Harbinger

Tagged: Publication

Australian sf Semiprozine which could claim at the time to be the only one in Queensland. It was produced by Erika Lacey of Woodbridge, Queensland with the assistance of Jason Kennedy, with Vincent Watego as art editor and, from issue #2, Robert N Stephenson (see Altair) providing the layout. It ran for four quarterly issues dated January to September 1999, though the first issue was distributed from November 1998. It was a slim, digest-size, side-stapled format into which were squeezed seven or eight stories per issue plus articles, reviews and artwork so, of necessity, most material was brief and generally light, although as issues progressed darker material emerged. Two stories stood out: "Funeral Rights" (July 1999) by Alison Venugoban, considering the plight of a funeral director in a future scorched Earth, and the Military SF "Escape from Stalingrad" (September 1999) by Kain Massin. There were lighter stories such as Kurt von Trojan's jibe at bureaucracy and political correctness in "Aliens are Equal" (January 1999) and Geoffrey Maloney's depiction of the role of sf writers in a future Alien Invasion, "SF vs the Aliens" (April 1999). The nonfiction included profiles of current Australian sf writers and overviews of different aspects of sf, such as Robert N Stephenson's study "Religious Speculative Fiction" (July 1999) (see Religion). Harbinger was an entertaining magazine that rose to and occasionally above the occasion. Sales were poor, however, and Lacey ended up giving away copies several years later. [MA]

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