The Reigning King of the Anthology World: Interview with John Joseph Adams
John Joseph Adams (www.johnjosephadams.com) is the bestselling editor of many anthologies, such as Oz Reimagined, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, Epic: Legends of Fantasy, Other Worlds Than These, Armored, Under the Moons of Mars, Brave New Worlds,Wastelands,The Living Dead, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and The Way of the Wizard. He is a six-time finalist for the Hugo Award and a five-time nominee for the World Fantasy Award. He is also the editor and publisher of the magazines Lightspeed and Nightmare, and is the co-host of Wired.com’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. Find him on Twitter @johnjosephadams.
Will: Paul Goat Allen called you “The reigning king of the anthology world.” You spent some time working at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction before your career as an anthology editor took off with the publication of Wastelands; would you say that anyone on the staff of F&SF played Merlin to your Arthur?
Adams: Well, of course the answer to your question is Gordon Van Gelder. Gordon basically taught me everything I know about publishing and editing, and has been an incredible mentor and friend. I say “of course” it’s Gordon, though, largely because he was the only person I directly worked with at F&SF day-to-day; everyone else who worked on the magazine was off-site, so when I went into the office, it was just me and Gordon (and the slush…and the cats). But obviously there are bosses who you work for and bosses that you work with, and Gordon was definitely one of the latter, which allowed me to grow and learn and made my career possible.
For what it’s worth, I would have gone with the “Yoda to my Luke Skywalker” metaphor–in fact, I did go with that metaphor in the acknowledgments to my anthology, Federations. In various books I’ve compared Gordon to being my vampire sire; the Dr. Joseph Bell to my Sherlock Holmes (i.e., the model upon which my career is based); the Dr. Frankenstein to my Igor; and the radioactive spider to my Spider-Man. I’ve also said of him that he is “truly the Jeddak of Editors.” I guess I’ll have to do a King Arthur anthology so I can call Gordon my Merlin.
Will: Thanks for indulging my king metaphor, but if you want to move out of the Arthurian and into a galaxy far, far away, I’m up for that. But whether you want to relate them to Barsoom, Dagobah, or Camelot, who wore the genre anthology crowns during your formative years as a reader?
Adams: For me, it was mostly Gardner Dozois and Ellen Datlow. My bookshelves sag under the weight of their greatness even now–and both of them with names that begin with “D”! (Those poor shelves!) Gardner’s and Ellen’s Year’s Bests were really great for showing me the depth and breadth of the SF/F/H fields.
Perhaps the singularly most important anthology I’ve read is James Gunn’s The Road to Science Fiction, Vol. 3: From Heinlein to Here. I took a science fiction literature course in college, and that was one of the assigned texts. I loved–and still love!–so many of the stories in that book. It’s got “The Cold Equations,” “The Streets of Ashkelon,” and…I could go on listing stories, but it’s ridiculous how many undisputed classics are in that anthology, so I can’t name them all! But it’s got Bester, and Pohl, and Bradbury, and Heinlein, and…here’s the whole table of contents. Man, looking back on that now, I have to give props to my professor–that was a fantastic choice for a textbook. Kudos, Dr. Jones! (No, seriously, his name was Dr. Jones. That wasn’t an Indiana Jones reference. Though I like to imagine that he would have been content to just get a master’s degree, but felt like it would be SO WORTH IT to be able to make Indiana Jones jokes for the rest of his life that he went ahead and got a PhD.)
I think the first short fiction editor I was ever aware of, though, was Ben Bova. I first discovered him as a writer, and began consuming everything he’d published, which eventually led me to some of his collections. And in those collections, he often had some prefatory material before each story, and he talked about editing Analog and selling stories to this market or that market. It was really the first time I had encountered anything like that. And keep in mind that this was in the early 90s, so it was mostly before the internet, so finding out about this whole new world was a bit of a revelation.
