Tag: Publication

Rune Bear Launch

Rune Bear completed its launch with a series of flash fiction. Each of the editors published a 300-word piece in their respective domains. J. Motoki, our Strange Editor, wrote something creepy. Stuart, our Speculative Editor, an alt-future that plays around with humanity adapting to a new (radioactive) environment. Alyssa, Supernatural Editor, had some fun with the ‘princess turned into a cute forest critter’ trope. And I, acting as the judge of all things Surreal, made some kind of weird introduction to someone’s siblings. The intent was to showcase the kind of work we’re searching for, to present models and examples for future contributors.

Read, enjoy, submit something!

J. Motoki, Strange Editor, “Hydra

Desmond White, Surreal Editor, “These were my Brothers

Alyssa Warren, Supernatural Editor, “The Sparrow Queen

Stuart Warren, Speculative Editor, “Helmets

Creating the Logo & Mascot for Rune Bear

Phil Kiner has always been my go-to guy for visual marketing, so when I started Rune Bear, I had constant reassurance that the logo would end up looking awesome. And, indeed, I ended up with this:

But that wasn’t the first rune bear that Phil designed. Phil also experimented with configurations based on actual runes, specifically Elder Futhark (c. 150–800 AD).

A futhark is a type of alphabet that starts with some variation of F, U, Þ, A, R, and K, and Elder Futhark is the earliest known form. The alphabet was used by Germanic tribes during the ‘Barbarian Invasions’ (the Germans have a better word for it—Völkerwanderung while English academics have a more boring description—the ‘Migration Period’) which may or may not have led to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Today, Elder Futhark is often found on old weapons, amulets, tools, and, yes, this is real life, runestones scattered across the European landscape.

Phil sent me three designs based on the futhark.

The first:

While I loved the diamond nose and frumpy grin, the ears, while stylish, gave the bear an undesirable ant-like quality.

The second:

The test market (me) liked the sideburns but thought the bear looked too grumpy.

The third:

#perfection

For a while I had settled on this design for the magazine.

But there was still this itchy inkling (writer’s rash?) in the back of my mind. I wanted something that would allow other artists to create their own variations. And something more blue, more realistic. My attempt looked like this:

No, wait, that’s something else.

My first design was this:

In his mouth I wanted the futhark word “alu” (ᚨᛚᚢ). The alu’s meaning is a contested issue, but some of its definitions hint at a strange, disturbed state created by sorcery or induced by ale (we’ve all been there). It is usually inscribed on artifacts of magical or mystical import. Other potential meanings include “taboo,” “strange,” “distraught,” and the “world between the living and the dead.” (I also considered ᛒᛖᚨᚱ, which is the word “bear” spelled out in futhark letters.)

In the end, Phil drew this:

… and the rest is rune history.

Strange, Surreal, Speculative, and Supernatural

Rune Bear claims to be a digital literary magazine dedicated to the Strange, Surreal, Supernatural, and Speculative.

We ordered the genres like that for the soft soil of sound; a sussuration as subdued as Robert Frost’s sound of sense. Sometimes alliteration is an aroma, an allure. But if we wish to sustain submissions, we’ll need to suss out exactly what we’re looking for.

Strange

By Strange, we mean Weird fiction, a subgenre of the speculative encompassing horror and tales of the macabre. Science, myth, and horror blend into stories which estrange the familiar, break the laws of Nature, and bring the reader into contact with madness. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, editors of the incredible anthology The Weird, add that “With unease and the temporary abolition of science can also come the strangely beautiful intertwined with terror.” But Weird fiction is not necessarily terror-inducing. As Jake King explains “Weird Fiction is about things that aren’t just unknown, but essentially unknowable to humans. Given that we as humans fear the unknown, we usually assign it as horror, but it doesn’t have to be.”

Surreal

By Surreal, we refer to writing that tries to capture the wilds of the unconscious through irrational juxtaposition. André Breton, founder of the literary movement, defines the Surreal as a proposal to “express—verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner—the actual functioning of thought.” He adds that it’s an assertion of “complete nonconformism.” In this way, surrealism is better than realism—a rejection of the refined, a rapture of the raw. The bizarre, unreal, incongruous, paradox, and perverse are elements of Surreal, as well as thirty-six blue rabbit trucks.

