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Entry updated 22 January 2024. Tagged: Publication.

US digital magazine produced by Daniel Appelquist, originally while he was at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, but which he continued to maintain over the next six years. It was the first digital sf magazine, with 22 issues from October 1989 to July 1995, initially as an E-Zine distributed to 127 subscribers, eventually becoming an Online Magazine via Compuserve in March 1992 and then as a Webzine at its own website in August 1994. Appelquist was helped from the start by Jason Snell, who would subsequently set up his own e-zine InterText. Interest in Quanta was evident by the rapidly growing number of subscribers, reaching 1300 by December 1990, 1800 by October 1991 and exceeding 2000 by December 1992. It was also evident in the number of contributors ready to submit to the magazine, which was non-paying. None of these writers went on to establish themselves amongst the professional magazines, but their material was every bit as readable. The most regular contributor was Christopher Kempke, who contributed nine stories overall, one in each of the first eight issues, all showing a diversity of plot. "Going Places" (October 1989) concerns the use, misuse and misunderstanding of Psi Powers, "The Rules of the Game" (December 1989) is a straight other-world fantasy, "Corporate Stress" (February 1990) is a clever blend of Magic vs science with an errant AI. "Burning, Burning" (February 1991) by Tom Maddox became the first chapter of that author's novel Halo (1991).

Appelquist also took the bold move of running a serial, "The Harrison Chapters" (July 1990-July 1995 incomplete) by Jim Vassilakos, originally written as a setting description for his Traveller Role Playing Game. The serial did not reach its conclusion in Quanta but has subsequently been posted complete online. Appelquist's confidence was such that he ran two further serials, "To Touch the Stars" (July 1993-August 1994) by Nicole Gustas and "Microchips Never Rust" (July 1993-August 1994) by Eric Miller whilst the penultimate issue was given over to a complete novel, "Moonifest Destiny" (January 1995) by Peter Gelman, a tongue-in-cheek proto-Steampunk adventure of a voyage to the Moon by Balloon in the 1840s. Quanta was not only a pioneer amongst sf magazines, but was also a great success and achieved much that later magazines still struggled to overcome. [MA]

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