To be perfectly honest, though, I was never a devout short fiction reader until I got the job at F&SF. I had read–and enjoyed!–some, of course–and even written some (badly!)–but I wasn’t a constant reader of it; instead, during my late teens and early twenties, I was mostly exploring SF and fantasy mainly through novels, and also reading fairly widely in other fiction genres like mystery, medical thrillers, and suspense.
Once I started working at the magazine, though, I really realized for the first time what a huge wealth of material there was out there that I hadn’t even been aware of, and I decided that if I was going to be good at my job I had some catching up to do. So I tried my best to read as much short fiction as I could find, and eventually that became almost 100% of my reading. I even ended up acquiring a complete run of F&SF for about $300. (Not a bad deal when you consider the magazine has been going since 1949; it came out to less than 50 cents an issue, if I recall correctly.) I didn’t come close to making a dent in that collection, alas; I read a good number of stories here and there, but I never did manage to just start at the beginning and plow through the entire run as I had hoped to.
Will: You mentioned The Road to Science Fiction, Vol. 3: From Heinlein to Here. Both that anthology and its sequel, The Road to Science Fiction, Vol. 4: From Here to Forever, had stories that just stuck with me, even years after reading them–stories like George R.R. Martin’s “This Tower of Ashes” and “That Only a Mother” by Judith Merril. I’m not surprised that book stands out for you, because like Gunn, in your anthologies you manage to find stories that both stick to a reader’s ribs and leave them wanting to come back for more. I can still remember the feeling I had the first time I read through Neal Barrett Jr.’s Ginny Sweethips’ Flying Circus in your post-apocalyptic anthology: Wastelands. I was thinking: this is what it would sound like if Phillip K. Dick and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell got together and wrote a song about life after the bomb dropped. It just read like a piece of cyberpunk rock and roll. For you, what makes a story unforgettable but still makes you want to read it again?
Adams: Oh man, don’t get all of your softballs out of the way right at the start here! Jeez–that’s almost an impossible question to answer! But I think a lot of times, for me, the lasting power of a story comes from the emotional punch it delivers, and also how it all resolves. If I were to make a list of my favorite stories, I would guess that the vast majority of them had really strong endings and some big emotional upheaval for the characters (and the reader!). My favorite story ever—which is in Road volume 4 and yet you didn’t name-check it, you philistine!—is “Flowers for Algernon,” which has both emotional punch and an amazing ending—IN SPADES. (And what a huge thrill it was to work at F&SF–the magazine that published it originally!)
Speaking of endings, I think my favorite ending ever is the ending of 1984, which I’m sorry to say was COMPLETELY FUC—wait, can I swear in this interview? I don’t care, I’m so full of rage at the memory that I MUST—as I was saying: the ending of 1984 was COMPLETELY FUCKING SPOILED FOR ME before I ever read it. Though admittedly, knowing that that was the last line of the book is what in part convinced me to read it. (I used to have a bit of an aversion to books/stories that were used as “assigned reading” in schools, and it would often take some convincing to get me to actually want to read them; somehow I was never assigned 1984 in school, so I was never forced to read it against my will.) But oh man—if only I had I just innocently stumbled across that book and read it and then got to that amazing ending! It’s STILL amazing, even knowing that it’s coming. But damn it, I would have loved to experience that fresh.
Tangent: Why in holy hell is 1984 not called Big Brother? I feel like if it was published as a genre novel, rather than “literature,” it would have been called Big Brother. Instead, what we have is a dumb reality show where spoiled Americans (and Britons in the British version, I guess) live together in a house. (OH THE HORROR!) But then again, I’m always trying to retitle things. I’m like the mad re-titler. The funny thing is how often the perfect titles are right there in the stories themselves and the authors just didn’t see them. I’m particularly proud of rescuing an upcoming story in Lightspeed from being published with the somewhat pedestrian title it was submitted under, which is now called “Miss Nobody Never Was.” (Sometimes it seems like half of my editorial comments are “alt. title?” notes in the margins.)
