Welcome to the Amazing Stories BLOG HORDE INTERVIEWS!
The ASM Blog Horde is a diverse and wonderful species. I have the privilege of talking with all of them, and I get to share those chats with you. In this long-running series, you will have the opportunity to peek inside the minds of the ASM bloggers to to see just what makes them tick.
I hope you enjoy the series as much as I have enjoyed preparing it for you. Please feel free to ask questions, or just let the Horde know you’ve stopped by for a visit.
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JAMES PALMER is a writer, editor and publisher of science fiction and New Pulp. He has written articles, interviews and reviews for Strange Horizons, the Internet Review of Science Fiction, and Tangent Online. His work has appeared in magazines and anthologies from Airship 27 Productions, White Rocket Books and Pro Se Productions.
James is author of the e-books Slow Djinn, Four Terrors: Weird Horror Tales, and, through his publishing imprint Mechanoid Press, he edited the anthology, Monster Earth, with writer, Jim Beard. A recovering comic book addict, James lives in Northeast Georgia with his wife and daughter.
Fran Friel for Amazing Stories Magazine: Welcome, James. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to speak with you. Please start by telling us how you became interested in blogging for Amazing Stories Magazine.
JP: Amazing Stories has a long history in the genre, and I was excited to hear it was returning as a blogsite. A few of my friends in the New Pulp community are also writing for Amazing, and I wanted to add my voice as well. Plus, I’ve been trying to do more blogging, so I thought this would be a great way to give me an “excuse.”
ASM: As you know, Amazing Stories Magazine has a huge variety of blogging categories. In what categories can we find your blogs at ASM?
JP: I’m usually all over the place, especially in genre, but I have been focusing a lot of time and energy on self-publishing, so that is what the bulk of my blog posts will be about.
ASM: Amazing Stories Magazine is focusing on the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. What’s your favorite genre, James?
JP: I like all three to varying degrees, but by far my favorite is Science Fiction. I like the grand scope of it, as well as the optimistic feel it has. It tells us we can reach the stars and solve all of our problems if we use reason and logic.
ASM: SF is my favorite, as well, for much the same reasons. So given you’re a SF buy, who are your favorite authors, and what keeps you coming back to their work? Any recommends for us?
JP: So many authors! Perennial favorites include Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury. What they did in the short story should be required reading for everyone who wants to write. Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury is my favorite novel. (I wrote a remembrance of him, recounting my favorite stories, HERE.
I also love Dan Simmons, most notably his Hyperion Cantos and the books Ilium, Olympos, and The Terror. Cory Doctorow is great, especially his first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and I try to read everything I can get my hands on by Charles Stross. The same goes for Robert J. Sawyer. I love the way he combines the grandly cosmic with the profoundly human, and I’ve met him a couple of times (I interviewed him for IROSF, which you can still find on my website, HERE.), and he’s a great guy!
ASM: Great advice regarding Ellison and Bradbury. I go back to them again and again for their “down my the cells” inspiration. Excellent recommendations, as well, James. What are you reading now? How is it so far?
JP: I’m usually working on several things at once, especially since I got my Kindle, but right now I am enjoying Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow. It’s a satirical story about a monster movie actor hired by the government to play a giant fire-breathing iguana to fool the Japanese into thinking we have a giant monster so they will surrender.
ASM: I love that premise. And that leads us quite smoothly to the next question. Are you a genre movie fan? What are your favorite titles? And have you seen any lately that you would recommend for us, or suggest we avoid?
JP: I don’t get to see a lot of movies as soon as they come out, but I saw some of the really big ones this past year. John Carter was a great. It’s a shame Disney dropped the ball on the marketing, because it really is a beautiful picture, even better than the book in several ways. Marvel’s, The Avengers was fantastic, arguably the best superhero movie ever made (so far!), and the Hobbit was a lot of fun, very different in tone from The Lord of the Rings.
ASM: Have you read any new or lesser-known authors you would like to bring to our attention?
JP: I am continually amazed by my friends and colleagues in the New Pulp community. There are some terrific writers in this group that deserve a look, especially Van Allen Plexico with his Sentinels series of superhero novels, and his space opera novels Lucian: Dark God’s Homecoming, and Hawk: Hand of the Machine.
JP: I am always up to something. I just published an anthology called Monster Earth through my imprint Mechanoid Press. It’s an alternate history take on the Cold War, only fought with giant monsters instead of the threat of nuclear weapons.
Right now, I’m working on a space opera novel, a weird western story that will be the beginnings of a series of such tales, and an outline for a three-book YA series I’m billing as Ender’s Game meets Voltron. I’m also planning a weird western anthology, and at some point I hope to revisit a series of tales featuring a character I created called Sam Eldritch: Occult Investigator for Hire. The first story, “Slow Djinn,” is available for the Kindle, and people have been clamoring for more.
ASM: Having them “clamoring for more” is always a delight. Well done! Speaking of the fans, do you have a favorite convention?
JP: I don’t get to as many conventions I would like, and those I do get to are restricted to my local area, but by far my favorite has been Dragon*Con. It is a huge, sprawling multimedia convention that also boasts terrific science fiction and fantasy literature and writer’s programming.
I also enjoy TimeGate, a Doctor Who/Stargate convention. Cons are great, and I’ve met so many writers and other people I admire at Dragon*Con, I’ve lost count.
ASM: Do you have a favorite podcast or radio drama, James? What about it do you enjoy most?
JP: My favorite podcasts are Mur Lafferty’s I Should be Writing, Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing, and Writing Excuses, hosted by authors Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells and Mary Robinette Kowall, and web cartoonist Howard Tayler.
For radio drama, I listen to various OTR sources, but I love the new stuff being done by the Atlanta Radio Theater Company. Their adaptations of works by authors like Robert A. Heinlein and H.P. Lovecraft are amazing.
ASM: Thanks for the recommendations, James. As a podcast fan myself, I’ll be looking those up.
Now that you’ve teased us with your brilliant gaggle of projects, where else can our readers find you on the Web?
ASM: You’re one busy man, James, and we’re so grateful that you spent this time with us. Wishing you continued success!
Dear AMAZING READERS, thank you for being with us. I hope you’ve enjoyed tonight’s interview. Please come back next week for another featured blogger in the Amazing Stories Blog Horde Series.
We’ll keep the light on for you!