Sunday, June 21, 2015

EDITOR INTERVIEW: George Wells of 'Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry' Ponders Submissions and a New Publication

Short fiction publisher Empire & Great Jones has grown into a three-tentacled monster with their newest line Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. Zetetic is a word with Greek roots and means really awesome publication . . . er, something. This line of short fiction, like E&GJ’s other lines, is semi-pro ($.02/word, or higher, depending on how their Patreon campaign goes) and is generally open to submissions.

Unlike sister journals Spark and Ember, Zetetic publishes their stories online, where all can bask in their glorious glory! And I’m not just saying that. With stories from Stone Showers, Dino Laserbeam, and Clive Tern, it really is pretty glorious. The fiction is short, the fiction is odd, the fiction is memorable. 

Check out their June issue here.

With us today is George Wells, managing editor of Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. He’s here to tell us about the journal, what they look for in submissions, and the best book to hold close as the apocalypse of the written word approaches.


Zetetic’s homepage states that We want to create a space where readers can find unique writing that they can connect to, that will make them say, “This was quite unusual, but I loved it.” Can you offer a specific example of a writer or work (outside Zetetic) that fits the bill? What, to you, is something that is weird and wonderful?

Kurt Vonnegut is an early example.  My senior English teacher in high-school had a book rack of stuff that he liked but wasn’t part of the curriculum and we were allowed to borrow those from him.  I read Slaughterhouse Five overnight and came back the next day a bit irritated with Mr. Veatch for not including that on the curriculum instead of When the Legends Die, the book we were working through at the time.  He listened to my rant, expressed his delight at my appreciation of the book, but informed me that the school board would never let him do that. 

Despite the fact that Vonnegut is still such a popular author, there’s something so odd about the way he wrote that I find his popularity a bit surprising—but encouraging. 

I also read In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan, and remember being entranced by this world that didn’t make any sense but somehow did.

Life after God by Douglas Coupland is another example.  It’s a novel told in short stories and vignettes and accompanied by simple drawings.  I’ll admit that I even tried to write in that style, failed miserably, but ended up with something completely different and unusual for me, so maybe I got the headspace right, at least.

And I did enjoy When the Legends Die, too, by the way.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

BIG NEWS, LITTLE NEWS: Updates from The Land of Imagination

Things are happening!

2015 has been a good year thus far (as I expect the rest of it to be). I've had some work published, and that's exciting and great and all that, but that's The Little News and nothing compared to The Big News. Which is: My wonderfully wonderful wife is pregnant! Certainly not the first Hemphill to be born, but the first to us, and I couldn't be more excited! We have names in mind--strong, honest, awesome names--names that will ensure our child is the smartest, coolest, most loved being to ever walk the planet--but for now we're calling him/her Baby H. The due date is in October and, oddly enough, it happens to land on the 26th, which is my birthday! Whoop!

Picture Courtesy of Karlee Hemphill, aka Mama H

Now, for The Little News. As I say, Things are happening!

Daily Science Fiction published a flash fiction story of mine titled Fields (Lords of Fate). This one is a magic realism/pseudo-fantasy story depicting a bloody battle from an unusual POV. It's short and punchy and a proud moment for me. I'm not really a science fiction author, I'm more horror and magic realism, but DSF is one of my favorite publications and I've been set on tricking convincing them to accept one of my stories. It also puts me 2/3 of the way toward that SFWA membership.

Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things dropped their inaugural issue last month and it includes a reprinted horror novella that was originally published in their sister publication Spark: A Creative Anthology. While Spark is the adult line of fiction, Ember is for youth and young adult audiences. I'm especially happy to be a part of this project because Ember is dedicated to reaching young readers and instilling in them a strong love for story. Not only that, they encourage young readers to write and submit their own work for future issues! 

My contributor copies arrived today and they are flippin gorgeous.

Tales to Terrify re-released an oldie-but-goodie of mine in audio. I wrote Cheating the Shroud in 2011 as an homage to Philip K. Dick. It's a story about a head named Harold. Confused? You betcha. Better listen to the story so you know what's going on. It's also available through iTunes. And man, their timing couldn't be better. This news article about a real-life Harold the Head was released the same day.

And lastly, Rocky Mountain Revival, a local podcast here in Colorado, released The Homecoming in audio. This is a literary short story that's infused with a kind-of, sort-of sci-fi element. It's hard to describe. Let's call it magic-science-realism. You know what, you better just check that one out for yourself, too. Summing up my own work is strangely difficult. Harder than actually writing the stories.

More is on the horizon. More is always on the horizon. Some things are accepted and pending publication, like my story Sun Melody: A Plagiarized Life, which is due to appear in Space and Time at some point, and others are on wait lists or hopefully beaming from the murky depths of slush piles around the fiction world. But the biggest and best thing on the horizon is still Baby H!