But getting back to your original question that I find all but impossible to answer… The thing is, I make lists of favorite things, and I curate anthologies, and I rave about things I love on my podcast… I expect there are academic types smarter than I am who could look at the sum total of the material I’ve selected for anthologies or my magazines over the years and answer that question better than I could. Or maybe Paul Goat Allen could tell you—as that quote you mentioned in your first question hints at, he, more than any other critic perhaps, seems to really grok me and my work.
Will: Okay, master editor and re-titler extraordinaire. If you were a time traveling editor and the late authors of the classics listed below asked you for title suggestions, what we would now be calling these stories?
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Robert Heinlein)
Dracula (Bram Stoker)
Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells)
I am Legend (Richard Matheson)
Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)
The Divine Comedy (Dante Alighieri)
Adams: Well, I wouldn’t re-title things that ALREADY HAD AWESOME TITLES. Don’t you DARE change the title of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Fahrenheit 451, The War of the Worlds, or I am Legend—those are GREAT titles. The next thing you’re going to tell me is you want to re-title The Stars My Destination! (And don’t even TRY to tell me the alternate title for that—Tiger! Tiger!—is better. DON’T EVEN I WILL CUT YOU. My favorite novel, by the way.)
Dracula could conceivably have a more evocative title, one that tells you more about what the book is, but I’d have to give it a close re-read to find it. (I’m not really familiar enough with it to re-title it off the top of my head.) Of those you named, the only one I would actually want to re-title for sure is The Divine Comedy. Again, I’d have to give it a close re-read to be sure, but I suspect it would be better off just being called Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso.
(That reminds me of one of my favorite re-titles: a Yoon Ha Lee story, submitted as “Arighan’s Flower,” which we re-titled “Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain.”)
Your question inspired me to look back at my entire magazine-editorial run to see what all I had re-titled. I was surprised to see not that many, overall. Here are a couple of my other favorites:
- “The Five Elements of the Heart Mind” by Ken Liu (submitted as “Visceral,” and sarcastically renamed by one reviewer: “Dances With Gut Flora”)
- “The Knight of Chains, the Deuce of Stars” by Yoon Ha Lee (“Knifebird’s Game”)
- “Division of Labor” by Benjamin Roy Lambert (“Something Sufficiently Toad-like”)
- “How Far to Englishman’s Bay” by Matthew Cheney (“Old Man”)
- “The World is Cruel, My Daughter” by Cory Skerry (“Silk, Eyes, Bones, and Nothing More”)
- “Her Lover’s Golden Hair” by Nike Sulway (“Arboretum”)
- “Red Dawn: A Chow Mein Western” by Lavie Tidhar (“Western Chow Mein Red Dawn”)
And here’s a couple of forthcoming stories:
- “A Tank Only Fears Four Things” by Seth Dickinson (“Kontakt-5”)
- “The Beasts of the Earth, the Madness of Men” by Brooke Bolander (“The Regretful Dead and Other Sea Monsters”)
- “The Mad Butcher of Plainfield’s Chariot of Death” by Adam Howe (“The Ed Gein Ghoul Car”)
Otherwise, one thing I’ve always wanted to re-title, but never could quite come up with the perfect alternate is the HBO series The Wire. It’s my favorite TV show ever, and let me tell you, I love me some television, so there are a lot of series vying for that top spot on my list. The only thing I don’t love about The Wire is the title. It’s not very evocative, and it’s also a little misleading—sure, there’s usually a wiretap involved in some way, but that’s not what the show is ABOUT. The only thing I’ve ever come up with is to call it Charm City, since the show is really about Baltimore, and that’s Baltimore’s nickname—I also like it because there’s nothing about Baltimore as depicted in The Wire that is the least bit charming. I’d also be tempted to call it Re-Up, which is, in the show, drug dealer slang for a resupply delivery (i.e., when the guy on the corner runs out of product, he calls for a “re-up,” and the more important folks in the organization arrange for more drugs to be delivered). That’s much more what the show is about, but that title would also have the connotation of “Here we go again” which is endemic on the show—no matter what you do, shit never changes.
