Sunday, 23 January 2011
Bull Spec #4 Out to Buy (Or Read For Free)
With Bull Spec, and editor Samuel Montgomery-Blinn, I've somehow managed to have both. Bull Spec is a pro-rate paying market run like a fanzine, a really professional fanzine that's actually pretty much like a professional market in every way except for how damn nice Sam is, and how much he's willing to share his creative processes and apparently boundless energy.
My story The Burning Room was one of the first Sam accepted at the back end of 2010, when Bull Spec was little more than a twinkle in his eye. Since then I've gotten to watch the magazine come together, often in ways I would have been hard pressed to believe possible. Pretty much from the off, it was clear Sam had a vision of what he wanted to deliver - one definitely influenced by existing markets, but not entirely like anything already out there - and that he believed in it as far more than just a hobby project. That impressed me from the beginning. What's really startling, though, is how close he's come to bringing those ideas to fruition in the space of hardly more than a year. Twelve months down the line, Bull Spec is as good as anything out there. It's a genuine pleasure to have a story within its covers, an even bigger one to have watched the journey from its outset and even been allowed to have a little bit of influence in its outcome.
Lest this post begin to seem like sucking up or mere ranting, I should probably say something about how great The Burning Room is too. Boy. Well. The The Burning Room, huh? So, it's kind of my stab at a full-blown Gothic ghost story. I think it probably owes a little to H. G. Wells's The Red Room, although I've never been entirely sure what except for the title. And the fact that it's a ghost story. Except that, if I remember rightly, there wasn't actually a ghost in the The Red Room.
Oh crap, I've just ruined a really great story for everyone who hasn't read it, haven't I? Well, given the state of my memory, it's actually entirely possible that The Red Room contains a whole army of ghosts, including a ghostly wildebeest and an entire phantasmagorical cricket team.
Either way, The Burning Room definitely has a ghost in it. Early in the last century, a young woman moves into a rented room, only to find that the previous tenant hasn't entirely vacated just yet. Instead of doing what, let's face it, any sane person would do and getting on the next train for Anywhere Else, she sets about adjusting the room to suit its phantom visitor.
To find out whether that's a good move or a bad one, (hey, no guessing!) you should probably just go buy issue 4 of Bull Spec. Or, you know, download it for nothing - since one of those many awesome ideas that Sam had from the off was that the 'zine should be free to anyone who wanted it. Although it's perhaps worth pointing out that every time someone takes him up on this woefully generous offer, Sam shoots a kitten with a 12-gauge shotgun.
No wait, that's a lie. A possibly libelous one, now that I think about it.
Bull Spec ... completely great, potentially free, and 100% kitten-friendly!