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Theaker's Quarterly Fiction

Entry updated 27 November 2018. Tagged: Publication.

UK Amateur Magazine published by Silver Age Books, Birmingham, and produced by Stephen Theaker (1973-    ). It began Spring 2004 and though it has retained the Quarterly reference in its title it has sometimes appeared bimonthly, which is no surprise for a magazine that enjoys being eccentric and unusual. It began very self-indulgently by serializing Theaker's own previously self-published novels Professor Challenger in Space (2000; Spring-Summer 2004) a long overdue but rather tongue-in-cheek new adventure for Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger, and "Quiet, the Tin Can Brains are Hunting!" (2001; Summer-Autumn 2004), a fun romp as Victorian crime fighters try to stop Dark Matter destroying the Universe. Continuing his self-indulgence, Theaker next ran three of his previously unpublished short stories, one under the alias Howard Phillips (H P Lovecraft), and all three involving characters who had appeared, albeit tangentially, in the earlier works. Theaker continued to include his surreal stories under various bylines – indeed, over time it became difficult to distinguish Theaker's aliases from genuine contributors – but real people did contribute, including Richard K Lyon and Andrew Offutt. A long serial, by John Greenwood, "Newton Braddell and His Inconclusive Researches into the Unknown" ran from issue #8 (Winter 2005) to #32 (January 2010), but not in all consecutive issues, and although the final episode is labelled "the Conclusion!" its final words are "end of Volume One". It involves the captain of a Spaceship who has become mesmerized by a Computer Game, loses all track of his mission and blunders through one world after another. Most issues feature one or another continuing serial or series, but issue #15 (Spring 2007) was "The Silver Age Treasury of Fantastic Literature": 23 very short tales (see Flash Fiction), all remarkably inventive. Although the magazine states that its primary goal is "to keep going", its real purpose is the publication of absurdist fiction which uses all of the images, tropes and concepts of science fiction and mutates them into indescribable forms. Most of the magazine reads like a combination of Lewis Carroll and Rhys Hughes via Spike Milligan with a hint of James Joyce. Theaker's is a magazine for all devotees of the absurd (see Absurdist SF). [MA]


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