Last Thursday I shared an interview I did on Space and Time founder Gordon Linzner, and I mentioned I might be able to get another interview with him. I’ve had success!
The proper sacrifices have been made, the correct publicists placated and the moon is in correct alignment. The Father of Space and Time again blesses us with his wisdom.
AYS—Were you always interested in publishing? At what point did you realize you wanted to be involved in the world of words?
I can’t say I was initially interested in publishing per se. It just happened as a result of wanting to put together something tangible to hold and share. Okay, I guess that is publishing. I was writing short shorts as early as 2nd or 3rd grade, for assignments. Thankfully none of those survive. I was also the only one in my kindergarten class who could read, and the teacher sometimes had me read to the class. So in one way or another I’ve always been interested in words and story-telling.
AYS—What was it like to put together the first issues? How did you find contributors, artists and subscribers? Was it word of mouth, flyers? Was it a group effort cutting and pasting the dummies or did you do that solo?
A fellow high school classmate, Lawrence Lee, and I came up with a cartoon character named Edgar and decided to put together a comic book of his adventures. To this end, a secondhand mimeograph machine was purchased (I can’t recall if we pooled resources; I only remember it was pretty cheap, maybe about $20, though of course we’re talking mid-1960s prices).
That’s when we discovered how difficult it was (and undoubtedly still is) to draw on mimeo stencils. Larry was the artist, and while he worked on that technique I figured we shouldn’t let the machine just sit there. We threw together a few stories, using a variety of pseudonyms, and a couple of rough simplified sketches. Printed out pages on both sides, 8-1/2 x 11″ sheets, side-stapled the product, and voila! I even copyrighted the contents!
The second issue, also fully mimeographed, was twice as thick, and included at least one story from a classmate outside of our circle. Somewhere in this process another couple of precocious high schoolers, Nestor Jaremko and Alex Saviuk, joined in.
By the third issue we discovered offset printing. Not as cheap as mimeographing it ourselves, but much better quality, so I decided to have the artwork (mostly Larry and Alex) printed as offset while retaining mimeograph for the text. Once we sussed out the cost benefits we went full offset with #4, and with #5 I realized it would look much better with saddle stitching.
How did word get around? It seems like it just happened. Nestor and Alex were more into the science fiction community, and we attended at least one early Lunacon where I got to hear Isaac Asimov give a talk. I’d say word of mouth for contributors, and somewhere in those single-digit issues I started accumulating a subscription list.
I started getting articles as well as fiction submissions, and since I wanted S&T to be primarily fiction I started a short-lived (6 issues) non-fiction publication called Now to Deal with You! And yes, we did eventually put out a couple of issues of Edgar as well.
I did all the paste-ups on my own; it was easier than trying to co-ordinate. I also did the stapling. At some point over the ensuing years the rest of the team faded away, but I continued on my own. Maybe I had less of a life than they did.
AYS—How much did it cost to put out an issue of Space and Time in the early days?
For the mimeograph version, beyond the initial cost of the machine, basically just a few dollars for ink and a ream of paper. Offset I can’t recall, but I have a sense it couldn’t have been more than $50 or so (again, we’re talking 1970s dollars). And postage was far more reasonable then, as well.
Gordon Linzner—Whatever issue I was working on at the time. Really, you’re asking which child is my favorite. And I’d include the issues Hildy (and now yourself) put out as well. Are there glitches in some issues? Are there decisions I might now regret? All part of the learning process.
And we haven’t even touched on the book line I started in the 1980s, and which is now officially in the capable hands of Faith Justice.
AYS—I‘ve never seen so much love poured out for a publication prior to S&T. It can border on fanaticism in a good way. Why do you think there is so much love for this publication?
Gordon Linzner—I really have no idea. Perhaps because I’ve always approached it as a labor of love? Perhaps because so many contributors are now Big Names (I don’t know how I got that lucky, either)? I think you should ask yourself that question, Angela. What is it about Space and Time that made you feel you had to keep it going? Which of course I’m very grateful for.
AYS—I was so happy I had a chance to meet you (and Hildy) a few months ago. What advice would you give me to ensure the spirit of S&T remains intact?
Gordon Linzner—I think you’ve already got the spirit or you wouldn’t have picked it up. I’d always been open to everything within the genre, especially stories of mixed genre, tales that don’t quite fit the major magazines, things that feel like genre even if they aren’t – in short, the vastness of space and time. (Couldn’t resist)
It was a treat to meet you as well, and I hope you visit New York again soon, and that we in the S&T community can spend more time together.
AYS—How has being dubbed the Patriarch of Space and Time affected your self-image? Have you remained the same or have you begun plans for intergalactic domination?
Gordon Linzner—What makes you think I don’t already dominate the galaxy? It’s the universe I have to conquer next…