Interrogation—John. L. Thompson

JLTWho: John. L. Thompson

What: When he is not searching for lost remnants of the old west or working his fingers to the bone, he can be found working on multiple writing projects. Thompson is known to have worked as a truck driver, heavy line diesel mechanic, armored truck guard, and corrections, along with a host of other professions. His true passion is collecting vintage books, writing and is the editor/publisher for Dead Guns Press.

Where: New Mexico

Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.

Dead Guns Press publishes “stories written in the new era of pulp…” Can you explain what that means? How did you become a publisher?

Answer to Question One: It’s pretty simple. Have you ever read the old stuff? I mean like stories from the old pulp dime mags from around the thirties and forties? There were some amazing stories and publications written during that time frame and some very prolific writers emerged from that era that had, and in some cases, they still have a hold of a large group of current readership. You got writers such as Phillip Jose Farmer, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Mickey Spillane (to name a few) who broke the market and pushed the edges of the literature world with their cutting edge stuff. Farmer wrote about sex with aliens, which was a taboo at that time within the realms of sci-fi literature. Asimov, one of the largest prolific writers with some 500 titles to his credit, wrote across many genres including mystery, science fiction and fantasy. He explored many aspects of science including robots. Robert Heinlein is another writer who influenced a large group of readers with his books STARSHIP TROOPERS and A STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. A note to add about STRANGER is that Heinlein would get the occasional hippy knocking on his door to thank him for that book since it helped influence the hippy culture back in the sixties. Remember Heinlein was best known for knocking out Military Sci-Fi. What I mean by ‘new age of pulp’ is just that. Even though you don’t see pulp mags anymore, we still got ‘pulp internet’.   We’re currently in the midst of change in the writing world as these literary giants of old pass on and I believe that you got tomorrow’s prolific writers just starting out within the last few years.

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Sometimes The Best Short Story Is A Song (#24)

I had a room-mate in the mid-90s that produced a fanzine from our living room. I mostly helped him assemble and staple it prior to shipping, but I also wrote the occasional review or interview. It was a pretty good trade-off given the amount of new music that was mailed to him on a weekly basis. That’s how I discovered Guided By Voices, Zumpano, John Spencer Blues Explosion, Railroad Jerk and a host of other 90s Indie rock bands. Among my many musical discoveries during that period, Jonathan Fire*Eater remains one of my favorites.

The band had a crypt-kicking, 60s garage rock sound mixed with a dramatic darkness shared by bands like The Cramps, Pulp and Nick Cave. “Give Me Daughters” was on their 5-song 1996 EP, Tremble Under Boom Lights, which established them as critical darlings. This narcissistic tale starts with a hypnotic organ line before crashing down into the story. Our protagonist envisions his demise via a motorcycle accident, causing him to wish for children who can carry on his bloodline. It’s a murky vision of a future where he hands down his peculiar wisdom to three daughters that worship at his feet—and possibly the only one in which he survives into old age.

Read the lyrics for “Give Me Daughters” HERE.

Previous installments in this series:

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been published by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published by Rare Bird Books in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.