Monday, March 31, 2008

Celebration - A Taster

This year the BSFA have begun publishing a series of Special Editions booklets. The first, arriving with Matrix magazine last week, is entitled Celebration – A Taster, designed as a foretaste of the forthcoming BSFA 50th anniversary anthology Celebration. The booklet contains an introduction to the anthology and three additional short stories.

Jerie is a tale of far future exploration by Adam Roberts and, like my previous experience of his work, is peppered with fabulous sounding pseudo-scientific jargon. It’s an energetic tale of the urge to explore, and where it might take you.

Ian Watson’s A Daffodil Jacket, or The Misadventures of Sebastian in Kyiv is essentially an anecdotal tale of a trip to the European poetry convention in Ukraine. Normally I might have dismissed it is an amusing and pleasant enough little account, but coming hot on the heals of Eastercon gave it so much more depth and made it thoroughly enjoyable.

Who’s Who is Chaz Brenchley’s tale of the ethical dilemmas that develop when money can buy anything and science can do just about anything. It provides a satisfying moral for the characters, without sounding moralistic to the reader. It’s a story that almost feels like you could have seen it on the 10 O’Clock News.

I saw Chaz Brenchley in passing at Eastercon last week, and both Adam and Ian were also there. Of course, with over 1100 people present, spotting somebody in the crowd is quite difficult, especially when you’ve never seen them before, or only seen a small mug shot on a web page! The name badges were quite light too, so they tended to flap about and become difficult to read. There are a couple of authors I’d like to have spoken to, had I had the chance. Maybe next year, if I can make it to Bradford.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Flash Fiction: It's a Sign

I wrote this story during the Flash Fiction Workshop at Eastercon last Saturday. Well, not exactly this story. I managed to leave my notebook behind somewhere, so wrote this amended version on Monday.

Using pen and paper was anovel experience. It's amazing how much your wrist aches when you're used to typing everything!

An amended version of this story will be appearing in VW Camper magazine spring 2009.

Check out Futurismic for a list of other FFF stories this week.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Editors: Lee Harris

Hub magazine launched at the beginning of 2007 as a print magazine, before switching to a weekly on-line ‘zine after issue 2. It can be downloaded in a number of formats and you can also subscribe by email. I chatted to editor Lee Harris over a cold coke as we stood in the Florida sunshine awaiting the launch of the next space shuttle mission. Or, more correctly, we corresponded by email.

GDJ: Hub was originally a print magazine before moving on-line. Would you have liked to stay in print?

LH: I felt disappointed that the finance side of things meant that we couldn’t stay in print, as I assumed that it was the end of Hub. Once I decided to take the magazine online, however, I came to realise that it was the best move we could have made. The main purpose of the magazine is to promote short genre fiction, and we currently have a readership nearly ten times greater than the readership of the print version, and greater than many successful genre fiction magazines. It’s also a lot easier to produce than a physical version, so I get more time to spend with my family. The success of the electronic version of Hub has more than made up for the initial short-lived disappointment around the collapse of the print version.

GDJ: There are lots of options for a new magazine – size, paper quality, illustrations, colour etc. How did you decide on the original look and feel for Hub?

LH: I’m not a big fan of “traditional” fantasy and science fiction artwork, so I decided to steer clear of that type of illustration. Nobody seemed to be doing much with photography, so this was a quick way of making us stand out from the other magazine in the market. Also, the square cover was unusual, which most people told us they liked. The quality of the paper was always going to be high (although it was too high for issue 1 – the weight meant that postage costs were astronomical!). Before issue 1 I’d never put a magazine together before, so I was learning as I went along, and discovering through trial and error what I liked, and what I wanted to avoid. There was never a great masterplan for the look of the magazine – and I couldn’t afford to employ professionals to do this for me as everything was funded personally.

GDJ: Producing a magazine is obviously a lot of hard work. What inspired you to give it a go?

