Mike Allen‘s first novel, The Black Fire Concerto, came out in July from Haunted Stars Publishing. Tanith Lee, this year’s recipient of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, calls the book “a prize for the multitude of fans who relish strong Grand Guignol with their sword and sorcery.” By day, Mike works as the arts columnist for The Roanoke Times. His horror tale “The Button Bin” was a finalist for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story. He’s also the editor of the critically-acclaimed Clockwork Phoenix anthologies — the latest volume, Clockwork Phoenix 4, was funded by a $10,000 Kickstarter — and the fiction and poetry webzine Mythic Delirium.
by Mike Allen
Hello, folks! Thanks for reading. When John DeNardo offered me the chance to write a guest post about my first novel, The Black Fire Concerto — the story of a pair of traveling musicians battling ghouls and sorcerers in a grim post-apocalyptic world — I polled friends and colleagues about what topics would be best to talk about. In foolhardy fashion, I’m going to tackle just about all of them, because they all intertwine. Let’s start with how this book came to be published.
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
- Gertrude Barrows Bennett (writing as Francis Stevens) – She wrote a number of uncanny stories in the early 20th century and has been called “the woman who invented dark fantasy.” Indeed, it has been said that her fiction was a huge influence on H.P. Lovecraft. Although not all of Stevens’ work has dated well, she was the first American woman to have her weird fiction widely published and acclaimed.
- C.L. Moore – Catherine L. Moore was an American science fiction and fantasy writer, most often known as C.L. Moore. She was one of the first women to write in either genre, and paved the way for many other female speculative fiction writers. Her earliest stories appeared in Weird Tales and a lot of her work was very dark, hence I add her to this list.
- Daphne du Maurier – Although her work was incredibly dark, she was still a very popular writer during her lifetime. Many of her most prominent works have been adapted into movies. My favorite is “The Birds” from Alfred Hitchcock. Although her background could be considered more from the gothic side of fiction, I find her work very dark and disturbing.
- Myths and Delusions – Editorial
- “The Wives of Paris” by Marie Brennan
- “Ahalya: Deliverance” by Karthika Naïr
- “Cuneiform Toast” by Sonya Taaffe
- “Hexagon” by Alexandra Seidel
- “Voyage to a Distant Star” by C.S.E. Cooney
- “Rhythm of Hoof and Cry” by S. Brackett Robertson
- “Echoes in the Dark” by Ken Liu
- “This Talk of Poems” by Amal El-Mohtar
- “Two Ways of Lifting” by Virginia M. Mohlere
- Editorial: Myths and Delusions
- “The Theatre Golems” by Dominik Parisien
- “Mice” by Beth Cato
- “Grant Proposal” by Alexandra Seidel
- “Wheels” by Adele Gardner
- “The Motor Prayer” by Donald Raymond
- “The Princess Becomes a Prophet” by Jeannine Hall Gailey
- “Gleaming” by Mari Ness
- “The Beast” by Rachel Manija Brown
- “skin” by Lynn Hardaker
- “Circe in Manhattan” by Wendy Howe
- “Persephone Set Free” by Sofia Samatar
- “Rare Annie” by Caitlyn Paxson
- “How to Bring Your Dead Lover Back” by KL Pereira
- “Día de los Muertos” by F.J. Bergmann
- “The Green Green Rain” by Neile Graham
- “Doomcall” by Alistair Rennie
- “The Ceremony of Innocence” by Sonya Taaffe
- “Maud Gonne, After” by Alicia Cole
- “The Serpent Explains the Nature of Tricksters to His Wife” by Ruthanna Emrys
- “The Last Siren” by Andrew Gilstrap
- “Revising Horror (The Wrong Mouth)” by David Sandner
Mike Allen is the editor and publisher of the anthology series Clockwork Phoenix and the poetry journal Mythic Delirium. He was a Nebula Award finalist in 2009 for his short story “The Button Bin,” and his first collection of short fiction, The Button Bin And Other Horrors, is forthcoming from Apex Books. He and his artist wife Anita live in Roanoke, Va., where he writes the arts column for the daily newspaper.
One of the wonderful things about the genre community, if you’re a creative type, is if you have an idea and it’s not something you could ever get a major publishing house to line up behind, you can do it yourself and folks respect you for it. Heck, it’s almost expected.
