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Entry updated 19 February 2024. Tagged: Publication.

UK A4-size small-press Semiprozine, initially subtitled The Magazine of Mature Science Fiction & Fantasy; from issue 2 Science Fiction & Fantasy. Four issues Winter 1994 to Autumn 1996, edited and published by Paul Beardsley.

Substance aspired to fill a perceived mid-1990s need for a little magazine of good quality sf, traditional rather than avant-garde, seasoned with some fantasy, Interviews, news and letters. It seemed to borrow from Interzone a two-column format and several contributors – Stephen Baxter, Molly Brown, Peter T Garratt, Ben Jeapes and even Interzone editor David Pringle with nonfiction. Nevertheless it possessed a distinctive personality from the first, picking up good small-press writers and others: Gary Couzens, D F Lewis, Tim Nickels, Chris Kenworthy (who then metamorphosed into an Australian film director), Jessica Palmer, Colin P Davies (later to appear in Asimov's and Gardner Dozois's Year's Best SF sequence), and Sue Thomason, whose "The Steersman" (Spring 1995 #2) was perhaps the magazine's best-received story.

Issues 2 and 3 had full-colour wraparound covers from the magazine's main artist Rick Dawson, who quickly graduated to Interzone. Unfortunately circulation remained low, and the loss of "in-house printing facilities" cut short a promising start. [DR]


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