When I arrived at the KGB Fantastic Fiction reading on Wednesday, Matt Kressel, who co-hosts the reading series and also runs Senses Five Press, handed me a copy of Sybil’s Garage #7. I started to protest that I don’t like reading fiction in magazine format. Then I realized he had given me a POD trade paperback. Suddenly I was a lot more interested.
At a young and formative age, I acquired a couple of Terry Carr YBs from the 1980s and became a devotee of SF and fantasy anthologies. It’s still my dream to edit one. (Someday, someday…) As I began collecting anthologies–which now occupy an entire bookcase, floor to ceiling, in my library–I found a special love for unthemed series, like Damon Knight’s Orbit and Carr’s Universe. Sybil’s Garage, a quietly upstart zine for its first six issues, seems to have turned into just such a series with its switch to trade paperback format. Matt confirms that he plans to put out one “issue” a year.
When I asked why he made the switch, he cited distribution concerns. Low-budget small-press zines get shoved to the very top or very bottom of magazine racks when they make it onto magazine racks at all. Low-budget small-press books, on the other hand, are just about as easy to produce and vastly easier to get into stores and in front of readers. Given that, I wonder whether other zines will follow suit. There have certainly been zine/book crossovers, like the Best of Strange Horizons Year One and Year Two anthologies and The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. Still, seeing a zine wholly transform itself into an anthology series without any real change in content is fascinating, and perhaps a harbinger of things to come.
The reading was deeply awesome, by the way. The world is about to be very impressed by Cat Valente’s Deathless and M.K. Hobson’s The Native Star. Deathless is still in production and won’t be out for a while, but The Native Star is due out in September; keep an eye out for the review in PW‘s online review annex.