Mars: The Golden Age (Week 2 Update)


Since we are slightly ahead of schedule, we started the preliminary editing for Mars: The Golden Age this week. We will be going through three rounds of editing, each progressively more detailed. Why? Because that is the way we choose to do things. Here is some insight on our editing process. Irony of the day: We did not even bother editing this post.

Our editing process has grown out of the lessons we have learned from previous projects at War Goat Press and individual projects by the staff. The main lesson is to not rely on just one editing source. If the budget allows for it, third party copy editors are worth the money. Well, good copy editors are worth the money. By good we mean ones that actually read the story and do not do an automatic spelling and grammar checks with their word processing software.


1st Round

Quick and dirty first editing.

  • Basic grammar and spell checking. That’s it.
  • At least two read-throughs of each story, correcting each spelling error.
  • Mark grammar corrections that change the meaning of a passage. Defer decision on whether or not to change the passage until Round 2.


2nd Round

This is the most intensive of the three rounds and included minor edits that could also be considered aesthetics for the layout of the book.

  • Finalize any suggested grammar corrections
    • Get  formatting things such as fonts, their sizes, and line spacing consistent
    • Classification of stories to help determine story order
    • Content editing
      • If necessary, minor content edits to help with confusing passages
      • Edits must do nothing to change to mood or structure of the story
      • Classification of stories to help determine story order

3rd Round

  • Final QA process
  • If budget allows, have a third party copy editor review the final manuscript

Our progress so far:

Choose Stories

  • 50% Complete
  • We have 32 possible stories totaling roughly 120K words
  • So far eight stories have made the cut and will be included


  • 30% Complete
  • Of the stories we have chosen, we have verified the rights to them
  • Research for Author Bios is proving a bit troublesome for some of the leser known writers


  • 10% Complete 1st round
    • Mostly spelling and grammar checking on those stories we have already chosen to  be included
  • 0% Complete 2nd round
    • Includes some interior layout items such as consistent font types
    • Content editing, if necessary
    • Consistent formatting of special items such as em dashes and ellipses.
  • 0% Complete 3rd round
    • Final editing QA

Interior Layout

  • 0% Complete

Exterior Layout

  • 0% Complete


  • 0% Complete


Mars: The Golden Age (Week1, Update)

This week we began looking for stories to include in our upcoming collection of pulp science fiction, Mars: The Golden Age. Finding pulpy stories about Mars is proving both easy and frustrating.

The Easy

It is recognized that pulp magazines, in all their glorious and cheesy awesomeness, existed generally between 1920-1960, reaching their widest distribution just before World War II. This means there is a vast collection of stories from which to draw. When pulp magazines were at their peak readership a good portion of the pulp audience were reading magazines that had “Spicy” or “Saucy” in the title. There were, though, several very good science fiction (or speculative fiction) magazines.


Apparently, spicy meant soft porn with helpless women in peril, and science fiction meant women with double-bladed axes kicking ass. We are looking more for the ass kicking type of pulp.


The Frustrating

The fact that there is a tremendous amount of pulp science fiction means that there is a tremendous amount of what would be considered by today’s standards as bad science fiction. It does not help that pulp fiction is rarely taken seriously and seen as cheap mass market stories with formulaic plots  and cardboard characters. Just give the hero a ray gun and a fish bowl helmet and, BAM, now you have science fiction.

That is not what we are looking for even though we have read some pretty damn cool ray gun and fishbowl adventure stories.


What We Want

For Mars: The Golden Age, we want stories that have the pulp feel, but also do what good science fiction does; Make you think. A Martian Oddessey is a good example. The Martian, Tweel, has a unique way of interpreting things, which makes one realize that the human way of thinking is not the only way of thinking.

We would consider including it in Mars: The Golden Age if it were not already a well known piece. We are looking for lesser known gems, and like gem hunting, we will find a good many mediocre stones before we find ones that sparkle.


Our progress so far:

It is amazing what you can do when you have nothing else to do. Thanks to the blizzard that hit  the east coast, and kept us bunkered at home, we managed to find a large pool of stories about Mars. Next week we will  start the process of determining which stories will be included in the collection.

