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Sci-Fi Publisher Leaves Catholic Faith For Fantastic Worlds

Jim Minz
ktempest, via Flickr.com, Creative Commons
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Today's State of Things show is a rebroadcast of an interview with Jim Minz.  The program originally aired on April 1, 2013.

Jim Minz’s childhood in small-town West Bend, Wisconsin prepared him for two things: game shows and science fiction.

West Bend was home to the West Bend Company – the maker of small appliances which were regularly featured as consolation prize on game shows.

Other than that fun fact, Minz’s childhood was filled mostly with faith and fantasy. He was a Catholic devotee and, at one point, even wanted to enter the priesthood. But girls, and eventually, scandal in
the church, led him to part ways with Catholicism. Fortunately, books, such as the “Lord of the Rings” -- as well as many tombs of science fiction -- firmly fixed him in an imaginary world of possibility.

In college, he had the opportunity to work with an experienced sci-fi publisher, Jim Frenkel. From there, he moved on to Tor Publishing in New York City, followed by Del Rey, an imprint of Random House, and finally Baen Publishing in Wake Forest.

It’s here in North Carolina that he’s really found his niche. Baen publishing, founded by sci-fi great Jim Baen, has been at the forefront of the e-book revolution and continues to find new ways to innovate in
the changing world of book publishing.

“Baen has always been a traditional publisher,” he said. “…on the other hand as soon as the e-book revolution started…Jim got it from a very early stage.”

Baen was selling e-books before most publishers, including in the form of CD-ROMS in the back of some print copies.

While many worry about the future of print books and are concerned that e-books could lead to copyright infringement, Minz isn’t concerned.

“The real problem isn’t that someone wants to steal your book,” he said. “The real problem is finding someone who wants to bother to buy your book in the first place.”

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.