In the golden age of science fiction, readers embraced space opera for its heroes and villains as much as for its gadgets and adventure-driven plots, and as demonstrated by the support readers showed for the Raygun Chronicles Kickstarter campaign, not only in terms of funding but also in terms of social media support, it’s clear that science fiction fans are interested in seeing more golden-age-style pulp adventure fiction, and they’re willing to invest money up front to make it happen.
“Space opera is the subgenre which first nurtured my love of science fiction,” says Bryan Thomas Schmidt, the editor behind Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera for a New Age. “From Star Trek to Star Wars and beyond, it inspired a passion for storytelling and adventure that’s been with me ever since.”
When Schmidt originally approached Vancouver’s Every Day Publishing to propose the project, Camille Gooderham Campbell and Jordan Ellinger knew at once that it would open doors for them. “Crowdfunding gives us a chance to work with top authors and pay competitive rates which we couldn’t otherwise afford,” says Gooderham Campbell. “It’s also a practical demonstration that there is a market for this book, that readers want this anthology,” adds Ellinger.
For a small press, partnering with an experienced, well-connected editor like Schmidt has proved crucial in connecting with talent that would otherwise be outside their sphere. Top authors writing new tales for the anthology are Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, Seanan McGuire, Allen Steele, Brenda Cooper, Robin Wayne Bailey and Sarah A. Hoyt, while coveted reprints from A.C. Crispin and Mike Resnick are already in and ready to go. Filling out the collection are many of the best reprints from Ray Gun Revival magazine’s six-year run. Award-winning illustrator Paul Pederson has already delivered spectacular full-colour cover art.
“Crowdfunding has risen in popularity with good reason,” Schmidt says. Raygun Chronicles represents his second crowdfunded anthology effort to date – the first, Beyond The Sun, will be released by Fairwood Press in October 2013. “It provides fans with a chance to support and preorder the projects that they’d most like to see come to fruition, and talent a chance to put out projects which might not have the box office appeal initially to big publishing but for which we have a passion we know is shared by a large audience.”
With 24 contemporary space opera stories sharing a classic pulp feel, Raygun Chronicles is scheduled for launch at OryCon, Oregon’s leading science fiction convention, which will take place on November 8-10, 2013. Schmidt, Cooper, and others plan to attend to sign books and meet fans, and Gooderham Campbell and Ellinger will be there from Every Day Publishing to host the launch party and give away prizes.