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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Review: Interzone Magazine (Subscription)

Interzone Magazine (kindle compatible electronic edition) is a British science fiction magazine. Now, if you're a typical "intellectual elite", your typical thinking is that the British version of any magazine is usually better than the American version. For instance, The Economist is better than Newsweek (kindle edition), and Cycling Plus is in a completely different league than Bicycling magazine. (In fact, bike snobs call Bicycling Buy-cycling for the rampant commercialism exhibited in the magazine as parodied in Bike Snob NYC)

The worst thing about British magazines are the expense of getting them. With the advent of electronic editions, however, Interzone is actually affordable ($24/year from Fictionwise, DRM-free), so I took the plunge and subscribed. For the subscription, I got access to PDFs as well as mobi-book editions (for my Kindle). As expected, the PDFs were nice for before I got my Kindle, but once I got the Kindle it was the only way I could see reading an electronic magazine.

Head-to-head comparison with Asimov's Science Fiction (kindle edition) are inevitable. For your money, $34 will net you 10 issues of Asimov's magazine, and each Asimov's has quite a bit more content than the average Interzone issue. What Interzone has in spades, however, are the interviews with Authors like Iain Banks and Greg Egan. Furthermore, I noticed that Greg Egan tends to get published more frequently in Interzone.

How about story quality? With 4 issues under my belt, I'm afraid I have to say that the typical story in Asimov's seems just a bit higher quality. This might just be a taste thing, but I also like the typical story in the Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy (DRM-free electronic subscription) as well, so I'm afraid I have to say that Interzone comes up short compared to both the major speculative fiction magazines out there. That said, however, if you like author interviews (and the interviews are OK, not blow-your-mind great), I think Interzone is your only real choice, and at $24, the price is right. (Note: I can get Asimov's for $18 a year on paper, but I am seriously considering the Kindle edition or the DRM-free edition once my paper subscription lapses)

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