One funny thing about The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, though. There was a magazine–now defunct–called Absolute Magnitude. But the first issue of the magazine was named after that Heinlein novel: It was called Harsh Mistress. Apparently they had to change the name because people were, shall we say… not understanding what the magazine was about, and what kind of “fantasy submissions” they were looking for.
Will: I’ve noticed that over at Lightspeed you guys have been closed for submissions for a little while due to “an abundance of good material” that you already have on hand. I’m guessing that material isn’t comprised of stories originally submitted to Harsh Mistress, so that seems like a good problem for an editor to have.
Spots in upcoming Adams anthologies must be about as difficult to come by as a single woman in that aforementioned Heinlein novel. So, how does an author find his/her way into one of those future bestsellers?
Adams: Most of the time, I start off by soliciting a number of well-established authors, as publishers tend to require a certain number of “big names” to put on the cover to help sell the anthology. How I choose those authors varies from project to project. Oftentimes the theme I’m working with suggests certain authors because it’s in a similar vein to something else they’ve already published, but sometimes I’m just taking a shot in the dark–I might have no clue whether or not the author will be into the idea, but if I’m a fan of their writing, and I think that they are an interesting and versatile writer, then I’ll go ahead and ask those kinds of folks as well. I usually start with a long list of writers, and I go down that list and rank folks using a letter-grade system; like, these folks are my “A” selections for this book; if those say no, then I’ll move onto my “B” choices, etc. I usually like to recruit about ten good, solid established contributors before I shop an anthology to publishers. Of course, not everyone who says “yes” will actually end up delivering a story, but most of them will–and luckily publishers know that that’s just how the cookie crumbles, though depending who it is that drops out, sometimes they’ll want the editor to go out and find a replacement “big name” for the one that didn’t deliver.
If you’re not already an established author and you want to write for my anthologies, the best way to establish yourself to me personally is to sell me something to Lightspeed or Nightmare. Once I know you, and like your work well enough to publish it in one of the magazines, I’ll certainly keep you in mind when I’m doing anthologies.
Will: Do you have any examples of success stories that you want to share where someone sold something to one of your magazines and ended up later finding publication in an anthology?
Adams: Genevieve Valentine is probably the most obvious example of this. I actually first published her in my anthology Federations, and then again in The Way of the Wizard (both anthologies had open calls for submissions; they were not “solicited only” books), but I’ve published a ton of stuff by her in my magazines. (She’s been in Fantasy, Lightspeed, AND Nightmare.) But she’s become a bit of a regular contributor for me. In addition to those two anthologies, she’s also had original material in: The Living Dead 2, Armored, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, Under the Moons of Mars, and forthcoming in Robot Uprisings. And I’ve reprinted stuff by her in Brave New Worlds, and there’s another reprint forthcoming in Wastelands 2. I would guess I’ve actually published more fiction by her than any other writer. (I expect Ken Liu is hot on her heels, though, especially if you count his translations.)
Or if you want to be more of a purist about it–demanding that the author is one I first published in one of my magazines–then there’s Kat Howard and the aforementioned Ken Liu, who both have stories in Oz Reimagined, and I published them both for the first time in the magazines. (Note when I say “published them for the first time,” I mean the first time I personally published them; they both had previous publications before selling to me.) There’s a couple of Lightspeed reprints in Other Worlds Than These, and there’s a couple in Wastelands 2 as well.
On a related note, “Red Card,” by S.L. Gilbow and “Just Do It” by Heather Lindsley, both of which appear in Brave New Worlds, are stories I fished out of the slush while at F&SF. On an opposite note, I published Matt Williamson’s story “Sacrament” in Brave New Worlds and then went on to publish an original by him in Nightmare.
