science-fiction, writing, technology
Despite reading plenty of science-fiction novels, I’ve never paid much attention to sci-fi magazines. So it’s about time I did. Are they any good? Are they all about book and film reviews, or do they include good fiction writing as well? Are they adapting well to digital formats? I’ll start with a classic British magazine, then take a look at some others in future posts.
Interzone (http://ttapress.com/interzone) is the longest running British sci-fi magazine, first published in 1982. It has published by TTA Press since 2004 and is currently published on a bimonthly schedule. It’s available in print and eBook formats, and has won both the Hugo Award and the British Fantasy Award. 16 of it’s originally published stories have won the British Fantasy Award for short fiction, and in 2010 one of it’s published stories won a Nebula Award.
I downloaded edition 242 (Sept-Oct 2012) on Kindle to take a look at what it offers.
Episode 242 includes:
Initially I was disappointed. In paper form, I like magazines that I can flick through and quickly browse articles. Digital magazines don’t quite have that same quality for me, but can make up for it with hypertext links within the mag and to other online resources, or incorporating video elements. Interzone doesn’t do that much other than very occasional hyperlinks and also includes very little in the way of photos or artwork. Each story has a cover page, but that’s about it. The book and movie reviews are entirely text, with no cover graphics or images.
So Interzone doesn’t really work as a magazine to pick up for a few minutes over breakfast. Perhaps it would work better in the printed format. But then I changed my approach to reading it and it immediately began to make a lot more sense. The majority of the edition is made up of the short stories, and selected stories are excellent. Spend more than a few minutes to get involved in each story and they are well written, inventive and absorbing. I especially enjoyed The Message by Ken Liu. It focuses on the relationship between the main characters in the midst of the analysing the remains of dead alien civilisations. I liked some of the stories more than others, but in any magazine I rarely love everything from cover to cover. The reviews don’t generally go into a lot of depth but aren’t afraid to criticise. One screen shot for each and a link to the official movie or book website would be great additions though.
Will I come back to Interzone? I’m not sure yet. I can definitely recommend it in terms of quality and it’s well worth trying out to see if it fits your needs. I do want to make more time for reading short stories so Interzone may well meet that need very well, but there are some other digital magazines that I also want to take a look at:
Asimov’s Science Fiction (https://www.asimovs.com)
Fantasy & Science Fiction (http://www.sfsite.com/fsf)
Analog Science Fiction and Fact (https://www.analogsf.com)
Strange Horizons (http://www.strangehorizons.com)
Another Realm (http://anotherealm.com)