Speculative

By Speculative, we mean fiction of the “what if?” As David Bowling describes, these are worlds “that could have been, or might have been, if only the rules of the universe were altered just a bit.” Often the grounding is in the sciences. Innovations or alternatives in psychology, sociology, biology, and technology lead to wild human problems and wilder solutions. In this way, Andy McCann describes, speculative fiction is “preparation for all futures”—an anticipation of infinite destiny. Ultimately, however, Steve Tully writes that the genre is “about you and me” (Lilly). The otherworld, be it magical or mechanical, is a testament to the human imagination, but also human reality.

Supernatural

By Supernatural, we mean fantasy, a genre of imaginative fiction. Sometimes there is a natural world, with the supernatural pressings against its edges. Sometimes the supernatural is the world; the rules of reality re-adapted to make-believe. Tolkien writes that fantasy “touches on or uses Faerie” which “may perhaps most nearly be translated [to] Magic—but it is magic of a peculiar mood and power.” Or, as George R.R. Martin writes, “Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab” (Perret). In this genre are epic, urban, high and low fantasy, fable, myth, steampunk, arcanepunk, a whole slew of other punks, and what Tolkien calls “the Perilous Realm.” We, of course, take all of the above.

References

Breton, André. Manifesto of Surrealism (1924). Ann Arbor :University of Michigan Press, 1972.

King, Jake. Weird Fiction Discussion Group. Facebook, 26 March 2018.

Lilly, N. E. “What is Speculative Fiction?” Green Tentacles, March 2002.

Perret, Pati. The Faces of Fantasy: Photographs by Pati Perret. New York: TOR, 1996.

Oziewicz, Marek. “Speculative Fiction.” Oxford Research Encyclopedias—Literature, March 2017.

Tolkien, J. R. R. Tree and Leaf (1939). New York: Harper Collins, 2001.

VanderMeer, Ann and Jeff. “The Weird: An Introduction.” Weird Fiction Review, 6 May 2012.

Writ in Water Issue #2

Today, I swung by HBU’s Author Celebration to pick up Issue #2 of Writ in Water.

(I’m the dude in the earflaps)

Writ in Water is the student literary magazine that I launched last year and subsequently passed on to Seth Grant (the lad to the left) when I graduated.

And Seth has done a remarkable job. Issue #2 is beautiful; the cover and interior as remarkable as the prose and poetry inside.

And speaking of remarkable prose, one of my pieces ‘somehow’ made it into the final print.

According to an editorial note, this year’s theme was “Community,” which comes from two Latin words that denote a group coming together in “oneness.”

Seth adds: “The pieces published here do not paint a picture of a perfect world because the world we live in is not perfect. It is not sanitized nor masked with false optimism. Life – yes, even the Christian life – is a struggle.”

Per tradition, Seth will graduate this spring and pass on the editor-in-chief position to the next aspiring bad ass.

Rune Bear Bios (Attempt Two)

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I’m still trying to write the perfect bios for Rune Bear’s About page. But these just came off as too… distressing.

Desmond White, Editor-in-Chief

Desmond White is a guy. He’s right here typing this right now in a moment which will be burned up like the rest of the moments. What’s the point of anything if it’s all going to be extinguished with the unerring plod of time and space, that inevitable line, warbled by gravity, distraught by memory, but mobile? Fruit flies we are, playing and working and rubbing our hands together before retiring to the quiet places. Find him on twitter!

Stuart Warren, Speculative Fiction Editor

Stuart Warren is tired. Crusty-eyed. All he thinks about is his bed. Even when he’s in bed. Maybe it’s because sleep is the closest boundary to death that he allows himself. That great void that pervades. That pressure of nocturne, like the bottom of the oceans of the mind. And maybe he wants to peer beyond the illusions (that conglomerate of memory and fantasy) to peek into the dark dimensions, that unholy slumberous nil. Find him on twitter!

Alyssa Warren, Supernatural Fiction Editor

Sometimes Alyssa Warren remembers why she allowed her birth. For too long she floated in the ether, curious about the meaty breaths of humanity but finding no desire to leave that yellow comfort, that glowing peace. Maybe it was a mistake to come down to this planet, to be born to the struggle of organisms. If so, there is some comfort. From ether born, to ether go. All she has to do is wait sixty years. Find her on twitter!

