I'm writing a book

and you're all invited to look over my virtual shoulder

Some big, big professional news: I’ll be writing a coffee table book on the history of retro science fiction art! It’ll be out in Fall 2021 from the first illustrated book publisher in the US, Abrams. (Big thanks to my literary agent, Sarah Bolling at The Gernert Agency, for making it all happen!)

I’m super excited about it: It’s going to be a passion project packed with all the best jaw-dropping sci-fi art I’ve found over the years, and I’m doing plenty of original research to explain all the factors that came together to make the 60s-80s a unique explosion of cover art innovation. I’ll be interviewing experts and artists. And I’ll be personally tracking down the rights to every image that goes into the book — ie I’ll be putting together a lot of spreadsheets.

I’ve got about eight months to write the draft. The book deal money is nice, but certainly not enough to quit my day job, so I’ll be working full time as well. And I’m a Forbes contributor. It’s a lot. A little extra would really help my budget, so here’s my plan: I’m launching a Substack email newsletter subscription.

For the next year, I’ll be documenting the process of writing a nonfiction book exploring retro sci-fi art history. I’ll post a free update on the essential stuff every other week, along with other genre-fiction-related articles and thoughts (it’ll basically be the same as my previous Tinyletter newsletter, so if you already follow me there, you pretty much know what those emails will be like). For $5/month paying subscribers, I’m posting a lot more -- my notes and review of any art books I’m researching, my thought process behind compiling the book, my interviews with artists, and plenty of art.

I know $5 a month can seem like a lot, so I’m including a special deal for the next month: From Jan 15 until Feb 15, everyone who signs up (and emails me their shipping address) will get a free signed copy of the book once it’s out, provided they’re still supporting me by the release date. Assuming the final price is something like $35, that’s like getting a free seven months.

Here’s Bruce Pennington’s 1974 cover for The World of Null-A, by A. E. van Vogt. It’s possibly the ideal 70s sci-fi art: Colorful, complex, majestic, meditative. One of my top picks for a potential cover or back cover.

I’ve had a Patreon for a while, but my blog posts have been pretty sparse, and it’s because I never had the time to justify posting more. And, since I never posted, I never picked up a critical mass of patrons that might have justified it. Now that I have a big retro sci-fi art long-term research project, however, I’ll have all the material I need for blog posts, and you’ll be able to get them all as emails.

I’ll be officially announcing the book and Substack tomorrow, but as my long-time readers, you’re getting in on the ground floor. And, just to be clear, you’re all already in my free tier. I’m just changing the name from Maddd Science to Retro Sci-Fi Art. It’s a little more representative, a little less “intentionally-misspelled-so-I-can-get-a-domain-name.”

What goes into researching, writing and editing an art book? I’m going to find out! If you want front row seats and a copy of the final product, there’s no better time to sign up: