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Interview: David Steffen (The Long List Anthology)

Interview: David Steffen (The Long List Anthology) published on
Galen Dara's "A City on Its Tentacles"
Artwork: “A City on Its Tentacles” by Galen Dara. Licensed by David Steffen to be used for the Long List Anthology as a cover and for promotion of The Long List Anthology.

David Steffen, the owner of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy zine Diabolical Plots, and the creator of The Grinder, (a submission tracker for works of fiction), is Kickstarting an amazing anthology.

The Long List Anthology was designed to make available and recognize the short works that were nominated for the 2015 Hugo Awards, but did not make it to the top five for the final ballot. The Hugos “long list” of works, which notes the top fifteen works nominated for each category, provided the template for this anthology.

All of the short stories, including works by Annie Bellet, Max Gladstone, Elizabeth Bear, and Usman T. Malik, will be included in the project. Also included are the Novellas by Ken Liu and Rachel Swirsky, as well as most of the novelettes, including works by Yoon Ha Lee, Carmen Maria Machado, Scott Lynch, and Xia Jia (translated by Ken Liu). The lineup of talented storytellers is impressive.

At the time of this publication, David has obtained a couple of stretch goals, but you still have the opportunity to obtain a copy of the book, get access to several tiered reward services, help obtain those final goals, and to help show support for a project created to recognize greatness in the science fiction and fantasy community. I’m just sad that there was only one crocheted Cthulhu available.

In the interview below, I have more information about the process behind David’s project.


C Lee Brant (CB): How did you go about collecting the works for The Long List Anthology?

David Steffen (DS): It wasn’t a particularly glamorous process, just a lot of legwork The legwork started immediately when the Hugo administrators published the longer list of works nominated by Hugo voters after the Hugo ceremony. The process after that was pretty much what you’d expect–a lot of correspondence, and a spreadsheet to keep track of the results of that correspondence. I checked that the stories were all published in 2014 as best I could tell from searching. Then to find author contact information for as many of the authors on the list as possible. I wrote up a pitch describing what I wanted to do with the project and emailed it or sent it through website contact forms to reach as many authors as I could find.

CB: What has been the biggest barrier so far in the process?

DS: Authors who have no clear way to contact them posted. For a project like this it is immensely helpful if authors have a website that can be found with a quick Google search and either have an email address there that they check regularly, or a contact form that routes messages to their inbox. Many of the authors I had gotten a response from the same day I started querying, but a few authors I’m still trying to reach.

CB: Which story did you pick up first to get the ball rolling?

DS: Rachael K. Jones’s “Makeisha in Time”. The reason for that is that Rachael is a friend, so I felt more comfortable just typing an extremely informal query along the lines of “Hi Rachael, so are you in for that anthology idea?”

CB: Tell me about the artwork. How did you pick the cover?

DS: In April, while I was starting up the first Kickstarter, I spent a couple weeks trolling around art sites like DeviantArt and a few others with similar mission statements. I saw a lot of great art there, but in the end I got a recommendation on Twitter to look at Galen Dara’s portfolio. I was familiar with her art from her other excellent work like the cover art for the Glitter & Mayhem anthology. I love her dreamlike style and her ability to make an illustration that suggests a story. I liked this particular one for several reasons: because there was some good space at the top for a title, because I particularly loved the color scheme, and because I felt like the content of the image would work well with horror, science fiction, or fantasy stories in equal measure. It also helped that Galen was easy to reach and she was willing to license it for what I felt was a reasonable price. I will definitely keep Galen foremost in mind for future projects–she has been so excellent to work with.

CB: Will this Anthology be available after the Kickstarter ends by any other means of distribution? If so, how so?

DS: Yes, I’ll make it available via selfpublish venues like Amazon, Smashwords, etc. I’m still working out the details about that end at this point, so I don’t know exactly what the details will be.

CB: After the initial success of this year’s Long List Anthology, do you have plans to create similar works in the future–with future Hugo Awards or other awards like the Nebula?

DS: I’d certainly consider it. The Nebulas might not lend themselves so well to a project like this because I don’t think they publish a longer list of nominated works, unless I’ve missed it. I don’t know if this project would be as popular in other years as it has proved so far–to gauge interest I’d probably run another Kickstarter. And if that Kickstarter wasn’t successful in the way this one was, then that would be my answer.

C Lee Brant
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C Lee Brant

Site Admin at Galleywampus
C Lee Brant is the webmaster and founder of Galleywampus. He’s the fellow to contact if you want to set up a giveaway, blog tour, interview or request to review your work. He reads all sorts of books, but his focus lies in epic, military, literary and urban fantasy, children's and YA fiction, and sci-fi. He has an MLIS from SJSU.
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