Parallel Worlds, issue #1 (e-mag review).

September 10, 2019 | By | Reply More

‘Parallel Worlds’ is a new, free webzine launched this month. The headline article is an interview with Isaac Childres, creator of ‘Gloomhaven’ and most of the pages are devoted to Games and Gaming, a subject I know absolutely nothing about. However, it contains other stuff, too, concerning which I am quite prepared to bore you with my opinion.

‘H.P. Lovecraft, 100 Years On’ by Ben Potts opens with the obligatory warning that the great man was a racist, so anti-semitic that his Jewish wife left him because of it. If he was all that anti-semitic he wouldn’t have married her, surely. As far as I know, they parted amicably because she found a job in another city and he wanted to return to his beloved Providence, Rhode Island but I’m relying on memory and Potts could be right. I also think he changed his views on race towards the end of his life and regretted some of the nastier writings but, again, I may be in error. In any case, nearly everyone was racist back then and who can blame them? They were terrified of Fu Manchu.

Apart from these niggles, great article. Potts makes a good case that scientific discoveries during Lovecraft’s lifetime revealed the scale and complexity of the universe and this led to his views on the insignificance of human beings. His love of Edgar Allen Poe meant that he expressed this idea as weird tales rather than Science Fiction and he created a whole new sub-genre of cosmic horror.

Potts then provides a good overview of the major works and notes their continuing influence on fiction, comics and games. ‘Lovecraft chose to write in a thick British style, which was already out of date at the time.’ Agreed. On the other hand, if anyone says they find Lovecraft unreadable I understand why but I think that, like Conrad, he’s worth the effort. His style grows on you and the slow build-up allows for effects that are otherwise difficult to achieve. ‘The Colour Out of Space’ is still my favourite SF/horror short story.

In ‘Breaking The Time Law: How Fantastic Is Too Far?’ Richard Watson ponders the flexible border between Science Fiction and science fantasy. Suspension of disbelief is blown to pieces if the writer gets it wrong but the wrongness depends on the reader, too. The author, for example, is mildly exasperated by the ‘flux capacitor’ in ‘Back To The Future’ but that’s because he’s a trained scientist.

Like all of us, he cheerfully accepts the Force, lightsabers and other nonsense because ‘Star Wars’ declares itself right from the start as science fantasy. Time travel and FTL travel are accepted tropes of Science Fiction that might really be classed as science fantasy. An interesting piece. I don’t remember the flaw he points out in George Clooney’s ‘Gravity’ but I was annoyed by other things in it.

This issue also features a book review, the book being ‘Blood Of An Exile’ by Brian Naslund which is evidently an unsurprising but competent and enjoyable epic fantasy novel. There’s a short story which, appropriately for the main subject of ‘Parallel Worlds’, is set in a game. ‘Call Of Demons’ by Allen Stroud is an immersive read that takes you to bad places with the narrator. Neat idea and I liked it. There’s a feature about Kickstarter projects that are coming out soon including Immortal Era #1 by Edward Davies, a comicbook set in a dystopian future that looks interesting.

‘Parallel Worlds’ has lovely artwork throughout and is beautifully designed, a pleasure to the eye. I enjoyed all the non-gamer articles and fiction and thought it was well worth a read. There is tons of stuff about Gaming and Gamers so for that group it is even well worth a look so I recommend it highly and it’s free, though obviously you would sign up to support it via Patreon or Ko-Fi if you were a decent sort.

Don’t feel guilty if you fail to do that. Oh no. Just let artists and writers work for free or better yet, let someone else pay them. After all, you didn’t ask them to produce a magazine did you? It’s a free country. Why should you pay? Hmmph!

Eamonn Murphy

September 2019

(e-mag. price: FREE!)

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Category: Books, Scifi

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