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  1.  (1609.1)
    I'll never buy anything with Fantasy in the title. I have an irrational near-allergic reaction to the genre. I start seeing elves everywhere, and then I have to kill a puppy just to feel normal again.

    No elves in sight. The first story in the book involves a family who can't afford to pay their garbage service anymore, so they begin flushing all their garbage down the toilet. It's so much fun, they do it more and more eagerly. And then one day a little gray animal pops up out of the toilet. Uncomfortableness ensues.
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      CommentAuthorLucifal
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2008
     (1609.2)
    DebbieM - If you care about the writing, not just the name, then commissioning doesn't guarantee to bring you what you're after.
    I'd agree with that.
    warrenellis - But you'll get more people buying a magazine with Bruce Sterling on a cover. And that alone lets you live to fight another day.
    . . . and I agree with that too. And fighting another day his what small press doesn't always manage to achieve. Apex Digest have just appealed for another 150 new subscribers to pay for the printing of their next issue. On my (quick) calculations Murky Depths could almost survive on a quarterly roll-on of 100 subscribers (that's 400 subscribers a year). Scary that Apex need 150 new subscribers, although their pay rates are better than Murky Depths.

    . . . and talking of subscribing. The Murky Depths limited offer subscription deal is still available (until Sunday 11 May)
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      CommentAuthorkaolin
    • CommentTimeMay 9th 2008
     (1609.3)
    Not to imply that it has fantasy elves getting ass-raped by drug-crazed cyborg chainsaws...

    @Shawnclark - why not?


    Because someone looking for that _might_ be disappointed if they read the story. But if they weren't looking for that in the story, well, it's a damned good story. ;) :)

    @Lucifal - On my (quick) calculations Murky Depths could almost survive on a quarterly roll-on of 100 subscribers (that's 400 subscribers a year).


    Yeah, that would be grand. :) GUD could as well, and probably up our rates at that.

    Then again, I look forward to the day we've got enough brand capital to go "begging", if that's what it takes (though it's kind of sad that that ... is how these things seem to work).

    Opium Magazine also recently has a call out for help.
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      CommentAuthorFerburton
    • CommentTimeMay 9th 2008
     (1609.4)
    I noticed recently that there was a Weird Tales issue from last month at my LCS, hopefully this will keep up, as my 3 months subscription to the magazine is about to end, and if I can give it shelf life at a comic book store and get others to notice it, then maybe I can give it more readers, this is my hope anyways.
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      CommentAuthorLucifal
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2008
     (1609.5)
    Hey! Interzone #216 just popped through my door and guess what? Two of their stories use the same two-page illustration technique that Murky Depths uses. OK, so it's nothing new but I don't remember them having done that before. Could this mean Murky Depths is already influencing it's peers? Will they be including comic strips soon too? Ooo, er!
  2.  (1609.6)
    Do you think that using Cory Doctorow's book publishing model of 'free digital/non-free hardcopy simultaneously' would work with SF zines? Maybe bi-monthly online ones for free, mostly text based, with a annual illustrated hardcopy collection? Just brainstorming here but maybe it could work.
  3.  (1609.7)
    Maybe bi-monthly online ones for free, mostly text based, with a annual illustrated hardcopy collection?

    That's what CLARKESWORLD does.
  4.  (1609.8)
    New issue of INTERZONE has a pretty cover. I don't know how I feel about the "Mundane SF Special" subtitle being so small/unobtrusive/near-invisible. On the one hand, surely you want to draw attention to special content? On the other hand, "Mundane SF" is the ugliest, blandest term for a literary movement ever.
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      CommentAuthorWill Couper
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2008 edited
     (1609.9)
    "Mundane SF" is the ugliest, blandest term for a literary movement ever.

    I heard the term some time last year and hoped that it would die in the meantime. I mean mundane doesn't exactly cry out to be read. What would an alternative be: streetlevel sci-fi, everday sci-fi, familiar sci-fi, we've-got-an-adroid-doing-the-dishes sci-fi?


    Will
  5.  (1609.10)
    I heard the term some time last year and hoped that it would die in the meantime. I mean mundane doesn't exactly cry out to be read. What would an alternative be: streetlevel sci-fi, everday sci-fi, familiar sci-fi, we've-got-an-adroid-doing-the-dishes sci-fi?

    Or even throw the cat among the pigeons and call it Real SF.
  6.  (1609.11)
    Or even throw the cat among the pigeons and call it Real SF.

    Heh, it did cross my mind to put that. It's still less clunky and dull than Mundane SF. Might as well call it Beige SF and have done with.


