Farthing

Tagged: Publication

UK Digest-size Semiprozine, side-stapled, issues ranging between 70 and 96 pages, edited by Wendy Bradley. It ran for five full issues, July 2005 to January 2007, plus a mini-issue numbered 4.5 (December 2006). The title was ambiguous, not only implying the old British coin, the farthing, which was the smallest denomination, thus implying a small magazine, but also meaning "far thing", which adequately describes the contents. Running both sf and fantasy, the stories ranged from the endearing to the quirky to the surprising. Although UK-based it attracted many submissions from the USA and even managed an endorsement from Ursula K Le Guin, "Cooler than Asimov's." Each issue usually contained between six and eight stories plus a number of "drabbles", stories of exactly 100 words (see Flash Fiction). Most stories were therefore short and relied heavily on unusual ideas and how they might affect an individual. But they could also be far reaching. The first issue had two good examples of these extremes. "Good-bye, Paradise" (July 2005) by Karen M Roberts has the trees rebel and leave Earth whilst in "Scream Quietly" (July 2005) by Sheila Crosby – later reprinted in Escape Velocity – an abused Victorian lady encounters travellers from the far future with surprising results. Other examples include "Back Again" (Spring 2006 #2) by Paul E Martens where all the humans abducted by aliens start to return en mass; "Common Time" (May 2006 #3) by Bruce Golden is superficially Military SF but at its heart is about the relationship between a human and an alien (see Aliens); "Brains" (September 2006 #4) by Matthew S Rotundo has its protagonist seeking a brain enhancement with increasingly dangerous consequences; and "Passing the Test" (January 2007 #5) by Anna Feruglio Dal Dan, about an individual trying to regain citizenship of Earth, is a perfect example of how sf can be pertinent to the present day with refugees seeking safety across the globe. Farthing was a delightful magazine which ended because of financial problems but left a wealth of wonder behind. [MA]

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