A new home for Nova

It’s no secret that my co-editor Olaf G. Hilscher‘s and my attempt to establish Nova – one of the leading German science fiction magazines, now in its 11th year – on a wider market via a professional magazine distributor have failed due to a lack of sales (and maybe due to failures of our distributor that I will not discuss here). The attempt resulted in major financial losses and we discussed a number of ways to get the magazine going again. Olaf quickly managed to make a deal with Jürgen Eglseer and his Amrun Verlag. After he already stepped in to allow for the publication of Nova 22,  Jürgen’s small publishing house will now provide a permanent new home for Nova. Jürgen will care for production and distribution while Olaf and me are free to concentrate fully on the editorial work. The only drawback of this arrangement is that, for the time being, we can only publish one issue a year. We hope we can switch back to two annual issues when enough copies are sold.

We strive to publish the next Nova issue early to mid February. Nova 23 will be a theme issue about the future of music, introduced by Franz Rottensteiner and including new stories by Marcus Hammerschmit, Gabriele Behrend, Marc Späni, Karsten Kruschel, Norbert Stöbe, Michael Marrak and Thomas Sieber, a guest story by Stephen Katowych (USA) and an essay about science fiction and music by music ethnologist Martina Claus-Bachmann, furthermore a classic reprint by Thomas Ziegler aka Rainer Zubeil (one of the greatest talents of German science fiction who died tragically young with just 48 years in 2004).  Starting with this issue, Nova will be extended from 180 to 200 pages.

Introduction to anthology “Tiefraumphasen”

André Skora, Armin Rößler and my former co-editor Frank Hebben recently edited a new original anthology with stories by established and up-and-coming German science fiction writers. The book Tiefraumphasen, published by Begedia Verlag, features cyberpunk stories set in space by Thorsten Küper, Christian Günther, Karsten Kruschel, Sven Klöpping, Niklas Peinecke and others.

Busy with two novels, I couldn’t make it in time to contribute a story myself but I wrote a short introduction about the tradition of dark and dirty future scenarios, starting with Ridley Scotts movie Alien (1979) and infusing Cyberpunk’s bleakness with the even more profound existential calamities of a rundown humanity, confronted with the coldness and emptiness of space that failed to realize the Utopian hopes of classical science fiction.

Cameo appearance in crime novel

Blitz Verlag recently published my fellow writer Olaf Kemmler’s novel Die Stimme einer Toten, an example of the subgenre of regional crime novels that has become quite popular in Germany. One of the closing chapters of Olaf’s book – set in the Bergische Land, the hilly area around Wuppertal, Solingen and Remscheid – leads its female protagonist, in search of her stepsister’s murderer, to a remarkable encounter with a number of science fiction writers, namely my longtime co-editor Ronald M. Hahn, Horst Pukallus and me. The dialogue, with me leading, is not completely true-to-life but includes some silly stuff I’ve actually said some time (and I’m not even ashamed of it). Olaf’s novel, by the way, is an entertaining little murder mystery with lots of local color and some fresh ideas.

On Karl Hofer’s painting “Laokoon”

I know, I know. Quite a while ago since the last updates. I’m about to catch up now. Here’s the first of some news:

Earlier the year I have been approached by the Museum für Neue Kunst (Museum for New Art) in Freiburg to contribute a text to the museum’s 30 years anniversary. A number of artists, writers, musicians, choreographers and theorists have been invited to comment on major artworks in the museum’s collection, among them paintings by August Macke, Oskar Kokoschka, Otto Dix and Meret Oppenheim. I’ve been invited to contribute a science fiction story inspired by Karl Hofer’s painting Laokoon from 1940. Hofer (1878-1955) – who started his career in the early 20th century, was at the peak of his prominence between the World Wars and, after being condemned by the Nazis, had some influence on the cultural politics of early postwar Germany – is generally considered an expressionist but had actually been an outsider who failed to identify with any of the artistic movements of his time.

I’ve just settled with curatorial assistant Jennifer Smailes on a final version of my text that will be a permanent part of the museum’s collection of work interpretations. In my story a future society devoid of own inspiration has set out to revive creative minds of the past by means of computer emulations, Karl Hofer among them.