Part of why my writing here has been more sporadic is that I’ve been working on the little projects of getting more self-sufficient. Getting a truck, fixing the truck (as I talked about in the post just before this one), building a little woodshed out of saplings and tarps, splitting wood to fill it. Another part, though, is that I’ve been laying the groundwork for my next big project. I’m starting a magazine.
A story I wrote in 2018, “The No-Account”, as well as one I finished just recently, “Sports Talk with Clark Vonderhaar”, have been published in Into the Ruins, a quarterly dedicated to the genre of deindustrial science fiction: in short, imaginings of what the future may look like with energy depletion taken into account. The editor of Into the Ruins, Joel Caris, announced this spring that he’s stopping publication of that magazine, so he can focus on other projects. In that announcement, he mentioned that he hoped “someone else will take up this mantle” and keep up with the publication of deindustrial stories. I reread that announcement, and realized that I had the skills and the interest, and that someone could very well be me.
So I’ve spent some of the last few months putting together a website and an infrastructure for New Maps, a magazine that will mostly pick up where Into the Ruins left off. It’s planned as a quarterly of about a hundred pages, generally with four to six short stories, plus a letters section and occasional essays by myself or by readers.
I’m really excited about this project. It’s a big commitment, more pulic and larger than things I’ve taken on before, but I’ve seen in the pages of Into the Ruins that there are some really stellar authors out there in the deindustrial fiction genre, and I’m looking forward to collecting and spreading those stories. In the four years that Joel published Into the Ruins, something of a community has built up around it, with a generously laden breeze of cross-pollination from John Michael Greer’s blog, and I’m excited to continue giving that community a regular venue to exist in print. And of course, this also means that I get to create a really nice-looking book, and I feel strongly about the value of well-designed books.
If you think you might be interested in visions of the future that are powered not by antigrav engines or a car in every driveway but by down-home cobbling-together and ingenuity—visions that run from the pessimistic to the optimistic, including everything between and whole worlds not so easily categorizable—well, subscriptions are available at the New Maps site. The first issue is planned for January, and there will be the option of ordering individual issues as they’re released. I plan to announce each issue both here and on the New Maps site as it comes out.
There’s going to be good stuff in here. Because it won’t just be me creating what’s inside this magazine, I believe I can safely say you won’t be disappointed.