Entry updated 2 April 2015. Tagged: Publication.
US Small Press literary magazine of science fiction and fantasy, published by Century Publishing, Madison, Wisconsin; a joint enterprise, for the first four issues, between publisher Meg Hamel and editor Robert Killheffer. The first issue appeared in March/April 1995, though there was a slim "preview" issue some months earlier. It was printed in review format (see Magazines), with artistic covers and nothing outward to suggest sf, fantasy or Speculative Fiction, a deliberate ploy to avoid any preconceptions. After four issues that were almost quarterly, it hibernated after January/February 1996 before two more issues appeared, thanks to an anonymous donation. Dated Winter 2000 (though released October 1999) and Summer 2000, these last two issues were published and edited by Killheffer alone, in New York. The sudden death of assistant editor, Jenna Felice (1976-2001), who undertook all the administrative side of the operation, curtailed any further issues.
The overarching thrust of the magazine was to blur the boundaries between genres and between genres and the mainstream, so that although some stories in Century were clearly science fiction – like "First Freedom" (March/April 1995 #1) by Greg Abraham and Mary Rosenblum (see Apes as Human) – and others clearly fantasy – like "The Magical Dilemma of Mondesir" (May/June 1995 #2) by Darrell Schweitzer and Jason Van Hollander – most were less obvious, in the interstitial realms of Slipstream. Killheffer's preference was for stories powered from within, driven by the writer's inner psyche and passions, providing a direct insight into the unknown. A defining example in the first issue was "Alien Jane" by Kelley Eskridge, an exploration of the "alien" within us all, which was nominated for a Nebula award. Many of the stories in the first four issues have a sense of the spiritual – "The Hands Remember" (May/June 1995 #2) by Beverly Suarez-Beard, "The Sons of the Fathers" (September/October 1995 #3) by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, even Avram Davidson's amusingly irreverent "The Metaphysical Force" (September/October 1995 #3). The stories in the final two issues are more cryptic, challenging and refocusing perceptions.
The nature of the magazine attracted work by writers known for their experimentation and avoidance of literary boundaries, including Michael Bishop, Avram Davidson, Carol Emshwiller, Michael Kandel, Jonathan Lethem and Don Webb as well as comparatively new writers whose work had yet to be defined, like J R Dunn, Kelly Link (with her first story, "Water Off a Black Dog's Back", #3 September/October 1995). The result was a refreshing reorientation of sf and fantasy opening new vistas on old territory. [MA]
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