Samuel X Brase is the editor of Cosmic Vinegar - an e-magazine that is published at the beginning of each month. Cosmic Vinegar publishes politically inspired science fiction as well as reviewing independently published science fiction. I recommend downloading a copy of The Million.
Question 1. What have you set out to do with Cosmic Vinegar?
I created Cosmic Vinegar with two goals in mind: to foster political SF and to legitimize independent and self-publishing. I'd like to expand the political angle in the near future; I'm reaching out to leftist artists and politicians from the global South to see if they're interested in having short interviews on current affairs.
Question 2. What inspired the unusual name "Cosmic Vinegar"?
Names are incredibly important, so I spent a lot of time brainstorming ideas. I wanted something SF but also punk. Cosmic Vinegar was the best of the bunch. Incidentally, according to my notes, Cosmic Vinegar was the first idea I had.
Question 3. What does the future hold for the written word?
The written word has a bright future as long as humans need to spend time by themselves. Reading a book has been and will remain the single best way to get inside someone else's head. Technology changes presentation--serials are easier now, hyperlinking, etc--but reading a block of prose is unique enough that it retains vitality in the face of movies, television, and video games.
Question 4. Why bring politics into science fiction?
All art is political, whether or not the piece admits it. Science fiction is the most appropriate genre to politicize because it's specifically about the future--all SF stories are a proposal for the future. Frequently it's a negative proposal (1984, Brave New World) or a neutral proposal (Neuromancer, Blade Runner); either way the story hypothesizes how certain changes might play out, and thus tacitly argues for or against those changes.
Question 5. Can you tell readers a little bit about the serial story "The Million"?
The Million is an economic adventure story. In the 21st century, money is an expression of power. (A recent Economist article put it well: "Power derives from the ability to spend.") The Million pits our heroine, Nike Mehmet, against powerful individuals on a futuristic colony functioning expressly on that principle. I wasn't interested in portraying a violent revolution because that doesn't require much narrative imagination; instead, Nike works to bring the system down from within. How to be anti-capitalist within a capitalist system--that is her conundrum, and ours as well.