As for people finding success in other editors’ anthologies, there have been plenty of those as well, I’m sure. Even if you just restrict that to Lightspeed stories that have appeared in Best-of-the-Year anthologies, there have been plenty of authors/stories I first published that have gone on to appear in those, and if you expand that to other kinds of reprint anthologies the list would grow even longer.
Will: You have what promise to be some fantastic titles slated to debut next year. Being a time traveling editor, you must already know how they are going to do (and I imagine they will do very well). What are you excited about for 2014?
Adams: In 2014, I’ve got a couple of things I’m excited about, some of which I can talk about, some of which I can’t just yet.
But what I can say is that Titan Books will be publishing my all-original anthology of “weird western” stories, Dead Man’s Hand, which features stories by Joe R. Lansdale, Seanan McGuire, Alastair Reynolds, Beth Revis, Hugh Howey, Jonathan Maberry, Elizabeth Bear, and many others (23 stories in all). That one was a fun one to assemble, as I’ve long-loved regular westerns, and the weird western subgenre.
And I mentioned this in passing earlier, but I’ve also got an anthology coming out from Doubleday/Vintage called Robot Uprisings, which I co-edited with Robopocalypse author Daniel H. Wilson. That one’s just what it says on the tin: stories about robots uprising. And isn’t that awesome? I mean seriously–what more could a person possibly want out of an anthology? WHAT I ASK YOU? In any case, that one is mostly original, with a few reprints mixed in. It includes a new novella by Daniel, as well as stories by Scott Sigler, Anna North, Hugh Howey, Alastair Reynolds, Cory Doctorow, Seanan McGuire, Robin Wasserman and others–plus a reprint of a rare story by the father of Artificial Intelligence, Dr. John McCarthy.
Otherwise, just last month I did a Kickstarter for an anthology of stories ABOUT Kickstarters–about utterly improbable, science fiction/fantasy Kickstarters that is. Basically, the idea for that one was that I would get the authors to imagine science fiction or fantasy worlds — i.e., worlds where it’s possible to summon demons, defy gravity, wield magic, or violate causality, and imagine what a Kickstarter from such a place might be like. It was inspired by a story submitted to me at Lightspeed called “HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!!” by Keffy R.M. Kehrli. So I bought the story, but then I thought that I could build a whole anthology around it. So I did! And of course, given the subject, I funded it via Kickstarter. So I recruited a bunch of authors who had done successful real-world Kickstarters, and some other folks who I just thought might have fun with and/or might come up with a cool, creative take on the idea, and got them to commit to writing stories for the book, and then I turned it over to the masses and let them say whether or not it was a good idea.
There’s so much about that project that I just really really enjoyed–and I haven’t even seen any of the stories yet except for Keffy’s! (Usually reading all the stories is where most of the fun happens on an anthology project.) But just the idea of it was so meta, and there were so many new things to brainstorm and figure out because of Kickstarter. I even learned how to do different kinds of editing for this! (Audio and video.) Admittedly I’m still very much an amateur at both of those, but I figured them out well enough to string my Kickstarter video together. Which, by the way, I’m very proud of. At first I was really stressing out about it because I just could not record myself talking into the camera and end up happy with it. Even though the Kickstarter is over, you should go check it out — it features 100% SHAMELESS CATSPLOITATION. But anyway, the book itself should be out in summer 2014.
The Kickstarter has done really well. With 5 days to go, we were at 145% funding, and Kicktraq.com has us trending toward 172%. We’ll see where we end up, but obviously no matter where we go from here, the project was definitely a success. From here it’s all gravy! I’m a little disappointed that the project didn’t quite catch fire like I had hoped–and Kickstarter, the company itself, didn’t seem to take notice of it, or feature it in any way. But hey, we still overfunded, and I think it’s going to be a really fun book when it all comes together.