LH: I like to stretch myself, and I hadn’t given myself a ridiculously overambitious project in a while (my previous project was a professional touring genre theatre company). I also love short fiction, and liked the idea of giving some new writers an additional market. I found I enjoyed the process so much that when the British Fantasy Society asked me to edit their quarterly newsletter – Prism – I jumped at the chance.

GDJ: You now have over 6000 subscribers, a very impressive total. What made you choose this method of distribution, and what do you think has contributed to its success?

LH: Hub has been very fortunate to have had two income streams (aside from the occasional donation that we are given by readers). For our first 9 months we were generously sponsored by Orbit, which enabled us to pay our writers. We were also lucky enough to be awarded an Arts Council grant which was for the marketing of the magazine – largely through online advertising and the occasional offline event. Most of our new readers find us through search engines, though word of mouth plays a very important part in the growth of our readership. Advertising can pay dividends, but word of mouth – though often slower, is usually the steadier method.

GDJ: Have you always enjoyed ‘speculative fiction’? Do you have a favourite genre or sub-genre?

LH: I have been a fan for as long as I can remember. It’s difficult to pin down a favourite genre or sub-genre. I tend to follow writers, rather than genres. A good writer will engage you in whatever genre or medium they are writing. Mike Carey is one of my favourites, and I would read Mike’s work whatever he was writing. Similarly, Neil Gaiman – a writer who produces excellent work whether he’s writing for adults, young adults, children, whether it’s science fiction, urban fantasy or horror, and whether it’s in short form, novel-length works, comics or film. The sod!

GDJ: One of my favourite stories last year was The Blue Parallel in Hub #11. You’ve published quite a wide variety of stories during the year. What is it you’re looking for in a story?

LH: Any answer to this question would leave your readers asking “Yes, but what do you actually look for?” It has to be something that engages, something that strikes a chord. It doesn’t have to follow any particular structure, or have a world-shattering conclusion. The protagonist doesn’t have to be good or bad. It just needs to be something that, after reading, makes me feel happy that I’d read it. I do have two co-editors (Alasdair Stuart and Trudi Topham) who do a huge amount of work on recommending stories, too. Technically the final decision is mine, though in practice they make at least half of the decisions to buy a piece for publication. I have even published a couple of stories that I didn’t particularly enjoy, as my co-editors (whose instincts I trust completely) told me the stories were good. I’m always willing to be over-ruled. Some of my favourite stories have received less than favourable reviews, whereas some of my least favourite have garnered huge approval from the critical community, which just goes to show that reviewers’ opinions really don’t matter that much (and I say that as a paid reviewer for other publications). So, what I’m looking for isn’t necessarily what my co-editors are seeking (which is a good thing). In summary, I refer you to the first line of this answer.

GDJ: What plans do you have for this year?

LH: Some sleep would be nice. Other than that, I’ll be attending FantasyCon again this year (last year’s fCon was my first ever convention, and I’m kicking myself for having left it so late before attending one!. I’m also appearing on a panel at alt.fiction in April with Darren Turpin (the artist formerly known as Ariel) and Simon Spurrier. The discussion is entitled “Writers and the Internet” which should make for some interesting opinions and audience questions. I’ll also be continuing to review for Hub and other publications, and introducing a PodCast to Hub as well. There’s also a possibility of a new anthology comic in association with some superb (and very well known) writers and artists, but that’s still some distance away. I’m also working on a radio play, which I’m hoping will go into pilot phase at some point.

GDJ: Thanks for your time.

LH: You’re most welcome. I had plenty of work to do, so this was a good way of getting out of doing it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Murky Depths #3 Review

Arriving fully-formed as a professional-looking glossy production, Murky Depths has certainly grabbed attention. While issue #1 had a dark tone, issue #3 certainly lives up to its name and the ‘Mature Content’ warning should be taken seriously. With a fairly short average story length, its 84 pages pack in more stories and comic strips than I normally manage to get through in a review.

