Another One Bites the Dust

Realms of Fantasy Magazine is closing its doors.

Its the latest in a series print genre mags going out of business.

I remember the first SF/F magazines I bought back in the mid-1990s: Science Fiction Age and RoF. SFA closed in 2000, and RoF closed briefly last year before being bought by a new publisher. The new version of the magazine was trimmed significantly–less reviews with less staff, some shoddy work with layout, but the stories were still good.

I’ve been meaning to write a post about what the “discovery” of Zarmina will mean for SciFi (if you can call it a discovery when there is still debate about exactly how habitable it could be, and whether it really exists at all), so it seems kind of funny that this has come up. A lot of early stories posited what life would be like on planets we knew about–Mars, Venus, Jupiter. At some point we just stopped writing about them and started describing imaginary places instead. I’ve been wondering if there will be a slew of stories about Zarmina–or Gliese 581g if you prefer, and I really kind of hope so.


This Just In: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century!


This little pamphlet came in the mail just now. It is adorable. Printed in 1933 to promote the Buck Rogers radio serial, financed by Kellogs Cereal, it introduces the reader to the world of Buck Rogers. Written in the first person and illustrated throughout, it discusses Weapons of the 25th Century, Non-Recoil Energy and Spaceship Navigation, and my personal favorite, Women Soldiers:

Equality of the sexes had been one of the developments brought about during five centuries. It was part of the education of all young girls to spend a certain amount of time in military service as well as in various industrial and mechanical activities. Naturally, most of them stayed in the kind of service to which they were best fitted (and the mechanical conveniences of the age made them practically as efficient as men in nearly all lines) unless they married. Then they adopted home-making as their career, and were subject to call for military or other service only in case of emergency.

Buck Rogers, created by Philip Nowlan, initially appeared in a short story in a 1928 issue of Amazing Stories, before being adapted into a popular comic strip in 1929. The radio program appeared four times a week from 1932 to 1947. Multiple films and television series appeared through the 1930s into the early 1980s, with some video games even being produced in the 1990s. A new monthly comic based on the character appeared in 2009. The character has been among a handful of science fiction icons to gain mainstream acknowledgement, though Buck does not enjoy the current notoriety of Star Trek or Star Wars. It’s too bad, as “all that Buck Rogers” stuff inspired many fans to explore more deeply into the genre.

We’ve been blogged!

Monday I gave a fun tour to the editors of Space Squid, who donated several of their back issues as well as their special “Clay Tablet” issue. They let me talk a lot (which, uh, I do), and then reported their trip on multiple blogs. So here’s a round-up for you:


Matthew Bey at No Fear of the Future: Sci-fi excursion to College Station.

Snip: The archive itself is behind a locked door that has cold, dust-free air whistling through the cracks. The archive’s environment system is similar to the ones used in nuclear submarines, Ms. Coker tells us.

To maximize space, the shelves slide on motorized tracks. It’s the sort of library that Katsuhiro Ôtomo would have designed.

Bey posted more pictures and commentary at his other blog, Zombie Lapdance.

Snip: Note, the third or fourth largest science fiction research archive in the world uses the term “sci-fi.” So all of you who want us to use “spec fic” or “skiffy” instead can just bite it.

Nicky Drayden at Diary of a Short Woman: Writer’s Life: A Three-Hour Tour, a Three-Hour Tour.

Snip: Seeing a replica printing press in action gave me a real appreciation for my word processor. It takes six hours to set the type for two pages, during which your eyes go crossed from trying to sort the teeny letters. The ps and qs look so similar (not to mention the bs and ds), and it’s easy to forget that they’re reverse images, which is where the saying “Mind your ps and qs” comes from. Also, the metal letter pieces are grouped in containers called sorts, and when you run out of a letter, you’re “Out of sorts.”