Friday, September 8, 2023

“Jimi Plays Dead” • by Bruce Bethke


Remember 45 r.p.m. records? 

Remember how when you bought one, it was like rolling the dice? Sure, the “A” side was always the hit single you wanted, but the “B” side… who knew?

Here now for your entertainment are two stories by award-winning science fiction writer Bruce Bethke, packaged back-to-back together in a special “hit single” ebook. The “A” side is Jimi Plays Dead, Bethke’s much-loved and Nebula-nominated story of the obsessed guitarist who will do anything to sound just exactly like Jimi Hendrix.

The “B” side, though—here’s where you’re taking a chance.
Buck Turner and The Spud from Space is Bethke’s published but forgotten tale of airports, garage bands, kids with dreams of making it big, and of an alien who comes to Earth seeking intelligent life but through an unfortunate miscalculation ends up in Hollywood. It is also, according to Bethke, who spent a decade in the music industry before he switched to writing fiction, at least partially absolutely true in places.

So the “A” side,
Jimi Plays Dead: guaranteed smash hit, you’ll love it. But the “B” side, Buck Turner and The Spud from Space: is it brilliant? Is it daft? Is it just begging to be optioned and turned into a low-budget movie? (Bruce thinks so.)

Read it now and find out!


~brb said...

This is an experiment. I've always been fond of singles and EPs for pop music, and I've always thought there *should* be a way to get a decent ROI from selling small chapbooks and standalone novellas as e-books. This may simply reflect my own wildly divergent interests as a writer. When I was young I wrote and sold stories in a *lot* of different genres, and often went very far afield from science fiction, so trying to pull together a hypothetical The Complete Short Stories of Bruce Bethke would make no sense now -- or at least, such a book would not fit neatly into any of Amazon's ever-smaller marketing pigeonholes.

What do you think? Would you like to see us publish more small and tightly focused books, e.g., standalone novellas and single-author short story collections?

jvs said...

I would definitely like to see you publish *your* short stories, a compendium of styles through the decades.

Karin Terebessy said...

I feel like stand alone novellas of this nature were available to me as a kid. I’m certain I read The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner as stand alone novellas. They were so satisfying because you could curl up with a good book and finish it in an afternoon. You felt so accomplished. And honestly I don’t think a collection of your stories no matter how varied in style would seem discordant. I think readers enjoy author’s range. I mean, A Christmas Carol? It’s full of ghosts and time travel and the occult and it was written by … Charles Dickens? Amazon might not know what to do with range but I have to believe readers can handle it.

Karin Terebessy said...

And I think as a culture we accept the changing styles of artists like musicians and filmmakers quite readily. Countless musicians start out in country or gospel or folk and transition to rock or pop and they put out compilations of their work. And speaking of music - B sides were the blindbag investment of the optimist. Yeah they were a gamble and sometimes you got a dud, but if they were good? It was exhilarating and you honestly felt like a “true fan” of the artist. So all this rambling aside, yes, I think it’s a fabulous idea.