Monday, July 15, 2013

Small Press Offerings

Small press publications play a critical role in keeping the fields of horror, science fiction and fantasy vital through their support of emerging talent.  Many established writers began their careers in such periodicals.  At a local independent book store I recently found a copy of the spring issue of Space and Time, which publishes short stories, poetry and reviews.  Though I am new to the magazine, it has been in continuous publication since the 60s, which is impressive given the challenges that print media face right now.

Not long ago, Space and Time acquired the subscription lists from Realms of Fantasy, the renowned genre magazine that published its last issue in October of 2011.  They have an arrangement with Damnation Books to provide issues of their magazine to the readers of Realms of Fantasy who still have outstanding subscriptions.  Penumbra Magazine has also assisted.  So the field is struggling.

I enjoyed several of the stories in this issue of Space and Time.  One of my favorites was the story by Mark Edwards, which describes the intersecting fates of a grizzly, a famous hunter and a species of sasquatch.  The tone is droll and ironic, with an unsettling note of suspense toward the end.  Ben Loory offers an exotic fable that tells a gruesome coming of age tale, with a powerful symmetry at the end. 

In Rats of the Roscinante, Aaron Polson’s character is responsible for getting several families of colonists, who are in suspended animation, safely to their new planetary home.  But personal trauma, which creatively echoes the psychic torments of Lovecraft’s Delapore character, leads to unexpected horror.  The late Josepha Sherman has a witty, tongue in cheek tale involving her interstellar “art courier” Sharra Kinsarin and her partner, Krahelk, a Gratarik warrior.  They tangle with a vengeful scientist’s dangerous invention.

C.J. Henderson’s variation on the Lovecraftian theme of ill advised use of the Necronomican contains the germ of an interesting idea—a completely unanticipated disaster—but could have achieved the desired effect with a more economic use of graphic and repellent imagery.   Also, orthodox Lovecraft fans may find his light treatment of the Unholy Scriptures verging on blasphemy.

The issue contains several other stories that show off a high degree of quality and originality.  Some interesting reviews and poetry round out the magazine, with quite a variety of offerings over all.  I can only add my voice to those of many others in urging folks to support important publications such as Time and Space through subscriptions and off the stand purchases.

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