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Darkling Plain Speculative Fiction

Entry updated 25 July 2019. Tagged: Publication.

US Semiprozine that paid professional rates, edited by David M Cox, Valley Village, California. It saw just two print issues, Summer 2000 (not released until October) and Fall 2001 (not distributed until March 2002). It was published in an intermediate format (9.25 x 7.75 in; 235 x 195 mm) which allowed for bold, expressive covers. Cox wanted to break down genre boundaries and present material as relevant to the mainstream as to sf, for which reason he called the contents both Speculative Fiction and "literate" science fiction. The result was a magazine that reflected the dark side of sf: reactive, sinister, uncertain rather than proactive, optimistic and positive. Interviews with the authors Douglas Clegg, in the first issue, and Dan Simmons in the second, emphasized this mood, as did the few classic stories that Cox chose to reprint, "Rappaccini's Daughter" (December 1844 United States Magazine and Democratic Review) by Nathaniel Hawthorne and "Viy" by Nikolai Gogol (1835 Mirgorod). There were new stories by Bruce Boston, Alan Dean Foster and Patricia Russo amongst others, all depicting aspects of speculative fiction that were fearsome or depressing. [MA]


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