This was tweeted the other day by a lit. agent called missdaisyfrost and the first thing it brought to my mind was Black Gate.
Day by day, genre short fiction magazines seem to grow more literary even as their sales plummet, while BG — may I call you BG? — is one of the few to proudly assert its pulp roots and to cater to the majority of people who like, you know, something to happen in the stories they read.
So, it’s interesting that while a lot of my fellow BG buddies haven’t had stellar success in most of the Big Mags out there in the wild, many of them are now kicking ass in the real market, novels: the only place outside of Hollywood that writers can make an actual living from their craft.
Nor was I the only one to suffer from sudden chills in the foot area — people raved about that story and now, years later, Child of Fire, by the same author has 108 reviews on Amazon.com, most of them equally thrilled.
John O’Neill saw the potential of these guys and many others. In a way, you could say, he predicted their future success by simply picking from the slush the tales that he himself enjoyed regardless of their suitability for Nobel Prizes or analysis in University Publications where readership can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
My own first novel, The Inferior, wasn’t even the shadow of an idea when The Mourning Trees appeared in Black Gate 5. The translation rights for the book sold to nine different countries and so far, it has been published in Italian, German, Turkish and Bulgarian.
Not bad for a story that would have been in Black Gate had it been short enough, but wouldn’t have had a hope in hell of selling to any other Big Mag out there.
All editors pick out the work they like the most. It’s just that their taste doesn’t intersect with that of the reading majority any more. When it did, in the Golden Age, the big names in the field were mostly writing pulp.
Some are more literary than others, but about half of them got their first outing in the pages of Black Gate.
No surprise then that the book is named for my tale in BG 11 or that the only editor to be explicitly thanked in the acknowledgements, is John O’Neill.
*North America won’t see it until March of next year.