Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

Walking Bones Have Been Declared Dead

One of the things I love about reading Cynthia Ward's Market Report column in the SFWA newsletter is the array of radiant and shameless names of the magazines in our genres. Sometimes those names add up to more than the sum of their parts, as in this elegiac excerpt from the "Save Your Postage" section of the column:

Amazing Journeys, Dark Fluidity, Deep Magic, Hell Inside, Lethe Dreams, Skullgrinder Magazine, and Wee Small Hours have been closed by their respective editors... Empires SF Magazine and Walking Bones have been declared dead. Flesh and Blood Magazine is ceasing publication. The League of Heroes has been cancelled. Space & Time Editor-in-Chief Gordon Linzner is retiring...Transylvania Times has finished its run and is discontinued. The Ultimate Hallucination is gone.

I love the way this train wreck of titles, all meant to evoke a sense of wonder, is at first so overwhelming as to be numbing, and then after a bit of unintentionally comic phrasing, they start conjuring up their literal meanings, with results that can only be absurd. Everything turns on the walking bones being declared dead. Suddenly, I'm picturing a Flesh and Blood Magazine that is actually flesh and blood. Horror, sacrament, or Pygmalion myth--take your pick. And the League of Heroes? Well, the guys just got too busy, now that their wives expect them to pull their weight around the house, so what could they do but disband? The editor of space and time had powers that might have compensated for our loss of a League of Heroes, but even he is abandoning our chaotic cosmos. At least the vampire population has shrunk enough that they can no longer support a newspaper of their own.

But the Ultimate Hallucination! Hey, Coleridge, however will we get along without it?

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! Those caves of ice!

But no such luck. The Ultimate Hallucination is gone.
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