StoryHack, Issue Zero

Bryce Beattie recently put out the first issue of his action/adventure magazine as a proof-of-concept.  As a contributing author, for me to write a review of the magazine would be a bad idea.
But I’m going to do it anyway!

First, thought – don’t take my word for it – download and read a copy for free.  Then you can decide for yourself whether the second issue KickStarter is worth backing.

StoryHack Action and Adventure has two things going for it:

1.  A central focus on action and adventure.  The contents cross genre lines with the first issue including pure fantasy, magi-tech, biblical fantasy, sci-fi, and even one story set in the contemporary real world.

2. Bryce’s own vision.  One issue doesn’t provide enough data to get your arms around Bryce’s tastes, but you can get a feel for it.  My guess is that, as with Cirsova, after a few issues are out, regular readers will be able to point to a story and say, “That’s a Bryce story.”  The edges will be fuzzy, but there will be a certain feel to the kind of story that might appear in StoryHack.  Based on the limited size of the data set, it looks like they will be fast, furious, and fun, with just a hint of deeper meaning or passion to them.

The decision to include stories from a variety of genres was brilliant.  As a ‘page one and straight on through til morning’ reader, it was fun not knowing what each kind of story was going to be.  You may want to take a page from Cirsova and include a one sentence teaser before each story.  I never read them, preferring to go into each story blind, but (particularly when you’ve got a cross-genre magazine) a lot of readers appreciate that little warning about what to expect.  The hard copy/pdf has a blurb in the table of contents, but you don’t have that in the Kindle version.

StoryHack: Year Zero also includes a few unexpected laughs in the form of Bryce’s own advertisements.  In a normal magazine, these would be considered filler, but in Bryce’s hands they provide a laugh, and more importantly, they provide a chance for the editor to engage directly with the reader.  What could have been wasted ink becomes a way for the reader to get to know Bryce a little better and begin establishing a relationship with him. 

That may not seem like much, but consider that most collections are a reflection of the editor.  The best magazines were synonymous with their editors, and you know from the editor’s name what kind of story you’re going to get.  Gernsback was pure pulp.  Campbell was men with screwdrivers.  Damon Kinght was lipstick smeared pigs in fancy ball gowns.   Both Gernsback and his stories were bold and daring.  Both Campbell and his stories were smart and technical.  Both Knight and his stories used pseudo-intellectualism to hide his incompetence. 

Pretty soon we’ll have Bryce Style fiction, and that fiction will be a reflection of Bryce’s personality. This is one reader that hopes those little injections of Bryce won’t disappear once every column inch is bought and paid for.


About Jon Mollison

Jon Mollison was weaned at the literary knee of Tolkein, Howard, Moore, and Burroughs. He spent decades wandering in the wilderness of modern genre fiction, wondering when the magic and wonder went out of the world of dragons and space ships. In his darkest hour, he encountered a wise man who handed him the open secrets to crafting works that emulate the stories of the great authors who built the genre. They are easily summarized in but two words: Regress Harder. Now one of the twelve champions of the Pulp Revolution, his self-published works represent a more direct lineage to the tales of action, mystery, romance, virtue, and pure unalloyed adventure than the bland imitations churned out by New York City publishing houses in recent decades.
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4 Responses to StoryHack, Issue Zero

  1. Jon Mollison says:

    A western. Without fistfights or gunslinging. Submitted to a magazine called StoryHack – Action and Adventure.

    At least tell me it had a horse race.

  2. Bryce B says:

    Thanks for the kind words.

    There were 2 more real world action pieces on my short list that almost got included. The Dirk Pitt novels were some of my favorites growing up, so I have plenty of room in my heart for action thrillers. I also really wanted to include a traditional western, but the best written one I received had neither raucous fistfighting nor furious gun slinging, so I had to pass.

  3. Jon Mollison says:

    Yeah, there's going to be a lot more overlap between your magazines than I expected. I was actually surprised that mine was the only real-world action piece. I'm hoping that future issues will have a little less magic – there's plenty of room in the real world for action and adventure.

  4. cirsova says:

    While I've already said that I probably won't do a real review of it, myself, I'm enjoying it a lot so far. That second story was better than a "detective who is also a werewolf" story should've been. I'd've probably also made an offer on Alex's story if he'd submitted it to Cirsova.

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