Alchemy

Tagged: Publication

US Small Press magazine that paid a sufficiently high wordage rate to be classified as professional, though it did not have a wide circulation. It was published by Edgewood Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, edited by Steve Pasechnick and saw only three undated issues, published in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Published in review-size format, 88 pages, and comparatively expensive at $7, beautifully designed by Bryan Cholfin but with no internal illustrations, it had all the appearance of an elitist "little" magazine, but this was all part of a package of what reviewers regarded as the best magazine of its day. With no editorial commentary of any kind the stories spoke for themselves and each stood out. None of the stories is science fiction by strict genre definition. Some are best described as Fabulations, or Magic Realism. They presented, simply and plainly, people and places we might somehow recognize but where the unreal intrudes. They have a dream-like quality, nightmarish in some instances, which nevertheless suggests events that may happen. Even those which seem outright supernatural on the surface, such as Sarah Monette's "The Séance at Chisholm End" (#3) have undercurrents of reality that challenge the reader's perception. Others, such as "The Fall at Shanghai" (#1) by Alex Irvine and "Letters to Budapest" (#3) by Theodora Goss are closer to the Fantastika of Kafka in their distortions of an unsettling world. "Sand Dollars and Apple Halves" (#2) by Barth Anderson is a surreal story of obsession. Definitions are best ignored when reading Alchemy, because the stories are simply wonder tales that redirect awareness. Inexplicably none of the stories won any genre awards. Other contributors include Dale Bailey, Carol Emshwiller, R A Lafferty, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, Holly Phillips, Sonya Taafe, Amber van Dyk and Timothy Williams. [MA]

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