Monday, January 30, 2012

Ch-Ch-Changes

Fantastique Unfettered has operated as a print magazine since we started in June of 2010.  Since then we have published 4 print issues in a time when print is going the way of the buffalo.  Page bleeds aside, I'm damn proud of (Kalpa), (Unless), (Prolefeed), and  (Ralewing) as each issues was subtitled, and while it'd be easy to tell the story of building up to publishing the likes of Hal Duncan and Jacqueline West, we started out with Bruce Boston!

Though you'll see improvements in the presentation from issue one to issue four, the content was kick-ass from the start.  I mention those names because they're the ones you'll recognize, but there's not a story in those four issues that doesn't stand tall beside the work of these folks.

I'm bragging a bit--something that's uncomfortable for me--but the truth is that you should hop on over to your favorite book site and order all four of those bad boys.  You'll be happy you did.

Going into 2012, we are no longer a print magazine.  

As cool as it was, it simply has not sold through enough to justify the costs both monetary and in time.  Could another year or two of this level of work have built a readership?  Sure.  I suspect without a better 'in' on the distribution side, it would remain a struggle. There are other scenarios that would see a print version of FU making its way, but even if we were able to pay pro-rates tomorrow (we've kicked the tires on that option too) we remain a fan zine at heart.  We're doing the work in our spare time.  And making a print magazine in our spare time proved a monumental undertaking, especially with all the various content, art, and a layout that aspired to 'do it right.'  

If I could create issues of FU for a living I'd be in heaven.  

Alexandra Seidel, poetry editor since issue two, has a similar passion for FU in a new, online incarnation.  Recognizing this, I am stepping down as managing editor of the magazine and Alexa is taking the wheel.  I'll remain around in some capacity that equals 'various ongoing assistance' but FU the ezine will be new thing that will and should change from what FU the magazine was.

I will not be reading a lot of slush after issue #5, so if you are someone we know a bit, reach out to Alexa and let her know if you can help.  Or if you have other talents to offer, mention those.  We still hope to see ebook versions at some point, but we need the expertise to do so: another opportunity.

Fantastique Unfettered, as it was originally envisioned, used the Creative Commons ShareAlike Attribution license to 'copyleft' all its content.  Aether Age fiction (welcome at FU and at the same rate as the main guidelines describe) will remain cc-by-sa, as will adaptations/derivatives of works published in the first four issues.  In the transition to both a new editor and the online medium--while cc-by-sa will remain an option for authors--we will incorporate a more restrictive CC license as an alternative. I encourage authors whose work is published by FU to stick with cc-by-sa.  And: options are good.

Fantastique Unfettered: A Periodical of Liberated Literature--as a magazine concept--will remain cc-by-sa. 

Our publisher for issues one through four, M-Brane Press/Christopher Fletcher, remains an ally to FU, though as an ezine, FU enters into a free-agent status for the time being.  As we look into ebook and 'best of' anthologies, we'll see done whatever is best for FU.

As for me, I'll be around.  I remain interested in editing additional projects and when I find something that makes me as excited as FU has, you'll hear me holler.  In the mean time, there's this idea I've had since I was in third grade, that I'd be a writer.  I'm going to work on that.

Please give your support to Alexa by sending her more kick-ass prose & poetry, buy and share the print issues, write a review on Amazon or your blog, or simply spread the word.  Shakespeare Unfettered is 'on like Donkey Kong' (look up along the top there to check out the guidelines) and she is fired up about The Aether Age as well.  There is fantastic stuff to come.

--Brandon H. Bell