Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Review For Science Fiction Trails 8, et al

Science Fiction Trails #8 edited by David B. Riley, 2012, $8
The Speculative Edge #1 edited by Shane R. Collins, 2012, $9.99
Interzone #241, 2012, £3.95
Black Static #29, 2012, £3.95
Although the genre magazine era has pretty much passed, there are still a handful of interesting titles appearing for those who are willing to look for them. The first of these is thematically consistent, science fiction stories with settings in the Old West. It’s attractively packaged and very readable. Several of the stories this time involve alternate histories. Lou Antonelli and James Wymore have the most interesting contributions. The second title is new, a digest sized magazine with four stories and a number of poems and reviews, as well as interviews and articles. The story by D.L. Chance is the high point of the issue. Although I found much of the nonfiction interesting, I thought it diluted the magazine substantially. An interesting and potentially worthwhile addition to the genre but I think it needs a sharper focus. Interzone is a more predictable and established title, obviously, and has fine stories by Aliette de Bodard and Sean McMullen, along with quite readable stories by other writers and associated materials. A slightly better than average issue. Black Static has less lineage but is well established now and this issue has several nice stories, although I found it slightly below average. The articles, on the other hand, were quite good this time around. The magazine world is not healthy and I don’t expect it ever will be again, but as long as titles like these keep appearing, it will continue to be worth investigating.

8/17/12 Don D'ammassas's Critical Mass

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