Right at this moment I’m beginning to wonder if this blog post is going to get written today, or if it is, posted. Suffering from a wonky internet connection. We—okay, I—have gotten so dependent on this ephemeral flow of electrons that I now find it hard, creation-wise, to function without them.
Case in point, the illustration to the left. That is Skelos #1, a new magazine of dark and weird fiction from Skelos Press. I ordered a copy when I first heard about it, and I admit this was mostly from nostalgia. See, when I was first entering the field, there were no online magazines like Lightspeed or Beneath Ceaseless Skies. In fact, there was no “online.” There were personal computers of various sorts, and something called a BBS, which was basically a bunch of users clinging to one central computer via analog modem. Yes, I am THAT old. Regardless, magazines like Skelos were almost the only game in town if you wanted to write and sell(?) fantasy fiction. Pro level magazines did pop up from time to time. Most didn’t last long. Pro magazines like Weird Tales or Fantasy & Science Fiction were the exceptions, not the rule. There were a lot more pure SF magazines around, but they wouldn’t touch a fantasy story with a ten-foot cattle prod. So it was the amateur and semi-pro magazines that filled the gap. Most were shoestring affairs, everything from perfect bound presentation pieces to saddle-stitched fanzine level crap, published only as long as the creator’s energy and money held out. Names like Copper Toadstool, Fantasy Macabre, Whispers, Weirdbook, Space & Time. Some of those names you may know, since Weirdbook and Space & Time have resurfaced in new incarnations. I would have included Weird Tales in that, but it has apparently died yet again.
What makes Skelos different from those late and (mostly) lamented ancestors is that it was crowdfunded through Kickstarter. A new print magazine of S&S and weird fiction almost feels like an anomaly, yet here it is. There’s a beauty to that. All it takes is enough people saying, “Yeah, I want a magazine like that, and I’ll chip in a bit to make it happen.” Made practical, or rather possible, though the internet.
Which, at the moment is giving me fits, so I hope this gets posted eventually. Anyway, I don’t claim to have anything profound to say about the magazine. I just got it, and confess I haven’t had time to read more than a few snippets. There’s an article on C.L. Moore and gender in Sword & Sorcery by Nicole Emmelhainz that I’m looking forward to reading, plus some familiar names on the ToC that I hadn’t seen in a while. So I wanted to do some Googling and refresh my memory about their work, looking for information that might trigger a more in-depth discussion, only hitting the roadblock, again, of my wonky internet connection.
Pretty much like everyone else who is privileged to use it, I love modern technology. Except when I hate it.