We cover exclusively fantasy magazines here at Black Gate… although our definition of “fantasy” can be pretty liberal. From time to time we’ve included science fiction magazines, horror zines, art and game publications, and others. If we think BG readers could conceivably be interested, we’ll give it a look.
Last week, more or less on a whim, I laid down $12.95 for the big Summer Reading issue of Tin House. Tin House is an American literary magazine, showcasing fiction and poetry from new and established writers. The magazine was founded in 1999, and has published fiction by Stephen King, Kelly Link, Jonathan Lethem, David Foster Wallace, Aimee Bender, Richard Ford, Donna Tartt, and many others. The Summer Reading issue is huge — 224 pages — and filled with fiction. In his Editor’s Note, Rob Spillman gives us a sneak peek at the contents.
For this issue, five New Voices caught our eye… We admired the confidence and precision of the prose in the short stories of Sarah Elaine Smith and Matthew Socia — Smith’s “Pink Lotion” following a problematic addiction recovery, Socia’s “American Tramplings” being the tale of a stampede epidemic. While discovering emerging writers is always a thrill, it is a different excitement reading the work of masters who are in full command of their powers. For readers unfamiliar with the latest Nobel Laureate, Patrick Modiano, his “Page-a-Day” (beautifully translated from the French by Edward Gauvin) is an ideal introduction, wherein the author explores his favorite subject — Paris — and obsesses on time, memory, and the legacy of World War II. In “Forgetting Mississippi,” Lewis Hyde revisits the brutal 1964 murder of two young black men. Hyde, who was a civil rights activist at the time, not only puts the crime in context but also does the seemingly impossible — searches for forgiveness.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover interior art accompanying each story — a practice I thought had long withered away in American publishing.
Some of the art, in fact, is quite fine, including the (uncredited) piece accompanying Tara Ison’s “The Knitting Story” (see left), which relates the poignant tale of an unnamed woman, from early childhood until her death, entirely through her various knitting projects (read the complete story online here).
Another nice surprise was discovering 10 pages of Paul Kirchner’s surreal comic strip The Bus, which originally appeared in Heavy Metal magazine. These are all-new strips, a real treasure. If you haven’t experienced The Bus, check out some of the classic strips here.
Of course, the magazine is also filled with plenty of other items of interest. I particularly enjoyed the ads, for offbeat mystery novels and an unusual memoir, from Tin House Books. Tin House looks like a magazine that could point you towards a lot of fine reading, if you have the time to digest it all.
See the contents of the latest issue here.
Tin House is edited by Rob Spillman. Print subscriptions are $34.95 for four issues; single issues are available for $12.95, and in multiple digital formats for $9.99. Purchase subscriptions and back issues at the website. The cover this month is by Shanon Playford.
We last covered Tin House with issue #33, the “Fantastic Women” issue.