Last month I was surprised to see Holdfast Magazine win the 2015 British Fantasy Award for Best Magazine or Periodical. Mostly because I’d never heard of it.
How is that even possible? I personally cover, like, a jillion magazines here at Black Gate. How does a new one sneak up on me like that?
Well, it’s true what they say. This industry will always surprise you, no matter how well informed you think you are. I’ve now done my homework on Holdfast, and am duly impressed. The magazine was founded in the UK by Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee; it is a free online quarterly that explores all things fantastic. They publish 3-6 pieces of original speculative fiction every issue; their website states that:
We interpret speculative fiction as an umbrella term for Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Utopian, Urban fantasy, Alt History, Dystopian, Apocalyptic, Post-apocalyptic… and as many odd, weird and bizarre variations herein. We celebrate speculative fiction by focusing on specific aspects of the genres in themed issues, picking apart each topic in a detailed, analytical yet entertaining way. These genres have so much to offer the literary world, and we want to share our passion for this rich, fascinating and varied resource.
Previous themes have included Religion and Politics; Location and Landscape; Diversity; Objects, Artefacts and Talismans, and Animals, Beasts & Creatures. The theme this issue is Time, and it includes contributions from Elizabeth Hopkinson, Nicki Heinen, Deborah Walker, Sian Lorna Dawson, and Matt Harris.
Here’s the issue description:
In Issue#7 we look at the way time has both influenced, and featured in, speculative fiction; whether it is examining current social structures through dystopian futures or drawing from our past to create fantastic worlds. We are so excited to have Tamora Pierce as our featured author, and talk to her about how her obsession with the Middle Ages as a child inspired her writing, as well as about writing the role models she felt were missing in fantasy. We have some wonderful short stories and poetry by Deborah Walker, Sian Lorna Dawson, Matt Harris, and Nicki Heinen in our fiction section. Find Sonia Mullet’s latest column on out-of-print SFF works, and a look at East Asian visions of the past and future by Lucy in our non-fiction section. And in cross media find our Terminator movie marathon, read about time travel and romance in Lisa Kerrigan’s article, and about TV show Quantum Leap in Time Travelling Without Moving by Tom Riley.
And here’s the complete fiction TOC:
Holdfast is quarterly, but they add bonus articles and stories each month, so it pays to regularly check out their website.
Holdfast is edited by Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee. This is the 38th issue. They do not offer subscriptions, but they raise money by selling a print anthology of the magazine here, and donations are gratefully accepted here.
The cover this month is by Mat Andrew.