Saturday, April 12, 2014

Aghast: A Journal of the Darkly Fantastic - April 12, 2014

Please welcome George Cotronis to The Qwillery. George owns Kraken Press and is here today to tell us about Aghast.

All art created specifically for Aghast, to be used as covers or interior illustrations.

Aghast: A Journal of the Darkly Fantastic

My name is George Cotronis and I’m the owner of Kraken Press and editor in chief of our new magazine, Aghast.

I had been thinking of doing some kind of magazine for quite a while. It sounds a bit backwards, to just decide you want to publish something before you know what it is you want it to be, but my interest in magazines goes back to my early fanzine days—I like creating new things and that’s all I needed to get started. When figuring out what kind of publication Aghast was going to be, I realized I wasn’t really looking to put out another magazine that featured horror exclusively. Mostly because my tastes have changed a lot in the past years and there’s some subgenres of horror fiction I don’t really enjoy, like extreme horror and splatterpunk and so on. So what kind of stories would I be looking for?

Dark Fantasy has no real definition. It’s not even a widely used label, but it’s supposed to be simply, a literary work that combines fantasy with horror elements. The implication being that the fantastical part is more important than the horror one.

After picking up Paula Guran’s impeccably edited Years Best Dark Fantasy and Horror anthologies for 2010 and 2011, my eyes were opened. Somewhere along the way, my tastes had changed. I’m not really into violent media any more, serial killers don’t work for me as boogeymen and graphic descriptions of murder might just make me ditch a book. On the other hand, my dislike for fantasy fiction has abated once I discovered things other than Tolkien pastiches. I went through the Table of Contents in those anthologies and tracked down everything I could find by the authors therein. Granted, a large percentage of them are also horror authors, but I did discover a bunch of new favorites, including Gemma Files, Catherynne M. Valente, Norman Partridge, Holly Black, Caitlin Kiernan, Lucius Shepard and quite a few others.

There’s a number of publications that publish stories like that, but not many. Shimmer and Shadows and Tall Trees are two I feel I can safely mention. So why not another one?

I knew I could handle some of the editing, the layout, the website design, the illustrations, so I had everything I needed to launch a new magazine: Aghast.

Aghast is going to be a bi-annual, illustrated journal of horror and dark fantasy short fiction. It will be available online, as well as in print and digital formats. Each issue will be between 30k and 50k words.

The first, expanded issue of Aghast will feature new, original stories by Megan Arkenberg, Gemma Files, Jeff Strand, Jonathan Maberry and Tim Waggoner.

We’re running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the first few issues. We’re 17 days away from the end and are already 83% funded, so far. Backers already have the chance to read one of the stories that will appear in issue #1.

The Aghast Kickstarter:

Magazine Mock Up - Actual Trim Size is 7.44 x 9.68 inches.


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