Monday, April 16, 2012

Little Magazines




I received a copy of NEEDLE in the mail today. I'd already bought one, but I think perhaps Steve Weddle, the terrific editor who manages to get these out regularly,
sent me one not knowing that. I have every issue of this zine as well as the first issue of GRIFT and two issues of PULP MODERN.


Along side of them are two copies of MURDALAND-which folded due to lack of support. I can't tell you how great those two issues were. That was in the day before they could be printed for a reasonable amount. And a sad day, it was. And although it may be a bit easier to keep a magazine afloat, it does require some devotion from the crime- loving community.

BEAT TO A PULP: ROUND ONE
and CRIME FACTORY: FIRST SHIFT also sit on my shelf although they are not technically zines. Just darn great anthologies. There are some great online ones too, but I can't cover all the bases at once.

The stories in these little magazine and anthologies are often on a par with EQMM and AHMM (IMHO) although they are darker, grittier, sweatier, and clearly the work of mostly younger writers.

I have read a dozen or more stories in these zines that are equal to what I see in the older magazines. The voices may be different, the story less focused on traditional crime solving, but the elements are still there.

If you haven't tried any of these newer print zines, I urge you to try a copy. If we want to hand over the car, we have to have the drivers ready to drive.

15 comments:

Dave Zeltserman said...

For years there have been many exceptional stories on web-zines and in these smaller magazines--some really imaginative and high quality stuff well deserving of the BAMS recognition that some of these stories have received, but I also find some very uneven stories. On a whole, EQMM and AHMM maintain a higher level of consistency with all their stories, and they all reach a level of professionalism with both the writing and the editing. So yes, the very best stories I've seen in the best webzines and best small crime magazines do match up with the best stories I've seen in AHMM + EQMM, but after that there's a drop off.

I don't think that's at all true that AHMM and EQMM seldom make room for new writers. I see new writers get published all the time, and from what I know of both editors, they're looking for the best stories they can publish. Competition there is much fiercer than the smaller mags, and of course they have a narrower focus, but newer writers certainly shouldn't be discouraged from submitting to those magazines--I talked at least one discouraged but very talented writer into submitting, and she ended up getting a story accepted. But I also strongly recommend that writers read several issues of both magazines so they get a better of the editors' taste and the type of stories they're looking for-- it's never a good idea to submit blind. While I was always proud of the stories I published on Hardluck, very few if any would've been a good match for either EQMM or AHMM.

Thomas Pluck said...

They are excellent publications and I honestly find myself reading every story in them, unlike EQMM and AHMM, where I tend to skip over tales that don't grab me within a page. I suppose they need to aim for a broader audience.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I'm not attacking them. I'm saying that they are looking for a particular kind of story for their readers. And not every writer, even very good ones, wants to tailor their writing to their fairly specific desires.
My purpose here is to support the new zines, not trash the old ones, but point out, there needs to be more places where people can publish their writing.

Dave Zeltserman said...

Patti, the spectrum of what AHMM and EQMM is a lot wider than you think. I've published a wide variety of stories of these magazines that cover the full spectrum of crime fiction--and some darker (in a subtle way) than anything ever published on Hardluck. But that's the difference, you have to be more subtle in some cases, and violence and sex and profanity have to be toned down, or more hinted at.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I subscribe to EQMM and, of course, your JK stories are clever and exceptional--just like your books. Julius Katz is a terrific invention although most of your books are a good bit darker.
There are always some good stories in EQMM, and others that I don't finish--just like with every anthology I pick up, every magazine.
Again, please don't regard this as an attack, just a plea that we support these newer ventures too.

Erik Donald France said...

I'm all for little zines, paper and virtual, underground and spectral ~~ it's all good~~!

One of my favorites from a while back when I worked in Duke's library was Thomas Merton's hand-produced Monk's Pond.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - A very well-made point about those smaller publications. Very often they publish extremely creative stories that might not make the better known publications. Indies fill a niche.

Anonymous said...

Nice posting, Patti. Enjoyed reading it!

Ed Lynskey

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Ed.

David Cranmer said...

I read them all but find myself devouring NEEDLE, PULP MODERN, and now GRIFT a lot faster. They have the pulse.

Dan_Luft said...

What's also nice about these smaller magazines now is that you no longer have to wait a year to get a response the way you might've back in the 90s. It's a small thing but a big help for the contributors. I remember the days of walking to the copy shop and printing up 30 copies of stories (or poetry) and sending them out like messages in bottles. About 3/4 would get answered.

Naomi Johnson said...

I'm reading the latest issue of Needle now. I should thank Steve Weddle for leaving my name in as an associate editor, but I had to give up that job a few months ago. I had only seen one of these stories prior to publication.

Doug Levin said...

This is a great little discussion, thanks. I agree that Janet Hutchings (EQMM) and Linda Landrigan (AHMM) do great work; I don't know how they keep it up. (My bias is that they've collectively published three of my stories.) That said, they do have a broad audience, and not every story is for every person. Sometimes too rejection or acceptance is based on current needs and story balance (e.g., we don't need "a mobster with a heart of gold" story right now). My problem is that I have trouble keeping up -- with EQMM, AHMM, smaller magazines, independent anthologies, etc. I'd also rather read a novel. And, after I started writing longer fiction, I've found little time to write stories.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A great issue it is, Naomi.
I guess I will also always prefer to read a novel too. Although I read short stories all the time, I am also always reading a novel.
I wish they were more open to stories that were not so traditional, Doug. And I would also like to see them take chances on different styles of writing. But they are the gold standard still.

Todd Mason said...

And don't forget THE STRAND or CRIMEWAVE or (even if you might want to) OUT OF THE GUTTER (and HARDBOILED might yet publish another issue). Actually, there have been equivalents to the POD that the zines you highlight have been using for a while, such as the photocopying HARDBOILED and PULPHOUSE employed, but as with POD, the package often doesn't quite have the sharp look of the higher-end productions. But those, conversely, still cost dearly.