The wait is finally over. The new-look, all singing, all dancing new Weaponizer site is up and running!
For the uninitiated, Weaponizer has been running for just over eighteen months. It is an open-source fiction project, involving writers from around the world. Focusing on Flash Fiction (stories under 1000 words), we publish everything from serious fiction to comedy vignettes; from dark horror to hard speculative fiction; from detective stories to confessional drama; from the sublime to the ridiculous, and beyond.
That's not all - we also publish a range of Nonfiction, from Elle Matheuse's controversial op-ed pieces to my own interviews with hip-hop artists, film-makers and comics creators. There's more Nonfic on the way - having taken on several new writers and editors, you can expect to see the breadth and scope of our journalistic work increase over the next year.
We publish longer fiction, too - some stories simply can't be told in under 1000 words, so we have a separate section for traditional Short Stories and novellas. There's also our relatively new Serials section, which features ongoing stories from our core writers. One of these serials - The Vampire Clowns of Old Poland, by ICAM, has already run its course - two more are just getting started.
So what's changed since we were last online? Well, we've got a spanking new look for the site - in response to feedback from our readers, we've switched the site over to a white background with black text, which is easier to read. The site is now easier to navigate, with each section having it's own archive page, numbered in chronological order.
The most important change however, is right here on the WPNZR Feed. We've abandoned the mass-mailings and mass-uploads of the previous site model - from now on, we'll be giving each article it's own page on the Feed, with a sample of the content and a direct link to each piece. So no more fumbling about in the site, trying to find an article - from now on all you need to do is subscribe to this RSS Feed and check it every few days for new content. We'll be posting other stuff here - the usual editorial rambles, breaking news and entertaining link-blogging you've come to expect from the blog. You'll also see some new faces joining the editing team and contributing their own links and posts in the next few months.
So what have we got coming up? Well for starters, we've got an exclusive three-part interview with the biggest lyrical masterminds of the UK's best independent label, Big Dada. We kick off with Juice Aleem, rapper with Shadowless, Gamma and New Flesh, and follow up with an in-depth interview with the seminal Anti-Pop Consortium, recently signed to the label for their new album, Fluorescent Black. Part three features the mighty Thavius Beck, the brains behind the recent k-the-i??? album, half of Labwaste, and co-producer of the recent Trent Reznor-assisted Saul Williams project, Niggy Tardust.
Another new element we are really excited about is the new-look front page. Here, we'll be hosting vibrant new artwork and short comics - although we won't be archiving this work, each month we'll have a new feast for the eyes and brains for you to stare at in dumbfounded awe. This month's cover star is the hugely talented Andre Navarro - check out his amazing two-page strip now!
Fiction-wise, we've been saving some content for the launch - we've got some cracking stories from new writers like Will Ellwood and John Royal, not to mention exclusive new pieces from fan favourites like Dan Black, ICAM, and Will Couper. We'll be adding these to the site and the Feed every few days. In addition, we'll be giving each of the older stories a new RSS link, so if you've missed any of the content we've put out so far, you'll have the chance to catch up! We will also be upping the stakes on the Weaponizer Video Channel, adding new content with higher production values and a bigger range of subjects.
So your instructions are simple - subscribe to this Feed, follow us on Twitter (or join us on Facebook and MySpace), and enjoy some of the most exciting new writing completely free of charge.
A post-script - those who've been paying attention will notice that our Downloads section is now gone. There's a reason for this - WPNZR is collaborating in the launch of a new free-to-download netlabel, called Black Lantern Music. All of the bands we are involved in will be releasing exclusive EPs on Black Lantern, and we've got some very exciting projects lined up from people beyond our immediate fam as well. We will be adding each Black Lantern DL to the WPNZR Feed after the site launches, so subscribing to the Feed will also ensure you get a wealth of free music from the likes of Chemical Poets, Asthmatic Astronaut, Morphamish, Burning Bright, and Sileni. Those of you in Edinburgh should join us for the Black Lantern Music launch at NeverZone: Behind the Light on 31st October. More news on the Black Lantern project as it happens!
Remember - we're only as good as our submissions. We are always on the lookout for new writers - anyone can contribute to Weaponizer.
On a personal note... It's been a long, strange trip. This site started as a blog, but highly influenced by Warren Ellis' ROTOR concept, it has become so much more - an online resource for aspiring writers, a trove of inspiring new fiction for readers disillusioned with mainstream publishing, and a channel for the distribution of everything from music, to short films, to comics. For those of you who have supported WPNZR along the way - thanks for sticking with us. The best is yet to come.
3.... 2.... 1....
- Texture, WeaponLabs, Edinburgh, September 2009
I'll finish with a very brief plea for aid. The site was set up entirely using my own funds, and I have learned a lot from administering and programming it. Now, however, the site has some overheads, not least of which was the awesome re-design undertaken by Monkeytribe Design (a round of applause, please!).
If you've enjoyed our content, and want to help the site to continue, please stop by our PayPal donations page (on the sidebar of the site and the feed) and contribute what you can. Your donation will allow us to continue publishing the most daring, unrestrained new writing for years to come. Thanks for your support.
Extra big thanks go out to Monkeytribe for the design feats, Warren Ellis and the Whitechapel crew for inspiration and support, @Sea_Leggs for editing assistance and feedback, the Black Lantern Music crew - especially Tickle, Harlequinade and the other ChemPo faithful, everyone on Twitter for the #FFs and RTs, all Edinburgh hip-hop crew, particularly Profisee and Ema J, The AIM, all Edinburgh poets, especially Jem Rolls, Jenny Lindsay, Kevin Cadwallender and Sophia, and finally The Skinny. I couldn't have made it without y'all. Peace!