09 September 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Interview: Mike Resnick

interview by Carl Slaughter

Mike Resnick recently launched 2 new projects. Stellar Guild, an anthology series, and Galaxy’s Edge, an ezine. Diabolical Plots asks
who, what, when, why, and how.

CARL SLAUGHTER: You did these type of projects in the 90s and launched a lot of careers. Why again? Why now?

MIKE RESNICK: This field has been phenomenally good to me over the years. I can’t pay back — everyone who helped me is either dead or rich or both — so I pay forward.

CARL: Will these 2 project continue indefinitely, with you turning over the editorship to someone else, or will you shut them down after you’ve accomplished certain goals?

MIKE: That’s up to the guy who pays the bills, but I don’t believe he plans on halting either project in the foreseeable future.

CARL: The magazine stories are free. What’s the business model for a free, online magazine?

MIKE: That’s a publisher question. I’m just the editor. I assume that being free online serves multiple purposes: it lets me recruit new
writers he may want to work with in the future, it advertises many of his books and projects (like the Caribbean cruise workshop) in its
pages, etc. And I should add that although it’s free online, we’re actually selling a surprising number of copies of the Kindle, Nook and
paper formats. And as each new issue comes online for free, the prior one is accessible only for a fee.

CARL: Speculative fiction is a big umbrella. Which subgenres will you emphasize and which will you exclude?

MIKE: I like science fiction. I like fantasy. I like humor. I like odd and offbeat. I have no interest in horror.

CARL: What percentage of stories will be original and what percentage will be reprints? What percentage of stories will have recognizable bylines and what percentage will be new names?

MIKE: We’ll be running 5 new stories and 4 reprint stories and/or novelettes each issue, so it’s 55% new, 44% reprint, and 1% left over.
The new stories will be by newcomers, or journeymen whose names aren’t well-known yet. The reprints will be by major writers whose names on the cover will theoretically keep us in business. We’re also running a science column by Greg Benford, a book review column by Paul Cook, and an anything-he-feels-like-writing-about column by Barry Malzberg. And my editorials seem to go a few thousand words each. Oh, and we serialize a novel each issue, we run a novel excerpt from the publisher’s list each issue, and we run a short story from one of the
publisher’s available collections each issue. Like the old Lucky Strike commercials, we’re firm and fully-packed.

CARL: How does the protÃ’ gÃ’ thing work? Does the protÃ’ gÃ’ write a story and the veteran help with revision or do they both write a story on a similar theme?

MIKE: I contact a superstar and assign him/her a novella. Then a protÃ’ gÃ’ (of their choosing, not mine) will write a novella or long
novelette that is a sequel, a prequel, or just set in the same universe — and share cover credit. And when you’re a newcomer sharing cover credit with Mercedes Lackey or Larry Niven or Kevin J. Anderson or Robert Silverberg or Harry Turtledove or Nancy Kress or Eric Flint, it’s got to give your embryonic career a lot more of a boost than selling half a dozen stories to the usual markets.

CARL: All the established authors you contacted initially declined to participate. When you informed them the project would involve working with a protÃ’ gÃ’ , they all immediately reversed their decision. Why is working with a protÃ’ gÃ’ such a motivation?

MIKE: For the same reason I work with beginners: to pay forward. I just ran through the names of the senior partners on these books. Most
are contracted years ahead, most make far more than we can pay…but the moment the philosophy of the line was explained to them, each of
these talented and truly generous writers instantly agreed. I should add that the very first Stellar Guild book to come out — Kevin
Anderson’s and Steve Saville’s TAU CETI — just won the very first “Lifeboat to the Stars” Award, which carries a 4-figure cash prize with it.

CARL: An important question for aspiring writers. Are submissions open?

MIKE: No, but I hope to open submissions soon. Maybe 3 or 4 months.

Carl_eagleCarl Slaughter is a man of the world. For the last decade, he has traveled the globe as an ESL teacher in 17 countries on 3 continents, collecting souvenir paintings from China, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and Egypt, as well as dresses from Egypt, and masks from Kenya, along the way. He spends a ridiculous amount of time and an alarming amount of money in bookstores. He has a large ESL book review website, an exhaustive FAQ about teaching English in China, and a collection of 75 English language newspapers from 15 countries.

His training is in journalism, and he has an essay on culture printed in the Korea Times and Beijing Review. He has two science fiction novels in the works and is deep into research for an environmental short story project.

Carl currently teaches in China where electricity is an inconsistent commodity.

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