Monday, November 18, 2013

Support Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazines!

Space and Time—“the magazine of fantasy, horror and science fiction”—has just released issue #119, its Summer/Fall issue.  An earlier issue of this wonderful magazine was discussed in a post last July, (“Small Press Offerings”).  Space and Time publishes an eclectic mix of short stories, poetry and reviews.  It has been in continuous publication since the 1960s.  This is impressive given the challenges that print media face right now.

Hildy Silverman, the editor-in-chief at Space and Time, acknowledged some of these challenges in her opening comments to this issue.  In fact, not long ago the magazine acquired the subscription lists from Realms of Fantasy, a well regarded genre magazine that ended publication in the fall of 2011.   Space and Time is providing the balance of issues of their magazine to the readers of Realms of Fantasy who still have outstanding subscriptions.  Regrettably, Space and Time is reducing its publishing schedule to just 3 issues a year, with the next one due in January.

The change is to accommodate the increasing costs of paper and shipping costs for hard copy format—which apparently the magazine’s readership has indicated it prefers.  Being somewhat retro myself, it is hard to imagine enjoying—as much—the fiction and artwork of a magazine like Space and Time on a computer screen or cell phone display.  Or graphic novels for that matter, like those put out by SelfMadeHero. 

However, there are some new apps designed to emulate the experience of reading periodicals like these on a hand held device.  There is the comiXology app, for example, (, and there may be others by now.  Perhaps the publishers of Space and Time will be exploring options for electronic transmission of their magazine so that this nifty periodical can continue into the 21st century.
The latest issue of Space and Time opens with an interesting historical science fiction story, “Nikola Tesla and the Resonating Frequency Transmitter”, by Kurt Newton. The author imagines Tesla out west in Colorado, attempting to try out his invention, an intercontinental wireless transmitter. Tesla was the developer of alternating current, among other feats of electrical engineering circa late 19th century.  He was also a disgruntled employee of Thomas Edison.  Newton’s story may be based in part on a real historical event.  

Tesla’s plan is to receive a signal from his colleagues in Paris, and he enlists the aid of a couple of local ruffians to set up his gear near Pike’s Peak.  His plan goes awry after receiving a transmission—but not from Paris.  The story generates considerable suspense near the end, although the resolution of the problem Tesla inadvertently created with his device seems a bit drastic.  I liked the novel character of Tesla as well as the nostalgic—for boomers at least—feel of the story.  It is reminiscent of horror and science fiction themes inspired by Cold War paranoia.

The issue contains six other short stories and a generous number of poems evenly divided among science fiction and fantasy subjects.  There are also book reviews, (mostly positive and encouraging in tone), and interesting commentary on the recent purchase of LucasFilm by the Disney Company.

Small press publications like Space and Time have always been an important means of keeping the horror, science fiction and fantasy fields alive and growing through their support of emerging talent.  Many well known writers—H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Francis Stevens, A. Merrit, Ray Bradbury, Fritz Lieber, Robert Bloch, and many others began their careers in such periodicals.  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, advertising, and off the stand purchases.  

Here are some other print and online periodicals that may also be of interest:   Daily Science Fiction (online)   Dark Discoveries (online)   Shroud Publishing (online and hard copy)  Weird Tales (recently revived)

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