Cyber World: Tales of Humanity’s Tomorrow

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cover_cyber-world My latest short story, “How Nothing Happens,” a nihilistic deconstruction of cyberpunk, will appear in the forthcoming Cyber World: Tales of Humanity’s Tomorrow, edited by Jason Heller. From the publisher’s website:

Cybernetics. Neuroscience. Nanotechnology. Genetic engineering. Hacktivism. Transhumanism. The world of tomorrow is already here, and the technological changes we all face have inspired a new wave of stories to address our fears, hopes, dreams, and desires as Homo sapiens evolves—or not—into its next incarnation. Cyber World presents diverse tales of humanity’s tomorrow, as told by some of today’s most gripping science fiction visionaries.

Farrago’s Wainscot Returns

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old manWhen we closed down Farrago’s Wainscot in 2009, after our twelfth issue, it was for the usual reasons: time and money. Publishing the ‘zine was a labor of love—we never charged for it, we never really sold advertising (we gave a few ads away there for a little bit), and we paid as much as we could ($20 per story, poem, or article). The online speculative fiction zeitgeist at the time was definitely “weird.” Weird was everywhere. “New,” “old,” “literary” (sorry, that one was our fault), “post-,” “New, new-,” “little” (again, my fault—needed a dissertation title)—we, collectively, couldn’t get enough. Tastes were changing there around Issue 12, and while we were still bringing in our steady readership, we were running out of music festivals and masquerades and tip jars with which to fund the Old Man’s cabinet of curiosities. Steampunk was on fire; hard SF was making an awesome comeback; and urban fantasy was gobbling titles and categories like a 2nd ed. ooze, which was awesome—we were prone to some urban fantasy publications of our own.

So, with heavy hearts, we stopped the project. The lamentations and gnashing of teeth that we received from internet friends and strangers at our passing surprised us. We had quietly gone about our weird business, keeping mostly to ourselves, garnering a few very nice reviews, some Year’s Best nods, and even pocketing the 2007 StorySouth Million Writers Award for “Best New Online Magazine or Journal” and the 2007 Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll for “Best Fiction Magazine/Ezine”—not to mention the handful of lauds our contributors collected on their own. We were surprised that people were marking our passing, but it was gratifying.

Life went on.

It’s been five years now since Old Man Farrago last put out his shingle. Behind the scenes, we’ve all shuffled jobs a few times, put out a few books, moved around the country, etc. But we’ve never stopped watching what people are buying and reading. What “weird” means today. How the genre pendulum swings from clearly defined to ill . . . and then back. What it means to write speculative or experimental fiction in an age of increasing efforts to include and understand—in an age when so, so much of this work remains to do. At at time when the world is still falling apart. Like it always does.

firebirdSo it is with great excitement that I tell you that I’ve reached an agreement to revive Farrago’s Wainscot—weirder and more challenging than ever!—under the imprimatur of Resurrection House, who will serve as the ‘zine’s publisher. We will release issue 13 on January 14, 2015, and throughout the year, you’ll see some familiar Farrago alums—many of whom have gone on to publish books and garner awards of their own—and you’ll see fresh new voices. “Fresh weird.” There you go—a new neologism for a new era.

We’ll be paying more. $0.06/word for fiction; $20/poem (Hey, that was a fair price even back then). And we’ll be using a submissions manager, so no more strange emails from the communal hive-mind of the old “wainscot.editors” email address. Our new submissions page has all the details, so go click around the site. It’s been given a facelift, and all your old favorites are still there for a re-read before we re-weird next year. There’s another one: “re-weird.” This is going to be an odd year.

So until January, thanks for reading, and keep up with us on Twitter. We’ll see you in the funny papers.

crawfish

The 1670 AM Interview, Released

Noise, Uncategorized

In February of this year, I had the privilege of being interviewed at 1670 AM, an independent, underground AM radio station here in Denton. The experience was fascinating and entertaining, if not a bit drunken—as all such interviews should be I think. I am finally able to share the full thing with you, wherein I discuss Noise, the apocalypse, and writerly identity. The entire thing is about an hour and ten minutes long, and there are a few f-bombs, so you may not want to play it at full volume at work, but therein lies anything you might ever have wanted to know about the novel, Denton/Slade, and how I write.

1670 AM Interview

 

interview photos

Authors Anonymous

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Fig. 1: The promotional poster for the five-year-anniversary showing of my feature-length documentary, AUTHORS ANONYMOUS: THE STORY OF THE PORCH

About six or seven years ago, several years before I sold Noise and transitioned most of my creative efforts into my writing, I had aspirations of a filmic variety. A group of other like-minded grad students and ne’er-do-wells and I formed a production team called Black Marmot: we made a few short films, started and abandoned some feature-film ideas, and generally messed around with our equipment. Near the end of the Black Marmot days, a friend of mine started a literary magazine here in Denton called The Porch. He recruited his own band of merry men and supported the endeavor by putting on music shows at our favorite watering hole, Dan’s Silver Leaf. Those Porch evenings are still things of legend here in town (mostly among us older townies)—the combination of live music, live readings, alcohol, and ambition was a unique stimulant.

Like all things, sadly, The Porch went the way of local history; however, its story exists on video, for I spent about six months filming Porch meetings, production appointments, live shows, backyard BBQs, etc.—all leading up to the successful release of the first issue. A little over five years ago, we premiered this recording, an 80-minute documentary that I titled Authors Anonymous: The Story of the Porch, at Dan’s (which was only fitting). Because I never intended to make money off of the project, I burned about twelve copies of the dvd and passed them around, with instructions for the recipients to burn as many copies as they liked as long as no one ever tried to sell one. It worked. People burned copies, the thing proliferated, and the story went into the subcultural underground, only to emerge now and then when complete strangers in our artsy university-town would recognize some of the players from the documentary.

I’m still proud of the documentary. Sure, it isn’t professionally produced (especially the audio levels), but I did it on my own, with only one camera and minimal audio equipment. It took me over 2,000 hours to edit and produce to completion, and I think it tells a familiar story about young ambition and the tough lessons of the creative endeavor—albeit, in a purely Denton way. So, if you’re in the D/FW area, you’re welcome to join us at old Dan’s, to see a bit of the creative history in this wildly creative town.

Because I don’t know a good way to stream an 80-minute video over the web (I’m not giving you guys that much of my bandwidth, sorry), I can’t give you the whole thing, but if you’d like a taste, here’s a link to the original trailer.