I blogged about this anthology earlier and Matthew was kind enough to answer some questions. It certinaly seems an itneresting project and one I’ll be getting when it comes out.
What give the site the impetus to put such a project together? What are you hoping to achieve?
The original idea for the anthology came from an episode of Ryan’s webcomic Dinosaur Comics. (The specific strip is linked on the Machine of Death website.) About a year ago, Ryan first tried putting together an anthology of stories written mostly by his fans just for fun. But it turned out to be too much work for one already-busy guy to handle,so David and I agreed to help with the project.
All three of us are very interested in writing and publishing and other creative things, so part of what we hope to achieve is to puttogether a book that we can be proud of. But we also think that the original idea created by Ryan is something that is uniquely compelling to people, and many of the writers have mentioned this too. So another part of what we hope to achieve is to bring a really good idea to life– which I think is part of what drives every creative project.
Are you hoping to get submissions form a wide variety of genres?
I can’t speak for Ryan and David, but I definitely am! That ispart of what I think is so interesting about the idea. There’s only somany times you can tell a story about somebody who gets tested by themachine and has to face his mortality before that gets really old. However, it is really interesting to think about how the machine can beinserted into existing genres.
If there’s one piece of advice I could give to writers, it’s that I want to see more genres represented in our submissions. I want to see parlor mysteries, wrong man thrillers, coming of age stories,police procedurals, heist stories, man-against-nature adventures,family dramas, ghost stories, and all the other little genres I’m forgetting about. The best stories we’ve seen take the machine as a starting point and then go off and evoke a much larger world where life goes on (a little differently) despite the machine.
I gather that the collection is to be both a book and available online. How do you feel both formats will be perceived? Is an electronic copy a more “social” event in that it can easily be shared?
The online version is certainly something that we hope will be linked to and shared by people who really like the book. There areplenty of writers and artists doing exactly the same thing these days,so I feel like we are in good company. For instance, both Ryan and David have webcomics they give away for free online and that they also sell collected in books.
People have gotten used to doing a fair bit of reading online, butyou also can’t really put a PDF on your coffee table, or give it to somebody for Christmas, or read it on the subway. So in some ways, the real book is actually the more social version. People usually read PDFs alone in front of their computers, but a real book is something that you carry around and people ask you about. Part of thefun of reading is talking about the stories afterwards, and a real book sparks those discussions in a way that a PDF can’t.
So I guess my answer is that both the print version and the PDF are social in different ways, and we think having both versions will only be a benefit to the project.