December 8th, 2008

blue tyson

The Best Of Black Gate Magazine - An Appreciation

Black Gate Magazine - An appreciation

This is long, so there's more after the cut if reading this on livejournal, anyway.


Website :

Black Gate is an adventure fantasy magazine that apparently is theoretically supposed to be quarterly. At 12 issues in 8 years it doesn't even really get to biannual, really. So the irregularity and not very many-ness is certainly a valid criticism. It is large sized, and for those unfamiliar with technical publishing details and what to call them like me, it looks like a squarebound paperback roleplaying game book more than anything else.

Fantasy is seen as conservative, and the fantasy magazines (Weird Tales, Realms Of Fantasy, Black Gate and the myriad micromags that are mostly fantasy) are certainly technologically backward when compared to their science fiction heavy counterparts. It is starting to change now, though, it seems. The latest issue of Black Gate is available for download as a sample There is also now a group blog that you can subscribe to by RSS feed, see above for details. Weird Tales has a website, similarly, too.

You'll find several articles of interest here including a look at C. L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry and Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword. Reviews, interviews, author links and more in a newly updated and upgraded website. I'm not much of a fan of text on black background on the web, but this is at least not too garish. A print only version/standard black on white counterpart would be nice to have, though.

However, all that aside, Black Gate is high quality. It also has easily the most innovative use of artwork I've seen in a mag, with covers included in reviews and articles, and similarly illustrated sidebars with artist profiles or illuminating other aspects of the content.

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