Choose Stories

  • 35% Complete
  • We have so far found roughly 125K words worth of stories. Next week we will begin the process of choosing the final stories and aim to have the final product somewhere between 50K-75K words.


  • 0% Complete

Interior Layout

  • 0% Complete

Exterior Layout

  • 0% Complete


  • 0% Complete

 Promote and Publish

  • 0% Complete


Mars: The Golden Age (Week1, Story Choice)

This week we are starting the process of choosing pulp science fiction stories to include in Mars: The Golden Age. Here is some insight into how we are choosing the stories.


In the month of January we will be looking for stories, researching the stories and their authors, editing the stories and starting book layout. All of these things will be done in parallel, but the focus of this update is strictly about how we will choose which stories to include.

1: Concentrate on finding stories

  • Find as many stories as we can that have anything to do with Mars. Subjects include but are not limited to:
    • Martians
    • Exploration
    • First Contact
    • Exploitation
    • Colonies
    • Wars
    • Ancient civilizations
  • Stories should be no longer that 7,000 words
  • Stories as short as 500 words will be considered

2: Review each story, weed out ones that are unsuitable

  • Is it pulp? (1930-1960)
  • Is it a good story?
  • Is it copyrighted?
    • If so, how much are reprint rights?
  • Does it need editing?
  • Group stories by theme (Martians, colonization, etc.)
  • First review by editorial staff

3: Finalize choices

  • Continue to weed out unsuitable stories
  • Three rounds of editorial votes for favorites
  • Finalize choices
    • 50K-75K words worth of stories


Mars: The Golden Age (Do We Have a Plan?)


We promised to document our publication process for Mars: The Golden Age, and so we begin.  Odds are we will revise and refine this as time goes on, but every battle needs a plan, even if it is not followed.

We’ve broken the project down into seven main tasks, all off which run in parallel to one another. Though we have probably overestimated times for some items and underestimated times for others we feel this is a workable timeline to get the book published before May. We have yet to decide on Items which we have marked optional or to be determined (TBD). Budget concerns will determine whether or not they are included.

This is a general outline of the plan. Future updates will provide more detail on our progress.


Choose Stories (01JAN-28JAN)

  • Choose 50-75K worth of short stories about Mars

Research (08JAN-04FEB)

  • Determine status of stories (Pub Domain or not)
  • Determine any licensing fees
  • Research authors

Editing (15JAN-28FEB)

  • Three rounds of copy editing

Interior Layout (01FEB-31MAR)

  • Story Order
  • Print Layout
  • Ebook layout

Exterior Layout (01FEB-31MAR)

  • Obtain cover art
  • Design print cover
  • Design Ebook cover

Extras (01FEB-31MAR)

  • Author Bios
  • Print edition designed like pulp magazine (Optional)
  • Pulp style interior images (Optional)
  • Extra ebook images (Optonal)

Publish and Promote (TBD)

  • Possible crowdfunding campaign (TBD)
  • Possible Social media ads (TBD)
  • Possible ads in Sci-Fi Emagazines (TBD)
  • Possible first readers campaign (TBD)
  • Determine Ebook and print distributor (TBD)




Mars: The Golden Age

If anything, we at War Goat Press are stubborn. Just because we suffered a setback with Metropolis, does not mean we are giving up on classic Science Fiction.


We have been kicking around an idea about a compilation of pulp science fiction stories . “Anthology” may be the more appropriate term but our hatred of the word is almost as irrational as a goat’s need to climb on things.

Otherwise rational goats climbing trees.

The original idea was for a compilation of pulp stories the likes of which could have been found in old magazines such as Astounding Science Fiction, Planet Stories and Future Worlds. Okay, we made that last one up but it sounds pulpy. After reading several excellent pulp magazine stories set on Mars, we had the idea for Mars: The Golden Age.

This is what we will focus our attention on when the year changes. And heck, just because we are gluttons for punishment, we will document the process here, on The Goat Pen, as well. Okay, mostly that is to help keep us on track, which is something we failed to do with Metropolis.


Oh yeah, since a week or so went by without a blog post, Rick bought the donuts. Again.