Review: Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine

A few weeks ago I received a copy of Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine for review. To be honest it has taken me a while to get through it, simply because I have a huge backlog of other review projects sandwiched in between my own fiction work which is daily crying out for my attention. Over the weekend, however, I cloistered myself off in my bedroom and read the thing. The verdict? I'm glad I did.

The magazine itself reminds me of the kinds of magazines and comics I used to read as a kid - black and white pulp pages, no glossy illustrations, no shiny video game ads. This is a magazine that sticks to its business - and I really like and appreciate that about it. It's a fat little thing - 240 pages, but it's packed with really good stories from top-notch writers, along with a few review columns and non-fiction science articles.

My favorite story was probably Steven Utley's "Sleepless Years", a moving and unsettling take on immortality, but I also thoroughly enjoyed Albert E. Cowdrey's New Orleans-flavored "Inside Story" (the accents were spot-on). And, of course, there was Stephen King's "The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates." Personally I've always been of the opinion that the short story medium is where King shines, and this was no exception.

Talk lately in the sci-fi/fantasy world has circled round and round the issue of whether or not short fiction is dead as a medium. Detractors point to falling subscription rates, claiming that anthologies will be the only remaining market for stories. Maybe that will come to pass and maybe it won't, but I will say this - I enjoyed Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, for its format as well as its content. It's certainly worth reading, and, in my opinion, that's worth enough.

15 September 2008


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