When I was younger I would, on occasion, end up in one of those Career Choices meetings where a kindly (if frustrated) person Who Knew The Way the World Works would seek to advise people of my general age, height, and social standing, about What Sorts of Things I Should Be Thinking About. These would inevitably lead, at some point, to the question;
‘But what do you want to do?’
To which I would say, ‘write’ or occasionally ‘make things up for a living’.
And the answer would inevitably be, ‘That’s not a real job, but I suppose there’s no harm in it…’ By which I think they meant that there probably was harm, in the form of penury, starvation, futility, and a generalized uselessness.
Thankfully, I ignored them.
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I’ve been keeping an eye out for this ever since Warren Ellis started mentioning it again on his newsletter, Orbital Operations, and just lookit – it has gol’danged birds and feral tree-people, seriously.
With both Apex Magazine’s and Shimmer’s recent news, I’ve been thinking about the State of the Thing; and that Thing of course being specfic publishing in the Near Now.*
The field of weird and wonderful fiction has changed a lot since I started subscribing to ‘zines. There was that slow-burn month or quarter of excitement as you wondered what tales might arrive through your letterbox, and what characters you might meet. Some were glossy works with smooth layouts, others stapled together and photocopied. Each and every one was a delight. Some of the authors became familiar, and you’d track them across different publications. They felt like friends, even if you’d never met them. Other names you might never hear of again, but their stories stayed with you. It was harder to meet fellow weirdworlders back then; you formed scriptorial packs, secretive cabals; you lent well-thumbed booklets to those who understood.
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