And there’s just this one other project that I’m working on that I can’t release information about yet, but I’m working on a book that should be out in 2014, that I’m pretty excited about, and I think could definitely make some waves when it comes out, so I’ve got my fingers crossed for that.
Looking further ahead, to 2015, Wastelands 2 will finally come out, after a long delay caused by various publishing difficulties too boring to go into. (Not my fault!) And I also recently sold a new anthology to Baen, which we haven’t announced yet, so I’ll demure on the details, but that one will be out in 2015 as well.
Otherwise, I’m working on a bunch of proposals at the moment, and recruiting authors for all those projects. So hopefully most of those will find homes sometime soon.
Will: Very cool. It sounds like you’ve got enough buns baking in your anthology oven that you could feed the entire cast of characters of A Sword of Ice and Fire when they are finally golden brown. With all those projects going on, plus the work on your magazines, you must be knee deep in slush. Since the section this interview is set to appear in is called Editor Space, I wonder if you might describe what your editor’s space looks like on any given day.
My physical desktop is where I’m at most of the day while I’m working. I just work out of a home office. (One of the rooms intended to be a “bedroom” is my office instead.) I’ve got a couple of bookcases in here with some anthologies and a complete run of F&SF (i.e., every issue ever). The rest of my books are in the living room. Sometimes I’ll take my laptop into the living room and work in there, but I tend to prefer to use my laptop as a desktop, with a full-size keyboard and mouse.
I also have a small 2×5 closet in my office, which doubles as my recording studio for when I’m doing my Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. I recently got a new Windows 8 PC, so that’s my primary computer, but I’ve got my old 2008 MacBook now designated as my studio computer, so it stays in the closet. I like to stand when I record, so I’ve got a makeshift standing desk setup in there. There’s also room in there for a chair, however, so I have a comfy chair in there as well, which I often sit in when I’m reading. When I’m reading submissions, I will almost always sit there and read them on my iPad Mini, using the Kindle app; my submission system is setup so that when a first-reader recommends something, it’ll automatically forward it to my Kindle “Personal Docs” account, and thus it automagically shows up on my Kindle when I open the app.
Will: You’ve got a lot of fun items in front of your monitor, which brings us to the rapid fire section of this interview. Are those all tie tacks on the left of the stand?
Adams: Haha, no. I wouldn’t have much use for tie tacks! Those are my award nomination pins! The little rockets are what you get when you’re nominated for a Hugo Award. The other one is for the World Fantasy Award. Both are basically miniature versions of the awards themselves. The Hugo, obviously, is a rocket; the World Fantasy Award is a stylized bust of H.P. Lovecraft, as sculpted by Gahan Wilson. I’m due one more World Fantasy pin this year, which I assume will be mailed to me since I can’t attend the convention this year.
Will: You see how I expertly (and subtlety) gave you an opportunity to mention those [well deserved] awards/nominations that were so expertly (and subtlety) included with your photo? How about the story behind the red rock?
Adams: My stepdaughter, Grace, who is now 11, was at a sleepover at her friend’s house, and her friend’s parents took them to some kind of crafty-type event, and the kids made rocks like this. She made one for me, one for her mom, one for my sister-in-law (her aunt), who also lives with us, and one for her bio-dad.
Will: Where can I get a Wastelands mouse pad? Can I get it now, or do I need to wait until Sysadmins Rule the Earth?
Adams: You can’t get it anywhere as far as I know! I ordered one from Cafe Press or something when Wastelands first came out, but I never made it an item you could purchase or anything. Maybe I should! My wife and I have talked about doing Lightspeed merch; there are lots of cool stores for that kind of thing, that make it look pretty easy. I just never bothered with it because I didn’t really think anyone would want to buy such things!
As to the second part of your question, I think you might run into some fulfillment issues at that point, so if you really want one of these, probably best to figure out a way to get one before the end of the world.
Will: Do you find it ironic that your cat enjoys cuddling with your mouse?
