Richard Thomas Launches Gamut Magazine

Goreyesque readers will be interested to learn of the new endeavor launched by author and editor Richard Thomas (his story “Tinkering with the Moon” appeared in Issue Two of Goreyesque). Gamut will be an online magazine of neo-noir, speculative and literary fiction. Thomas launched a Kickstarter project on Feb. 1 to fund the magazine. The Kickstarter closes on Mar. 1. At the time of this post, it’s earned over $16,000 toward its $52,000 goal and has been highlighted on Kickstarter as a “Featured Publishing Project.”

Numerous pledge rewards are still available, including subscriptions, post cards, books, and editing and critiquing services. We at Goreyesque find the project intriguing because it will feature genre-bending, hybrid stories (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) that utilize the best of genre and literary fiction alongside darkly fantastic artwork (Goreyesque contributor Luke Spooner has provided artwork for the project).

Thomas, an award-winning author of books such as Disintegration and Breaker and editor of anthologies such as The New Black and The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, was inspired to create Gamut to address a need he saw in the literary marketplace. “I want to support the voices that aren’t getting enough recognition,” he said. “I want to pay a great rate (twice the going professional rate) and I want to surround myself with talented authors and artists that inspire me.”

“We need more markets like this,” he continued, “publishing edgy fiction that straddles the fence between genre and literary fiction. I think we're in a golden age of dark fiction and there is a real demand for it.”

Thomas, also editor-in-chief of Dark House Press and co-editor with Chuck Palahniuk and Dennis Widmyer of the transgressive fiction anthology Burnt Tongues (a Bram Stoker finalist), has secured a wide range of contributors for the first planned year of Gamut, including Stephen Graham Jones (Mongrels, William Morrow), Benjamin Percy (The Dead Lands, Grand Central Publishing), Lucy A. Snyder (Soft Apocalypses, Raw Dog Screaming Press, Bram Stoker Award Winner, 2014) and Helen Marshall (Gifts For the One Who Comes After, ChiZine Publications, Shirley Jackson Award Winner, 2014). Gamut has also received endorsements from Palahniuk and authors Rebecca Makkai, Marcus Sakey, and others.

Gamut will include mostly original fiction and fiction reprints, but also columns, non-fiction, art, flash fiction, poetry and maybe even a serial memoir or novella,” said Thomas, expanding on what subscribers could expect.

“To begin with, I’ll be publishing solicited material but I open up Gamut to submissions later in 2016. When that happens, I’ll consider fantasy, science fiction, horror, neo-noir, crime, mystery, thrillers, magical realism, transgressive fiction, Southern gothic, literary fiction and poetry —I want to read anything done with innovation, heart and emotion.”

Thomas has some exciting plans for Gamut if the Kickstarter surpasses its $52,000 goal. Stretch goals include a scholarship at the $53,000 mark to help low-res MFA students and other authors, publication of a memoir showcasing one woman’s fifteen-year experience as a professional exotic dancer, Stripped: A Memoir, at $56,500, and a print anthology of the best of Gamut’s first year of fiction at $83,660.

Goreyesque spoke with Thomas recently about the impetus to launch the magazine now. “It’s something I’d been thinking of doing for years,” he said. “The math of print, design and postage always came up short, so doing it online now, and with a vehicle such as Kickstarter finally seemed to make sense.” He added that another factor was that some major markets have closed and others no longer accept unsolicited submissions.

In regards to what kind of material he’ll be looking for when Gamut opens to submissions, he said, “I definitely want people to come in with their own weirdness, their own voice, but we aren’t embracing anything 'classic' as far as fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc. If you’re read my writing, or the anthologies I’ve edited, not to mention the titles I’ve published at Dark House Press, then you have a good sense of what I want. Dark, intense, innovative fiction—that sweet spot between genre and lit.”

Thomas wants Goreyesque readers and contributors to know “that we’re family! The biggest difference is that Gamut is less about humor and more about the tragic. But it doesn’t have to always be violent and filled with death. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train—it’s a flashlight, showing the way out of the darkness.”

—Todd Summar