Beyond #1

Review by David J. Howe

This is an impressive debut. David Riley has successfully managed to combine the work of some of the best critics and writers in the field, to come up with a new monthly newsstand magazine. Beyond's brief is to cover the worlds of Fantasy and Science Fiction through short stories, articles, interviews and reviews. Riley boldly states in the editorial that 'while it will be my policy to publish fiction by some of the most well-known names, I will always remain eager to publish new writers as well. Everything we publish will be evaluated on its own merits, regardless of who wrote it.' This policy must be applauded but, of course, it remains to be seen if the newcomers break through, or even if anyone contributes.

The premiere issue leads with a story by the late Karl Edward Wagner. Gremlin is just superb. A portrait of the author as a starving no-hoper with a little of The Elves and the Shoemaker mixed in. A cracking start. Then we leap into the schlocky world of Troma films with an interview with Lloyd Kaufman. Stephen Laws’ previously unpublished ‘Rediffusion’ prize-winning story sees light of day next, and it is easy to see that the young Laws was marked for greatness.

The standard of all the material herein is high, and with regular columnists Keith Brooke, Kim Newman (with a column imaginatively titled ‘Kim Newman’ and a paragraph explaining the title) and Stephen Gallagher (with the first in a series of articles helping aspiring writers – Ramsey Campbell’s excellent series in this very publication completely failed to generate any feedback so I hope that Gallagher has a slightly more responsive audience) on board, things are looking up.

The layout and design are mostly pleasing, although the whole magazine has a very ‘fanziney’ feel to it. Worst offender are the book review pages which are very sloppily laid out, with book covers that have obviously not been scanned (or scanned very badly) as they look like poor photocopies. There is also a problem with the layout grid. Just when I thought I had it worked out – two columns for fiction, three otherwise – they go and use two columns for Steve Gallagher’s piece and two columns again for Dave Sutton’s excellent review of the small press.

Aside from this, Beyond is nicely presented, and deserves your support. Edited by David Riley.

This review was originally published in 1995, in the March/April issue of the BFS Newsletter (#19.2).