Eidolon

Tagged: Publication

Australian Semiprozine, published from North Perth, Western Australia, by Eidolon Publications, quarterly (but later somewhat irregular) from #1, Autumn 1990 (published in May 1990) to #29/30, Autumn (May) 2000, edited by Jeremy G Byrne, Keira McKenzie, Robin Pen, Richard Scriven, Jonathan Strahan, Chris Stronach to #6 (October 1991), thereafter only Byrne, Scriven and Strahan. There were four double issues, #17/18 (Winter 1995), 22/23 (Spring 1996), 25/26 (Spring 1997) and 29/30 (Autumn 2000), so there were 26 physical issues. Eidolon was the most critically successful of all of the Australian magazines, winning four Ditmar Awards in 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1998 for Best Fanzine/semiprozine, and with seven further Ditmar or Aurealis Awards for its fiction.

An elegant, A5 desktop-published perfect-bound magazine, Eidolon had the appearance of an academic critical or literary journal – it called itself "The Journal of Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy". The magazine always did run insightful studies and interviews – Sean McMullen won a William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism for his article "Australian SF Art Turns 50" (Summer 1992 #7) – but its primary content was its fiction. Issue #9 (Winter 1992) was a special all-fiction issue from which Greg Egan's intimate story of body-sharing, "Closer" won a Ditmar. It had a healthy rivalry with its east-coast rival Aurealis, both magazines bringing cohesion to Australia's writing fraternity and providing a stable market for Australian fiction. Perhaps because of its regular editorial team rather than the rotating one at Aurealis, Eidolon succeeded in securing more regular contributions by the leading writers, notably Damien Broderick, Stephen Dedman, Terry Dowling, Greg Egan, Leanne Frahm, Rick Kennett, Rosaleen Love, Philippa Maddern, Sean McMullen, Geoffrey Maloney, George Turner and Sean Williams. Eidolon did not ignore American or US writers; it ran material by Jack Dann (though he had become an Australian resident in 1990), Harlan Ellison and Lewis Shiner and there were interviews and assessments of Lois McMaster Bujold, Kim Stanley Robinson and Howard Waldrop, but it was never at the expense of the Australian material and Eidolon, perhaps more than any of the other magazines, gave Australian sf a voice.

It ran several special issues. #17/18 (Winter 1995) celebrated its fifth-anniversary running to 224 pages of quite small print – over 100,000 words – which allowed the use of several longer stories; #24 (Autumn 1997) was dedicated to Australia's women sf writers, guest edited by Sarah Endacott; #25/26, another 222 page issue, was a tribute to George Turner.

Thoughts of reviving the magazine as an original anthology series led to Eidolon 1 (anth 2006; vt Eidolon 2007), edited by Jonathan Strahan and Jeremy G Byrne, which featured more fantasy than sf, but a second volume has yet to appear. [MA/PN]

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