Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Relaxing with the Fireside

Fireside Magazine
electronic, $3.99 single issue, $8/yr subscription

No, that isn't a typo in the title of this post.  That really is the word "with" rather than "by".  I'm not talking about a literal fireside, but a figurative one.  In this case the first issue of Fireside Magazine, which went on sale just a few days ago as I write this. 

This is a new illustrated nongenre fiction magazine I told you about a couple of months ago. And by nongenre, I don't mean a literary magazine.  Instead, the stories aren't restricted to a particular type of genre.  Editor Brian White is looking for good stories, regardless of genre.

I think he succeeded.  Let's take a closer look at what the issue contains, shall we?

There are four short stories and one comic story sandwiched in the middle.  The comic story ("Snow Ninjas of the Himalayas" by Adam P. Knave, D. J. Kirkbride, Michael Lee Harris, and Frank Cvetkovic) was the only thing that didn't work for me.  The illustrations were fine, but I couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to buy into the story, probably because it's hard to cram a lot of story into a few pages.  The concept of a comic included in each issue, though, is a good one that should be continued.

Ken Liu's "To the Moon" is the cover story.  It's a tale of a lawyer who has to defend a man seeking asylum in the states.  It's probably the heaviest story in the issue, dealing with the legal system and the reasons we do and don't allow immigrants into the country.  I'd classify this one as realism and magic realism because of the way Liu structures it.  It's ultimately unsettling, which I mean as a compliment.  Liu challenged me to think and question my assumptions.

Next was "Emerald Lakes" by Chuck Wendig.  It features his character Atlanta Burns and is a prequel to Shotgun Gravy.  It's a nice little piece of noir in which Atlanta metes out justice in a mental ward.  I enjoyed it enough to put Shotgun Gravy on my list.

The third story, and my favorite, was a science fiction story by Christie Yant, "Temperance".  It's a time travel story with a flawed protagonist.  It could easily become the inaugural story in a series, and I hope it does.  I'd like to know what happens next.

Tobias S. Buckell has the final offering in the issue, "Press Enter to Exectue".  I got the sense Tobias' spam filter has been active lately.  It's about a hit man hired to go after spammers.  This one twists to the end and kept me on my toes.  The only quibble I have with it is a factual point.  One of the characters says that death row inmates in Texas are electrocuted.  Actually, we've had lethal injection for years and retired the electric chair some time ago.

Overall, this was a great first issue, and I'm glad I supported it on Kickstarter.  Brian White and his team have set themselves a high standard to match for coming issues.  If they can, and I have no doubt they will, then I expect to see stories from this magazine on the award ballots before too long.  The fact that stories from all genres will be printed has the potential to make this a major market with fierce competition among submissions.

That's if White and his team can get enough support through sales to keep the magazine going.  Writers and artists cost money, you know.  Here's where you can help.  Single issues are $3.99, and a one year subscription is $8 (for 4 issues).  Check this magazine out.  If you like what you see, tell a friend.  I'd like this one to stick around for a while.

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