In the course of a discussion with Graeme Hurry, editor of multi-genre fiction magazine Kzine, about the trials of breaking into the exploding ereader market, and the apparent lack of anti-ereader feeling amongst the physical press community, I discovered that the British Fantasy Society has been reviewing every issue of Kzine. Here, in its entirety, is their take on Issue 1 and my contribution to it:
“Those of you over a certain age might remember a small-press magazine called Kimota. Kzine is the latest re-incarnation, a downloadable ebook for this technicological age. Back then, Kimota was well received, praised for its quality and variety of stories. I must say Kzine issue one lives up its heritage, with a wide range of stories of various lengths and genres, covering SF, fantasy, horror, crime, and all the slipstreams in between. There are seven good stories this issue, here are my favourite three.
The opening story is “The Family Programme” by Caroline Dunford. It’s the future, and everyone has access to advanced technology. Jimmy is a young college student, very good with the tech, but not so good with the social parts of life. When he finds a virtual female, he is delighted, but she has an agenda of her own. It’s a good opening, with believable characters, well written, and one that makes you think.
“Blue” by Julie Travis is hard to categorise, slipstream horror maybe (or bloodstream?) It tells the story of a young woman fighting depression, almost literally in this case. It’s very intense, deep, and intelligent. We could do with more stories like this.
“Leila” by Martin Owton is a story of a physicist who invents a device to travel to a different dimension, and uses it in a very imaginative, if amoral, way to solve his woman troubles. Excellent stuff.
What we have here is a selection of stories you wouldn’t find anywhere else, never mind together. And startling good value at the price. Those things combined, I’d give this 10/10.”
It was very pleasing to see that the reviewer, Steve Dean, really understood what Blue was about. The story has previously been described as ‘surreal’ and I can see why, but there’s also a huge streak of reality running through it. Mental illness has been romanticised by some (the mad/tortured genius artiste is always fantastic from a distance) who don’t comprehend the utter misery that it can be for both the sufferer and those around them, although it’s fair to say that many of the world’s great creative people have suffered various mental disorders. Perhaps it’s a matter of putting that strange energy to good use, for the well-being of the sufferer: for some, creativity is a major key to their survival. And sometimes the rest of the world benefits.