You’ve heard of stepping outside the box. Fernando Contreras wants you to do more than that with Hades United. Push past all your boundaries and expectations, not only in literature, but in life with this brand new publication. Hades United is designed to make its readers think, explore, question, search and solve problems in the world today. If you just don’t fit into a mold, you’ll enjoy reading Fernando Contreras’ interview about Hades United.
What motivated you to start Hades United?
Two weeks after I moved to the United States I decided two things: a) I was never going back to Mexico, b) I needed to minor in English literature and take a bunch of creative writing classes. These decisions came from my desire to be a professional writer. I knew that making a living as a writer was practically impossible in Mexico, and although I was already writing stories, all of them were in Spanish. So I spent the next seven years, the last five in a Ph.D. program, studying how to make stories work.
I learned that most of the stories published in the United States were too safe. A few were entertaining, but even in those cases, there was not much to contemplate after, nothing that would make me question my own worldview. They were well written, grammatically inventive, but their themes, form, and range of philosophical depth were immature and derivative. Contemporary fiction had no regard for its history, which had decades ago covered the ideas that were now passed as new.
I learned that I didn’t fit in. Sure, I got some plays staged and some stories published, but for the most part editors from numerous publications rejected my work due to the missing elements I was deliberately removing in an attempt to push the art form forward.
Artists are still mimicking genres that are exhausted and slowly becoming obsolete. Novels today are far more conservative than Cervantes’ Don Quixote, which was published in 1605. Short stories are no more adventurous than those written by Borges, Joyce, and O’Connor decades ago. Why, if our publishing and distribution technology has changed so much in the past thirty years, are we replicating practices that are centuries old?
I figured that if I am to produce work that is adventurous and progressive, I couldn’t rely on the traditional means of publication. I didn’t want to spend years publishing stories in unknown journals nobody reads so I can eventually earn enough credits to have one story published in The New Yorker, where the fiction is a corpse that only serves as a reminder of better times.
Of course I want my work to be read, but I don’t want to depend on a stagnant and derivative business to do so. Luckily, these days we don’t need intermediaries to find each other, so I created Hades United.
Describe your average reader and/or target audience.
I’m looking for readers who…
a) Question social conventions and believe our world, the way it is (the way we are,) is unacceptable.
b) Like to solve problems: They find problems everywhere. In fact, you are a problem.
c) Know that there’s more to life than the quest for happiness. They understand that being incomplete is what keeps humans alive.
d) Are adventurous. They like to explore, travel, create, and discover. In other words, they like to think.
e) Search for the truth even if the results are unsettling. They are aware that millions suffer unwarranted acts of cruelty every day, so they’d find it dishonest to only “focus on the positive” and claim that this is a wonderful life.
f) Have the confidence to challenge a large opposition.
g) Are introspective, and live under the mistaken impression that all people use self-analysis as an act of refinement.
h) Are not afraid of being wrong, and if you ask, these wonderful folks will itemize the many ways you are wrong, too.
i) Are hard to shop for… thus Hades United would be a great gift for them.
How do you plan on reaching new readers?
I have developed a landing page (www.hadesunited.com), and iOS and Android app (with TypeEngine,) and I’m developing a Kickstarter campaign, which should be up and running by December 10. I’m also in the process of finding bloggers and podcasters who would find Hades United energizing and would love to promote it. The goal is to have a minimum of 100 readers before launching on February 1, 2016.
How do you see Hades United evolving over the next few months and years?
a) The goal of the first year is to reach 1,000 subscribers.
b) I want to find the right kind of satirists (writers/cartoonists/film-makers/artists) that would like to contribute to Hades United.
How long have you been publishing? Is this your first publication?
This is my first time being Editor in Chief and CEO of a publication, but I’ve been publishing since 1998.
How do you define the success of your publication?
My goal is simple: I want to be able to make a living with my art, so I can have the time to create work that will inform the artists of the future.
What other magazines/podcasts do you like?
I like The New Yorker, except for the fiction. I also like Skeptic Magazine, Foreign Affairs, The Boston Review, NPR, Radio Silence, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History (podcast), and The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast.
Buy a yearly subscription for Hades United on Android or iOS! Click here for a test drive today!