Bull Spec? BULL SO!

Jeff VanderMeer • November 12th, 2010 @ 1:38 pm • Book Reviews

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Editor-publisher Samuel Montgomery-Blinn recently sent me Bull Spec #3, a new speculative fiction magazine that has featured writers like Joe Haldeman, Natania Barron, Lavie Tidhar, D. Harlan Wilson, Katherine Sparrow (whose work is seriously underrated), Kaolin Fire, John Kessel, and more.

Starting a magazine with a hardcopy presence is probably seen as running counter to the Evidence, but in actual fact that’s one reason why it might be a good time to use this approach—simply because most new genre mags are web-only, or web with a resulting annual anthology.

I have to admit that although I know and respect the editor, I’ve been in the field for 25 years now and I’ve seen dozens and dozens of start-up publications last an issue or two and go the way of the dodo. So I’ve been supportive but also coldly clinical about its chances of sticking around. It’s a tough, tough area of publishing.

So, encountering the third issue made me sit up and take notice. Oh, this magazine might just be around in a year—if it gets sufficient signal boost. All I know is, the little warning bells that always go off in my head when encountering something I’m not sure will have longevity have been snuffed out.

Also, Bull Spec is enjoyably and admirably eclectic. An interview with David Drake would not be the first thing I’d guess would be in the same issue with a story by Sparrow, but it works. The organizing impulse is a roving eye for stuff that’s interesting. The magazine deserves your support.

Bull spec? BULL SO!

10 Responses to “Bull Spec? BULL SO!”

  1. Nick Mamatas says:

    I’m impressed with the magazine too. The first issue looked like an enthusiastic amateur effort; the second was a great leap in design sensibility (though the stories were a bit old-fashioned for my taste), and the third had a great look and some very good stories as well!

  2. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    There you have it, folks. Nick is *not* easily impressed. And I think his b.s. detector is probably even more finely tuned than mine.

  3. Natania Barron says:

    Sam’s enthusiasm can’t be overstated. Not only has Bull Spec been making waves abroad, but the local network of speculative fiction writers here continues to grow. I went to two events within 20 minutes of my house, all last week, meeting and greeting some truly amazing folks. It’s great to see such a publication affecting both the big and little pictures. :)

  4. Joseph Giddings says:

    Sam’s enthusiasm for the work he does is contagious, and I know myself along with everyone else who is involved in each issue gets caught up in his wave of energy. I’m proud to see my name in two of the issue so far, and hope there are many more for me to put words into. I highly recommend the magazine to anyone in speculative fiction, as the quality of the magazine is unmatched.

  5. Jess Gulbranson says:

    Way to stick up for the little guy!

  6. James says:

    The sample pdf was encouraging, so I just ordered a physical copy of the mag. Looking forward to reading it and may end up writing a review afterward, if only to do my part in spreading the word.

  7. TadK says:

    Thanks for the suggestion. I hit them with Stumbldupon and will pick up issue 3 in pdf tomorrow as well. At the gift price is is practically free and I can print it out easily at 64 pages.

  8. Purchases – Bull Spec #3 « Dazed Rambling says:

    [...] VanderMeer’s post about Bull Spec was not the first time I’d heard of it–a fact that came as a surprise [...]

  9. Chris says:

    Just got my first read of Katherine Sparrow, in No Longer You, the story she co-wrote with Rachel Swirsky. Brilliant! Devotees of both of them now.

  10. Sam M-B says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Jeff, and thanks Nick, Natania, and Joe for your continued encouragement. And thanks everybody else for your comments and taking a look! I’m very happy to be a part of Sparrow’s story in this issue, and look forward to — hopefully — still being around in a year, rather than that “way of the dodo” thing.

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