On Writing, Page 6

Missteps and Pitfalls (January 27, 2008)

I had hoped to post a new literary review this weekend but, alas, that was not to be. It takes me (surprisingly consistently) six hours to type, edit and post literary reviews onto my website, and several hours more in reading and preparation time. As I am generally previously unfamiliar with the zines I review, along with stories from them, I must read all of their available background information and several stories within them in order to write a meaningful review and do justice to the publications in question.

It sometimes occurs that zines I investigate prove unsatisfactory to review for various reasons, as was the case with the last two zines I investigated, which has caused this delay in posting a new review. Thus, it’s back to the drawing board, and I hope to have one up as soon as possible. In the interim, I have decided to write an article inspired by comments I had made on the forum at Bewildering Stories, which I consider to be my “home zine,” even though I have no association with it beyond having had my story and a review published on it.

The first of the two zines I recently investigated was simply too amateurish to be worth reviewing, though I laud its publisher/editor for his obvious passion for literature. In regard to the second one, I declined to review it because of its content. I simply found it to be “over the line” in regard to bad taste, which is a shame as I found it to be a most impressive online publication in many respects, especially in its presentation. It also contains innovative technological features which I have not previously encountered and which I find most impressive and useful.

Unfortunately, aside from being an impressive publication, its obviously intelligent and erudite staff seems bent on “impressing” as well, reminiscent of an overage frat party. The quality of the writing per se presented on the zine, both by the staff and contributors, is superb, though it is also all too much along the lines of similar publications I commented upon in passing in the course of my review of a story (“Photosynthesis”) from The Pedestal Magazine, though certainly not directed towards that piece or esteemed online literary journal. The banter on the zine by the editorial staff, and much of the material they choose to publish, reminds one of a high school honor student discoursing on Steppenwolf (the novel, not the rock band) to his or her friends, with an exposition replete with expletives deleted. Click to continue:

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