well, so there's lots to talk about. He's going to be available Thursday (1-2p, 4-6p), Friday (11a-1p, 2-3p), and Saturday (2-4p), so there's plenty of opportunities to fit him into your schedule, and to ask him how much of the UFO journal is autobiographical...

Two days until the issue #2 party at Quail Ridge Books! (New Flyer.)

There's a new new flyer to post around if folks are up for it. Just two days until the issue #2 party at Quail Ridge Books on Wednesday and there's a few places I haven't been able to get to:


Raleigh:
  • NCSU campus
  • Hillsborough Street (done: Nice Price Books to Schoolkids Records) (need: Schoolkids down to the Morgan split)
  • Glenwood South
  • Moore Square
  • City Market
  • Cameron Village
  • Five Points
  • Downtown
Durham:
  • Downtown
  • Brightleaf Square
  • Done: Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd (Guglhupf to University Drive)
  • Duke East Campus
  • Done: 9th Street (and Whole Foods, Mad Hatter)
  • Broad Street Cafe
  • Duke West Campus
  • Erwin Road
Chapel Hill:
  • S Elliott Road
  • Caffe Driade
  • UNC campus
  • Franklin Street (done: Carolina Brewing Company to Columbia) (need: Columbia up to Planetarium)
  • Done: Maple View Farms
Apex:
  • Historic Downtown
Wake Forest:
  • Historic Downtown
Hillsborough:
  • Historic Downtown
So, yeah. A "few" places... post here and/or on the Facebook page if you think you'll be able to help out, mainly it's going to shop owners who have a place to post flyers and asking nicely if you can post something, or hitting the common flyer spaces and bulletin boards. And if you're really, really in the mood to do this kind of thing, the current ReConStruction/NASFiC flyer is on their publications page, and that's this Thursday to Sunday. I wish they had an updated flyer with per-day membership rates and so on, but we have what we have, and it's "go time!" I'll be picking a couple of routes out myself in lieu of lunches over the next couple of days, and I'll try to keep folks posted on where I'm headed and what's been covered in comments here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The ReConStruction/NASFiC programming schedule is out!

There is some great programming, from steampunk to podcasting and all manner of things between. Behold! The ReConStruction/NASFiC program schedule is out! And paired with the daily membership rates, those folks who have waited to get their plans (and memberships) together can start to figure things out.

(And don't forget, if you're either already in town or coming into town a day early, Wednesday August 4th, come to the 7:30 Bull Spec #2 party at Quail Ridge Books!)

And there's some fun things to talk about, dealer-room wise... next week! Guests; books; signings; meet and greets; magazines; free smells; ...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Expanding the territory.

Well, issue #2 has a new store carrying Bull Spec, Barnes & Noble's Durham "New Hope Commons" location. (For all locations, click here!) It's way back and the bottom in the newsstand, to the left of "The Paris Review" and to the right of "F&SF". And I'm making another pitch to Greenville and Burlington this week. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another UK shipping sale!

Well, putting together a UK shipment with a local reshipper, and this time I'm going to give folks a bit more time to get in on things. Until Monday morning EST (Update: extended to Wednesday, August 4th!), UK folks can order Bull Spec #1 and/or Bull Spec #2 and select "US Shipping". I'm not ready to commit to better subscription shipping rates yet, but I think I'm getting closer. (Sorry Australia, I haven't strong armed a friend/acquaintance into being a reshipper there, yet.)

Also: shipping is marginally less expensive for issue #2 than issue #1 (fewer pages) but I haven't been able to update what passes for the order system to figure that out. If that matters to you, when ordering issue #2 in print: US folks, take $0.15 off of what you might think is a good gratuity; Canada take $0.35; World take $0.85.

-Sam

Monday, July 26, 2010

Truth in submissions; getting help; making progress; more stores.

OK. I do have some stories as old as November that I've been holding onto; I'm going to grow up "real soon now" and let those folks know one way or the other. Back when I opened, I expected a few submissions, and to publish one story a quarter, and threw out a guesstimate of responding within 30 days. I'm far, far from doing that; 60 days is probably closer to the median, 90 days not incredibly uncommon before I drop all the other things I need to do and keep things from rolling over to 100 for too many stories.

It's a problem. It's a problem because (among other more easily guessed reasons) one of the reasons I opened Bull Spec is because I wanted a market which treated writers like I wanted to be treated. And this is not at all what I had in mind.

So I've started accepting help. I'm not ready yet to get help on the submissions inbox (working on that) but I've got a shiny new reviews editor and the more I think about how great it's going to be to "let go" of that side of things, the more I'm sure about the following: (after the break...)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Issue #3 original fiction is set.