Read the rest of my review at Whispers of Wickedness.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

And a jolly good time was had by all

Well, Eastercon has been and gone already, and the Saturday that I was there just wasn’t long enough! I attended a couple of lectures and discussion panels, briefly wandered the dealer hall and spent all of three minutes in the art exhibition. I also spent quite some time seemingly in a remake of The Poseiden Adventure – wandering corridors in a vain attempt to work out where I was.

Of course, the highlight of the day was meeting up with the other Flash Fictioneers, except for Dan Pawley who was unable to be there.

Here we are ready to begin our Flash Fiction Workshop:

Photography by the lovely Gemma.

From left to right: Me, Martin McGrath, Paul Graham Raven, Neil Beynon, Gareth L Powell, Justin Pickard, Shaun C Green.

This was the first time we’d all met up, and my chance to get my hands on my own copies of Illuminations – our new anthology. I have to say it looks fabulous – smart, crisp, clear; we’re all very proud of it. We all signed each other’s copies too, for posterity.

The workshop went well; a small but interesting group listened to us talk about our enthusiasm for flash fiction, asked us a few questions, then had a go at writing a short story in about 20 minutes. Of course, we all wrote something too and you can see the results, mine and presumably the others, this Friday.

Something very exciting was going on in the next room, lots of cheering and laughter while we attempted some serious concentration. We managed though, several delegates read out their stories and everyone offered comments. We may even have recruited a couple of new names to the Fictioneers, including our first female member. Check back on Friday to see the results.

Meanwhile out in the convention I saw several names I recognised wandering past and stopped to speak to a few. I spoke with Ana Feruglio Dal Dan, author of Passing the Test, one of my favourite stories last year, and author / reviwer Colin Harvey.

I caught up with Terry Martin, who no longer lives just round the corner from me, at the Murky Depths table. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, Murky Depths is a fabulous looking magazine. Some of the stories and artwork aren’t necessarily to my taste, but there’s no denying the quality it exudes.

Over at the Interzone table I practiced my Dutch on Jetse De Vries. Sadly, all I can manage is ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Industrial Waste Processing’, so I couldn’t exactly get by on holiday!

For now I’m going back to my reading of Illuminations

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Eastercon Imminent

Yes, it starts tomorrow morning. I won't be there 'til Saturday, when I'll be co-hosting the flash fiction workshop at 2 PM. We'll also be releasing the Illuminations anthology to the general public and signing a few copies while we're at it.

I'm also looking forward to some of the lectures and panels, as well as meeting a few editors, authors and others. I intended to do that last year, but being my first con I was rather overwhelmed and only chatted to a couple of new people in the end. I'll be particularly tracking down magazine editors in my continuing quest to interview them for 'The Editors' feature.

Stop me and say hello if you see me!

Another Review

I've spotted another review of Murky Depths #1, rather belated but still very welcome, on the Book Love review site. Of Looking In, Looking Out it says:

"Looking In, Looking Out" by Gareth D. Jones is the first story offering, thought it's not in a traditional story form. Told in brief daily log style this story is about an alien reaching out to attempt first contact with the human race. The ending is somewhat expected once the reader gets the flavor of the tale, but is no less effective.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

End of the Road

I'm thrilled to be able to say that the final two episodes of the Roadmaker saga have been accepted by Jupiter magazine. Roadruler will appear in the 5th anniversary issue in July, and Roadbuilder in October.

It's only a couple of weeks now until the April issue appears, featuring Roadrider and a story from fellow Fictioneer Niel Beynon.

Delayed Anouncement

A week and a half late, and rather ironic considering the title, I'm pleased to anounce that my flash fiction story Delayed Reaction has appeared in Efimeras. It's been translated into Spanish as Reaccion Tardia.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Editors: Sarah Dobbs

Scifantastic was an A4 print magazine that ran for 5 issues in 2005 / 6. I read all 5 and enjoyed the eclectic mix of tales they contained. I caught up with editor Sarah Dobbs on the viewing platform at the top of the Eiffel Tower. OK, again we actually corresponded by email.

GDJ: Scifantastic ran for 5 issues, and was notable for publishing my first story in print (sorry, moment of egomania there). Before that you ran a web page of the same name. Do you have a preference for print over web?

SD: Ha, and well deserved! I think everybody prefers to see their name in print, and read something you can actually hold. There's something much more permanent about it, though without the web version, the print version would never have taken off.

GDJ:How did you decide on the look and feel for Scifantastic? Was there a vision behind it, or were the choices of presentation limited?

SD: I wanted it to be bold, aesthetic, attractive and accessible, and to be able to present new art and artists that other magazines might not take a chance on. The presentation was limited, and I was inexperienced. I much prefered the soft binding to the first issue's ring binding.

GDJ:Producing a magazine is obviously a lot of hard work. What inspired you to give it a go?

SD: God knows! If I knew the amount of work it took I'm sure I would have wussed out. It just seemed like a natural progression. I wasn't as excited about the webzine any more, so it was time for something new. I got my enthusiasm back for the whole project for a while. I had a real passion for short stories, and particularly wanted to hear from women in this genre. Also, I knew I could publish exactly what I wanted, so it was like creating a magazine for myself. A bit selfish really.

GDJ:You published quite a wide variety of stories during the magazine’s run. What is it you look for in a story?

SD: I look for someone with a good idea, who understands what to do with words and structure. People with a real feel for language always grabbed me, or a new spin on an old tale. It's always easier to say what you don't look for: cliche's, hammy writing, poor dialogue, or the general ‘Dear Editor, I have been published to Mars and back, you would be stupid not to want my story’. Actually, no, I read cover notes last, and took what I wanted regardless (well, most of the time).

GDJ:You write romantic fiction as well as speculative fiction. Do you have a favourite genre or sub-genre?

SD: Not at all. There are different reasons for writing in different genres. I suppose I prefer stories that don't care what they are, genre bashing, crashing, stories and the like. It would be nice if there was a big publisher in the sky who didn't mind what genre you were scrabbling about in, but there isn't, so I guess at the minute I'm just enjoying writing my new novel without thinking what it might be tagged as. Post-literary pseudo-psychological fiction. It's called Tokyo Dreams (at the minute) so I suppose I'd deserve that.

GDJ:You were studying far an MA in creative writing at the time. How much did that help with the magazine, or conversely did Scifantastic help with your studies?

SD: It didn't. In fact, the bloody MA was what spazzed up the magazine, much to my dismay. No. I loved writing for the MA, and that took precedence. I sort of felt it was time to be a bit me-me-me for a change. Basically, being selfish took up all of my time. The magazine became an after thought and it was never supposed to be like that. It was the BA before that which helped everything. It laid such a solid groundwork and enabled me to start thinking about stories as something other than what you read in the bath when you want to relax. I have a feeling everybody knew about the importance of fiction before me (bit of a late developer I suppose)!

GDJ:What plans do you have for this year?

SD: This year I've got lots of extremities crossed that I'm going to get funding to continue doing my PhD full time. I'm about 40,000 words into an 80,000 word novel, so I'll also be plodding on with that. If I don't, then I plan to do lots of complaining while I continue with the PhD part time, plus do my delightful monkey job (sorry monkey job, you keep me in peanuts) to supplement the PhD and aforementioned complaining. It's all about the scribbling. I work to write, hope you all do too.

GDJ:Thanks for your time.

SD: Not a problem, I enjoyed it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

There’s Been A Fire

In Niven & Pournelle’s Footfall, a group of SF authors are called in by the US government to act as advisers during an alien invasion. Similarly, in a short story I read years ago (possibly by David Brin), an SF author is called in as a special advisor to investigate a strange phenomenon. In that story the author is summoned by two Secret Service agents who come to his door and announce:

“There’s been a fire.”

