September 2022

About Transmission: Editorial Pages

Clocktower Fiction's Magazine of Speculative and Dark Fiction

Welcome, Reader… I undertake this renovation of our early Web magazine with great care and fidelity. In fact, that is my motto as I push through this difficult and time consuming task. Mainly, I want you to know that my utmost desire is to make everything be as much as it was in 2002 when I closed this first half of our team effort. And of course I have also striven for the utmost fidelity in renovating the second iteration (Far Sector SFFH) which ran from 2003 to 2007.

Go Team! We were a small but mighty group of dedicated writers, artists, editors…you name it. Each of us poured many hours of our precious spare time into this project, while all of us still had to work for a living. That's the magazine overall, for which I'll create another info page soon. For them moment, I am concentrating on fixing all the broken links and unreadable pages from fifteen years of neglect. Again, my top principle here is fidelity: honesty, faithfulness, care for the historical and historic value of these pages. Brian and I were the strategists, designers, planners in a CEO sort of role. He taught me everything I knew then about website building, which enabled me in 2008 for fun to build my personal writer resource site Sharp Writer Com. His brilliant design ideas even now illuminate the pages of the museum.

Brian Callahan and his wife Gwen left in 2002, which is when I launched the second iteration on my own. Brian was the original technical brains behind our two publishing sites that preceded the magazine. More on all that at the Clocktower Books Museum pages. Brian and Gwen read a lot of the early stories, making choice selections from among several hundred monthly submissions.

My old friend from New Haven CT days, A.L. 'Al' Sirois, stayed with the game from the beginning in 1998 (his was one of the first stories we published) to the end in 2007. He did artwork, served as webmaster at times, and helped edit.

John K. Muir, who has risen to phenomenal heights as an author, video producer, media critic (what else, John?), stepped up in late 2002 and provided us with a regular feed of inspired, informed media critic journalism. His expertise helped expand the horizon of our project from a little publishing venture to a professional omnibus magazine.

Dennis Latham was a very talented author and brilliant humorist who came to us via submitting his classic story *Jumper* which in fact was hijacked by a pretender at a Canadian literary quarterly, who passed it off as his own. That is, until we send the Internet publishing police after him. Talk about Mounties! The best indication of a great story is when people steal it and pass it off as their own. It's happened to me several painful, distressing times, so I understand the gig. Anyway, Dennis became a regular (reader, columnist, humorist, author). He was a 100% disabled Vietnam combat veteran (USMC) who supported other veterans by his excellent S-2 Report. S-2 is a military designation for intelligence at the battalion level (G-2 would be general staff level). I know because I'm a veteran (6 years U.S. Army, though not in combat). I was stationed in Cold War West Germany for five years at a major logistics command in my youth. Dennis helped and advised me with one or two VA issues, for which I'll always be grateful. Sadly, Dennis Latham passed away in 2019 from cancer, at age 72. As with all of us, a part of him lives on in our magazine. Read his humor columns in Far Sector SFFH to get an idea of his sharp, saucy personality. It's called 'Ask The Smart Guy.'

Back in 2005 or so, the Internet and Web publishing had changed in many ways. Brian had gone to other adventures, leaving an empty spot. Al, John, and Dennis and I went on with our lives, both at work and as authors. I was actually beginning to think about shutting it down while it was still fresh…and then, lo and behold, a brilliant young man named Shaun Farrell came along. He's a writer, as we all are. He has a special talent for interviewing the most famous and talented persons in the world of SFFH authoring. I saw the potential for us in him, and kept the magazine going another two years while he interviewed an impressive raft of authors. One incident that sticks out in my memory was when Shaun managed to get hold of Ray Bradbury in Los Angeles. Ray agreed to an interview. OMG, I thought. I told Shaun to please ask Ray about his great illustrator of long ago, Joe Mugnaini, who graced the pages of Ray's novels and anthologies with an incomparable array of sketches and artworks. In fact, I just located a Wikipedia page for Joe Mugnaini (1912-1992) born in picturesque northwestern Italy where the glorious coasts of the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas meet in the Mediterranean. The Wikipedia article says that "He is best known for his collaborations with writer Ray Bradbury, beginning in 1952." Sure enough, Shaun mentioned it in his wonderful interview, and Ray just flipped for joy. Of the Joe Mugnaini illos, the ones I remember best were in Ray Bradbury's anthology *The Golden Apples of the Sun.* That's a book I devoured (among hundreds) as a teenager, as unforgettable as Ray's *The October Country* and *The Martian Chronicles.* OMG, I feel the exhilaration again, as reader, as writer…wow! Ray Bradbury sent me a personal rave in early 2008 for my dark holiday fantasy novel *The Christmas Clock.* Another thrill of a lifetime. So anyway, Shaun was able to touch base with all these great writers, and made a lasting contribution to Far Sector SFFH.

In conclusion therefore… I had intended to speak timidly about what a daunting task it is to resurrect a historic ruin like our magazine from the dawn—from the stone age—of the Internet publishing age. We pioneered several firsts, including in fact being the magazine we were. As identified by Mike Ashley in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, we were the world's first professional (as defined by SFWA) SFFH magazine paying professional rates and run in a professional manner. They (SFWA) were still caught up in their time warp, and never recognized our existence even though we published a considerable number of famous authors, and in fact several top SFWA officers. Oh well…we had a good time and made a lot of readers happy back in those early days. So again, please accept my promise to be as faithful to the original as possible (*FIDELITY*) while fixing broken links and clearing debris. I'll be tweaking odds and ends for a long time but now the old magazine is shining again like new. JTC Sep2022.


Website Copyright John T. Cullen as shown on this label. Editorial content copyright John Kenneth Muir for his media articles.