Black Matrix Publishing, with my story Some Theories Regarding the Current Crisis nestled somewhere in its nether-pages.
Normally at this point I'd say that I can't actually comment on the magazine because I haven't seen a print copy, and while that second bit is true - I believe it literally just came out today - the first bit isn't. That's because Black Matrix make canny use of some neat technology to let readers sample the first few pages on their site. (This tool, by the way, is something I've seen nowhere else, and I'm bewildered that more magazines haven't adopted it.) So I can say with confidence that Encounters is one of the best-presented small press 'zines out there, with an emphasis on clarity and readability (something else I'm often puzzled by the lack of, even in the professional publishing world) and some nice, eye-catching artwork. I was also impressed by Guy Kenyon's editorial, the gist of which is that he wants to put out a magazine full of good fiction and get it read by as many people as possible. Needless to say, that's pretty much exactly what I want to hear from an editor who publishes my work.
Of course, these are all things that Guy's been getting right since day one, and pretty much the reasons I submitted to him in the first place. I've mentioned many of them before, but I figure they warrant repeating - one of the reasons why being a discussion that I touch on at the end of this post.
Before that, though, a few notes about Some Theories Regarding the Current Crisis. I've mentioned the gist before, I believe, (think atmosphere-driven sci-fi with an emphasis on spooky weirdness), but it occurred to me a few days again that I've never credited Alasdair Stuart's considerable input. Some Theories was actually written for a planned shared-world antho that Al was cooking up with the York writing group he hosts, and much of the background (as well as a fair share of the weird) is his contribution. After I left York I rewrote it to help it stand on its own two snow-shoe'd feet, and of course I'm far too mean to consider giving Al a co-author credit or anything like that, so I'll settle for pointing out what an excellent writer (and human being) he is, that he has more good ideas in the tip of his pinky than I do in my whole damn head, and that some of them went towards making Some Theories what it is today.
That being, spookily weird. I said that, right?
Lastly, something that readers may possibly find interesting: In the early days of Black Matrix Press, author John Scalzi wrote a blog post castigating them for their low pay rates and Guy Kenyon responded on his own blog. This is a subject that I've written on quite extensively myself here, and one I find both interesting and under-discussed within the industry. I've been thinking a lot about the small press lately, and what I'd like to see it doing in a perfect world, and I plan to put some of those thoughts down here when I get a spare few minutes. In the meantime, I find John and Guy's comments interesting because they sum up so well the fors and againsts of what Duotrope's Digest calls token-paying markets.