Chimericana Books is a brand new publisher for a brand new breed of extreme flesh-horror fiction. UK-based artist/writer Mike Philbin (the man behind keyboard entity Hertzan Chimera) created Chimericana Books to fill a gap in the horror/anthology market.
IH: When did you become a publisher and what made you go into publishing? Are big publishing houses so afraid of publishing something that wild, fresh and imaginative as what you deal with?
Mike: There was very little on the book shelves in the way of subversive collections that were actually fun to read. The collapse of Cyber Pulp Press (who were about to publish my Chimeraworld 2 anthology) encouraged me to get into publishing - and a writer friend called Mike Korn, without Korn's insistence, I would have let it all fade away. Publishing houses and the editors/agents who supply the content are concerned with only one thing ... never forget this ... MONEY. That's it. Stack it high, sell it fast. The shelf life of most books is shit. The best one can hope for is some topical drivel that sells like fury for a couple of weeks before Christmas. Quality, style, interpretation, unique narrative vision or subversive tracts wilt in the flames of insignificance. That is why Chimericana Books is different, only quality reading, stylish prose, personal interpretations, unique and subversive narrative visions are important.
IH: What are the difficulties that one has to face when going into publishing? Do you find it rewarding?
Mike: Marketing is the key - and for that you need budget. Both are difficult without the other but not impossible. There are always sites like this one that are keen to find THE NEXT BIG THING. In the same way that UK rock journal Kerrang! are getting on the Hertzan Chimera bandwagon with a very positive full-page pre-Xmas editorial, so will others come to see that Chimericana Books is a gleaming silver ship sailing through a see of puking ordure. I'm hoping these radical author features all across the literary/music globe will open up the minds and hearts of the reader - in the same way that Chuck Palahniuk took control of the angst-ridden teenage mind, so will Chimericana Books be at the forefront of this new thinking, this creative reading, this absurdist myth. People will seek it out because it offers salvation from the dull grey shelf turds.
IH: Please tell us more about the Chimeraworld anthology series that you publish.
Mike: Each year, the theme and content for the anthology changes. Chimeraworld #1 (23 bizarro tales) was a pure 'grand guignol' festival of all things subversive, horrific and insane. Chimeraworld #2 (hell is a sorry s**t hole) was the chilled-out downer-antidote to the previous year's gory excesses. Chimeraworld #3 (atheist, misogynist, terrorist) was 23 stories that touched on one or more of these provocative themes. It's very rewarding for me in the sense that I'm a very hands-on editor and I suggest sometimes sweeping changes to improve the chances of the story fitting in with the detailed guidelines. Writers seem to love this and I've had nothing but good feedback, and better stories, because of this tactic. Chimeraworld #4 (all cars must die) is about the death of the car - hopefully it will soon become a global movement and mankind can move on into an unknown future with hope and desire.
IH: What about the circulation?
Mike: A million readers worldwide, that's my goal. As far as 'circulation' goes, that phrase implies subscribers. If you mean how many readers, I'll say this, "The world is just now beginning to understand what Chimeraworld is about. It is unlike anything that's gone before it. It's an anthology for adult readers. It's erotic. It's scary. It's horrific. And I feel unclean being such a slimy marketing sleaze."
IH: In the book, Chim+Her, you published stories by several female authors. Who are they and what is this anthology about?
Mike: It was a collection of collaborative stories. I love collaborating and I especially love collaborating with women writers. They are much more ballsy than the men. They come from a pain stock that is so much more intense than simple masculine bravado. Women live in a constant state of pain. It was the simplest thing in the world to tease that pain from these women writers and pour it into our collaborations. The format was very clean, I'd write 200 words or so, send it off to one of the writers and she'd add 200 words or so, sending the characters and narrative spiralling down into the pit of pain and then send it back. I did this for 24 stories, three each with all eight writers. There were a few 'threesome' stories and a final 8-ladies + Chimera literary gangbang to finish it off. Here's a link to what the girls had to say about their harrowing experiences during the writing of the collection, on Pretty Scary. (interviewer Elizabeth Blue)
IH: What is it that makes you decide whether you will publish a story that has been submitted to you?
Mike: I set very detailed guidelines for any given year of Chimeraworld. The guidelines for Chimeraworld #5 are all about A WORLD WITHOUT GOD, a Chimera World. Guidelines online now at Ralan's Anthology Market and other markets.
IH: Do you have any new and upcoming projects you would like to tell us about?
Mike: Patience, dear reader, patience...
© 2007 Ilona Hegedes