FIVE MINUTES WITH SCOT NOEL: DREAMFORGE

DreamForge magazine has been doing some interesting new things over on their site dreamforgemagazine.com. DreamForge and Space and Time have done a lot of cooperative things over the last two years with advertising, general brainstorming and most recently… an anthology of stories from both publications from UpRoar Books.

My favorite memory: having a meeting on Skype with Scot and Jane while I chased a chicken through the yard. That’s high powered publishing at it’s best. Like Space and Time, DreamForge is going through some pivots and reorganization to ride through these difficult times. Who best to share this than Scot Noel, publisher over at DreamForge.

Scot Noel

Scot, thanks for taking the time to share the changes going on over at your publication with me, but before we get into that, can you tell readers here a little about yourself and why you and Jane decided to publish DreamForge?

You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But
there’s no such thing as the unknown — only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not
understood
.” —Captain Kirk

When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the
truth.
” —Mr. Spock

And for me, the attraction of Science Fiction (and Fantasy) has always been fundamentally underpinned by Gene Roddenberry’s notion that “the Human Adventure is just beginning.” Now, DreamForge as an idea came about in 2017. In my reading, I had become disenchanted with the level of apocalyptic thinking and the hopeless tone in many stories. Near the end of that year, I saw the Black Mirror episode entitled “Metalhead,” which was an amazing piece of dark fiction, culminating in the extinction of humanity by AI in the form of robot dogs equipped to hunt down and kill humanity. While there are certainly problems, even existential threats in today’s world, that’s simply not going to be our fate.

I’m just a Star Trek geek who, at the age of 9, was watching TV on September 8, 1966 when the episode “The Man Trap” premiered. I ran to my mom in the kitchen and told her this was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. Of course, it was more than a show, it was a philosophy, a way of life.

And so DreamForge was born. While we had no previous publishing experience, we took a year to get organized, plan, assemble test issues, go to conventions, put together a Kickstarter, and launch DreamForge, Issue One “Tales of Hope in the Universe” in February of 2019.

Maybe I’m too dark, but I can totally imagine robotic canines taking out humanity. I’m actually surprised they didn’t show up during 2020—everything else did! What are some of the books that you and Jane love to read? What has inspired you the most? What writers do you admire?

These days, Jane and I rarely read the same book, but we often tell each other about the books we read. I guess we cover more ground that way. When we got married; however, we discovered our book collections had many duplicates, often of the same edition. In part this is because we both belonged to The Science Fiction Book Club growing up, such that our shelves were filled with works by Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Roger Zelazny, Ray Bradbury, Robert Silverberg, Larry Niven, and especially Tolkien.

Oh, one author we both follow religiously is Jane Lindskold, whom we worked with many years ago in our past careers as computer game developers and now count as a close friend. Everyone should read her Changer and Changer’s Daughter, and anything in her Firekeeper series.

We both highly admire Bill Bryson, and all speculative fiction writers should be familiar with his A Short History of Nearly Everything for an engaging lesson in history, geology, biology, and the universe in general.

I’ll have to check these out. I think I own a copy of Bryson’s book and I’ve been meaning to read Lindskold. How about the work you publish? DreamForge has a strong vision for the stories and poetry you print. Why are stories of hope so important?

Human technology is advancing faster than the human brain can adapt. Right now, we are in an informational trap of our own making, as the Internet spreads bad news and misinformation around the globe at the speed of light. The main problem is not bad actors spreading conspiracy theories or even actual conspirators, the problem is that our brains have not evolved to handle the feedback loops and echo chambers we’ve created.

We’ll probably be able to handle it in a generation or two, but right now the world needs everyone who can to spread the idea that humans have always handled anything that is thrown against them, including many of the problems we create ourselves. I would venture to say few people reading this know that, on the whole, forests worldwide are increasing, or that renewable energy is set to account for 95% of the net increase in global power capacity through 2025, or that while the human population has increased dramatically to nearly 8 billion, starvation is decreasing. From literacy to education, advances worldwide have been dramatic in the last century. The future of humanity is bright, but self-doubt, defeatism, and self-degradation can cause us to retreat in fear from shadows of our own making.

Let’s get to some of the changes your are making with your publication. Tell me about DreamForge Anvil? How is that different from DreamForge the magazine?

2020 was a challenging year. Though DreamForge achieved its share of critical success, dwindling resources, along with stresses at our day-jobs and on our families (all largely attributable to the pandemic) have forced us to consider how we can continue in 2021.  Where DreamForge was a lavishly illustrated print magazine, DreamForge Anvil will be primarily a digital resource presented in our online Reader’s Portal.

DreamForge Anvil will be presented in 6 issues over the course of 2021 with a new mission:

One – To present speculative fiction that is positive and hopeful, demonstrating humanity’s
ability to overcome challenges.

Two – To go behind the scenes of our storytelling with author notes, editorial observations,
essays on writing, and even some line edits showing story development.

Three – To point out that the overarching trend of humanity’s direction is toward
enlightenment, compassion, and an ever-advancing civilization.

Check out our Free first Issue at HERE!

What do you have planned for the future? How can new fans find and follow you?

Right now, the future just means getting DreamForge Anvil up and running, telling some good stories and helping some writers improve their craft. We’re planning a subscription drive Kickstarter to start around February 20th , with a submissions period opening at about the same time. Watch for us on Kickstarter, and watch this page to see when we open for submissions. – https://dreamforgemagazine.com/call-for-submissions/

One piece of excitement for our Kickstarter is that we’ll be introducing an Anthology, Worlds of Light & Darkness, published by UpRoar Books that contains 20 of the best stories from the pages of both DreamForge Magazine and Space & Time.

We’ll also be continuing our cooperative effort with Space & Time – if you are a paying subscriber of one magazine, you can have free digital access to the other, all in our online Reader’s Portal. If you check out our Kickstater, we’re grateful for any support you can give, and we look forward to getting to know you.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third generation Uchinanchu and an award-winning American poet, author, and publisher with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), a Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020.
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