A few weeks ago, Safaa Dib, who is on the editorial staff at the Portuguese SF/F publisher Saída de Emergência and who is the managing editor of the affiliated magazine Bang!, offered me two issues of Bang! as well as David Soares' 2011 novel, Batalha, for review consideration, with the stipulation that I let her know what I thought of the magazine (I will be reviewing Soares' book in the very near future). Since I like to blog about matters related to non-Anglophone SF, I thought I'd just take a few pictures from the October 2011 issue (I also received the March 2012 issue, but have not yet had the chance to read through it like I did the October issue) and write about my impressions of the magazine's format and content.
My first thought when seeing the cover is that reminded me of a cross between the larger-circulation US gaming magazines in its size and use of vivid color and Weird Tales magazine for the central image on display. Very well done and certainly it caught my attention in a positive fashion.
I then began to thumb through its pages. Due to Bang! being run by Saída de Emergência, naturally there would be some pages (and advertisements) devoted to new and upcoming titles from the publisher, both in translation from English original titles and from Portuguese writers. It was nice to see what was being published and promoted and the layout certainly was easier on my eyes than several seasonal catalogs I receive from US publishers that usually are in black-and-white.
There were a wide range of articles and stories in this 80 page issue, many of which were by authors such as David Soares, whose article here, "Fantasy and Reality: The Parents of Science Fiction," is apparently part of a recurring feature. These sorts of commentaries were the first things I read in depth, because I was curious to know what Portuguese writers and fans had to say about SF in Portugal and across the globe. Certainly a different perspective than what I receive from North American or UK-based blogs and publications.
One neat little feature that I really liked was the excerpting of local bloggers' comments on the publisher's recently-released books, as it provides more visibility to those in Portuguese SF/F/H fandom(s) who are writing about the books they've read. It's easy to forget that there are a multitude of voices blogging and reviewing materials outside of the Anglophone blogosphere, so seeing these brief reviews was interesting and I may look into these blogs in the near future. (Edit: Safaa informed me on Twitter that bloggers appearing there can cover non-Saída publications and that the magazine is free. Sweet.)
There were four short fictions that appeared in the October 2011 issue. Two of them were translations from older English-language stories (such as this translation of Kelly Link's outstanding "The Specialist's Hat" and an old Cordwainer Smith) while the other two were stories written by Portuguese writers (Luís Corte Real and Pedro Vicente Pedroso). I will be reading through these later, but a cursory glance at the translation for Link's story read very well. Nice artwork to go with the stories.
There were also interviews, including one with American writer Robin Hobb and another with Portuguese fans of popular dramas and SF/F books, among several others, commentaries on older and newer SF/F/H works, both Portuguese and non-Portuguese in origin. There certainly was enough variety (Bang! covers a wider swath of speculative fiction than most Anglo-American SF publications do, as there were discussions of the True Blood series and novels, Star Trek, the New Worlds writers, Portuguese pulp fiction from the first half of the 20th century, news of upcoming Portuguese fandom events, etc.) for me to want to read more. Loved the format but especially enjoyed the content.
Based on these pictures, what did you think of the magazine's layout and content?