Entry updated 12 February 2021. Tagged: Publication.
Irish low-paying magazine of sf, fantasy and horror fiction which appears irregularly; formerly two or three times per year, latterly once or twice; there was a three-year gap between issue #47 in 2016 and #48 in 2019. First issue, Summer 1993, but undated from issue #4. Originally published by Tachyon Productions, Dublin, Eire, as an A5 booklet, the publisher became Albedo One Productions, Dublin, from issue #12 (1996), and it switched to A4 format. Digital copies in PDF format have also been available for purchase through its website since issue #25 (Summer 2002) and since Summer 2010 the website includes new fiction as Albedo 2.0 Fiction Showcase.
The magazine is edited by a consortium which includes John Kenny, Frank Ludlow, David Murphy (who stepped down in 2013) and Robert Neilson, some of whom had been involved with an earlier magazine, FTL. At the start it did not pay for contributions, but began to make minor payments from issue #23 (2001) with a more significant word rate from #32 (2007). The story voted best in the issue received a bonus. None of this, though, is enough to qualify it as a Semiprozine under US criteria but by all other perceptions it should be recognized as one. Despite this, it has attracted a number of major writers including Esther M Friesner, Colin Greenland, Ian McDonald, Norman Spinrad, Brian Stableford, Jeff VanderMeer and Liz Williams.
Albedo One's stated objectives were to provide a market for Irish sf writers, and to place Eire on the sf map. It succeeded on both counts and with the latter it won three European SF Society Awards for Best Fanzine, Best Magazine and Best Publisher in 1997 and 1999. Irish contributors of interest include Sam Millar, David Murphy, Mike O'Driscoll, Nigel Quinlan and Dermot Ryan. But the magazine has much wider coverage and has published authors from Canada (Paulo da Costa), Germany (Darren Speegle and Ruth Nestvold), India (Anil Menon), the Netherlands (Tais Teng) as well as Great Britain and the United States. It is one of the more cosmopolitan sf Print Magazines.
Its fiction is likewise often international in content, bravely exploring the more oppressed areas of the world and bringing hope through solidarity or perseverance as in "Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet" (#14 1997) by Ian McDonald and "Crowned by Lightning" (#18 1998) by Tais Teng. Although much of the fiction is dark and challenging, it has its lighter moments such as Leo Boyd's eccentric "The Death of the Reader" (#28 2004) or the fantastic adventure parody "The 'mazing Adventures of Captain Cadwallader" (#20 1999) by Noel K Hannan or the Steampunk "Queen of Engines" (#31 2006) by Dev Agarwal.
Besides its fiction Albedo One includes book reviews, reader feedback and two strong features. Every issue includes an interview with a major writer adding to the headline names it publishes. This began with Julian May in the first issue and has included, in issue order, J G Ballard (#2), Terry Pratchett (#4), Pat Cadigan (#5), Lois McMaster Bujold (#6), Jonathan Carroll (#8), Anne McCaffrey (#10), Harry Harrison (#11), William Gibson (#12), Joe Haldeman (#15), Norman Spinrad (#17), Patricia Anthony (#20, an Anthony special issue), David Brin (#21), Michael Moorcock (#23), Kim Stanley Robinson (#25), China Miéville (#26), Ian Watson (#27), Alan Dean Foster (#29), Charles Stross (#31), Christopher Priest (#32), Geoff Ryman (#33), Alastair Reynolds (#35), Greg Egan (#37), James E Gunn (#38), Mike Resnick (#39) and Iain M Banks (#41). The other feature is an occasional opinion column, "Echoes from the Phantom Zone", which, when not used by the editors, can feature comment by anyone under the alias Severian. Writers have given vent to their views on publishers, book reviewers, the quality of award-winning fiction, fantasy and the creation of names in fiction, amongst other contentious matters.
Albedo One adopted full-colour covers from issue #28 (2004) and production values have improved considerably since the start despite being unsupported by any arts or government funding. In 2003 the editors established Aeon Press as the book-publishing arm of Albedo One. This was followed in 2005 by the first Aeon Award with prize money of €1000 for the winner of an annual award for the best original short story, which would also be published in Albedo One. The first winner was "My Marriage" (#31 2006) by Julian West.
An increasing number of stories from Albedo One have been selected for various annual Year's Best anthologies. It is a diverse and rewarding magazine, never afraid to explore new territory. [MA]
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