Richmonder & Fellow Sci-Fi Writers Launch Kickstarter to Bring ‘Amazing Stories’ Back to Life

by | Mar 27, 2018 | COMMUNITY

Does the theory of life on other planets fascinate you? Are you a sci-fi fanatic whose childhood days were spent delving into galactic conquests, ancient alien artifacts, stories of robots taking over the world, tales of mad scientists concocting wild experiments or fables of extraterrestrial societies? Well, if so, you’re in luck because one Richmonder, along with a few other collaborators, are aiming to revive a infamous science fiction publication.

Henrico native Kermit Woodall, along with New Hampshire resident Steve Davidson have launched a Kickstarter to bring back Amazing Stories, the world’s first and longest-running publication dedicated to all things science fiction.

First printed by inventor and writer Huge Gernsback’s Experimenter Publishing in 1926, the magazine ran for nearly 80 years and was an innovator of blending entertainment with education and inspired the careers of authors, artists, editors, academics, scientists, and engineers. During its time, it went through multiple editors and owners, weathered bankruptcy, and went through a serious of changes before ultimately folding in 2005.

Davidson, a former fanzine publisher and former games designer, bought the name in 2009 and in December 2012, launched Amazing Stories online as a multi-author blog of both action and non-fiction with over 175 contributors, and r40,000 registered members. And now the two, along with writer and author Ira Nayman are hoping to raise $30,000 to bring the beloved and historic publication back to its original form in print. 

“I read about the potential return of Amazing Stories and heard about it via a mutual friend, the late Bud Webster, and was introduced to Steve Davidson,” said Woodall, who serves as art director. 

Woodall started writing for Davidson’s blog since its beginning in 2012 and has contributed fiction pieces as well as science news articles. Originally born in New York City, Woodall grew up a son of two artists in Williamsburg and is the only Amazing Stories employee currently living in Richmond.

“I’m the classic science fiction enthusiast,” he said. “I discovered science fiction when I was a teenager and was a reader of the ‘Big Three’, {Isaac} Asimov, {Arthur} Clarke, and {Robert} Heinlein. I {also} enjoy modern writers like Charles Sheffield, Allen Steele, Ted Chiang, Kameron Hurley and many others.”

The trio has currently raised a little over $12,000 of their $30,000 goal to launch Amazing Stories. The Kickstarter will run until April 7 and if successful, Amazing Stories will be published quarterly at its start, focusing on high-quality collectors print editions with its first release slated for sometime in August.

The first revived magazine issue is around 200 pages and 35,000 words. Amazing Stories has already been acquiring content for the first issue from a variety of science fiction authors, but are still looking for new stories. The submission site will be open for writers to submit stories anonymously upon the launch of the magazine.

“We lean toward stories that have a positive future outlook on future plausible or realistic science, but we also have fantasy and horror,” said Woodall. “We are also focusing on the balance of literary quality in our fiction as well as a quality story that grips you and is entertaining.”

The plan to relaunch Amazing Stories and implement this Kickstarter program had been brewing since before Davidson and Woodall even got together for the blog.

“There are a lot of science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazines that use their online audience as their primary audience,” Woodall said. “Some include print, some include podcasts, and some do a little of everything. That being said, our plan has always been to return the magazine to print. We want to delve into other media, but print has been our main goal.”

Woodall said the focus will be on filling issues with good storytelling that many magazines today have neglected. “A lot of magazines, starting back in the 1970s, started embracing literary styling over storytelling. We think both are equally important.”

Woodall’s specific goal is to bring back a higher respect for art and be able to evoke emotion with his art as well. “The same magazines I obliquely referred to before are using pretty poor art these days. And by these days, I mean for over the last two decades,” he said. “Generic spacescapes, illustrations that have vacant-eyed characters with poor proportions. The online magazines are doing pretty well – but the print magazines? Not so much.”

“I think most people, outside of fans, don’t realize that most science fiction, fantasy, and horror conventions feature a room set aside as an art gallery and have artists speak as well,” Woodall added.

Woodall, Davidson, Nayman’s Kickstarter is an all or nothing funding site. If they don’t meet the goal by the April 7 date, Woodall said they do have backup plans, but couldn’t go into any detail as to what that would be. 

And while their campaign will end soon, there are several rewards to entice people to donate to get Amazing Stories off the ground such as signed books from big-name authors, one on one creative writing and editing sessions, and a reward that will get your name in a story or your face in cover art. You can learn more about the project, rewards, and donate here.

Andrew Goetzinger

Andrew Goetzinger

Andrew is a Cuban American marketing student at VCU with a concentration in Product and Brand Management. He enjoys traveling the world, listens to all genres of music, appreciates skateboarding and street culture, and will eat all of the m&m's from your trail mix if given the opportunity. Instagram: a_goetzinger

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