Though it's still 2 months away, issue #3's original fiction is set: 5 stories, from Katherine Sparrow, David Steffen, Lavie Tidhar, Melinda Dansky, and Denali Hyatt.

Again hearkening back to "the kind of story I opened Bull Spec to publish" (a happy, lucky theme for me) is Katherine Sparrow's 4600-word "Like Parchment in the Fire." A very hard to categorize story, the author offered that it "has a radical alternative history vibe." Definitely. A story which brings 17th century Britain's "True Levelers" to life and contrasts and interweaves their struggles with the activities of the 1960s radicals of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury District in a softly slipstream way which I was very, very happy to have in my hands indeed.

The second story I accepted for this issue comes from David Steffen. With the year-long graphic story having as its theme and focus time travel, I've turned down several pretty good and/or interesting time travel stories as just being too overlapping. David, whose fiction appears in Pseudopod, Brain Harvest, the Oz-themed dark fantasy anthology Shadows of the Emerald City, and has written some excellent non-fiction for Fantasy Magazine, sent me the 1300-word "Turning Back the Clock" and it... well, you'll have to wait. It's cool.

Really completing things from a non-local perspective is Lavie Tidhar's 1800-word  story "The Story of Listener and Yu-En". It is a beautiful little story with a core of goodness I could not resist. Another one which is hard to categorize for me other than "speculative fiction".

The last two stories come from local authors Melinda Thielbar and Denali Hyatt. Melinda's 2200-word story "You're Almost Here" is an amazing second-person rip through the near future which I simply cannot wait for folks to read; Denali's 1800-word "Cityscape" is a beautifully well-imagined story of a far-flung planet in the distant future. It's to be her first publication and I hope it's the first of many.

So. 5 stories, 11700 original words. I might pick up a reprint still for this issue, but that mostly depends on whether I get one I really love, and how many and how long the excerpts, interviews, reviews, and other features are. Some of the interviews are set, others are pending, I'll keep folks updated! This issue is looking like 68 pages already...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another round of fun things.

First off: I know I have some queries to answer and stories to read. (I also have some stores to invoice and need to figure out how to deposit checks made out to "Bull Spec." Those are good problems to have, though!) But here's a quick 3-step of fun:

  1. The audio download for the WUNC "The State of Things" show on Bull Spec and local speculative fiction is available here. So if you missed it, check it out! It was fun, John Kessel was amazing, Richard Dansky had some great answers, and contributors Natania Barron and Paul Celmer wrote some excellent flash fiction for the show along with everybody adding some pretty interesting comments on writing along the way.
  2. I received confirmation that indeed there will be a Bull Spec dealer table at the upcoming ReConStruction/NASFiC convention in Raleigh, August 5-8. Also they just announced there is a Guest of Honor Dinner on the Thursday, which I shouldn't mention as seats are limited and I haven't booked yet, but hey, this post is for fun things and that should be fun.
  3. I posted a batch of photos having to do with receiving, mailing, and delivering Bull Spec #2. So, yeah, fun stuff.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tune into WUNC's "The State of Things" on Wednesday July 21!

Fans of Bull Spec or whomever else, tune into WUNC's "The State of Things" on Wednesday, July 21st at noon! Guests will include Bull Spec's Samuel Montgomery-Blinn, NCSU professor and award-winning author John Kessel, game designer and author Richard Dansky, and maybe more. Don't miss it! We'll be talking speculative fiction, NASFiC/ReConStruction, ...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An absolute mess of updates. (Bull Spec #2 PDF is available!)

Not much time so:
  1. A whole bunch of Bull Spec #2 mailings just went out
  2. Bull Spec #2 is in stock at: Sci-Fi Genre; Barnes and Noble of Southpoint; Ultimate Comics Prime; Chapel Hill Comics; Internationalist Books; Flyleaf Books; The Regulator Bookshop; Barnes and Noble of Cary; and Quail Ridge Books. I didn't make it to Foundation's Edge or All Fun & Games yet; a handy helper is taking copies to Storyteller's for me
  3. Bull Spec #2 PDF is available for download
  4. Acceptances! to Denali Hyatt and Preston Grassmann
I know I have a bunch of stories to read. I'll go back to my cave now. And I know I need to get some other payment systems plugged in (Amazon, Google, etc.) Again, the cave. And I know I need to get proper e-book versions put together. And get the story podcast started. And put the interview videos online. Yeah. The cave thing. Off I go now. Somebody send some snacks. And a postcard.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

BULL SPEC #2 Launch Party: Wednesday 4 August at 7:30 PM at Quail Ridge Books


The "summer issue" of Bull Spec is here! To celebrate making it to a second issue and to kick things off, we're going to get together at Quail Ridge Books on Wednesday, August 4th at 7:30 PM for readings and discussion and perhaps even a bit of a roundtable "program." Local story contributors Gwendolyn Clare and Paul Celmer will be there to give folks a taste of their stories in the issue; NCSU professor and award-winning author John Kessel might say a few words about speculative fiction or his recent stories and books; other local writers and contributors will be on hand, so far at least Natania Barron will reprise her role in issue #1's launch party; and hopefully some of the "early arrivals" for ReConStructionSF will make it a darned fine evening for meeting and greeting writers and readers of speculative fiction in the Triangle area and beyond.