So, you can see why I was quite excited when the phone rang Saturday morning:

“This is Security,” the voice said. “There’s been a fire.”

Of course, it turned out to be Security from work and there really had been a fire. I was called in to advise on contamination and disposal issues. Not as exciting as an alien invasion, but probably safer!

Illuminations: The Friday Flash Fiction Anthology

Fanfare please:


Odd Two Out Publishing is extremely proud to present:

ILLUMINATIONS: The Friday Flash Fiction Anthology

ISBN 978-0-9558662-0-3


ILLUMINATIONS is a new anthology from small press Odd Two Out Publishing showcasing original, cutting edge short fiction from eight up-and-coming young British writers.

When British author Gareth L Powell started adding short weekly pieces of flash fiction to his website back in July 2007, he didn't expect anyone else to take much notice.

But soon there were seven other writers doing likewise - Paul Graham Raven, Gareth D Jones, Martin McGrath, Dan Pawley, Justin Pickard, Neil Beynon, and Shaun C Green. Together, they have become known as the Friday Flash Fictioneers.

Flash fiction stories are complete short stories told in fewer than 1,000 words. Quoting from his introduction to the anthology, Gareth L Powell says:

"Adhering to this restricted format can be a valuable exercise for a writer. It's often a lot trickier than it looks. You have to make every word count. Every thing in the story has to be doing something because there just isn't room for extraneous waffle."

The Friday Flash Fictioneers come from diverse walks of life – musicians, office workers, freelance journalists, students, magazine editors – and this new anthology collects together the best of their weekly output.

Edited by Paul Graham Raven, the pieces range from mainstream literature to far-out speculation; from horror to humour; from outright fantasy to straight-faced space opera.

All the stories in ILLUMINATIONS are published under a Creative Commons licence that permits them to be reproduced in the public domain as long as no profit is made in the process.

Copies of ILLUMINATIONS: The Flash Fiction Anthology will be available to order for £6.99 from Odd Two Out Publishing, or from the authors themselves. All profits from the sale of ILLUMINATIONS will be donated to the NSPCC.

Alternatively, The Fictioneers will be running a flash fiction workshop as part of Orbital 2008, the British Science Fiction convention held at the Raddisson Hotel, Heathrow over the Easter weekend. Convention-goers are invited to come along to quiz the team and have a go at writing their own extremely short fiction.


Press Release reproduced (more or less) from The Velcro City Tourist Board

Devonshire Cream Teas

I’ve returned refreshed from a week’s holiday in Devon. Friday – Friday booking, hence no FFF for 2 weeks. I took the laptop though and wrote 2 more flash pieces while I was there. I also intended to make vast amounts of progress on the new novel (codenamed Eternity, as that’s how long it’ll take to write), but I was so busy relaxing I didn’t write more than 1,000 words.

Unfortunately left Murky Depths #3 at home, so that review hasn’t progressed much. When I returned home Escape Velocity #2 was waiting on the doorstep, so you can expect a review of that too; both should be ready within the next week or two.

“Hang on a minute,” I can hear some of you wondering, “I thought you only reviewed UK SF magazines?”

True, but the co-editor of Escape Velocity, Geoff Nelder, is British, so the magazine qualifies on a technicality.

Meanwhile two more magazine editors have sent back their replies to my interview questions, and another has agreed to take part, so that feature is shaping up nicely. You’ll see the first of those tomorrow.

One other exceedingly exciting and significant development occurred on Friday. So stupendous, in fact, that it deserves its own blog entry…

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Editors: Ben Coppin

Darker Matter – the high quality online science fiction magazine – ran for 5 issues during 2007. It paid professional rates for fiction and featured some well-known names. In the first of a series of interviews with current and former editors of UK SF magazines, I set out to find out more about the people who take on the job of editor.