Adams: I might find it ironic if I wasn’t distracted by how annoying it usually is. On the one hand, it’s terribly cute. On the other hand, would you look how little space he leaves me to work with? Seriously! I mean, I realize he’s a big and floofy cat, and indeed that is part of his immeasurable charm, but he’s taking up like half the mouse pad there. He was being particularly needy this morning, so I had to open my bedroom door and let him in there. If he can’t lay on my bed, he’s basically underfoot all day demanding pets.
Adams: The little sea-green matchbox with the butterfly on it on the left side is a thing my wife makes called a “wish box.” There’s another one on the right side by the elephant. I explain what they are in the post on my blog in which I explain the details of my proposal to my wife, as the wish boxes were relevant to the story.
The tweezers are there because we have a cactus in our backyard that we had to trim, and after doing that I was picking those damn cactus nettles or whatever they’re called out of my fingers for like a week.
The yellow pokemon belonged to my niece (or maybe my nephew?), and she left it at my house when visiting one time. I found it behind the TV or something when moving stuff around, IIRC. Then it just joined my menagerie. I never got into Pokemon, but there was something about this one that amused me, so I’ve kept it on my desk ever since.
The little poppet behind the Pokemon is one of Lisa Snellings’ Poppets. My wife gave it to me. She had a bunch of them and would, after owning them for a while, gift them to various people she cares about.
The mega-American-looking pen I’ve got there is a Fisher Space Pen that belonged to my grandfather. He used to carry it around with him everywhere. (He died a couple of years ago.) He had Alzheimer’s and as a result couldn’t remember a great number of things. But he never forgot where his pen was.
Next to my eyedrops, to the left, I’m not sure if you can see them, but there are two little tokens there my wife made for me. One of them has a minotaur on one side and an anatomical heart on the other. The other has a brain on one side and a bee on the other. On the other side of the eye drops is just a stack of business cards, most of which I think I brought home from Worldcon this year.
Will: That concludes the rapid fire section of the interview, and almost the interview on the whole. You’ve been very gracious with your answers. I don’t want to make the end of the interview sound like the warm-up before a hanging, but do you have any last words for our readers? Are there any upcoming projects we haven’t mentioned, or do you have any requests for future desk trinkets?
Adams: I think we covered all my forthcoming projects, except for ones that I’m not allowed to talk about yet (and if I did divulge the details of those projects, I might be subject to that hanging you mentioned).
Now that you mention it, though, there is one project I haven’t mentioned yet that I am involved with but am not actually editing. In response to some recent commentary on the Amazing Stories blog, which seemed to imply (or maybe outright stated) that it was annoying when women got their girl cooties all over science fiction that was otherwise the manliest of manly stuff, we announced that Lightspeed would be doing a special issue–the “Women Destroy SF” issue. That’ll be out next year. The issue will be helmed by a special guest editor, and though it’s still early in the process, I think we’ve got a lot of great ideas for it that are going to make it truly something special. The reader and writer response to the Women Destroy SF issue thus far has been nothing short of astonishing–so much enthusiasm and support have poured in since we made the announcement; it’s been really heartening to see. We’re planning to announce more details about the project soon, but folks wanting to keep an eye on the project can learn more at lightspeedmagazine.com/special-issues/women-destroy-sf.
One other thing we haven’t mentioned much is the podcast I co-host with David Barr Kirtley, The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy, which airs on Wired.com. As I write this, we’ve successfully published 94 episodes of the podcast now, and likely a couple more will be under our belt by the time this is published. The latest interview guest we had on the show was Margaret Atwood, and we’re planning to have Scott Lynch and Dan Simmons on as our next two guests. Each episode has a feature interview with our guest, and then is followed up by a panel discussion, usually about some topic relevant to the guest’s work. If you go to www.geeksguideshow.com, you’ll find a list of all of our guests and panel topics.
I think that about does it, though.