So how did I end up editing the Clockwork Phoenix trilogy, and why have I launched a Kickstarter for a volume four?
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Mike Allen has posted the table of contents for Mythic Delirium 27:
- “Carve Me” by Alex Dally MacFarlane
- “Sonnet 20: From Nikola Tesla’s Clockwork Assistant to Thomas Edison’s Automaton” by Ken Liu
- “What Would You Think” by Theodora Goss
- “She Fell in Love with Winter” by S. Brackett Robertson
- “Vivian to Merlin” by Theodora Goss
- “The Tears of Sigrune” by Anna Sykora
- “The Gardener” by Sandi Leibowitz
- “The Architecture of Grief” by Rachel Swirsky
- “Kalligeneia 2012″ by Sonya Taaffe
- “The Bones of the Girl Musicians” by Sandi Leibowitz
- “More” by Sofía Rhei (translated into English by Lawrence Schimel)
- “The Oracle Never Dances” by Shira Lipkin
- “The Magic Window” by Sofía Rhei (translated into English by Lawrence Schimel)
- “The Light of Dreams” by Alexandra Seidel
- “The Pied Piper vs. the Sirens” by Gwynne Garfinkle
- “Ereshkigal’s Proposal to Hades” by Shira Lipkin
- “Plucked from the Horo” by Rose Lemberg
- “My Grandson Never Dreams Of Dragons” by Lida Broadhurst
- “The Gospel of Nachash” by Marie Brennan
- “Crow Voodoo” by Georgina Bruce
- “Braiding the Ghosts” by C.S.E. Cooney
- “Hell Friend” by Gemma Files
- “Lucyna’s Gaze” by Gregory Frost
- “Where Shadows Go at Low Midnight” by John Grant ([info]realthog )
- “Dragons of America” by Stacey Hirons
- “Your Name Is Eve” by Michael M. Jones
- “Fold” by Tanith Lee
- “Eyes of Carven Emerald” by Shweta Narayan
- “Lineage” by Kenneth Schneyer
- “Tomorrow Is Saint Valentine’s Day” by Tori Truslow
- “Murder in Metachronopolis” by John C. Wright
- “Surrogates” by Cat Rambo
- “To Seek Her Fortune” by Nicole Kornher-Stace
[Note 12/14/09: updated based on latest info]
- Interviews and Profiles:
- Speaking of steampunk, check out Jaymee Goh’s article on Steampunk as Subculture over at Tor.com.
- Ever wonder what a book cover artists thinks of other people’s covers? Head on over to Missions Unknown and see their resident artist extraordinaire, John Picacio, do just that.
- SciFi Scanner points us to retro Iron Man cover art and re-imagined classic scifi movie posters.
- For those keeping track, George R.R. Martin is up to page 1100 writing A Dance with Dragons, and hopes to be done in less than 400 pages more.
- Alan Moore’s New Fanzine, Dodgem Logic, launches in November.
- Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has posted an awesome trailer for Star Wars: Death Troopers, the new novel by Joe Schreiber.
- Here’s Mike Allen on The Speculative Poetry Scene.
- For the writers: Victoria Strauss’ Thoughts on Self-Promotion.
- EVENT: Ray Harryhausen and his co-author Tony Dalton will be signing An Animated Life at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR, on Saturday 24th October 1 – 2pm.
- Amazon Settles Kindle Deletion Lawsuit For $150,000: “Amazon.com has agreed to pay $150,000 to the student who sued the company for deleting his digital copy of George Orwell’s 1984 from his Kindle e-book reading device.” Wow! (Thanks, Daniel!)
- @Stomping on Yeti: 10 Ways to use Time Travel to Fix the Short Fiction Market.
- @Automopedia: 10 Fantastic Cartoon Science Fiction Ships
- Mike Brotherton lists his scientific heroes
- SciFi Scanner lists Cult SciFi Classics in Need of Interactive Treatment. I’d take a Big Trouble in Little China game any day…
Short fiction anthologies come in many flavors: some contain original fiction and some are comprised of reprints; they can be themed or non-themed; they may restrict themselves to a certain sub-genre of speculative fiction… But one thing they all have in common is that it’s Editors that put them together.