I met up with Ben Coppin in the refectory of one of Cambridge’s elite colleges, where we sipped lattes and chatted about science fiction magazines. Well, you can imagine that as the setting, but actually we corresponded by email.

GDJ: How did you decide on the look and feel for Darker Matter? Why did you choose a webzine over print?

BC: The decision to go with a webzine was an easy one - it had the potential to reach a much greater audience for the amount of money I was able to spend. Also, I'm a bit of an internet geek and liked the idea of a really high quality online science fiction magazine that provided stories for free. The look and feel came from a friend who's a professional artist. I told him roughly what I had in mind, and he produced a number of mock-ups. I ended up going with the one I did because I felt it combined a vaguely retro feel with something fairly modern and clean. I'm a big fan of clean, simple web sites, so I really wanted to avoid unnecessary clutter.

GDJ: Producing a ‘zine is obviously a lot of hard work. What inspired you to give it a go?

BC: In part, it was ignorance. Before I started doing research for Darker Matter, I had no idea there were any online SF magazines, and I certainly didn't expect to find so many. Originally, I wanted to do a number of things:

1) Publish really good science fiction stories that people wouldn't have to pay to read.
2) Publish science fiction stories by the best SF writers in the world.
3) Pay the authors what they would expect to get at the top magazines, or possibly even more if I could manage it.
4) Give any profit the magazine made (ah, such youthful optimism!) to charity.

I think I achieved 1, 2 and 3, for a short period, but the site was clearly not going to come close to making a profit, which is why I had to close it down.

GDJ: One of my favourite stories last year was Young Love on the Drowned Side of the City by William D McIntosh in Darker Matter #5, a good example of a story with a darker slant. What is it that appeals to you about that style?

BC: I agree with you about that story. It's certainly one of my favourites. It's hard to pin down exactly why that kind of story appeals to me, but since I was a child I've always loved science fiction, and have had a particular fondness (maybe that's not the right word!) for post-apocalyptic tales. This one appealed to me particularly because it was more about the story and the characters than the apocalyptic events, and it was told in such a beautiful way. To be more general, I think I am generally a cheery and optimistic person, and stories that are a little bit dark and possibly even miserable feel like a good way to indulge a different side of myself. I guess a psychiatrist might have more to say about that!

GDJ: Do you have a favourite sub-genre or theme?

BC: I think my favourite type of science fiction is the kind that really stretches the imagination. I love Iain M. Banks' books, for example, and probably love his books for the same reason that some purists reject them as fantasy; they're so distant from what we know and are comfortable with, and I guess in a way that makes them perfect escapist material. As I said before, I also have a particular soft spot for stories about the end of the world, or post-apocalyptic ones.

GDJ: Which magazines or authors do you enjoy reading?

BC: As a teenager my favourite authors were Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Robert Sheckley and Harry Harrison. I still love their stories, but more recently I've found myself reading darker stuff by people like Alastair Reynolds and Iain M. Banks. I've always been a huge fan of Analog, and also tend to read the other main print magazines. I haven't ever really got into any of the webzines, simply because I've not been able to settle on a favourite one.

GDJ: You opted for a different payment model to most webzines. What was the idea behind that?

BC: I just felt that if you pay anything less than the going rate, you automatically eliminate the top few from your pool of potential authors. I didn't want to discourage newcomers, but did feel that in order to get the magazine off the ground, I needed it to get a reputation for publishing stories by reasonably big names as well. I was thrilled to be able to publish stories by the likes of Bud Sparhawk, Ed Lerner, David Levine and Jerry Oltion, and while I'm not saying those guys wouldn't have sent me stories if I wasn't paying, I think the fact that I was offering the same rates as magazines like Analog gave me an instant credibility boost, and helped set the magazine apart (in the eyes of the authors, at least) from the other webzines.

GDJ: Several small press and webzines have come to a finish in the past year, while several others have started. Do you think there’s an answer to be found for long-lives webzines?

