The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
A while ago I agreed to blog about an issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in exchange for a free copy… I got it!
The sarcastic bastard in my wants to stop right there but that’d be mean.
I was, many moons ago, a subscriber to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. My folks found out they had a reader on their hands and went out of their way to ensure I had access to as much that interested me as they could find. After a few years we hit some financial hard times and had to let the subscription run out. This was back when they were serializing Stephen King’s first Gunslinger novel.
So I agreed to blog about the issue they sent. Kudos for using Simpsons stamps to cover the postage guys, that was spiffy. So, back to blogging about the issue, by the way it’s the up coming August/September. So, do I review every story in the magazine? Do I just generalize… I’m torn.
Ok, the issue itself. They’ve changed size since I was a subscriber. It’s more paperback shaped than I remember. Cost, at least on this issue, is $6.50. Pretty sturdy and thankfully printed in a font size I can read. I’ve come across several story anthologies in the past few years that, to save money, printed in near microscopic type making them completely unreadable for me. This wasn’t the case here. Yay!
The insides. Refreshingly, surprisingly, ad free. I’m sure this contributes to the relatively high cost per issue but it’s nice not to have to dig through page after page after page of ads like in most magazines to get to the stuff you want to read.
The comics… sucked. I used to dig the Gahan Wilson comics they printed in the past, they were funny. The ones in this issue were horrible. None of the jokes (were they even jokes?) were amusing, few made any sense. The art was poor.
The editorials were ok. The review of Watchmen was a bit long winded. The book reviews were on items I don’t think I’ll find interesting.
The stories… do I review them all? Do I just say I liked some, some were passable, one was horrible and one I couldn’t finish? I did try, very, very hard, to read the entire magazine cover to cover since I did agree to post about it. Let’s just start typing and see what happens, shall we?
The one author who’s name I recognized and who had top billing on the cover, Bruce Sterling’s ‘Esoteric City’ was atrocious, I found myself reading a sentence or two and then putting the book down over and over until I finally admitted I wasn’t going to be able to read it.
Sean McMullen’s ‘The Art of the Dragon’ was good even amusing in places though it did touch on the herd/crowd mentality we humans too often suffer from.
I enjoyed, thoroughly, Albert E. Cowdrey’s ‘The Private Eye’ an amusing take on psychic powers and corruption in small southern towns. Even the down home southern dialog was well done and not over done although I could have done without the many references to lotion and it’s uses…
‘Icarus Saved From the Skies’ by Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud (even his name annoys me) was one of the worst stories I’ve ever come across. It’s only saving grace was being just four or so pages long.
Nancy Springer’s ‘You Are Such a One’ was interesting. Written in a perspective I’ve never seen/read before the reader becomes the protagonist and the narration of the story is directed to/at you. It was rather different and refreshing.
A reprint from yesteryear; ‘The Goddamned Tooth Fairy’ by Tina Kuzminski was pretty good. I enjoyed it even if some of the content was rather disturbing and dark.
All in all, if I had the money to spare (sadly living on a fixed income I don’t) I’d probably pick up a subscription to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction again. It’s a bit expensive but no more so than most anthologies and collections of short stories.
Hawk (will review your stuff for free!)