SUNNI: Hi Mike. Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview. How's life in beautiful, wet Washington these days?
MIKE: Life is good in beautiful, wet Washington. Actually, Port Townsend gets about half the rain Seattle does.
SUNNI: Ah, so you're not in the rain belt. I'd heard how gray and rainy the Seattle area is, but it wasn't until I was there -- all too briefly, earlier this year -- that I experienced it for myself. I think maybe the sun was out for about three hours total, in the four or five days I was there ... Is the weather responsible for all the coffee addicts around there? [laughing]
MIKE: Weather in Seattle is usually quite nice in the summer -- most of the rain comes in the winter months, when we get rain instead of snow. I don't know what the story on coffee is -- me, I like just plain coffee, and I think Starbucks et al suck out loud.
SUNNI: I prefer unflavored coffee too, but with cream. And yeah, Starbucks coffee isn't all that great. Maybe it was the mermaid -- the version with her breasts showing -- that's more responsible than they realize for their early success ... [laughing]
MIKE: [laughs] I have never understood the concept of "flavored coffee." Coffee is the flavor that I want. I would no more put chocolate syrup or something in a cup of coffee than I would put it in a glass of beer.
SUNNI: Exactly! You know, you're the first person I've interviewed whom I don't really know at all. In preparing for our conversation, I read a quasi-interview on the Loompanics web site, but it reveals very little about you, the brain trust behind Loomps. What would you like people to know about you?
MIKE: Well, once upon a time, I was an accountant working for a CPA firm. It didn't suit me, so I went off on my own trip. Politically, I first became aware in the tenth grade or so, when I was a Goldwater Republican. Then I was into Ayn Rand for a while, before settling on anarcho-libertarianism. Actually, I am a political solipsist, the anarchists have too many rules for me, and as for the Libertarians, what a bunch of uptight corporate-sucking wimps they are -- yech!
SUNNI: Anarchists have too many rules? [laughing] Okay Mike, I'll bite -- what do you mean?
MIKE: You should see them! Zines such as The Match and Anarchy and so on, are always denouncing other fellow anarchist absolutists for not being proper anarchists. You should check them out. A while back, the anarchist guru Murray Bookchin let out a screed titled Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm, which is typical of this genre. If you aren't the right kind of anarchist, then fuck you and the horse you rode in on. [laughs] Really, you should look into this -- it can provide a few brief moments of entertainment before you shout, "A pox on all your houses."
SUNNI: I will -- and thanks for the tip! The story behind the Loompanics name is amusing, and tantalizing with its mention of "all your publishing projects". What are some of those other projects?
MIKE: My pre-Loompanics catalog publishing projects included an index to National Lampoon magazine, a collection of paintings by the SF/Fantasy artist Stephen Fabian, and a little manual titled Slugs, on which foreign coins worked best in parking meters, and where to get them cheap.
SUNNI: What an interesting, diverse set of projects! So, how long has Loomps been around? How many books have you published?
MIKE: The first Loompanics Catalog came out in fall of 1975, so this marks my thirtieth year. I would guess that I have published around 300 books by now.