Gerald So: What are your goals with Needle?
Steve Weddle: I love the online crime fiction – Plots With Guns, Thuglit, Beat To A Pulp, Crime Factory, A Twist of Noir, and many, many, many others. I’ll read a story online, then check my email, then surf around Gawker.com, hit a couple of blogs. That’s the way I get most of the short crime fiction in my diet. Great quality a click away.
Then I’m reading a story in Crimespree Magazine and thinking, we need more of this. We need crime fiction that you can hold in your hands, ink-on-paper. I want to thumb through a magazine and read Hilary Davison, Jedidiah Ayres, Kent Gowran, Sandra Seamans, Keith Rawson, Patti Abbott, Kieran Shea, and so many others. Online is great and the unlimited space is so fantastic. But I read so many print magazines – The New Yorker, Esquire, Foreign Affairs, and so forth – and so many literary journals – Kenyon Review, Fiction, Southern Review, etc – that I just wanted to see some more crime fiction in ink-on-paper form. The kind of fiction you want to roll up into your jacket and take with you everywhere.
So I started going on about it on Twitter, saying I wanted a crime fiction magazine that was ink on paper. And many, many people jumped in and said that was a great idea. And John Hornor Jacobs, a fellow member of Team Decker, said that he’d love to handle the art part of it. So he started working on the graphic arts and I asked around for the graphic fiction.
The goal was to get the quality of fiction we’re seeing online into print. To create a magazine of some of the best crime fiction out there.
GS: Do you see any patterns in the first batch of stories you’ve accepted?
SW: Well, this seems to be a pretty violent world. Some folks really take out their aggressions on others.
I was surprised at the level of cannibalism in the stories. I don’t mean that as a cool metaphor. I mean, you know, flesh eating. Crops up in a couple of stories. And dogs eating people, too. And decent looking people who turn out to be nasty to the core. And nasty people who do good things. Ha. I’m kidding. Even the nasty people are nasty.
GS: Are you serious about the cannibalism in multiple Needle stories?
SW: Yes. People are insane.
GS: What is noir to you?