Sunday, June 17, 2018

Journey to the Fourth Planet -- and Beyond -- with Martian Magazine

In the summer of 2016, I woke from a dream and jotted down a 100-word complete story. "Catching Snowflakes" went out the door to a prestigious anthology, where it was shortlisted, and where it languished for nearly a year, ultimately to be rejected. The micro-fiction's next foray for consideration was considerably shorter. I hit 'send' at 1:59 on a recent, rainy Monday afternoon after taking in a wonderful art gallery opening starring my good friend and fellow passionate scribe, Judy Ann Calhoun. Some two hours and change later, I received a glowing acceptance from editor Eric Fomley at Martian, the Magazine of Science Fiction Drabbles. Following one of the longest waits of my career was one of the quickest acceptances. "Catching Snowflakes" is set to appear in the pages of this exciting new publishing (ad)venture, in which the stories are small but the impact powerful. It was my pleasure to speak with Mister Fomley regarding the red planet -- and what viewers can expect to read in Martian.

Please share with us your vision for Martian Magazine.
Readers can expect high quality micro science fiction. We specialize in the drabble, a story of exactly 100 words. At first, we will publish one story weekly, with a yearly anthology collecting all published stories in paper, eBook, and audio. But as interest and funds increase, our end goal would be to publish a drabble every weekday but Friday. On Fridays, we would feature a story of up to 300 words. Twitter fiction would be incorporated at that point as well and featured all seven days. We would then publish an issue every month. But that’s end goal talk. Right now, you can expect Martian Magazine to share a high quality drabble every week, collected into a yearly anthology. 

All stories will have exactly 100 words. I also love in your guidelines that you stated the stories must be actual stories, with a beginning, middle, and end. What inspired you to focus on this specific length? 
 Two things actually prompted my focus on Drabbles. The first, I’ve always had a love for micro fiction. Reading the famous Hemingway 6-word story and many great micro publications on the web such as Daily Science Fiction and the now defunct SpeckLit incited my curiosity about a story so small having the ability to make me feel something. The ability to entertain me. The second thing is that I have a very busy schedule with children, work and just life in general. I don’t always have time to sit and read a novel or short story collection. But I love to read and I want to be entertained by what I’m reading, as I assume everyone does. So micro fiction is a way for me to do this on a commute, or break time, and I want to share a venue full of these. I think it’s funny you mention my guidelines and, I’m sure, it may be hard for some to believe a 100 word story can have much of an arc. But, I find that the best micro fiction has all of the elements of a good story. I’ve found many in our submission window and I look forward to sharing all of them with you.

Your acceptance of my story “Catching Snowflakes” must be the quickest in my career. I appreciate that, as a writer yourself, you are devoted to a quick turnaround. 
There have been many times where a market has had my story in their slush pile for 6+ months only to tell me they couldn’t use it. This is natural for all of us and something that’s part of the business. However, it doesn’t mean when I’ve worked so hard to produce a story I’m proud of and send it off that I am pleased to wait so long for a venue to take a look at it. I like getting my acceptance or rejection.  There’s a special advantage with running a micro fiction magazine and that’s that I can read a story in a mere minute. If I’m intrigued, I come back to it and read it again. If I really like it, I will read it several times. This process does not take long and few writers had to wait more than four hours for me to get back to them during the submission window. It’s an advantage to the form, and I, as a writer, would love if a professional venue got back with me in a week let alone a day. Therefore, I will use the length to my advantage and always work hard to get back very quickly.

(Martian  Magazine Editor/Publisher Eric Fomley)
Please talk about your writing. 
I write speculative flash fiction. I have written horror, fantasy, and science fiction but I always seem to gravitate towards science fiction. I like flash because it allows me to try out cool ideas, concepts, and characters without spending a large amount of time. I tend to write on the darker side of the genres, dealing with darker themes and tones. I feel as though flash fiction is growing in popularity and I’m along for the ride.

Finally, the title of the magazine. Why Martian
The word Martian has always indicated something different or strange to humanity. Before scientists could see what was on Mars, science fiction dwelled on the red planet. Martians are weird, different creatures than us and that’s what I want to grasp in this magazine. I want to publish stories of other worlds, or other versions of our world, strange characters, strange futures, classic stories and new. But all of it on Martian will be sci-fi. An exploration of what could be. Or what is without our knowing. The different. 

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