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Interview: Atomic Books [Zine store in Baltimore]

June 11, 2016


1] I don’t know much about Baltimore, but Atomic Books seems to be on every online list of where to buy/send zines that I’ve ever seen. How did you get so well known?
To learn all you need to know about Baltimore, just watch the HBO series The Wire. It’s exactly like that. Also, John Waters’ Pink Flamingos. It’s exactly like that too.
Atomic first gained notoriety after the multiple homicide, but we agreed to participate in this interview under the condition that we would not have to talk about that.
The store has been around since 1992. The store was selling books and publications online before there was an Amazon. It’s always been a place that’s been welcoming to zines, small presses and independent voices. We like weirdos with something to say.
2] What is your best-selling zine? My money’s on Cometbus…
Over the years, we’ve had a good number of great-selling zines.
Cometbus is a great guess. It as been a perennial best-seller and when a new issue comes out, it’s like a major event.
Other best-selling zines over the years have included Answer Me, Beer Frame, Ben Is Dead, Burn Collector, Chunklet, Crap Hound, Dishwasher, Doris, Found Magazine, Monozine, Murder Can Be Fun, Smile Hon You’re In Baltimore, Thrift Score, and a good number of others. But in the entire 25 year history of Atomic Books, the all-time best-selling zine we’ve carried has to be How To Talk To Your Cat About Gun Safety. It has cats. It has guns. It has solid advice. The perfect formula for a hit.
3] I live in Hong Kong so I can’t get to most zine places [actually, I can’t really get to any; HK is not famous for zines]. All I can do is send e-mails, and 8 out of 10 places never respond for various reasons. You guys did. Are you actively looking for weird sci-fi zines from HK or do you take zines from anywhere, anyone, anytime?
Hong Kong is not famous for zines, yet. YET! You’re the first step.
It can be tough. Really, the ideal is to be in a town that has a vibrant zine culture (and some times this “culture” can be comprised of one, two or several incredibly creative and prolific people. But the problem with that too is that the zine culture can come and go. Washington DC used to have a very active zine scene back in the early ’90s, now, not so much. New York has a decent zine culture. Chicago has a great zine scene. Portland has a vibrant zine scene. Right now, Australia seems to be developing an interesting zine scene.
Here in Baltimore, like most of our arts scenes in general, it ebbs and flows, which is weird because we have a number of universities and great art schools, our music scene has been pretty lively lately, we have a lot of political issues we need to work out, we have a growing publication festival in the city called the Prints and Multiples Fair and the Small Press Expo just a 45 minute hop over to Bethesda and we have a couple stores willing to support zine makers – so Baltimore has all the ingredients for a vibrant zine culture – but with a few exceptions, there’s really not a lot going on right now.

Read more…

Psycho Holosuite #Issue 1 [Out Now]

November 15, 2015

psycho holosuite7-2


Zine: Psycho Holosuite [Issue 1]

Pages: 80 [print version], 90 [e-version]

Contributors: Berit Ellingsen, Frankie Sachs, Soren Melville, Thomas Stolperer, Marc Horne, Tyson Bley and me [Oli].

Release date: Now


Well, after printing this thing 5 months ago and watching it sit in a box in the corner of my living room doing nothing ever since, I can finally say, man, it’s out.

By ‘out’ I mean available for order in stripped down e-form on amazon, and on its way in glorious zine form to the following places:

Atomic Books [Baltimore]

HK Reader [Hong Kong]

The Coming Society [Hong Kong]

Sticky Institute [Melbourne]

Housmans [London]

Book Thug Nation [NYC]

Molasses [NYC]

Quimby’s [Chicago] Read more…

Zines: Moss Piglet // Becky Nosiara

August 31, 2015


Zine: Moss Piglet

Brains behind it: Becky Nosiara

Place: Melbourne

Genre: Experimental sci-fi

Where to buy: either in Melbourne zine shops or here


Oli: Moss Piglet doesn’t sound very sci-fi, where did you get the name from?

Becky: It’s actually ~the most~ sci-fi. It’s a nickname for the Tardigrade, a tiny little creature that can remarkably withstand very high levels of heat, cold, pressure and radiation. It’s able to live naked in the vacuum of space with something like 3% body water. It very easily could have come to earth on an asteroid.

And it looks like a pig bear and lives on moss. You can see a drawing of one on the cover of issue #1.

I had no idea that moss piglet was actually a space creature! Was that glowing space whale in Star Trek TNG a giant moss piglet too?

I don’t think so. Or if it was it didn’t look much like one. Plus it was wayyyy too big.

Did you ever consider Space Piglet?

Haha, nah.

Do you headhunt contributors or open for subs?

I just open for submissions. I print out flyers and leave them in zine shops and my work, and sometimes bookstores. Actually, there’s one illustrator that I followed on instagram and then asked to contribute. But I don’t know where to find most sci-fi writers, I think they’re hiding.

I think most sci-fi writers a] don’t care about zines, ha, and b] orbit around mags like TOR, Lightspeed, Black Static etc. Have you tried those ones?

That could be true! I don’t tend to read ones from overseas, even though I could order them obviously, I mean this is the future. But I’m really interested more in the local writers who I can get in contact with, and starting a local scene rather than just joining an already established one overseas. Something in my personality makes me have a childish tantrum when I think about trying to infiltrate things that are already established. It makes me go, “I don’t need your crappy thing anyway, I’ll make my own.” Even if it’s good, which is ridiculous.

