My contributor copies of Kaleidotrope arrived the other day. I've read most of it and been enjoying it. First, it's important to realize how this magazine falls in with other magazines: the recent magazines I've received have been slicker--full-cover, glossy covers, perfect-bound, etc. That's not what this magazine aims for. It's lower budget, something you hold and feel like you could have put together yourself with a photo-copier and stapler. In this sense it's more like Shantytown Anomaly and Scifaikuest...but it's much bigger than either of those. And it's surprisingly enjoyable to read in that format--it has none of the feel of a collection from a high school creative writing class, as that description might have made it sound. It fits in with a tradition of other magazines from the small press that began this way, some of which have gone on to be highly regarded. Electric Velocipede comes to mind and Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and Sybill's Garage for a newer one that seems headed that way quickly. Given those comparisons, I was expecting stories to be a bit more on the literary side than I've found, and in general I'd say I find the poems to be more in line with my tastes than most of the stories, but the highlight so far (with a few items to go), are the three very short stories by Beth Langford. They border on prose poetry, especially two of them. Several of the poems, also, I think I'll be returning to for a second read, including...well, I was going to list a couple, but really most of them seem to be worth a second look at least (I kept paging through and think, "Oh, and this one too," until the list got too long).
I've been writing about the origins of the stories I have published here. There isn't a lot to tell with this one. Some years ago I had an idea for a YA series of fantasies and one character in there was going to be something I called a living stump. About I year ago I was writing a tongue-in-cheek story for a challenge and decided my idea wasn't strange enough, so I threw in a few references to the living stumps. People in one of my critiquing groups loved it and wanted more of the stumps, so I wrote this...which is a lot darker than that first, a major change in tone. Not everyone liked it as much, but those whose literary tastes I respect most enjoyed it.
Anyway, so that's Kaleidotrope. Go check it out, give it a read, tell me how awful my story was but how great you found the rest of it.