I’ve been blogless for a while, and it’s time to change that. It’s time to change a few things, actually, and one of my favorite things, changed for the New Year, is the E-Zine, Shotgun Horror Clips. You may have noticed by now that the title of the E-Zine is different. It’s now: Shotgun! Strange Stories—we’ve ditched the ‘Horror Clips’ part of the program.
So, why the change? And why now?
The real change is found in the by-line: Strange Stories. I love the Horror Genre, and one of the things that you find is that, when you’re on the editor’s side of the table, you tend to start pigeonholing the stories that come across your desk. You’ll think, okay, this story is this sub-genre, and we have a story like that already, and …
It’s a bad habit. It’s also exclusive.
I don’t like it.
Because, I have found that some of the horror stories submitted to Shotgun have that element of shock or disgust—some have that terror, too—but are not strictly horror stories, in that they follow different tropes spanning different genres. Mystery, Science Fiction, Romance—you name it. There is something horrific to be found in a Sci-Fi story that features a dystopian future, where robotic cats flip the status quo and start owning their owners. Seriously, that’s horrific; my wife and I have two cats. We’d know.
These stories are still strange, though. They don’t quite fit into a square Sci-Fi hole, and they don’t quite fit in circular Horror hole—they’re a star peg, cut wrong (or cut right, depending on your point of view). Like many stories found in the older pulp mags (mags now on archive.org, by the way), they’re weird. Weird Tales, for example. And that’s really the story here. Shotgun is becoming, for me, a homage to magazines like Weird Tales and Amazing Stories, something that allows the author to spread out a little bit, and not worry so much about genre conventions. As long as there is an underlying story that is strange, I want to read it, and I want to publish it.
As long as you can elicit the emotional effects of terror, horror, and/or repulsion, who’s to say that a story can’t surround a climax that involves a crazy cat-robot?
So why now? Well, DeadLights comes out in a month’s time, and, as you know, that magazine is zero’d in on Horror Fiction. Its goal is Horror, straight into the vein. I want Strange Stories to be something more recreational, something you enjoy over the course of the evening. I’m not sure why this paragraph’s metaphor is drug use, but hell, you see what I’m saying.
The main mag = horror stories.
E-Zine = strange stories of all genres (so long as there is a horrific emotional impact).
What about the Shotgun! part? That’s a good note to end on. Shotgun has always been about publishing every two weeks, and it’s always reminded me of the quarterback’s position on the field when the team is in a hurry. Writer’s who have experience with the E-Zine know that the pace is fast with the editing and re-writes. The name also reminds me of those older pulp magazines, what with the (!), and all. So, that’s a keeper, for now.
Maybe one day we’ll transition into ‘Strange Stories’ being the title, and restructure the E-Zine to a monthly-production status. Who knows? The future is wide open, as far as I’m concerned. But, for now, enjoy the change. I think you’ll find it … strange.
By the way, if anyone is interested in working on S.S.S. (666?), shoot us an email, or get at us through the contact form. We’re looking for first readers, proof-readers, and people who are interested in editing experience. As long as you can work under a deadline, you’re golden. It’s a fast-paced publication, but a lot of fun, and the writers really make it all worth-while—plus, we’ll totally credit you as staff and give you glowing references. How cool would that be?