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Interview with
Jerry Wright and Don Webb

by Lewayne L. White

Part 1 and part 2
appear in this issue.


Lewayne: What do see in the future for Bewildering Stories? Is there particular direction you hope to take it?

Jerry: As to directions, anywhere but off a cliff... But seriously folks, we plan on publishing more books and actually being a “real” publisher ourselves. That is something we’ve been talking about for years, but due to the efforts of Bob Blevins and Adventure Books, we see what we need to do and how to do it.

Don: We plan to lead off with two novels that we expect to be best-sellers. Then we’ll be on a roll. However, the saying about “a bird in the hand” comes to mind. We’ll leave it at that for the time being, but it’s something we’re looking forward to.

Lewayne: Though you have a growing number of regular contributors, are there writers you’d like to see in Bewildering Stories? Maybe authors who’ve contributed at some point, but haven’t in a while? Or, writers you enjoy who haven’t contributed anything yet?

Jerry: We’ll take anyone with a story to tell, but we do miss the idiosyncratic stylings of Thomas R.

Don: Thomas R. is the only contributor whose bibliography is so long it has a page of its own. His alternate future history articles and flash fiction “cinema series” are gems. But Tom loves history and says he’s going to concentrate on working as a historian now.

As long as we’re being nostalgic, I’d like to hear from Sherry Smith Gray again. She, too, is a founding contributor from issue 1. We feel we have a lot of friends out there, and we’re very happy to hear from them.

Lewayne: Will you be looking for certain “types” of stories? Because of the legacy of science fiction, will stories need to SAY SOMETHING PROFOUND, or can they just be fun to read?

Jerry: Profundity is highly over-rated. We just want good stories. And articles. And reviews. And, because of who we are, they needn’t even be speculative fiction. Just good...

Don: Our first love is science fiction, but we don’t “look for certain types of stories.” We consider whatever we receive. If anything keeps us reading to the end without skipping, that’s a very good sign.

“Profound” depends as much on the reader as the author. Every story has at least one moral; it may be obvious or it may not. Discussing meanings and implications is part of the fun; it makes literature interactive. That’s why we have the forum, The Reading Room, the Challenges and The Critics’ Corner.

For example, take the fable of the grasshopper and the ant: La Fontaine didn’t end his immortal version with the customary moral. His silence speaks volumes: he knew the fable can have two opposing interpretations, and the one we prefer tells us a lot about ourselves. A very simple story, beautifully told, and very profound.

Lewayne: Do you think, as some people fear, that written fiction is losing its audience to TV, video games, net surfing, etc? If so, do you have any plans for, or even any interest in, wooing that audience back?

Jerry: Hey, we’re part of that “net surfing”! There is a great deal of concern over written fiction losing out to other sources of entertainment. But don’tcha know, that is a problem primarily in the U.S. and the UK. And thanks to the ubiquity of the Internet, we have both readers and writers from all over the world.

Look at the shelves of book stores. The SF section grows. Fantasy is extremely popular. But the educational system must be taken to task for not fostering a love of reading. However, in my view, it seems to be the duty of parents to create that love in their children. If we can help, we will.

Don: I completely agree with Jerry, needless to say. And I don’t worry. In a sense, Bewildering Stories is like a library where people can come and go between all the other activities you mention.

Many — even most — of our stories and even some poems could be turned into plays for radio, television, film, and the stage. Our Archive is a veritable gold mine of ideas. And it’s not ephemeral, like video games or TV; you can always come back to it.

Lewayne: What would be the most pie-in-the sky thing you’d like to see happen with Bewildering Stories?

Jerry: I’d love to win a Hugo. Other than that, the other most “pie in the sky” thing would be that we could actually make money and pay our authors.

Don: Yeah... incorporate and pay dividends! Meanwhile, we’re happy as long as our authors feel they look good on line and are in good company.

Copyright © 2006 by Lewayne L. White
Jerry Wright and Don Webb

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