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

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

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
57 Pathfinder Orson Scott Card ≈ Article by Alex

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

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.


  • 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!