BC: It's hard to say. I still feel that if I'd had the time, money and energy to keep at it, it might have been possible to make Darker Matter work, but I particularly lacked the first two. I think it's important to publish something that's different from the rest, or to come up with a self-funding model (or perhaps just a very cheap model) in order to attract enough attention to get and keep readers.

GDJ: Do you have any further plans in publishing?

BC: I'm publishing another online magazine called Serendipity with Neil Ayres (he's the editor). It's a magical realism magazine, of which there aren't so many, so it's easier to get noticed. I think we've published some great short stories, and we've already managed one more issue than Darker Matter did! Also, I've not given up on the idea of resurrecting Darker Matter some day.

GDJ: Thanks for your time.

BC: Thank you!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Welsh SF

Being just over half Welsh, I’ve been interested in finding out about the Welsh SF field. The Welsh SF Association website was only ever a holding page, and even that has disappeared. So, I haven’t found much up to now, until I discovered that Estronomicon magazine is based on a Welsh word and editor Steve Upham is involved in organising a Welsh SF convention. Details to be announced…

Stuff Received

Murky Depths #3 has arrived in the post. I noted on their website that it's now available in several book and comic stores, quite impressive when you consider the struggle most genre magazines have to be stocked anywhere.

I've been reviewing UK SF magazines for a copule of years now, and tracking their fortunes here on my blog. I started wondering what kind of people take up the task of launching a magazine, what problems they have to overcome, and whether it's inevitable that they won't make it to issue #10. So I decided to ask them. My first response arrived yesterday, so from tomorrow I shall be posting the first in a series of interviews with current and former editors of the UK's SF magazines.

I hope you find their thoughts enlightening.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Pulp Idol

SFX editor David Bradley has flown back into the country to answer my question about fiction in the popular newsstand SF magazines. He was probably coming back to the country anyway I guess, not just for my sake.

Here's his thoughts on the subject:

There is a difference between magazines that print SF stories, and magazines that comment on mainstream SF media. We fall into the latter category, and it is currently the most successful market in terms of mainstream newsstand sales, which is why I guess there are several other magazines in the same space now. There are popular and successful fiction magazines, though, and I know you're familiar with them from the commentary on your site. While many of them do a very good job, it is a different market to us.

SFX's continued success (we're the undisputed market-leading newsstand SF media magazine) comes from its choices regarding what it features. The content that helps our magazine to sell most is based on analysis and interviews (for instance, articles about the cast and crew of Doctor Who) and it would be a mistake to sacrifice these to experiment with fiction, for the obvious reason that we must appeal to our core audience. SFX is a big supporter of SF literature and we devote many pages to authors and books each issue, and I never say never to an idea, but a regular fiction section in the magazine would not be in keeping with SFX's current position or objectives.

That said: SFX actually prints stories once a year, in our annual fiction writing competition that results in a book we distribute on the newsstand. It's 'amusingly' called Pulp Idol and the next competition details are due to be released in April. These are aimed at new and amateur authors. You can find out more via our website.

Look out for author interviews (Iain M Banks, Stephen Donaldson, Brandon Sanderson) and fiction reviews in the current issue of SFX, number 167, on sale now.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Third #19 Review

I came across a third review of Jupiter #19 today, this one at SF Crowsnest.

Of Roadwalker, the reviewer says:

Roadwalker by Gareth D. Jones is the sequel to a previous story and, on reading this, it seems likely that there is something farther down the road in the future. The story could go on and on but, thankfully, it's well-written and there is mileage in it. An entertaining tale set in the future after civilisation has collapsed, it concerns the building of a road through the wilderness and the reaction of the people who encounter it.

New Releases

Available now for your entertainment:

Pantechnicon #6

Murky Depths #3, which I shall be reviewing in due course.

There's another new release due within the next couple of weeks that I'm really excited about, but I just can't say what it is yet...