Friday 30 December 2011

Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #39 – now available for free download!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year! In this issue we have six more stories of Thornton Excelsior from the magnificent Rhys Hughes, mutant ultraviolence from Mike Sauve, and a science fiction tale from our dear friend Douglas Thompson. Ben Ludlam illustrates a Thornton adventure, and there are lots of reviews, from Jacob Edwards, Douglas Ogurek and me. Also, a mention for two people without whom I would have struggled to keep the magazine going these last two years: Howard Watts, who with his wonderful cover art has saved me from the quarterly hell of trying to create covers myself (TQF21’s awful, awful artwork still makes me shudder), and my co-editor John Greenwood, who has read virtually all the submissions this year.

In this issue we also have our very first interview! I found the interviews I did for the BFS’s Dark Horizons (with Brian Stableford, Lev Grossman and Allen Ashley) to be a fascinating challenge, and had wanted to initiate something similar here. I was in the middle of reading three brilliant books by Matthew Hughes (see Majestrum, Hespira and The Spiral Labyrinth in this issue’s review section) and so he seemed like the perfect choice. I hope such interviews will become a regular part of the magazine, but I will try to restrict myself to people for whom I can formulate at least semi-intelligent questions.

I made one big mistake with this issue, letting unfinished reviews build up and then trying to finish them all at the last minute. It’s delayed this issue by about a week, so to avoid that in future I’ve introduced a new Theaker rule: no starting a new book till I’ve finished a first draft review of the last one. (The most important Theaker rule is that having offered a cup of tea, you must make it.) A pile of yellow Silvine exercise books will assist in this plan.

But although it made us late, we did end up with lots of reviews: of books from Matthew Hughes and E.C. Tubb, audio adventures for Dick Barton and Doctor Who, and comics featuring Atomic Robo, Conan the Barbarian, Frank Miller's Holy Terror, Ian Churchill’s Marineman, the Incredible Change-Bots, Stan Nicholls' Orcs and many more. In games we look at Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition and Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team. In film and television we review MelancholiaParanormal Activity 3, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 1Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

One previous reading rule came a bit of a cropper this quarter: Even Stephens, my plan to review books by male and female writers alternately. It worked pretty well at first, but then got quite confusing when I read some books by male writers, but not for review, and then reviewed them anyway, and then had to hold them back while I tried to get some books by female writers reviewed to catch up. What a mess! But I’ll try to do better next time, perhaps by tweaking the rule so that instead of reviewing books by men and women alternately, I read books by men and women alternately. That’ll stop me getting into a muddle.

In 2012 we have to bring you more fantastic fiction, more reviews, more artwork, more features and interviews, and if we can persuade our ducks into a line, more books. We’ll continue to be quarterly—seems to be working well—with weekly (if not twice-weekly) reviews appearing on the blog, along with comment pieces and flagrant hit-bait. Let us know if there’s anything you think we should be doing, because, to be frank, your ideas are probably better than ours!

This 96pp issue is available in all the usual formats, all free except the print edition, which we’ve priced as cheaply as possible:

Paperback from Lulu
PDF of the paperback version (ideal for iPad – click on File and then Download Original)
Kindle (free)
Epub (ideal for Sony Reader)
TQF39 on Feedbooks

More about the sweet-toothed elves who have let us steal their candy sticks this Christmas…

Ben Ludlam is an artist from the wastelands of County Durham. See for more of his work.

Douglas J. Ogurek’s work has appeared in the British Fantasy Society Journal, The Literary Review and Dark Things V (Pill Hill Press). He has also written over fifty articles about architectural planning and design. He contributes reviews of Paranormal Activity 3 and Breaking Dawn to this issue. He lives in Illinois with his wife and their six pets.

Howard Watts is an artist from Brighton who provides the Christmassy cover to this issue. He has previously provided covers for Pantechnicon, Dark Horizons and TQF.

Jacob Edwards is currently indentured to Australia’s speculative fiction flagship Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, as Jack of all Necessities (Deckchairs and Bendy Straws). To this issue he contributes a review of the film Melancholia. The website of this writer, poet and recovering lexiphanicist is here:

Mike Sauve has written non-fiction for The National Post, The Toronto International Film Festival Group, Exclaim Magazine and other publications. His online fiction has appeared everywhere from Feathertale, Frost Writing and Rivets to university journals of moderate renown. Stories have also appeared in print in M-Brane, Black and White Journal, The Coe Review, Palimpsest 2010, and elsewhere.

Rhys Hughes has been a published writer for almost twenty years and in that time he has written six hundred stories, published twenty books and been translated into ten different languages. The Tellmenow Isitsöornot, a bumper ebook collection of one hundred stories, is available from Smashwords here:

Stephen Theaker is the eponymous co-editor of Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction, and writes many of its reviews. His work has also appeared in otherwise respectable publications such as Prism, Black Static, Spark (a long, long time ago) and the BFS Journal.

All thirty-eight previous previous issues of our magazine are available for free download, and in print, from here.


  1. Many thanks for the kind words, Stephen. It has been a pleasure to help with the covers, and I hope to keep the ideas coming for 2012.

  2. Thanks to you, Howard!

    I'm already looking forward to the next one - I'm going to change the way I format the review section to make it less of a faff to typeset. (Basically, I'm copying the way Black Static do it, but don't tell them... might as well steal from the best.)

  3. You're more than welcome - my next piece is going to be the best I've ever put together...
    Happy New Year to all at TQF!