Issue 1, 1st November 1995: SF---Substance
- WHAT IS SUBSTANCE?
Substance is a Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine. It's A4, 56 pages, and appears twice a year.
- WHAT DO WE PUBLISH IN SUBSTANCE?
Mainly fiction. The first three issues each carry eight or nine short stories, most of which are under 5,000 words, although issue 4 will feature a 12,000 word story by Gary Couzens.
On the non-fiction front we have a resident interviewer, Sally Ann Melia, who talks to major authors such as Storm Constantine, Colin Greenland, Molly Brown and Stephen Baxter.
We also print an editorial, a letters page, the occasional author profile and book review, and other short articles.
- WHAT SORT OF FICTION IS IT?
Traditional SF dominates, but we also have a healthy respect for Fantasy. We're not unduly worried about categories, and we're not averse to including Horror, if it's handled with sufficient maturity. Once in a while we'll publish something "experimental", but we're primarily interested in good storytelling, aiming for a mixture of the thoughtful, the exciting and the funny.
So far we've published fiction by Stephen Baxter, Molly Brown, Peter T. Garratt, David Redd, Ben Jeapes, Sue Thomason, Lannah Battley, Jessica Palmer, D.F. Lewis, Chris Kenworthy, Hick Turnball, Tim Nickels, Lorin Emery and many others.
- WHAT ABOUT ARTWORK?
We feature work by Alan Casey, Debs Dumbrell and Rick Dawson. By issue 2, Rick started doing colour covers for us. Matrix had this to say about issue 2: "A quite beautifully produced and illustrated sf magazine, edited by Paul Beardsley... The production values of this magazine are stunningly good; although all the interior artwork is black and white the reproduction is superb, and puts many professionally produced magazines to shame."
Rick's cover for issue 3 is even better.
- HOW IS SUBSTANCE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SMALL PRESS MAGAZINES?
Substance arrived to fill the gap in the market left when New Moon, Far Point, The Gate and R.E.M. disappeared, leaving the professional magazine Interzone without any competition. Virtually nobody else in the British small press was publishing "real" SF; Fantasy stories, at best, resembled dreams written up, and Horror was largely confined to inept gross-outs, usually involving young women being butchered.
In Substance we are committed to providing a quality product. We print stories which go beyond the obvious, and avoid cliches. We embrace the freedom and the discipline of the SF and Fantasy genre, and attempt to realise its great potential. We publish "name" authors, not just to boost sales, but because we know and admire their work. These authors in turn (we like to believe) send us work because they know it will appear in good company. We also publish relatively new authors, with some of our best stories written by people who have never appeared in print before.
Because we are interested in how SF relates to the real world, we recently began an occasional series of short articles that explore the question, what real events most resemble SF? Interzone editor David Pringle started the ball rolling in issue 3, with an imaginative piece called "The Peopling of a New Planet".
In issue 1, we published Neville Barnes' "The Ice Cloisters", the first story in a "shared world" series featuring the Talesh. This was well received; we intend to print more in the future.
- HOW CAN YOU GET A COPY?
Send a cheque to Neville Barnes at 65 Conbar Avenue, Rustington, W. Sussex, England, UK, BN16 3LZ. It's £2.50 per issue, or £9 for a 4-issue subscription. (Overseas purchasers please allow a further £0.80 for Surface Mail.) Tell us which issue you wish to start with. Oh, and don't forget to include a return address!
Back to magazine.