    Will
    • CommentAuthorrobb
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2008
     (1609.12)
    i remember the "designed to be wanted" post on warrenellis.com. few of these science fiction publications look designed to be wanted by anyone who was not already a fan years ago. i wasn't a fan then and i've little cause to investigate now because they look cheap and stuck in their ways. i'm curious how many of these magazines hired their friends over an experienced publications designer as art director?

    weird tales improved, but it looks like 1998, when the world was still in love with mckean's vertigo covers and jaunty angles. isn't science fiction about the future, and expansion? even on a low budget, there are graphic design students still ripe enough not to realize they are getting ripped off for new and informed layouts. if you typeset a good story in times new roman with badly forced justification, you disrespect the work by making it look like a church newsletter. consistent use of a grid with whitespace for breathing room, some standardized font choice not available on everyone's PC, color palette, and a healthy look at other sections of the magazine racks would help a lot. every other magazine redesigns at least once every five years to keep their audience interested, and they're mainstream. they're not writing about the future.

    just look at what happens when Chip Kidd and Designed by Muller have a say in how comics and trades are packaged. interesting elevation of what was once just a little niche thing called comics.
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      CommentAuthorWordWill
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2008
     (1609.13)
    Amen, robb.

    I dig the stories that Weird Tales has been buying, but I think their interior design isn't caught up to their cover designs yet. I feel like their cover design, right now, is so close to good that some months they hit it and some months they don't. When they don't, it smells of hesitation and doubt rather than the stale musk that comes off some... other... magazines.

    If you've not read it, there's an interesting (and quite short) post on SpiekerBlog about the typeface chosen for the redesign of The Economist, which is relevant: That's here.

    Several small publishers I've worked with, though, find the idea of paying money for a font to be luxurious. I wouldn't be surprised if cash-strapped niche mags feel similarly. I guess my point, here, being that I sort of doubt a redesign alone would get people to suddenly start picking up Analog. What would? I don't know. But I feel like brand-new publications have an edge over revitalized publications when it comes to tapping the alternative/SF/futurist audience that we hope is out there. Until Analog reinvents itself as an non-ironically named steampunk magazine of brain-flipping brilliance, it's going to be more cobwebs than gossamer. (Does anyone know roughly how many folks grab an average issue of Steampunk Magazine anyway?)

    Every time, this thread makes me wish I was going ahead with an e-zine project of my own (see a sketch of it here). But my gut says the market is saturated to the point that it's not worth trying to break in, when I'd rather be writing. What is the proper motivation to produce a fiction magazine right now, if not to facilitate the release of your own work? Is a writer better off busking on the internet than shopping stories around to magazines in slo-mo?

    Cheers,
    Will
  7.  (1609.14)
    Funny thing. "Mundane" was the dismissive pejorative that telepaths used on Joe Straczynski's "Babylon 5". Having grown up watching that I can't help but associate the term as an insult.

    just look at what happens when Chip Kidd and Designed by Muller have a say in how comics and trades are packaged. interesting elevation of what was once just a little niche thing called comics.

    I saw Chip Kidd last night, he's on a book tour and he was at Quimby's in Chicago. I asked him about his designs for All-Star Superman as he was signing my copy. he said the idea was simple, have it jump off the cover and grab the passerby.

    Why is that such a revolutionary concept?
  8.  (1609.15)
    interesting elevation of what was once just a little niche thing called comics.

    Someone clearly wants a slap.
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      CommentAuthorLucifal
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2008
     (1609.16)
    Real SF as opposed to Fantasy SF, which is what we mainly get fed. Mmm, but even that sounds pretty mundane.
  9.  (1609.17)
    Real SF as opposed to Fantasy SF, which is what we mainly get fed. Mmm, but even that sounds pretty mundane.

    Yeah, but it would at least look like an argument-starter, right? Mundane SF sounds like an apology.
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      CommentAuthorWordWill
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2008
     (1609.18)
    Would you recommend a book to someone by calling it "a Mundane Thriller" or "an Unremarkable Romance?" I like the posturing that goes into "Real SF," but the whole thing is still a strange label. What exactly is "Mundane SF" meant to describe? One Tree Hill with lasers?
  10.  (1609.19)
    What exactly is "Mundane SF" meant to describe?

    An "ordinary" future, denuded of magic tricks like unrelativistic space drive, FTL, teleportation, etc etc.
    • CommentAuthorrobb
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2008 edited
     (1609.20)
    @ warrenellis
    interesting elevation of what was once just a little niche thing called comics.
    Someone clearly wants a slap.


    more snark and sarcasm than necessary on my part. i came back to comics after publishers started hiring graphic designers like Chip Kidd, Rian Hughes, and Muller to push the packaging of their properties forward. the trades looked like books i could enjoy as an adult, more than the SLAM! BAM! WHO DIES THIS ISSUE?!! salesmanship from before. less about expanding audience, but reclaiming them. Sci Fi could benefit the same way with some fresh perspective, right? look what contemporary graphic design can do for dairy magazines...

    has anything done for print science fiction what the sci fi channel's commercials have done for their network? i remember when the channel first started, it looked nothing like it does now. their ads make someone like me (not a fan, but curious) think there's something more than spaceships and robots going on.

    @ WordWill
    yes, I know of Spiekermann's work. He's very smart and hilarious live. Curses with aplomb.

    edited... the youtube videos embedded without my consent.