Today we wrap up the Space Horrors guest blog series with a post by Ernest and Emily Hogan who co-authored the story “Plan 9 in Outer Space”. I first met Ernest and Emily at TusCon a few years ago when the three of us were on a panel discussing dragons. Since then, I’ve seen them at a number of science fiction conventions and have enjoyed getting to know them and their writing better. It was a pleasure to get a chance to work with them on Space Horrors.
Also, while I’m mentioning books, I just heard that the anthology 2020 Visions, which has stories by Ernest and Emily as well as a story by me is now available for pre-order. Visit M-Brane Press’s website to learn out how you can get a copy. They’re also throwing in an electronic subscription to M-Brane SF Magazine with your pre-order. How cool is that!
Finally, be sure to keep an eye out for Tales of the Talisman volume 6, issue 3 this winter. The issue features Ernest’s story “The Great Mars-A-Go-Go Mexican Standoff”. Laying out that issue is one of the next things on my to-do list.
Now, let’s turn it over to Ernest and Emily.
THE MAKING OF “PLAN 9 IN OUTER SPACE”
I keep hearing about the dangers of getting involved in blogging and social networks. “Watch out, you’ll end up wasting all your time!” Well, I’m happy to report that this has not been the case with me. Since I started blogging and got on Facebook, I’ve been making contacts that have allowed me to sell more stories – more often than I ever had in the past.
“Plan 9 in Outer Space” in one of these stories.
It started with a Mondo Ernesto post about a book called Bad Mags Volume 1 by Tom Brinkmann which celebrated strange men’s magazines. Some of them were written and edited by none other than Edward D. Wood, Jr., creator of the immortal Plan 9 from Outer Space.
I put a link to the post on Facebook. David Lee Summers — whom my wife Emily and I had met at science fiction conventions — sent me some comments. He wasn’t aware that Ed Wood’s literary efforts were still available. I told him that more excerpts of Wood’s writing could be found in Rudolph Grey’s Nightmare of Ecstasy, and that Wood’s novels, Killer in Drag and Death of a Transvestite, had been reprinted.
Not long afterwards, David invited Emily and me to send stories to Space Horrors.
We were delighted, but neither of us had any space horror stories in our files. And there was the matter of other looming deadlines.
But I mulled it over a while, thinking about what David and I had discussed . . . Ed Wood . . . sleazy magazines . . . hm . . .
With publishing in the throes of a violent, blood-spurting transformation, all writers are in a position similar to that of Ed Wood. We need to find markets in strange new places, and write for an audience whose tastes can’t be predicted. Let the monsters from the id come out and play, shoot for something that will snag the attention of the distracted consumer.
“Hey!” I said to Emily. “What about Ed Wood on a spaceship? Not really Ed Wood, but a guy trying to be an Ed Wood . . . throw in some sci-fi space zombies . . .”
Emily loved it. She also asked if she could help. Why not? I wasn’t really sure what I was doing at this point. It would be nice to have someone to help make sure it made some kind sense. After all, there are some things about Ed Wood I didn’t want to emulate . . . I wanted the story to be good.
And at this point I hand things over to Emily (much the way I did while writing the story).
Emily here – I have to admit I’m not as good at coughing up short stories on demand as Ernie is. In fact, I haven’t written a short story in over ten years. Writing novels sort of un-teaches you to write stories.
But Ernie and I have collaborated successfully on several projects, so I asked if I could help with “Plan 9 in Outer Space.” He was struggling with other deadlines, as he mentioned – so it was pretty easy to talk him into it.
Ernie and I sometimes have vastly different expectations of the Universe, but I understand his point of view, and he understands mine. I suppose that’s the best way to define a good collaboration (and possibly a good marriage). So we’ll continue to collaborate, until Death Do Us Part . . .