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Entry updated 19 February 2024. Tagged: Publication.

US Digest Semiprozine published by Fairwood Press, Seattle by Patrick J Swenson and Honna Swenson. It was initially saddle-stapled but became perfect bound from #18 (Winter 2000). It ran for forty issues from Fall 1995 to Winter (December) 2009, plus an advanced "preview" issue distributed at the Portland "Westercon" Convention at the start of July 1995. It was quarterly from the start but graduated to twice yearly by issue #25 (Spring 2002).

The name Talebones suggested connotations of horror to many, and Swenson later admitted that the magazine received a very high quota of horror stories. After the first few issues almost all of the covers featured sf images to emphasize that aspect. From the start Swenson had always intended it as a magazine of "science fiction and dark fantasy" and most issues carried at least one or two sf stories, sometimes more. They were frequently dark and sinister, such as the alien world described in "Madness Blows the Winds of History" (Spring 1997 #7) by Tom Piccirilli, beautifully illustrated within the magazine and on the cover by Tom Simonton, one of the magazine's best artists. The story was later reprinted in Apex with which the magazine has a close affinity. Don D'Ammassa provided a rather more straightforward sf story, though no less horrific for its description of travelling through Hyperspace in "Translation Station" (Summer 1996 #4). In "Your Life, Fifteen Minutes from Now" (Spring 2000 #19), in which an astronaut is unable to return to Earth and faces the prospect of dying in space, Nick Mamatas concentrates not on the astronaut but on the sudden celebrity status of his brother. The author Barry Malzberg becomes the inspiration for Tony Daniel's "Barry Malzberg Drives a Black Cadillac" (Winter 2001 #23). These few examples show that the science fiction in Talebones was varied and original and this continued through to the end, many stories becoming increasingly more sinister portraying a bleak outlook for society and its future.

Until issue #33 Talebones also had a regular Interview feature which had run from the start with Howard Waldrop (Fall 1995 #1). Others of particular sf relevance include, in issue order, Roger Zelazny (#3), Fred Saberhagen (#7), Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch (#8), Tim Powers (#9), Spider Robinson (#10), K W Jeter (#13), Connie Willis (#14), Jonathan Lethem (#15), Edward Bryant (#16), Vonda N McIntyre (#17), Greg Bear (#19), Amy Thomson (#20), Dan Simmons (#22), Charles de Lint (#23), Harry Turtledove (#24), James P Hogan (#25), Joe Haldeman (#26), Kevin J Anderson (#27), Ben Bova (#30), Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (#31).

An Anthology selected from the magazine is The Best of Talebones (anth 2010) edited by Patrick Swenson. [MA]

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