World Horror Convention 2013 GoH Interview #4: John Joseph Adams

John Joseph Adams

John Joseph Adams is the bestselling editor of the horror anthologies The Living Dead, The Living Dead 2, By Blood We Live, and Wastelands. He is also the editor of the new horror magazine Nightmare.

His other anthologies include Oz Reimagined, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, Other Worlds Than These, Armored, Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom, Brave New Worlds, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and The Way of the Wizard. Forthcoming works include Wastelands 2 (2013) and Robot Uprisings (co-edited with Daniel H. Wilson, 2014).

John is a four-time finalist for both the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award. He has been called “the reigning king of the anthology world” by Barnes & Noble, and his books have been lauded as some of the best anthologies of all time. John is also the editor and publisher of Lightspeed Magazine, and is the co-host of Wired.com’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.

HWA President Rocky Wood said, “John Joseph Adams is the type of anthology editor readers love–they know each of his books will be filled with well-written, interesting tales to captivate them during their precious reading hours. We are very pleased that John has accepted our invitation to be World Horror Convention Guest of Honor, where he is likely to find 300 horror writers, all eager to impress him with their wares!”

For more information, visit his website, and you can find him on Twitter @johnjosephadams.

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Over the course of the coming months leading up to the Bram Stoker Awards® Weekend Incorporating the World Horror Convention 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana, I will feature a series of interviews with each of the Guests of Honor.

Darkeva: You’re one of the most respected editors in the genre fiction community, and have edited many bestselling anthologies. Is there a particular favorite among them that you worked on?

JJA: That’s a hard question to answer–kind of like asking a parent to name their favorite child. Of course every parent secretly has one, but never says which it is out of fear of hurting their other children’s feelings. In this case, the ones whose feelings could be hurt are, of course, not the anthologies themselves, but the authors that are in them. So I feel compelled to insist that I love all of my anthologies equally.

That said, although in the end I love them equally, there are some that I enjoyed working on more than others for one reason or another. Wastelands will always be near and dear to my heart, not only because it was my very first anthology, but also because its theme–post-apocalyptic fiction–has long been a favorite genre of mine.

The latter also goes for Brave New Worlds as well, and that book also has the distinction of–as far as I know–being the only book of its kind, an anthology that attempts to collect the best dystopian short fiction all in one volume.

My two zombie anthologies–The Living Dead and The Living Dead 2–were both exciting to assemble as well, because, well isn’t it obvious? I mean, everyone loves zombies (or as Living Dead contributor Hannah Wolf Bowen might say, everything is better with zombies). I suspect The Living Dead (vol. 1) is my agent’s favorite since that one, by far, made us the most money and is far and away my bestselling title. Then there’s The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, which gave me the excuse to type “Mwa-ha-ha-ha!” a lot, and that’s always fun. Or Oz Reimagined, which was my first editorial collaboration… But I could go on and on. SEE, I CAN’T CHOOSE.

Darkeva: Tell us a bit more about your recent Kickstarter-funded project, Nightmare. What are your hopes for the magazine?

JJA: Naturally, my deep down hope is that Nightmare would be considered not just “one of the best”–but the actual no-doubt best short fiction magazine in the field, and by everyone–readers, writers, and critics alike. To try to achieve that goal, I’m planning to search for and publish the best horror fiction I can find, from authors both new and established, and I’m going to try to achieve that delicate balance of pleasing the old guard/hardcore horror fans while at the same time luring new readers to the dark side. Will I succeed? Who knows, but it’ll be fun trying, and hopefully I’ll be able to provide readers with some great horror fiction along the way.

Darkeva: What’s on your TBR pile right now?

JJA: I’m afraid it’s almost entirely comprised of unpublished submissions of one kind or another. As I write this, both Lightspeed and Nightmare are closed to submissions, but I’m working on a couple of anthologies, so I have those stories in my pile (most of which I’ve read already, but several are waiting on a re-read). That said, I’m about to head out on my first-ever book tour, to promote The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, and I’m going to take a couple books with me: right now I have Al Gore’s new nonfiction book, The Future, along with ARCs of Rick Yancey’s book The Fifth Wave and Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 in my backpack as plane reading.

Darkeva: What part of being a Guest of Honor at the Bram Stoker Awards® Weekend Incorporating the World Horror Convention 2013 are you most excited about?

JJA: Oh man, I don’t even know! It’s such an honor to be named a guest of honor at any convention, but especially at one like World Horror. Actually, though, what I’m probably looking forward to most is just getting to know as many of the folks from the horror side of the fence as possible. I came up in publishing on the SF/fantasy side, and from there crossed over to horror, but I haven’t been to a lot of horror-focused conventions as of yet; as a result, I probably haven’t crossed paths with a lot of the core horror genre folks.

Darkeva: What other projects do you have on the horizon?

JJA: I mentioned earlier The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination and Oz Reimagined, which are both February 2013 releases, so those are just out. Also recently released was the trade paperback edition of Under the Moons of Mars. The next thing I’ll have out is Wastelands 2, from Night Shade, and then probably a second reprint anthology from Night Shade late in the year. In 2014, I’ll have Robot Uprisings, which I’m co-editing with Daniel H. Wilson, and from Titan Books an anthology I’m excited about, but am not supposed to announce just yet. I think that’s everything for now, but I expect something else will probably fall into that schedule sometime soon. Though of course there will also be an issue of Lightspeed and Nightmare every month to look forward to!


A huge thank-you to John for agreeing to be part of this feature. Be sure to visit his website here. You can follow him on Goodreads and Twitter. Just a reminder that Oz Reimagined, his latest anthology, is available for sale in bookstores and online.

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