Issue 3 had a story I liked about a washing machine that was someone’s child, but it was only 2 pages long. Will there be a sequel? Read more…

Cometbus Portal Deluxe

August 17, 2015


I don’t like doing reviews, so here are my thoughts on the cometbus//green day zine that you can still buy at microcosm publishing [should still be in stock]

In the spirit of the Gupter Puncher zine, I added Blake’s 7, zine shop portals and prague into this thing to try and hold your attention…


Lisbon London Zagreb Ljubljana none of them had cometbus on tour with green day in china so I ended up at the cross club in prague with Joanna.

Avon’s book said it was famous for creatives & socialists & sometimes anarchists and if you went at the right time of day they might have the cometbus zine you’re looking for.

I didn’t go there first – I trusted Avon, he wasn’t moral, he was going to shoot Vila and dump his body off the ship just to reach escape velocity in season 4 episode 11, and he did shoot Blake [at his most Mexican-looking], but he had no reason to lie this time – I went to another place that sold zines but that was closed so I left one of my mega man zines under their shutter blind and headed to the cross club.

The other zine place never got back to me, fuckers, even though I left my e-mail. I try not to dwell on things like this but it’s hard, especially when I wrote the word ‘e-mail’ in Czech.

The Cross Club…

it was well-designed and the floor was sticky from the night before and I guess it was the right time cos they had the cometbus zine, issue 54, and more than that, they had a portal in one of the back rooms that led to other zine stores including one in Hong Kong that I’d never heard of, and from that portal you could even go further, to all the planets in Blake’s 7, which never looked that Read more…

[Preview] Psycho Holosuite Zine // Issue 1

May 19, 2015

psycho holosuite7-2


While doing almost nothing on this site for 6 months, we’ve been busy doing another zine elsewhere…we’ll still put stuff on here from time to time and use it as a base of some kind, but if you wanna keep up to date in a faster way then go here:


Zine: Psycho Holosuite [Issue 1]

Pages: 80 [print version], 90 [e-version]

Contributors: Berit Ellingsen, Frankie Sachs, Soren Melville [cover artist], Thomas Stolperer, Marc Horne, Tyson Bley and me [Oli].

Release date: Sept. 1st 2015

Publication: Every 3 months hopefully


Unlike the Gupter Puncher zines I’ve done before, I really like the name of this one.

The issue number was going to be higher to give the impression the zine’s been running for longer than it has, but I scrapped that idea and just went with ‘1’.

80 Pages isn’t that many, even with 6 other contributors.

Theme? Stories?

The first issue of this zine will deal with a] authenticity and b] dread.

The stories will be alive and integrated fluidly into the zine, not just put down on the page to be admired.

There will be e-mails and comments and tangents all over the place.

There will be time travel and dying astronauts and riker from Star Trek [barely] and a hybrid designed specifically to colonise Mars.

There will be a Ray Bradbury piss-take.

There will even be notes for most of the Freddy films written by me pretending to be Robert Englund. Read more…

Hospital Uno

March 29, 2015


The bouncer wouldn’t let him in with the bag.

He didn’t want to go in anyway.

It was Friday night, there was no space inside, and it was some part of London he didn’t know or care about. Jay wanted to come here, not him.


‘I told you, not with the luggage, mate.’

‘There’s nothing in it.’


‘Just some books…’

‘Not with the bag.’



‘…not…I’m not doing anything with it.’





‘I’m not telling you again.’

‘Okay, relax, man, I’m going…see, I’m going.’

Billy tried to go, but there were too many people to get past.


A few seconds later, the bouncer put a hand on Billy’s shoulder.

‘Move to the side, mate.’

‘I’m trying…’

‘You’re in the way.’

‘I can’t…’


‘Man…’ Read more…

Good Places to put Zines in Melbourne #1 – Sticky Institute

March 10, 2015


NOTE: I’ve never been to Sticky, but I have mailed zines there 3-4 times.


Oli: You’re based in Melbourne, in a subway tunnel as far as I can tell [I might be wrong]. Is it a good place for zines?

Sticky: We have been based in the tunnel under the main train station in Melbourne since 2001. It took a while to get the word out that we are here but we have been around so long now that people know where to find us. I spent the first few years writing letters to as many zines as I could find asking them to send zines to us, I don’t have to do that any more as the zines come to us.

Oli: I remember you said you could only take 10 or so of our zines as your shop was so small. There’s a record shop in HK that can only fit 4-5 people in at any one time. Is yours on that level or bigger?

Sticky: The shop is very small. Maybe the size of a living room. But we have managed to support over 12,000 individual zine titles from all around the world since we opened in 2001. And the rent is very cheap. If we moved above ground our rent would literally be 10 times what we currently pay so we are happy to stay where we are.

Oli: I live in Hong Kong and I found you. Do you get a lot of people from different countries sending you stuff?

Sticky: We get a lot of Australian zines, New Zealand zines, American zines, Canadian zines, UK zines, one of our best sellers is the Latvian comics collection ‘Kus’.

Oli: Do you focus on political zines, perzines or Jim Jarmusch style zines? Read more…