Home About Blog FB FB Stupefying stories About

2013: The Year in Pre-Review

Editorial by Bruce Bethke

Someday we’ll probably call this The Year When Nothing Went As Planned. We had great plans coming into 2013—

Well. Few plans survive contact with reality, and believe me, we’ve been playing full-contact Reality this past year. If you haven’t been following us on facebook, you can glean the salient points from these two editorials in previous issues of SHOWCASE: How I Spent My Summer Vacation and Family Matters.

Thank you, to everyone who has stuck with us through this annus horribilis. Thanks especially for your patience and understanding, to those of you with accepted stories in the queue and still waiting to be published.

Looking back, though, while we haven’t lived up to our own expectations in this past year, we haven’t done too badly overall, either. We’ve published eighteen books since we first started! Forty short stories in SHOWCASE alone, and just since June! (Believe me, that number came as a surprise even to me.) We’re putting the finishing touches on yet another issue of SHOWCASE even as I write this editorial, concurrently with finishing the final copy-editing work on Tales from the Wild Weird West, the long-delayed Putrefying Stories, and—I'm almost afraid to write this—the December issue of Stupefying Stories.

And those are just the books in the queue for the first week of December. In the second week, we’re planning to release Throwbacks!, Mysteries!, and of course, the big semi-secret project that M. David Blake has been working on for the past several months. And then, in the third week...

Boy, I sure hope a lot of people get new Kindles, Nooks, tablets, or great big smartphones for Christmas.

We’re learning from our mistakes. We’ll change the way we do business in 2014. While I love the way the July 2013 book turned out, putting out books of that size on a monthly or even bimonthly basis seems to be just slightly beyond our current capacity. Faced with the choice of going either to a quarterly release schedule or back to our old design, I’ve decided to go back. The December 2013 issue will look more like the December 2012 issue than the July 2013 edition.

Sometimes, when you’re stuck in deep snow, the thing to do is to shift it into reverse, back up a little bit, and then take another run at it, this time with more momentum. Most of the time this works.

Sometimes this only leaves you stuck in a more ridiculous and impossible situation. Which is why my wife no longer allows me to own a Jeep.

We’ll be changing other things in 2014 as well, to effect some fundamental improvements in the way we do business. The most visible of these changes will have to do with speeding-up our times to acceptance/rejection, to publication, and to author's payment.

Rampant Loon Press is in a transitional state right now. We’ve accomplished a lot, and we’ve learned a lot. We’ve also made some pretty painful mistakes. One of the things we knew coming into this was that most new publications fail for lack of adequate funding. We’ve successfully avoided that pitfall and are actually quite well-capitalized now, thank you, but we still can fail. If we do so, it will be entirely from lack of adequate time to carry out our plans. 2014 promises to be an interesting year.

And now, back to work. We have books to get out.




Bruce Bethke is best known for either his genre-naming 1980 short story, “Cyberpunk,” his award-winning 1995 novel, Headcrash, or lately, as the editor and publisher of Stupefying Stories. What very few readers have known about him until recently is that he actually started out in the music industry, as a member of the design team that developed the MIDI standard and the Finale music notation engine (among other things), but now works in the supercomputer industry, doing stuff that is absolutely fascinating to do but almost impossible to explain to anyone not already well-grounded in massively parallel processor architectures, Fourier transformations, and computational fluid dynamics.

Bruce has a long-neglected personal web site at brucebethke.com, but if you’re looking for more information about him you’re better off reading the interviews at Wag the Fox, Six Questions For, or Strange Horizons. You can try to reach him through facebook.com/bruce.bethke, and that sometimes works, but you’ll have better luck going through facebook.com/StupefyingStories or the feedback email address elsewhere on this web page.