Unlike Issue 001, I wanted to go someplace smaller with 002. The result was an old, inside joke among a group of my friends from table-top RPGs: Tuesday After Next.
It is not the present, and not some incredibly bizarre and different past, but today with some dark and interesting things added in to push the boundaries. Here is the spec I sent out:
Not all science fiction is about galactic exploration. Right now, the future is being born as computers grow ever-more-powerful, and technology wrests control of the industrial heights from the traditional powers. After Dieselpunk and before Cyberpunk, you have the Makers and the Hackers, modern rebels hiding and striking from the shadows. Welcome to the Tuesday After Next.
Dieselpunk, by the way, comes after steampunk (circa 1860-1910) and Raypunk (1910-1930), so it represents that period that roughly straddles the Great Patriotic War (1930-1950). Later, you have a movement called Atompunk (1950-1970), followed by Cassette Futurism (1970-1990). No, I don’t know who came up with these terms, or the time frames, but they’re close enough for my needs.
Cyberpunk is a Gibson and friends thing. (He’s the best known.) It involved cyberware, obviously, of a much more sophisticated bent than we have today with internal insulin pumps and hearing aids embedded in the skull. We’re not there yet.
But we have punk.
The modern aesthetic lends itself well to the dark and gritty. But I wanted that darkness to shadow our world, and not the future. Some of the best speculative fiction starts off with the present tense and then asks: “Yeah, but what it…?” And it was always political. Anyone who thinks otherwise must really have his head up his ass to think that Star Trek was ever an a-political or a-social thing, to say nothing of Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451, for example) or the recently departed Harlan Ellison (Have you READ Repent, Harlequin, Said The Tick-tock Man), or Michael Moorcock (Behold the Man).
But I wanted a dark present. Makers, before they turn into Hackers in another generation or three. “Where are we, and what does it mean?”
The result was a lovely, broad mix of stuff. Joel Ewy wrote me a FANTASTIC essay on the state of the art, and its implications. (I’ve told him since that anytime he wants to write me an essay on the topic, instead of a story, I’d be happy as a clam. Once you read it, you’ll understand. He’s a so-called Digital Philosopher, so he’s focused on the ethics of technology. And I’ve known the man for forty years, as of this fall. Wow, I’m getting old.)
Leah R. Cutter gave me a fantastic piece about a man who can see the very heart of the city with his powers, blending the very best elements of urban fantasy with speculative fiction in a way that never quite gets around to explaining itself and leaves you wanting more.
Michele Callahan continues her (five-part?) story ESS Defender in Issue 002. Like you, I’m already hooked and just waiting for her to turn in her last section so I can see how the story turns out. It keeps getting weirder and more fun with every turn and every roll of the dice, but you’ll have to buy all five issues tor read it all, or beg for her to eventually turn it into a novel. (Hopefully, book One in a whole new series.)
I’m even in there with the first of a new series of stories about a couple of punks named Carl and Deke, who are practical jokers with a social commentary. There are more stories in the series, but they’ll get published sometime later, as I’m just catching up on things. (But when they get there, I want Bradley Cooper to play Carl.)
My plan, once things get into full swing, it to do a cover reveal first. That should occur in August. In September, I’ll follow that up with a reveal on the Table of Contents, so you can see what awesomeness is coming. (Then finally a reminders that “Hey, you missed it!” heh)
I have the stories to Issue 004 in hand and am working on them as we speak. Robots, Androids, Cyborgs, Oh My! and it comes out October 10, 2018. It will also be the biggest book, I think, with stories from fourteen of us.
What would you steal, with the whole galaxy to pick from?
It comes out July 10, and that finalizes our early drop cycle and puts up onto the quarterly piece (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct) going forward. Which is why you need to be signed up for the newsletter, because nobody has really solved the whole subscription model in such a way that it would just magically appear on your device to read.
I am really excited about this new project. It has been a labor of love for me, but my writers are enjoying themselves (I hope) and turning in quality work. Readers have been buying it. (Couple of reviews would be nice, ya know?) And I want this to run as long and as hard as it can.
Next year, I’m planning even bigger things. I have invited a few people to write Special Guest Appearance By stories. A couple of graphic artists have expressed interest in joining in, as well as a song-writer (Rock Opera Space Opera?) I’m working on his scholarly stuff.
Thank you for your support. I could not do this without a lot of fans willing to send me their coffee money on a regular basis. It makes my life possible. You make my life possible, and I’m trying to pay your support back with good stories and wildly entertaining, time-killing pursuits.
The best compliment anyone can ever give me is to say that they had to stay up all night reading because they couldn’t put the book down. I’m working on giving you more of it.
I hope you enjoy.