Hi, I’m Johne (John with a silent SEO’e’) and I’m an Overlord. <lengthy pause> Ahem – I can see you haven’t prostrated yourself yet. Perhaps you don’t yet understand. It is true I no longer have easy access to The Big Red Button™, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know where it is. It would be harder to vaporize your puny planet, but not impossible. Perhaps a little history is in order. In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya: “Let me ‘splain. [pause] No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”
I’ve known Steve Davidson for awhile now. As near as I can tell, I got to know him after he reviewed Ray Gun Revival magazine (RGR) in May 2008. At that time, he said this:
“RayGun Revival is a FREE e-zine (PDF format) that’s got some of the best retro art I’ve yet seen anywhere.”
That warmed my cockles because of all my duties at RGR, the one that was all mine was finding and securing the digital cover art. Since then, I’ve run into Steve all over online SF fandom. He wrote an honest, enthusiastic review and I never forgot it. We’ve compared notes about Space Opera, butted heads about religion and SF, had good-natured squabbles about SF movies, and generally enjoyed each other’s virtual company. In February, 2009, I asked him for insight about taking our .PDF e-zine and making it more dynamic, more internet-friendly. In retrospect, he’s taken many of those ideas and updated them for Amazing Stories. A good idea is a good idea and he’s pulled out all the stops here.
When Steve floated the idea of blogging for Amazing Stories, I was humbled and delighted. RGR was my passion project for going on seven years, and I’ve spent time wearing both hats, hopeful short story author and critical SF magazine editor. I’ve been around the block a time or two. Now that RGR is taking a break, I thought it might be worthwhile to go back and rewind back to the beginning and talk a bit about what it was like to start and run a struggling genre publication, a space opera retrospective. I can talk about selecting our genre, finding like minds, building a community, tools of the trade, making the best of a DMCA takedown, and so on. I have stories.
I haven’t always been an overbearing immortal taskmaster. I was once a lowly Space Opera fan pining for more Firefly. But that’s a story for next time…