Issue #10 is out!

So, yeah. This isn’t the newsletter, though October’s is coming real soon now. This is… This is something new. (Or old.) This is, dare I say it, a try at an e-issue, starting small, seeing where it goes. Let me know if you like it. It’s got: Nick Mamatas reviewing A Country of Ghosts by Margaret Killjoy; Stephen Messer interviewing Durham author J.J. Johnson about her new novel Believarexic ahead of her appearance tomorrow at The Regulator Bookshop; an essay by J.M. McDermott about Nu Nu Yi’s Smile as The Bow. (And while I’m at it, it “includes” the regular columns out since last month.) There’s no original (or reprint!) fiction; there’s no poetry. There’s no sequential art. There aren’t any illustrations! But it’s a (re-) start. It’s Bull Spec #10.


2015 Manly Wade Wellman Award preliminary eligibility list announced

The preliminary eligibility list for the 2015 Manly Wade Wellman Award for North Carolina Science Fiction and Fantasy has been announced, including 79 titles published by NC authors last year. Cover gallery time? Cover gallery time!

The Threads of Earth The Demon's Gate Mega: A Deep Sea Thriller
Z-Burbia 3: Estate Of The Dead Dead Team Alpha AntiBio: A Post Apocalyptic Thriller
Read the rest of this entry »

Announcement: author Robert V.S. Redick joins the lineup for the Summer Speculative Fiction event

I’ve very excited to announce that we’ve added another author to the already amazing lineup for the 3rd annual Bull Spec Summer Speculative Fiction event. That author is Robert V.S. Redick, author of The Chathrand Voyage Quartet, recently completed with book 4, The Night of the Swarm, in February. Redick studied literature and Russian at the University of Virginia, tropical conservation and development at the University of Florida, and fiction writing in the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC. He has worked as the editor for the Spanish and French websites of the antipoverty organization Oxfam America, and as an instructor in the International Development, Community & Environment (IDCE) Department at Clark University in Worcester, MA.

The Night of the Swarm (The Chathrand Voyage, #4)

There’s also a Facebook event, which even though I haven’t sent out my mass invites for it yet, you can join, and invite your friends. You can? You should! The event, at Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books on Saturday, August 3, will also feature Karen Lord, Will Hindmarch, Nathan Ballingrud, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, and Mur Lafferty.

As of late last night, this is what you’ll get if you submit a story:

Thanks for sending a story to Bull Spec! We are indeed open and reading submissions as of October 1, and yours has been received and tagged into the submissions process. Where it goes from here is: a first reader (right now: me) will take a look, and decide whether it looks like something that the fiction editors, Natania Barron and Eric Gregory, should consider. You may hear directly back from a first reader via a form letter in the case of a rejection, or you’ll be notified when and if the story is forwarded on for further consideration.

The plan is to operate on a cyclical reading period basis of being open for two months, give or take based on the number of stories we need, and in the third month closing for submissions to make sure we don’t hold onto stories longer than necessary.

Again, thanks for trusting Bull Spec with a story, I hope we can do a much better job of getting back to you sooner and more clearly than I have been able to manage up to now. It’s good to be open!



Samuel Montgomery-Blinn
Publisher, Bull Spec

Bull Spec: Year 3, with fiction editors Natania Barron and Eric Gregory.

Wait. Just wait a minute. Year 2 has barely started and I’m talking about Year 3?

I’m talking about Year 3.

When I started Bull Spec, I committed to two years. Thanks to an awful lot of support (and trust, and work) from you all, I think that the magazine should go longer. I haven’t been accepting stories, or, in point of fact, reading many stories—if I can’t accept them, I shouldn’t be reading them, or at least that’s my excuse today—and that simply can’t go on. So I’ve been trying to get a plan set which not only means there will be a third year, but (in my opinion) that the magazine will be stronger.

That means among other things that’s it’s time for me to let the professionals get to work. On that note, I’m very happy indeed to announce that Natania Barron and Eric Gregory are coming on as Bull Spec‘s fiction editors.

What does this mean? The stories they accept will appear (along with a few I already have accepted) as early as Issue 8 publication wise, but effective immediately they’ll be the ones reading and accepting and editing stories. (Though it doesn’t yet mean that we’re open for new submissions, as there are still quite a lot of stories to be read, and we have a reading process to get into place.) It also means that Bull Spec‘s fiction will be even stronger, as Natania and Eric are very talented and imaginative young writers (and editors—Natania was most recently co-editor at Crossed Genres and Eric is one of the fiction editors at The Raleigh Review) with great eyes for good stories. I’m very excited about this, and I hope you all are as well.

