24 June 2005

Gadzooks! Good 'Zines!

I sat down to write a review of a recent 'zine (that is, little little magazine) and decided I didn't like this particular issue as much as some past ones, so I passed on it, but then I went and caught up with some others that had been waiting patiently for attention, and then I started making connections in my head, and began to write those connections down, and now I'm 3,000 words into an article about some of them -- an article that may, once I actually read it, prove to be idiotic and in need of being put out of its misery, so I thought I should point you toward the new issues of 'zines that are most definitely worth your money, because if I wait to do it till I've finished the article ... well, it might never get done, and these fun little publications deserve at least a bit of support:

First, Christopher Rowe and Gwenda Bond edit Say... [insert question here], and the latest (fifth) issue is Say...Have You Heard That One?. They're having a subscription drive with prizes. I wasn't as blown away with this issue as with issue four, so if you haven't read that one, be sure, when you buy your subscription, to also ask for back issues (I don't know if they even have any, but it's worth asking). The current issue reads well and is fun, particularly Larry Hammer's story "Paul Bunyan and the Photocopier", which caused me to laugh mightily, because I have lost many hours of my life to evil photocopiers.

My subscriptions have just run out to both Flytrap and Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. This is a bad thing, and I must repent of my sins and soon correct the problem, especially since I have looked upon the latest two issues and I have found them to be Good. The fourth issue of Flytrap seems to me to be the most solid one yet. I don't think it has some of the Truly Extraordinary stories of a couple past issues, but there are also no stories that are just eh. There's a Secret Life by Jeff VanderMeer (this one of a librarian), a bunch o' poems by Daphne Gottlieb, a column by Nick Mamatas that might annoy some people, but that I really loved. Some musing on words by Jed Hartman. Some short reviews. Oh, and fiction. By lots of great people like Karen Meisner, Jeremy Adam Smith, Michael Canfield, Jay Lake, Jeffrey Ford, Theodora Goss, Melissa Marr, and Sonya Taaffe (who is also in Say.... She's the 'Zine Queen. And she's has two books published this year. Eeek -- I just went to the Prime site and discovered that a comment I made here has not only been posted as a blurb, but moves across the top like a CNN scroll on crack! [Blush.] Prime publishes a lot of great books, that's all there is to it.) Jeffrey Ford's "Holt" is odd and enigmatic, and Theodora Goss's "The Belt" is kind of disturbing (in a good way), and one of the best stories I've read from her since the classic "Rose in Twelve Petals" (which may be too recent to be called a classic, but will be seen as such someday, so I don't mind using the word now). I also thought Jay Lake's "The Lizard of Ooze" was probably the best story of his I've read -- utterly zany and wildly inventive.

LCRW is always fun, but the fifteenth issue is particularly fun, with goofy things like Benjamin Rosenbaum and Paul Melko's "Collaborations by Well-Known Twentieth-Century Authors Which Were Rejected By Their Publishers and Are Now Collected", a kind of McSweeney's-esque piece of amusement, but actually amusing (the collaboration between Gertrude Stein & Dr. Seuss: Green Eggs and Ham and Ham and Eggs and Eggs and Ham So Green So Green). The poetry in this issue of LCRW is also quite strong -- by Nan Fry, Mary A. Turzillo, Carol Smallwood, and Suzanne Fischer. All very much worth reading. Gwenda Bond is here, too, as Aunt Gwenda the advice columnist, this time getting a little bit unhinged by the thought of having to live for four more years with George W. Bush as the millionaire in the Oval Office instead of whichever millionaire it was who was running against him (oh, yeah, Treebeard). There are some good short stories this issue, too, though the only piece that was as good as the best stories published in last year's issue is Stepan Chapman's "The Life of Saint Serena", which is the funniest story I've read in a long time. It's truly a perfect story, with not one false sentence. And some of the sentences are about horse excrement.


  1. I defintely agree about your comment regarding Prime, although not all of the book are the first time they have been see,n they show excellent taste. I have enjoyed everything I have read (to some degree) by Mamatas, Jeffrey Thomas, Holly Phillips, Cisco, Kirsten, and looking forward to reading an example of Ms. Vanlente's work soon, and anticipating Matthew Rossi's forthcoming collection 'Bottled Demons' with some anticipation after reading his 'Things that Never Were'

    Big ups to Mr. Wallace for consistently putting out a quality product.


  2. Thanks for the plug -- sorry you didn't take to this issue as much as the last one. I really think it's one of the strongest issues we've ever put out. But then again, I feel that way about every new issue. A hazard of editing.

  3. Matt, on the Dark Cabal, isn't it SOOOO obvious that this is the same gang that call themselves "The Mundanes?" I also doubt that these are "professionals," but are rather wannabes trying to fool everyone with the snazzy talent they have for writing critiques. Rumor has it that the Dark Cabal's newest member, Ebony and Irony, is Kij Johnson. There's a major spoiler coming out in the next week concerning these two groups, andit is going to be VERY disappointing.

  4. I love Jay's "Lizard of Ooze", and it's probably my favorite story of his, too. I first read it a while back when he sent it around for crits, and kept bugging him about it until he let me publish it. :)

  5. Ha! I love that "anonymous" chides "The Dark Cabal" for anonymity.

    If they do good work, who cares? If they don't, nothing unusual.

    I've seen a lot of posts of people connecting the Cabal to Mudane SF. Wouldn't it be funny if we learned, once again, that because we hear a rumor three times, it must be true.

    Ah, the sweet smell of rumor and conspiracy.

  6. Matt, we're glad you enjoyed our list of Collaborations. Two more have recently been unearth during the course of our continuous research on the matter. The first is a little known musical called Brigadune by Herbert, Lerner, and Loewe, about two hunters in Scotland who stumble upon a village not shown on any map, where the residents refine a drug excreted by slugs that allows a person to sleep for 100 years. No known copies of the music exist, so no one knows how the tunes go for "The Gathering of Fremen" and "The Thumper on the Hill." The second is a more recent collaboration between John Gray and Kim Stanley Robinson called Men are from Blue Mars. It's a detailed look at the dangers of mixed-sex, deep-space missions, solicited from NASA, but subsequently unpublished as the administration's stance on manned deep-space missions has changed.

    I'm sure there any many more failed collaborations out there, if only we look.