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Dark Planet

Entry updated 25 July 2019. Tagged: Publication.

US amateur Online Magazine produced by Lucy A Snyder. It saw four formal issues between September 1995 and January 1997 and then became a cumulative magazine with stories, essays and reviews added periodically. There were eleven more fiction uploads between July 1997 and November 2001 when, due to time constraints, the magazine was mothballed. The first issue, one of the earliest in a wave of online magazines that followed the emergence of Omni Online, arose from Snyder's graduate studies in journalism at Indiana University where Snyder was permitted to create an online publication as her Master's project. That issue carried no fiction but consisted of an essay by Snyder with Nalo Hopkinson about their experiences at the Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop in 1995, plus several poems arising from the workshop and an essay by Hopkinson about Octavia Butler's receipt of the Genius Grant. Dark Planet featured fiction from its second issue, Winter 1995, but Snyder found it increasingly difficult to attract any fiction of merit, especially as she was a non-paying market, and so sought material that she could reproduce from existing printed sources starting in the third issue (Summer 1996) with "The Portable Girlfriend" by Doug Tierney which had previously appeared in Selling Venus (anth 1995) edited by Cecilia Tan. Snyder was thus amongst the advance guard of those who provided the first online publication for previously printed sources. This included work by Brian A Hopkins, Kelly Link, Ardath Mayhar and Gary A Braunbeck, including an advance excerpt from his novel The Indifference of Heaven (3 March 2000; 2000). Dark Planet had no specific policy. Snyder published whatever good fiction, articles and poetry she could acquire. The fiction ran the whole range of hard sf, fantasy and horror. The range can be typified by three examples from the upload of 6 July 1998: "The Third Way", an exciting sf adventure story of an escape from a space Prison by Jennifer Andress, "Via Annelise" a stream-of-consciousness horror story of displaced awareness, labelled as Slipstream, by the pseudonymous Shelly Auclair, and a humorous sf story about problems arising from plastic surgery and genetic engineering, "The Man With the Foot-Long Nose" by H Turnip Smith. The memory of Dark Planet has soon faded, but at the time it was a pioneering magazine that contributed to the growing presence of science fiction on the web. [MA]


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