Continuing from Part 1 last week, we asked a handful of Editors the following question:
Read on to see their illuminating responses (and check out Part 3 when you’re done!) …
We have edited three reprint anthologies; the genesis of each was different. Jacob Weisman at Tachyon Publications approached Jim to do a slipstream book and he enlisted John as his co-editor; the result was Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology. We proposed a book about post-cyberpunk and Jacob greenlighted Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology. And it was Jacob and the perspicacious Bernie Goodman who suggested the idea for The Secret History Of Science Fiction; the book is due out next month.
We’ve a long history of collaboration and we’ve shared a similar vision for these reprint anthologies. In each of them we were trying to put forward an argument about the recent history of the genre. So we first had to gather our thoughts about slipstream and post-cyberpunk and the divide between mainstream and genre sf. Creating reprint anthologies like these involves figuring out what we think about a subject, or what we can credibly say about it. Selecting the stories has involved a couple of methods: (1) we decided on who we wanted in the book and then read intensively for stories that best illustrated our thesis, and (2) we decided what kind of stories we wanted and then cast the net widely to see who might have written the sort of thing we needed to support our thesis. In each of the books we have had some disagreements that have involved negotiations between us, and the final table of contents has been affected by practical considerations that made the end result different from our initial intentions.
- @B&N: The Candy Man Can: Or Why John Joseph Adams is Genre Fiction’s Willy Wonka.
- Sequential Tart interviews Mike Allen (Mythic Delirium).
- Matthew Hughes has signed a three-book deal with Angry Robot for “a contemporary fantasy series about a mild-mannered actuary who becomes a caped crusader crime fighter with the unwilling assistance of a demon who talks and dresses like Jimmy Cagney in a 1930s gangster movie.”
- David Herter and Earthling Publications are offering a page of David Herter’s original manuscript to anyone who buys a copy of his upcoming Halloween novel, October Dark. (See also: Jeffrey Ford’s introduction.) [Thanks, Christopher!]
- James van Pelt discusses The Fundamental Disconnect Between Young Adults and Young Adults Writing.
- Lou Anders on Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (with spoilers): “Moffat, you can’t get here fast enough for me.”
- Mark Wegierski writes about Traditionalist and libertarian themes in science fiction and fantasy. Part Four concerns Fantasy in pop-culture; military SF; and space opera.
- Fantasy Magazine is Looking For Slush Readers.
- Hayao Miyazaki and his anime museum in Tokyo. [via Raymond Thornton]
- Dr. Horrible wins first Emmy for Joss Whedon. Yay, Joss!
- Angela Slatter lists Desirable Characteristics for an Editor (Not to be confused with What Makes an Editor Sexy).
- Den of Geek lists Top 75 spaceships in movies and TV (part 6).
- Innsmouth Free Press lists 10 Vampire Movies You Need to Watch.
- Movies Everyone Else Loved That Joseph Mallozzi Hated. Agreed on Deathproof and Goldmember, but The Usual Suspects? That’s just crazy talk.
- Tony C. Smith has posted the awesome cover for his upcoming anthology, StarShip Sofa Stories, Volume 1.
- Interviews & Profiles:
- The latest Starship Sofa podcast features Jeff VanderMeer, Mike Allen, and Jeremy Tolbert.
- @Opinionated? Me? : Kaaron Warren (Slights).
- Rocketkapre.com Mind-Melds Philippine SF notables and asks: What’s your favorite Philippine speculative fiction story?
- io9 interviews Jeremy Lassen from Night Shade Books.
- @Suite101.com: Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.
- NY Times Book Review: Jonathan Lethem essays on J.G. Ballard, Poet of Desolate Landscapes. [via Locus Online]
- Mur Lafferty’s latest podcast addresses Content rating system for children’s books.
- EVENT: The Montauk Club is pleased to announce an evening celebrating Edgar Allan Poe with readings from Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Ellen Datlow and published by Solaris Books. The reading will take place at 8 PM, September 25, 2009, in the historic 120 year-old Ballroom at the Montauk Club, 25 Eighth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn (adjacent to Grand Army Plaza).
- SF Signal irregular Karen Burnham now sports some ultra-cool tattoos.
- Listverse lists 12 Facts About Star Wars You Probably Don’t Know.