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Harsh Mistress

Entry updated 21 May 2021. Tagged: Publication.

US Semiprozine published by DNA Publications, Greenfield, Massachusetts and edited by Warren Lapine with Kevin Rogers and Tim Ballou. Its title was taken from Robert A Heinlein's novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (December 1965-April 1966 If; 1966); this gave the impression to many that it was a bondage magazine rather than sf, which may have affected sales; nevertheless these were greater than most had predicted. There was a year's gap between the first and second issues, Spring/Summer 1993 to Spring/Summer 1994, during which time Lapine learned much about sf publishing and distribution. He listened to advice, and with the third issue changed the magazine's title to Absolute Magnitude: though the numbering reverted to #1, the original numbering incorporating the first two issues was also shown. These two issues were letter-size, perfect bound, with bold colourful covers, clearly printed and laid out. The first issue, with stories by Gerard Daniel Houarner, James S Dorr and others known from the Small Press circuit, was competent but not outstanding, the stories mostly poking their literary digits in the eyes of authority. The second issue was definitely a step up; it included a new story by Hal Clement, "Sortie" (Spring/Summer 1993), which proved to be part of a series that later emerged as his novel Half Life (fixup 1999), and a reprint of a story by Allen Steele from Asimov's, both names that could be boasted on the cover. Although there was dissension amongst the editors as to how the magazine should develop, it had achieved a strong start and, as Absolute Magnitude, soon established a presence. [MA]


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