Welcome to the Amazing Stories BLOG HORDE INTERVIEWS!
The ASM Blog Horde is a diverse and wonderful species. I have the privilege of talking with all of them, and I get to share those chats with you. In this long-running series, you will have the opportunity to peek inside the minds of the ASM bloggers to to see just what makes them tick.
I hope you enjoy the series as much as I have enjoyed preparing it for you. Please feel free to ask questions, or just let the Horde know you’ve stopped by for a visit.
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BILL SPANGLER has been a professional writer since he was 16 years old. He has contributed to Star Wars On Trial; Getting Lost, Farscape Forever, and the Smart Pop series from BenBella Books. Bill’s stories have been published in The Green Hornet Chronicles Vol. 1 and Lance Star, Sky Ranger. He also scripted the Tom Corbett, Space Cadet limited series from Bluewater Comics. Before that, he wrote comics for several independent publishers.
His credits include original stories based on Robotech; Alien Nation and Quantum Leap, as well as the original characters Bloodwing and the Argonauts. Bill and his wife Joyce live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where they provide 24-hour valet service to three dogs and a guinea pig.
Fran Friel for Amazing Stories Magazine: Welcome, Bill. Please tell us how you became interested in blogging for Amazing Stories Magazine.
BS: I was following the stories about Amazing’s revival at www.sfscope.com, and I read that Steve was looking for bloggers there.
ASM: Amazing Stories magazine has a huge variety of blogging categories. In what categories can we find your blogs at ASM? And what is your special interest in these topics?
BS: Primarily, I’m going to be talking about comics, anime and science fiction. I think I got interested in comics about the same time I got interested in prose science fiction, and my favorite comics, the ones that hold my interest over the long run, are the ones with a high science fiction content.
ASM: Tell us a little about your previous work, Bill.
BS: I’ve been selling comic book scripts since the late 1980s, and a lot of them have been science fiction. I worked with both licensed properties, like Robotech, Alien Nation and Quantum Leap, as well as original characters, like the Argonauts. (This is the point where somebody usually asks “Like Jason and the Argonauts?” and the answer is “No.” They’re a team of pulp style adventurers, like Buckaroo Banzai, or Doc Savage and his crew.)
Two of my more recent projects are a short story called, “Mutual Assured Destruction,” in The Green Hornet Chronicles, Vol. 1, and an attempt to revive the classic TV show, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, in comic book form. Both of those can still be ordered from the publisher, your local comic shop, or Amazon.
BS: Three writers that I keep coming back to are Poul Anderson, Michael Moorcock and Philip Jose Farmer. One thing I like about all three of them is their ability to jump from science fiction to fantasy and back again.
A good Farmer book to start with is The Other Log Of Phileas Fogg. It’s self-contained, and it’ll give you a good taste of Farmer’s writing (It was also just reprinted recently.) A good Moorcock book to start with—which was also reprinted just recently—is Warlord Of the Air. Steampunk fans in particular will like both of these, I think.
My favorite Poul Anderson novel—one of my favorite sf novels, period—is called Tau Zero. But, just off hand, I’m not sure of its availability. However, Baen Books has been reprinting Anderson’s Technic Civilization future history in omnibus editions. (What’s the plural of omnibus? Omnibuses? Omnibi?) They’re very good, and they’re readily available. The first volume is called The Van Rijn Method.
ASM: I don’t know, Bill, but Omnibi works for me. Excellent recommendations. Have you read any new or lesser known authors you would like to bring to our attention?
Here’s a couple of suggestions you might like:
When somebody asks for this type of recommendation, I always like to bring up Cordwainer Smith. His real name was Paul Linebarger, and he wrote what I think is one of the most exotic future history series ever published. He had an unusual writing style, very poetic, and he spent a lot of time in China, which definitely influenced his work. You might not like these stories, but I can guarantee that you haven’t read anything like them. Baen has reprinted some of these stories, and others are available through other sources. His web site is: www.cordwainersmith.com.
ASM: Thanks, Bill. I’ll definitely add those to my “to be read” list. What’s your favorite genre?
BS: I’m not sure I have a favorite, but two genres I like a lot are near-future stories, like The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigaluipi, and space opera (both old- and new-school). If you look at the two together, that’s kind of an odd juxtaposition. One has very strong ties to the modern world and the other has fairly weak ties.
BS: I just started reading Empire State by Adam Christopher. The Empire State looks like New York City in the ‘30s and ‘40s, with a lot of super hero and pulp archetypes, but it’s also some sort of pocket universe (That’s not really a spoiler, BTW; it says as much on the back cover.). So far, I’m enjoying it.
ASM: How about genre movies, Bill. Are you a fan?
BS: Yeah, I definitely consider myself a genre movie fan. A lot of the films that I would list as favorites are pretty familiar ones, but some choices that probably won’t be on most lists are : The Adventurers of Buckaroo Banzai; Streets of Fire; and Monsters, a low-budget tribute to Godzilla and friends from a couple of years ago. The hero comes across as very incompetent in the beginning, but stay with it, it gets better.
ASM: Where on the planet (or off the planet) are you from originally? Where are you now? Where would you like to be?
BS: I grew up in a small town in Western Pennsylvania called DuBois. It’s not another planet, but it’s a world of its own. DuBois has two distinguishing characteristics: Tom Mix, the old school cowboy hero, grew up there; and the movie Groundhog Day held its world premiere there, because it was the town closest to the real Punxsutawney that still had a movie theatre. As you may know, that movie was actually filled somewhere in Indiana–Punxsutawney didn’t look enough like Punxsutawney for them.
My wife, Joyce, and I now live in Southeastern Pennsylvania, roughly halfway between Philadelphia and Allentown.
ASM: It’s a small world, Bill. My Godparents lived in DuBois. I visited many times as a kid. Now that we’ve gotten to know you a bit better, where else we find you on the web?
Aside from Amazing, most of my on-line presence right now is on Facebook. So, if you have a FB account, just search for Bill Spangler.
Dear AMAZING READERS, thank you for being with us. I hope you’ve enjoyed tonight’s interview. Please come back next week for another featured blogger in the Amazing Stories Blog Horde Series.
We’ll keep the light on for you!