Monday, November 16, 2009

DeathRay Science Fiction Magazine Is no Longer of This World

I have to admit I'm very late in passing this along, but then, I'm very late in hearing about it. There were three oversized UK science fiction media magazines not too long ago: DeathRay, Sci Fi Now, and SFX. As of October, apparently, DeathRay is no more, according to blogger Lee Harris.

The official site of Blackfish Publishing, which produced DeathRay and Filmstar, currently includes a note that both magazines are "on hold," which could mean anything. EIC Matt Bielby writes on that page, "Quite what the future holds for Filmstar, Death Ray – and, indeed, Blackfish – remains unclear, but we hope to have more definite news over the next week or so. Keep watching this space, because as of now quite literally anything (or nothing) could happen." That was several weeks ago, so "the next week or so" will have to be elastic.

It's always sad when a magazine goes under, especially if (a) it's a science fiction magazine, and/or (b) it's an ambitious magazine, which DeathRay was. Still, as I've noted here before, I never thought DeathRay was different enough from SFX and Sci Fi Now -- all three are pretty interchangable in their snarky, laddish approach to covering the genre and in their graphic presentation. That's not necessarily bad; Brit attitude can be refreshing at times. I just miss having other voices that sound like real other voices and not echoes. That won't change with DeathRay's passing. Er, "on hold"-ness.

There's still a big hole in the U.S. magazine market for a quality SF print magazine. The UK magazines are nice, and I did recently fill the void in my mailbox by taking out a subscription to SFX. But they don't cover the U.S. market the way an American magazine would. And the French-sourced Fantastique doesn't do it, either. Will a champion arise to take up the mantel laid aside by Starlog? ("Hiatus" is just another word for "on hold.")

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