So come on out: once again, there will be snacks! And invite and bring your friends! We had a great time at Durham's The Regulator Bookshop for issue #1, and with this one I'm dipping my toes out of county to spread the Bull Spec fun around a bit. Thanks very much to Rene and Nancy at Quail Ridge for their support and interest in hosting.

To help out: spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event and maybe do a little flyering if you're up for it. (UPDATE: new flyer.)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BULL SPEC #2 is available for pre-order!

It's looking like July 6th at the earliest for the issue to be in my hands, but that's no reason to keep folks from reserving their copy. So, after a heck of a lot of hard work, and thanks to some great contributors, BULL SPEC #2 is now available to pre-order!

With cover art by the awesome Vladimir Krizan, stories from Melissa Mead, Uri Grey, Gwendolyn Clare, Paul Celmer, and Kaolin Fire; the continuation of the graphic story "Closed System" by Mike Gallagher; an excerpt of Richard Dansky's "North Carolina ghost story" Firefly Rain with an interview by J.M. McDermott; interviews of John Kessel (along with his essay "Imagining the Human Future"), Dexter Palmer (along with a review of his novel The Dream of Perpetual Motion, reviewed by Natania Barron), and Hope Larson; a review of Cherie Priest's novel Boneshaker, reviewed by Joseph Giddings; poetry from David M. Harris, Helen R. Peterson, Reggie Lutz, and J.P. Wickwire; art by Joey Jordan, Rebecca Camfield, and Aleksandr and Natalia Frolosov; it's an issue I hope you all enjoy. Thanks so much for your support of BULL SPEC, here's to kicking off a solid second issue and getting the work started on issue #3!


Books Received: June 2010

OK. The fun has apparently started, as I've started receiving some review copies at the Bull Spec PO Box. I've been pinging reviewers and so far having pretty good luck at finding homes for them, but please, publishers and authors: query first! I only carry 2-4 reviews per issue, and at least one of those will be a solicited book. That out of the way, books received, June 2010:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Some acceptances. OK, a lot of acceptances.

Not as much fanfare as I might like to give them, but I realized I: (1) didn't even feature here a few more acceptances from issue #1; (2) never mentioned here a pretty long list now of acceptances for issue #2 and further. So, without, ahem, further adieu:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Closed to non-local submissions until 10 July.

As I've just updated the status on the guidelines page to indicate, Bull Spec is now temporarily closed to non-local submissions until (at least) 10 July as I try to catch up on the backlog of submissions and take stock of the stories already accepted and the magazine's needs for future issues.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Things which BULL SPEC needs to do:


  1. To send issue #2 to the printers. (Soon.)
  2. See #1: finish edits on the reviews. Thank goodness interviews are locked and loaded, and final story edits are in my inbox! All art is locked in! Ads are almost locked in, one more to wait on. And:
  3. To figure out how to communicate to real publishers when I want to excerpt a local author's novel. (See "#1: To send issue #2 to the printers" above.) I don't grok fax machines very well.
  4. To get some story reading help. Seriously.
  5. To get the interviews video podcast going. (Stop-gap: going to chop them up into 10 minute increments for YouTube soon.)
  6. To get the story podcast going.
  7. To finish up the first benefit story and get it posted in its various incarnations.
  8. To add Amazon and Google payment options.
  9. To figure out how to cheaply accept debit and credit cards at conventions by August.
  10. To make the website not suck.
  11. Get some e-mail notification lists going; I've squandered a lot of visits from folks without giving them a way for me to let them know that another issue is coming simply and easily via e-mail.
  12. To update and test the website's handling of issue #2 orders.
  13. To get an ePub version together for issue #1.
  14. See #4: to stop doing a disservice to the 300 stories in my unread pile and the handful of stories I have in my "hold" pile. These weigh on me night and day and in between, and it's not how I would want to be treated. Making progress is good but I've got a pretty good mountain to climb, and spent tonight climbing it instead of working on #1...

This list is far from complete, but it's a fair little list for the top N things on my mind tonight as I hit the sheets.