August 21st, 2003

Dark Tower

Magazines (1)

I've been looking through the recent Locus magazine. We don't buy it very often -- we don't buy many mags of any sort very often, actually -- and mostly it's because we get a mention somewhere (not exactly a special achievement considering the weight of names per issue, and almost always because we happen to know the dynamic Cat Sparks. But their review of Kyla's story 'Kijin Tea' was very nice). Nonetheless, it's an incredible resource, for both writers and readers.

This issue was their graphic novel special, and we're not in it, but it was good to see their take on the field. Lots of words, in the Locus style, but also a 2-page comic 'What You Should Know About Comics' which seemed a reasonable summary, plus interesting reviews and retrospectives.

The thing about Locus, the reason I should get it more often, is that it makes me want to read SF and Fantasy! Just to capture what is described in the reviews, even for books I'd never look at twice (Nina Kiriki Hoffman's Time Travelers, Ghosts, and other Visitors seems a boring title by someone I haven't really heard of. Yet "Hoffman finds ways to unravel mental and cultural programming, unlock the minds of psychos, twist fairytales, and make her ghosts, were-folk, and time travellers work outside the usual rules of genre". I want it).

And I want to read Dan Simmon's The Illium, and David Brin's Kil'n People and Ursula Le Guin's "celebratory storyteller's voice" (that's Changing Planes), and maybe Robert Silverberg's Roma Eterna and, and... stuff.

But is there time? Do I have the concentration? Do I owe any loyalty to the horror genre which is also producing works I should be catching up on, but aren't?

Charles Brown, Locus editor, said in a talk I heard that we're going through a golden age of SF, because there is excellent stuff being written and published, and in lots of different genres besides. It's nice to know.

But then there's what is advertised in Locus -- ie, what gets the publisher's publicity money because it sells -- and that's quite different. It's all 'King Arthur becomes Mayor of New York', 'Area 51: Nosferatu', 'More Tales of the Knights Templar' and 'The Saga of the Sun Sword Continues!'. Is it all a sign of Armageddon, at least in the publishing trade? Maybe not (and hey, some of it might be good). But I think you've got to be paying closer attention that I usually do to see the signs of hope in the midst of it all.