Rune Bear Bios (Attempt One)

Stuart doesn’t like the bios I’ve written for Rune Bear.

Desmond White

Although currently facing execution by gas frogs (he’ll be dropped into a stank pit in April), Desmond White used to be the fearless leader of the Resistance until he took a bearbolt to the back and was captured. (A bearbolter is a fully-automated turret that launches American black bears.) This is his only known photo because he’s too ugly for full lighting.

Brandon Patterson

Having hacked more corporations than you can count on a calculator, Brandon Patterson has retired from a life of cybercrime to pursue his true passion: building websites for the Resistance against Gressian rule. Brandybuck lives in Dallas, New Texas, just outside the Omega System, with two servitor-skulls and a shapeshifting croissant named Cindy. He enjoys long walks on computer-generated beaches.

Stuart Warren

Stuart is an artificial construct compiled from discarded Rembrandt paintings and a dump of data-files removed from the Galactic Library because they were considered useless to intelligent life—literary criticism, mostly, and an eccentric medium called the “comic book.” Stuart currently serves the Glessian Majesty as a royal flusher, although he hopes to upgrade to a showerhead or sonic toothbrush.

Alyssa Warren

Alyssa Warren was Queen of the Solar Centaurs until she fell in love (some say it was an arranged marriage) with a dashing artificial toilet. Now, Her Neighness lives in a tiny apartment filled with books and a baby and an actual baby that she produced through sheer force of will (the toilet helped a little). When she’s not conquering minor planets with her braying legionnaires, Alyssa can be found at the farmer’s market sampling local honeys or knitting bad ass dog sweaters.

Here’s what Stu wrote for himself:

Stuart writes fiction and magic realism and lives in a tiny apartment filled with books and a wife and baby. Occasionally he reads a book and writes about it on Sequart.org, but mostly he shouts from his blog stuartjwarren.com about life and the books that he authors.

I’ll only accept it if he adds:

He also writes really boring bios.

Naming Rune Bear

My hench-editors (it’s my wifeStuart, and his wife) and I kept rejecting names for a literary genres-remix website we were envisioning (and one poor guy had been building pro bono). For the longest time we had our fat hearts set on Idiosync (short for ‘idiosyncrasy’) but the title was too lazy and it sounded like ‘Idiot Sink.’ Then we wanted Idiot Sink, but that impulse didn’t last. AstroLack was too spacey. Los Orcus was too fantasy. We wanted less swords-and-sorcery and more swords-and-sandworms. No to Wyrdfic (is ‘weird’ gender-biased or something?), Grot Gear, Desmorious (I was down), Wristcanon (people would think we spelled ‘cannon’ wrong), Battle Droid (‘droid’ is trademarked by LucasFilm Ltd.).

For a while we settled on Rune Beard. We wondered if Nordic facial hair would evoke a space pirate captain firing plasma bolts at sword-wielding mechs on distant asteroids (it was the Warhammer 40,000 side of us that connected runes with sci-fi in the first place), but instead our test audience pictured a neckbeard playing WoW, and incidentally, they weren’t wrong. Dumping Rune Beard was emotional for me, because Alyssa, Stuart, and I had devised an awesome icon to accompany our logo—a bewhiskered Odinesque whose face was comprised of two Anglo-Saxon runes that corresponded with our initials (the scarred-eye is the jera, or j-rune, and my first name is Jared; the crooked nose is the sigel, or s-rune, i.e. Stuart). Being boys, we didn’t consider adding a rune for Alyssa.

Here’s Alyssa’s mock-up:

However, while I was pining over Rune Beard in my notebook, I noticed that without the “D” there was another great name for our mag—Rune Bear. The domain wasn’t taken, and there weren’t any rune bears out there except for the Runeclaw Bear in Magic the Gathering. The others were hesitant but the name grew on them. I went ahead and drew a rough sketch of what I was envisioning for the mascot. (Although these details weren’t in the sketch, I knew the bear had to be blue and have a rune in its mouth).

I finally turned to an old friend of mine, Phil Kiner, to create the mascot we have today: