Combustion Books interviewed by AK Press
Read the whole thing for a look at our structure, goals, and our relationship to steampunk and anarchism.
Kate: Your tagline is “Publishers of Dangerous Fiction”–why? What’s dangerous about the fiction you publish?
Margaret: I think the best stories have always been dangerous. I think that stories have a real power, that we build our identities and our lives based on fictions and myths, and we aim to publish stories that challenge the status quo. The stories that really stick with us are the ones that shake up or shape how we see the world, that focus our dreams and help us figure out what we’d like to see in the world. Genre fiction has a rich history of this–Michael Moorcock and Ursula Le Guin come to mind–but a sadly overwhelming number of books are published every year that are just banal and derivative, or even reactionary and conservative.
Smokey: I would add that all regimes have always banned works of fiction much more than non-fiction which makes sense to me. Fiction has an uncanny power to infect people with new ideas and for many that can be very dangerous indeed. Also most fiction is controlled by a few publishing houses that fear for their bottom-line. That means any work that is not easy to identify and sell is dangerous. We are interested in publishing books and works that might be hard to publish elsewhere because they are groundbreaking, using unusual formats, saying unpopular things, and so on.