Astrogator's Logs

New Words, New Worlds
Artist, Heather Oliver             

Unfurling Solar Sails: Yours Truly Acquires Candlemark & Gleam

“I’ll be your gypsy joker, your shotgun rider.”
– Bruce Springsteen, “Soul Driver” from Human Touch

Blue Door Stargate

When I was putting together The Other Half of the Sky (TOHOTS), my first science fiction anthology, I searched for a publisher – and, in hindsight, unknowingly dodged several bullets. The only person who gave me fair terms (without prompting on my part, yet) was Kate Sullivan, the founder of Candlemark and Gleam (C&G). I owe Sam Montgomery-Blinn of Bullspec many craft beers for suggesting Kate to me and doing the introductions.

Kate is that rarest of combinations, a deeply informed mover-and-shaker who’s also discerning, meticulous, conscientious, professional and results-oriented. She was an ideal collaborator who carefully and lovingly prepared TOHOTS for what would be a triumphant publication arc: the anthology went on to win unprecedented awards and accolades (including a Nebula for one of its stories) way before the “X Destroy Y” mode became safe to attempt – achievements that are even more momentous when one considers C&G’s infinitesimal PR budget.

Kate ran C&G single-handedly in addition to a full-time day job. On my side, I had long wanted to nurture and promote science fiction that combines quality craft and three-dimensional characters with a non-triumphalist sense of wonder, awareness of scientific principles, and original universes. So when the heroic effort tired Kate and she was contemplating closing down C&G rather than see her vision and standards compromised, I told her of my own vision.

So with great pleasure and anticipation, Kate and I announce that, as of November 16, I’ve acquired Candlemark & Gleam.  It’s a fitting symbol and a good omen that the younger sibling of TOHOTS, To Shape the Dark, will be the first book brought out by C&G under its new astrogator.

Kate will stay with me for at least one year, to ensure a seamless transition. In the past, C&G published a wide variety of speculative fiction subgenres and showcased many new authors. Although that big-tent policy will continue, I’m eager to have science fiction become the major tributary stream of C&G – especially stellar talents whom I consider neglected due to the publisher/editor stampede to be “edgy” (if only).

This means that C&G will now publish primarily by invitation and referral. However, we will also respond to queries with one-page synopses. Those who wonder what I’m likely to consider can look at TOHOTS or my reviews. Speaking of the latter, I don’t review often; when I do, I always discuss large contexts, rather than isolated works. I realize that some consider reviewing by an editor/publisher to be a conflict of interest, though many editors and publishers have been doing so with nary a qualm or ripple. I will let my author choices stand as my principal future reviews, though I’ll still do the occasional large-scale retrospective.

My thanks go to those who convinced me that such an endeavor is not madness (or, perhaps, necessary madness): Peter Cassidy; members of the Mixon report team; contributors to The Other Half of the Sky and To Shape the Dark; and my faithful shadow-id, Lilypad, who calmly delivered admonitory chomps whenever my self-confidence faltered.

Friends, companions, partners, colleagues: join me and Kate on this journey to strange skies.

Lion Planetfall

ETA: Kate writes about C&G’s trajectory.

14 Responses to “Unfurling Solar Sails: Yours Truly Acquires Candlemark & Gleam”

  1. delagar says:

    Well, hot diggity!


  2. Athena says:

    Thank you!!

  3. Calvin says:

    Hurray! And congratulations. I know it has been a long journey.

  4. Athena says:

    And we’re only now leaving the docking bay! It will be a turbulent ride but we’ll linger under many starry skies.

  5. Christopher Phoenix says:

    Wow, congratulations Athena!! I can’t wait to see what strange skies this voyage takes you to.

    It’s been exciting month for me too, writing-wise. A little while ago, Paul Gilster asked me to write a post for the blog, and now it’s finally safely in orbit! My only regret is that I always freeze into the strangest expressions when someone tries to take my photograph.

  6. Athena says:

    Thank you! I’m glad that Paul asked you to guest-blog at CD and to see what you look like — I just wish the discussion following your entry were not the same old, same old.

  7. Christopher Phoenix says:

    It’s very exciting to guest-blog on CD, and working with Paul is such a pleasure! But, yes, the comments do retread the same old ground (long ago trampled to mud). I’ve noticed that people tend to categorically reject generation ships while clinging to exotic and/or unproven notions like mind uploading and warp drive.

    This sweeping rejection of multigenerational space travel is in fact the topic of an upcoming essay. :3

  8. Athena says:

    I think space enthusiasts want interstellar travel to be feasible so much that they will embrace magic. And of course exotic propulsion and immortal, indestructible bodies are so much sexier than the messy, slow slog of arkships. So you will be a semi-regular at CD in the future?

  9. Christopher Phoenix says:

    You are right about that, I think. Wishful dreaming plus glitzy SF sex appeal is apparently a powerful combination for many. As much as I want a jump drive to be possible, I prefer to dream sensibly… but I seem to be in a minority there.

    Yes, Paul likes my articles and I enjoy writing for CD, so we’re pursuing this relationship further! I think he particularly liked not having to do much of any editing work on this one. My editor completes me, so nothing is sent in until it is finished to her exacting specifications (and mine).

  10. Athena says:

    Pity I no longer comment at CD after the last “girly brain” round a few years ago.

  11. Christopher Phoenix says:

    I know how you feel about commenting at CD, but as there will be a lot more arkship related posts in the near future I’d be excited if some different voices joined in the conversation… just saying!

    I might make a post about this knee-jerk rejection of long-generation ships. It reminds me of space enthusiasts’ reaction to people talking about radiation and microgravity hazards, as you’ve discussed here before.

  12. Athena says:

    That’s an ever-relevant topic of discussion, but be prepared for a lot of sealioning. It’s unlikely I’ll ever comment on CD again, for the same reason that my blog posts have been getting more infrequent: namely, I find it increasingly boring to have to revisit old, obvious issues.

  13. Christopher Phoenix says:

    I’ve already been accused of being a luddite like Purcell for pointing out that uploading and reversible whole-body freezing are currently at Technological Readiness Level 0… so I think I know what I’m in for.

    I understand how you feel perfectly. I’m pretty sure I’ve had the same conversation on mind uploading multiple times, and the cryonics discussion feels eerily familiar too. All the same, I hope to spark new conversations on unexplored orbits. So, onward to stranger skies!

  14. Athena says:

    I will be there, if silently, so we can always have a meta-discussion!