Bull Spec: Year 3, with fiction editors Natania Barron and Eric Gregory.

Wait. Just wait a minute. Year 2 has barely started and I’m talking about Year 3?

I’m talking about Year 3.

When I started Bull Spec, I committed to two years. Thanks to an awful lot of support (and trust, and work) from you all, I think that the magazine should go longer. I haven’t been accepting stories, or, in point of fact, reading many stories—if I can’t accept them, I shouldn’t be reading them, or at least that’s my excuse today—and that simply can’t go on. So I’ve been trying to get a plan set which not only means there will be a third year, but (in my opinion) that the magazine will be stronger.

That means among other things that’s it’s time for me to let the professionals get to work. On that note, I’m very happy indeed to announce that Natania Barron and Eric Gregory are coming on as Bull Spec‘s fiction editors.

What does this mean? The stories they accept will appear (along with a few I already have accepted) as early as Issue 8 publication wise, but effective immediately they’ll be the ones reading and accepting and editing stories. (Though it doesn’t yet mean that we’re open for new submissions, as there are still quite a lot of stories to be read, and we have a reading process to get into place.) It also means that Bull Spec‘s fiction will be even stronger, as Natania and Eric are very talented and imaginative young writers (and editors—Natania was most recently co-editor at Crossed Genres and Eric is one of the fiction editors at The Raleigh Review) with great eyes for good stories. I’m very excited about this, and I hope you all are as well.

It also means that Bull Spec is in good hands going forward, for Year 3 and beyond. Hooray! (And as a side note, completely unrelated I assure you, a subscription starting with issue 6 is now available, which means the first issue of Year 3 is, in a way, available for pre-order already!)

And there’s more plans. Finally, finally, real e-book versions? A completely re-vamped and (non-Sam-edited-by-hand-nonsense) website? A pile of book giveaways and other promotions? Yes. Soon. But for today, let’s celebrate Natania and Eric being so foolish awesome, and look forward to their reign of terror awesome over the slushpile. Again: Hooray!


Summer is Coming!

With all apologies to George R.R. Martin’s Game of ThronesSUMMER IS COMING! From the VanderMeers to Lev Grossman to our own Mighty Mur, there’s an awful lot going on.

MAY




The “summer” pretty much got started as Free Comic Book Day was here again. Ultimate Comics had (among others) locals Tommy Lee Edwards (TURF), Dale Mettam (Viper Comics), and Firetower Studios (The Order of Dagonet) and Chapel Hill Comics had Thomas Boatwright (Zeke Deadwood, Zombie Lawman) doing sketches.

(Much more…)

12-28 Durham’s Manbites Dog Theater plays host to Howard L. Craft’s new play Jade City Chronicles Volume 1, the first of a trilogy concerning the search for a new, great, black superhero. Craft was recently on WUNC’s The State of Things to talk about the play. (And earlier in the same show, James Maxey was on to talk about comic books and culture.) (Facebook event link to share around.)


19-22 SFWA brings the Nebula Awards weekend to Washington, DC. A weekend of programs, workshops, and, of course, the Nebula Awards, where Raleigh’s Kij Johnson and Raleigh native Mary Robinette Kowal are nominees.

21 Durham County Libraries Southwest Regional branch hosts a day-long Comics Fest! Presentations by: Jarrett Krosoczka (the Lunch Lady Comics, Punk Farm) @ 1 p.m. Jason Lutes (Berlin, Jar of Fools, Houdini Handcuff King) @ 2:30 p.m. Cartooning workshop with Casey @ 2:30. Cosplay Prom @ 4:00. Plus superhero photo station, crafts, giveaways, and more, going on through out the day.


27-30 Balticon 45 in Baltimore, MD. Raleigh’s Mark Van Name is listed as one of the participants, and it’s not THAT far.


JUNE
3-5 ConCarolinas in Charlotte, with many local and regional guests including Natania BarronGail Z. Martin, James Maxey, Allen Wold, on and on.


11 Mur Lafferty to debut her Afterlife series (HeavenHell, …) at Chapel Hill Comics. 5 to 7 pm! (Facebook event link.)

14 A local science fiction and fantasy roundtable at the Cary Barnes & Noble, with Van Name, David DrakeJames MaxeyLisa Shearin, and Kelly Gay. Drake (The Legions of Fire) and Van Name (Children No More) will have new paperbacks out, the Van Name edited urban fantasy anthology The Wide Side (with local contributor Gina Massel-Castater) is due August 1, and Drake’s Out of the Waters (volume two of The Books of the Elements) is out July 19 and his collaboration with John Lambshead, Into the Hinterlands (which is a new SF story structured around the story of George Washington) is out September 1. Not to be outdone, Maxey recently signed a new three-book deal with Solaris Books for Greatshadow (Solaris Books, February 2012). This was a great panel last year, so definitely go check it out. (Facebook event link to pass around.)










JULY

30 A Cabinet of Curioisites Literary Extravaganza! Join Hugo Award winning editor Ann VanderMeer and World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer for a book release party and evening of celebration-give-aways, short humorous readings, and great conversations. Spotlight on the debut of The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities (HarperCollins) and definitive guide The Steampunk Bible (Abrams Image), along with Triangle author and Escape Pod editor Mur Lafferty’s new fiction series. Special guests of the Cabinet of Curiosities Literary Extravaganza include Cabinet of Curiosities contributors Ekaterina SediaMur LaffertyScott Eagle, and S.J. Chambers (also coauthor of The Steampunk Bible). The Cabinet of Curiosities is an extraordinary anthology featuring art and fiction from the likes of Mike Mignola, Alan Moore, Holly Black, Lev Grossman, China Mieville, Carrie Vaughn, and more. Like books? Like beer? Both will be available. Come on out and support the arts, and have fun doing it. Presented by Bull Spec magazine and The Regulator Bookshop. At Durham’s Fullsteam Brewery (726 Rigsbee, Ave, Raleigh-Durham, NC), July 30 at 7 pm. Everyone welcome, no admission. (Facebook event link to pass around.) (Goodreads event link here.) (PDF flyers in color and black and white.) UPDATE: At 6 pm, The Davenport Sisters, host of the Steampunk radio show The Clockwork Caberet, will get things started with an hour of music!




AUGUST

30 Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books hosts Lev Grossman on his national tour in support of The Magician King, the sequel to his NYT-bestselling novel The Magicians. Not to be missed! This event is a real coup for the Triangle, so tell your friends, come out, and help send a message to the big publishers that RDU should continue to be a destination for author tours. (Facebook event link to pass around.)



31 Lewis Shiner‘s new novel Dark Tangos to be published by Subterranean Press. (Look for more of Shiner’s “Definitive Edition” backlog to be published over the summer as well.)


SEPTEMBER

20 Pyr to publish The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire: Book 2) by Raleigh’s Clay and Susan Griffith. Sequel to last November’s The Greyfriar.



NOVEMBER


5-6 NC Comicon at the Morrisville Outlet Mall. Also check out their summer signing series which has June 25 and July 16 events already scheduled.

15 Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books hosts Mary Doria Russell, author of The Sparrow, to present her latest novel Doc, a retelling of the life of “Doc” Holliday.

Whew. And there’s so much more to come! Natania’s debut novel Pilgrim of the Sky (Candlemark & Gleam), Jay Requard‘s The Night (Peak City Publishing), Teresa Frohock‘s Miserere (Night Shade, July), Rebecca Rowe‘s Circle Tide (EDGE Sci-Fi, Fall 2011), and two new SF conventions right here in the Triangle: illogiCon (January 13-15, 2012, with literary guest of honor Joe Haldeman) and ConTemporal (June 21-24, 2012). Between them, an exciting lineup for High Point’s StellarCon (March 2-4, 2012) with literary guest of honor Patrick Rothfuss. I keep saying it, but: it’s a fun time to be into speculative fiction in the Triangle.

Help do your part to spread the word! Use the Facebook event links above to easily invite your Facebook friends, or download and print the PDF flyers. Here’s a four-event flyer which is good for posting around. And I hope to see folks out and about!


A CABINET OF CURIOSITIES LITERARY EXTRAVAGANZA!

A CABINET OF CURIOSITIES LITERARY EXTRAVAGANZA! Join Hugo Award winning editor Ann VanderMeer and World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer for a book release party and evening of celebration-give-aways, short humorous readings, and great conversations. Spotlight on the debut of The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities (HarperCollins) and definitive guide The Steampunk Bible (Abrams Image), along with Triangle author and Escape Pod editor Mur Lafferty’s new fiction series. Special guests of the Cabinet of Curiosities Literary Extravaganza include Cabinet of Curiosities contributors Ekaterina Sedia, Mur Lafferty, Scott Eagle, and S.J. Chambers (also coauthor of The Steampunk Bible). The Cabinet of Curiosities is an extraordinary anthology featuring art and fiction from the likes of Mike Mignola, Alan Moore, Holly Black, Lev Grossman, China Mieville, Carrie Vaughn, and more. Like books? Like beer? Both will be available. Come on out and support the arts, and have fun doing it. Presented by Bull Spec magazine and The Regulator Bookshop. At Durham’s Fullsteam Brewery (726 Rigsbee, Ave, Durham, NC), July 30 at 7 pm. Everyone welcome, no admission. (Facebook event link here.) (Goodreads event link here.) (PDF flyers in color and black and white.) UPDATE: At 6 pm, The Davenport Sisters, host of the local Steampunk radio show The Clockwork Caberet, will get things started with an hour of music! UPDATE 2: A creation by Steampunk “maker” extraordinaire Jake von Slatt, featured in The Cabinet of Curiosities, will be on hand as well!


World Fantasy Awards: nomination deadline approaches (May 31)

Did you know that you can still register as a supporting member of World Fantasy Convention 2011 and submit your nominations for best novel, life achievement, and other categories? You can, until May 31. While San Diego’s World Fantasy Convention 2011 is full up on attending memberships (they do have a wait list set up) a supporting membership includes nomination privileges. So: go forth, register, and let your voice be heard. And if you were a registered member of last year’s convention in Columbus, or the year before in San Jose, you’re already eligible to vote. You can do so via mail or via e-mail, and the ballot is here.

While the World Fantasy Awards are indeed a judged/juried award, two of the nominations are decided by these votes. There’s been some good suggestions from John Klima in recent years (here’s his 2008 and 2009 posts) as to the Life Achievement category. (Note that Terry Pratchett was one of those awarded last year.) In individual categories, while my previous posts on local and regional eligibility for the Hugo awards stand fairly well, they are not sorted specifically for fantasy. So I’ll do a quick run-down of those:

NOVEL:

SHORT STORY:

  • Richard Dansky, “Mad Eyes of the Heron King” in Dark Faith (Apex)
  • Michael Jasper and Jay Lake, “Devil on the Wind” in Black Gate 2010
  • Kij Johnson, “Ponies” at Tor.com
  • James Maxey, “Where Their Worm Dieth Not” in Masked (Simon & Schuster) and “Greatshadow” in Blood & Devotion
And in terms of what was published in Bull Spec itself which falls under the fantasy umbrella, all in the short story category:
  • C.S. Fuqua, “Rise Up” in Bull Spec #1
  • Uri Grey, “The Sad Story of the Naga” in Bull Spec #2
  • Kaolin Fire, “By the Dragon’s Tail” in Bull Spec #2
  • Lavie Tidhar, “The Story of Listener and Yu-En” in Bull Spec #3
  • Katherine Sparrow, “Like Parchment in the Fire” in Bull Spec #3
  • David Tallerman, “The Burning Room” in Bull Spec #4
  • Nick Mamatas, “Oh, Harvard Square!” in Bull Spec #4
And while it’s silly for me to think of myself as a source of recommendations, I would mention a few things from outside of the local area that I’ve read this year and might warrant your consideration. First, in the COLLECTION category: Jeff VanderMeer’s The Third Bear (Tachyon). In the ANTHOLOGY category: Swords and Dark Magic edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders, as well as Panverse Two edited by Dario Ciriello, and Stories edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio. In the NOVEL category: Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death (DAW), Catherynne Valente’s The Habitation of the Blessed (Night Shade), and Dexter Palmer’s The Dream of Perpetual Motion (St. Martin’s). And in the NOVELLA category: Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Alchemist” in The Alchemist and the Executionness (Audible.com), Alan Smales’ “A Clash of Eagles” in Panverse Two, and “Lightbringers and Rainmakers” by Felix Gilman at Tor.com. Lastly, though there are plenty of reading lists out there, in the SHORT STORY category, J.M. McDermott’s “Dedalus and the Labyrinth” in Weird Tales, Spring 2010 is one I haven’t seen on too many, and having seen (and heard) him read the story, I was quite pulled in.
Lastly, if you enjoyed Bull Spec last year, the category “Special Award: Non-professional” would be the place to mention it. I would also like to tip my hat in that category toward Dario Ciriello for Panverse Publishing, who continues to inspire me with his excellent all-novella series. I will keep my other “Non-professional” and “Special Award: Professional” votes largely to myself, as yet more name dropping becomes nobody, but Nick Mamatas (for Haikasoru, and for editing the Haunted Legends (with Ellen Datlow) anthology) is someone who hasn’t been nominated in the “Professional” category before whose work this year is worth a look.

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