It also means that Bull Spec is in good hands going forward, for Year 3 and beyond. Hooray! (And as a side note, completely unrelated I assure you, a subscription starting with issue 6 is now available, which means the first issue of Year 3 is, in a way, available for pre-order already!)

And there’s more plans. Finally, finally, real e-book versions? A completely re-vamped and (non-Sam-edited-by-hand-nonsense) website? A pile of book giveaways and other promotions? Yes. Soon. But for today, let’s celebrate Natania and Eric being so foolish awesome, and look forward to their reign of terror awesome over the slushpile. Again: Hooray!

Whew. Announcements a-plenty a-go-go!

OK. Here we go, announcements time!

1. Bull Spec #5 is available now! IN PRINT: You can (1) come to Quail Ridge Books tonight for the launch party at 7:30; (2) wait until early next week for the issue to show up on local newsstands; or (3) order (or, you know, subscribe…) print copies at []. IN PDF: (1) E-bookstores Weightless Books ($) and Wizard’s Tower Books (£) both have the issue available, or (2) via the still-funky-clunky e-order page.

2. The issue contains the winner of the Bull Spec Teen Writing Contest. That winner is Hillsborough’s Benjamin Paul, whose story “The Messengers” is on page 29. Honorable mention goes to Maryam Ali’s “Out of Darkness”.

3. Speaking of contests, the BLACK HALO backhanded evil mini-blurb contest also has a winner. While I really liked Jared’s “Probably not the book you’d expect from the cover art.” the book goes to Steve Burnett, though, for:

For writing Black Halo, Sam Sykes should not immediately be helping the police with their inquiries.

4. Lastly, and this quite fun: I’ve just heard from SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) that its board has voted to accept Bull Spec as a qualifying short fiction market. That was one of the goals I set out for Bull Spec, and along with delivering on a (more or less!) quarterly schedule, now looks to be achieved. Thanks again to the writers and artists who’ve entrusted me with their work, and I look forward to the next challenges.

Well, BULL SPEC is a quarterly. Issue #4 now available!

While print copies won’t be available until the launch party at The Regulator on Wednesday, January 12th, BULL SPEC #4 is available now for orders and downloads and sample previewing in the usual places.

Again the cover is from Carrboro’s Jason Strutz:

And behold! the contents of what squeezed into the 64 68! pages, cut-and-pasted nearly unformatted from layout for now:

Cover Art
Jet Packs! Jason Strutz

4 Freedom Acres Andrew Magowan
12 O, Harvard Square! Nick Mamatas
16 The Burning Room David Tallerman
21 A Mathematician’s Apology Don Norum
24 City of Shadow and Glass Erin Hoffman
26 Tornado of Sparks James Maxey

Graphic Short
33 Closed System Mike Gallagher part 4 of 4

32 Closed System Mike Gallagher ≈ Interview
     by Samuel Montgomery-Blinn
42 Pyr at Five & 100 Lou Anders ≈ Article and
     Interview by Samuel Montgomery-Blinn
50 Children No More Mark L. Van Name ≈
     Excerpt; Essay and Interview by Dan Campbell
56 The Greyfriar Clay and Susan Griffith ≈
     Review by Natania Barron; Article by Alex
57 Pathfinder Orson Scott Card ≈ Article by Alex

40 Happenings
58 Reviews ≈ Surface Detail Iain M. Banks
     by Patrick Ward; The Secret History of
     Fantasy Peter S. Beagle by Paul Kincaid;
     The Horns of Ruin Tim Akers by
     Joseph Giddings; The Strange Affair of
     Spring-Heeled Jack Mark Hodder by Joseph
     Giddings; The Way of Kings Brandon
     Sanderson by Richard Dansky; Stories Neil
     Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio by Richard Dansky;
     The Universe in Miniature in Miniature
     Patrick Somerville by Jason Erik Lundberg
64 Poetry ≈ Masdevallia Mark Brandon Allen;
     Beastwoman’s Snarled Rune Rose
     Lemberg; Enchantment Jennifer McConnel;
     with the fisher on the lake Kaolin Fire;
     The Guardian at the Fountain of
     Eternal Youth Alexandra Seide
66 Editorial ≈ The Year That Was & The Year to

And… this exercise already revealed one error, in that one of the many things which couldn’t fit into these 68 pages remained in the contents list, that being Paul Kincaid’s review of Sacred Space. Actually that one will have to wait for issue 5.

Anyway: what are you waiting for? Get those orders on, and if you’re nearabouts the Triangle area, see you in a couple of weeks!