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Nova Express

Entry updated 24 August 2017. Tagged: Publication.

US Amateur Magazine published by White Car Publications, Houston, Texas, edited by Michael Sumbera to #12 (Fall/Winter 1992) and thereafter by Lawrence Person. 22 issues from Spring 1987 to Summer 2002, originally three per year but irregular from 1990 on. It began inauspiciously, calling itself the "'Zine of the Avant Garde", stating it wished to "give people exposure" and determined to use the new technology to make the magazine something other than "another fanzine". The translation of a long Albanian poem, "The Inferno Junior" by Robert Deike, in the first issue, certainly ticked several of those boxes. Nova Express – its title taken from William S Burroughs's Nova Express (1964) – soon became the voice of the new underground of science fiction, though an underground that, like moles, left evidence of their existence everywhere. The magazine ran some fiction, but it was never a significant part of the content and was phased out under Person. The magazine bloomed with its third number, a Howard Waldrop theme issue, dated Fall/Winter 1987 but not published until early 1988. This issue seemed to give the magazine a mission to champion a new generation of writers and especially those struggling to find a new voice, a new shape, even a new sound for science fiction. This mission gave the title its meaning. Future issues considered the work of George R R Martin (Spring 1988 #4), the "state of the art?" (Summer 1988 #5), Steampunk (Winter 1988 #6), John Kessel (Summer 1989 #8), Pat Cadigan and George Alec Effinger (Fall 1989 #9), Pat Murphy (Summer 1990 #10), Pamela Sargent (Winter 1991 #11), Bruce Sterling (Spring/Summer 1995 #13), Walter Jon Williams (Fall/Winter 1996 #14), post-Cyberpunk (Winter/Spring 1998 #16), Slipstream (Fall/Winter 1999 #18), Neil Gaiman (Spring/Summer 2000 and #20 Fall/Winter 2000 #19), Tim Powers (Spring/Summer 2001 #21) and Paul Di Filippo (Summer 2002 #21). Alongside these authors and themes, who were discussed, analysed and surveyed in a variety of ways, were extensive reviews of the field and reader feedback which provided a background chatter all contributing to an awareness of change. Through Nova Express, readers gained a significant understanding of the viral remedies that coursed through the genre in the 1980s and 1990s. Nova Express was nominated for a Hugo award in 1997 in the Fanzine category, which rather failed to capture its importance. [MA]

see also: Science Fiction Eye.


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