Sunday 1 June 2008

Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #23

pdf | epub | mobi | print UK | print US |

Editors, Writers and Money: in Defence of Amateurs

I recently read a thoughtful blog entry, 4theLuv Markets and the Reader, by the editor of Horror Literature Quarterly, Paul Puglisi.

HLQ is free to read online, and it’s short enough (16pp) to make reading it a nice way to spend a lunchtime. The first three issues of the magazine were published during 2007, with the fourth slipping to 2008. It publishes professional writers and pays professional rates of at least five cents per word.

I doubt if the editor has ever heard of TQF, but the blog entry skewers us pretty well. Poor choice of colours on the website, non-paying, free to read and hosted on a free web hosting platform – that’s TQF through and through! Our copy-editing and proofreading aren’t too bad (rather better than HLQ’s in fact, going on the state of issue four’s editorial at the time of writing) but in all other respects his argument felt very much like an accidental shot across the virtual bows of the good ship Theaker’s.

The main thrust of his argument is that readers shouldn’t read stories in non-paying magazines when instead they can read the much better stories for which he has paid the writers good money. Non-paying magazines, he argues, are bad for writers, bad for readers, and bad for themselves.

It’s good to have your ideas challenged, and, as longtime readers know, I’m always ready, at the drop of a hat, to examine and reconsider and bluster about the philosophy behind our mag. I want to believe that we’re doing this for good reasons, and that no one is getting exploited or hustled by us.

As I’ve said lots of times, TQF doesn’t pay because I want it to keep going for a long time. If I did pay our contributors, the money would have to come out of my own pocket, and I’d be extremely unlikely to ever see any of it back. How long would the magazine last if it cost me loads of money to publish? There’s always going to be something else that I need to spend my money on, whether it’s the children, the house or most importantly the Xbox 360 (the PS3, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to demand much in the way of financial attention, being mostly happy with a supply of DVDs and Blu-rays from Lovefilm).

I know myself, and I know that the magazine wouldn’t last long if I had to make a choice between TQF#24 and Fallout 3…

See inside this issue for the rest of what I had to say on this subject. I really got my knickers in a twist about this one!! – SWT



  • Editors, Writers and Money: in Defence of Amateurs by Stephen Theaker
  • Contributors

Science Fiction

  • The Orphans of Time by Wayne Summers
  • Newton Braddell and His Inconclusive Researches into the Unknown: At the Mountains of Madness by John Greenwood


  • Devil on My Stomach: a Tale of Tiana’s World by Richard K Lyon & Andrew J Offutt


  • When a Baby Laughs by Anna M Lowther
  • Shaggai by John Hall

The Quarterly Review

Book Reviews

  • Ælnäthän
  • Bug-Eyed Monsters
  • Hive
  • Odd and the Frost Giants
  • World War Z

Comics Reviews

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home
  • Clubbing
  • Doctor Who: Voyager
  • Essential Godzilla
  • Green Lantern: Revenge of the Green Lanterns
  • Heroes
  • JLA: Ultramarine Corps
  • Showcase Presents Superman Family: Volume 2
  • The Terminator Omnibus: Volume 1
  • Tom Strong: Book 5

Magazine Reviews

  • Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest #12
  • GUD #2 (Greatest Uncommon Denominator)


Let’s see who has been hoodwinked by our evil elves into submitting stories for publication in this issue…

Wayne Summers, this issue’s cover artist, first appeared in TQF thanks to his story of a mysterious garden surrounded by a wall, “The Walled Garden”, which appeared in TQF#19. At that time he was about to be published in On The Night Highways, Art&Prose Magazine and Creative Island. He grew up in rural Kojonup, Western Australia, where his writing career began. While in high school he’d write small articles and stories for the local newspaper. He now lives in Perth, Western Australia. Wayne is an English language teacher and is studying to be a counsellor. His focus remains writing and during 2007 he had more than 17 horror and fantasy stories accepted for publication. A second story by Wayne, “The Exile from Naktah”, an epic horror fantasy, appeared in TQF#21.

Richard K Lyon is a semi-retired research scientist/inventor whose hobbies include collecting pulp SF magazines and writing. He has also published numerous short stories and novelettes. A collection of the latter, Tales From The Lyonheart, is available from Barnes and Noble, etc. In collaboration with Andrew J Offutt, famed author of My Lord Barbarian, he wrote the Tiana trilogy (Demon in the Mirror, The Eyes of Sarsis and Web of the Spider), and Rails Across the Galaxy for Analog. To our magazine they have contributed “The Iron Mercenary” (TQF#19), “Arachnis” (TQF#22), and, in this issue, “Devil on My Stomach”, in which we meet a new player in Tiana’s world. This story was originally published in Dragonfields (Summer 1980), and was reprinted more recently in Flashing Swords #2.

Anna M Lowther provides “When a Baby Laughs” for this issue. If this unsettling (especially for anyone who has been present at a child’s birth) little story makes you want to search out more of Anna’s work, a short story of hers, “Miss Magnolia’s Secret”, opens the horror anthology Damned in Dixie. Also, her voodoo tale “Gris Gris” appeared in the special Halloween 2007 issue of Sinister Tales Magazine. And her short pirate story “The Black Butcher” will appear in the anthology Black Dragon, White Dragon, currently in production at Ricasso Press.

John Hall is best known as a Sherlockian scholar, and a member of the International Pipe Smokers’ Hall of Fame. His numerous literary interests include Raffles, Sexton Blake, and the stories of HP Lovecraft and MR James. He is the author of Special Commission, a medieval murder mystery.

John Greenwood has made contributions to most issues of TQF following his return from a round-the-world trip, and was ultimately made co-editor in recognition of his efforts. (It was either that or rename the publication Greenwood's Quarterly Fiction!) To this issue he contributes a further episode in the life of the universe’s least favourite peripathetic astronaut, Newton Braddell.

Stephen Theaker is the eponymous editor of Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction. The earliest dream he can remember is of eating Weetabix, only to find it full of worms and woodlice, all because he had applied sugar and milk in the wrong order. A month or so ago he had an equally nasty dream about a Terminator (see this issue’s huge review section, swollen due to the editor’s bout of Goodreads fever, for the details). His most recent dream was rather nicer: his baby had learned to crawl and was following him around. [By the time this issue went to press this dream had actually come true.] He has written six novels to date, but spent no more than a month on any of them (and it showed). He was recently made editor of Dark Horizons, the journal of the British Fantasy Society.

No comments:

Post a Comment