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Patchin Review, The

Entry updated 10 July 2019. Tagged: Fan, Publication.

US Amateur Magazine of science-fiction criticism and controversy, edited by Charles Platt from Patchin Place, New York (hence the title). Seven saddle-stitched Digest-sized issues, typically 56pp plus card covers, dated July 1981 to March 1985.

The Patchin Review was intended to address what its editor saw as worrying trends in 1980s sf publishing, in particular the growing ascendancy of pure commercialism over literary values. Many articles did indeed discuss such topics, but the seriousness was leavened by Platt's joky gossip and advice columns as by Gabby Snitch and Cousin Clara, and by other mischievous features that generated more angry or anguished response than intended. Besides Platt himself, contributors of signed articles included Brian W Aldiss, A A Attanasio, Neil Barron, Gregory Benford, Alfred Bester, Edward Bryant, Algis Budrys, Philip K Dick (posthumously), Thomas M Disch, Harlan Ellison, David G Hartwell, Janet E Morris, Joel Rosenberg, Jody Scott, John Shirley, Norman Spinrad, Andrew Weiner, F Paul Wilson and Nicholas Yermakov (see Simon Hawke). The house pseudonyms Jane Doe and John Smith were made available for "whistleblowing" essays and other material that might cause professional repercussions to the writer; from #2 (September 1981) there was a lively and sometimes acrimonious letter column.

Initially announced as bimonthly, The Patchin Review switched to quarterly appearance with #3 (January 1982), a schedule only intermittently sustained; there was a particularly long gap between #6 (March-May 1983) and the final #7 (March 1985), a slim issue of 16pp plus covers. The full run was eventually assembled, with two additional articles by Platt on related themes, as The Complete Patchin Review (2019 ebook). [DRL]

further reading

  • Charles Platt. The Complete Patchin Review (Reading, Berkshire: Ansible Editions, 2019) [coll: ebook: assembling all issues of The Patchin Review plus 2 additional Platt articles: edited by David Langford: na/nonpictorial]

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