SFX

Tagged: Publication

UK magazine, current, #1 June 1995 (published 25 May), letter-sized (A4), perfect bound, continuously numbered, on slick paper throughout, initially monthly but usually 13 times yearly from 1996 with the additional non-month issue variously dated "Christmas", "Spring" or "Summer". SFX is published by Future Publishing and was edited by Matt Bielby to #11, April 1996; then by former deputy editor Dave Golder to #132, July 2005; from #133 by Dave Bradley (though Golder returned while Bradley took a sabbatical in the last quarter of 2006); and since 2014 by Richard Edwards.

SFX publishes no fiction, a borderline exception being the comic strip Captain Star by Steven Appleby which ran from August 1998 to October 1999. The magazine is strongly oriented towards media coverage, although book reviews are always included and author interviews and classic book choices appear regularly; there were substantial tributes to John Brunner, Bob Shaw, Arthur C Clarke and Terry Pratchett on the occasions of their deaths in 1995, 1996, 2008 and 2015. Columnists have included David Langford (#1-#274), John Grant (#1-#15), John Brosnan (#58-#72), Paul Cornell (#58-#99), the actor Simon Pegg (#102-#103), and Jayne Nelson (#128-#206) – a former SFX staff writer and editor whose surname was changed from Dearsley in 2005 – and Bonnie Burton (#208-#273). Many sf notables have contributed reviews and features; Terry Pratchett was guest editor for #196 (July 2010). Outside columnists and illustrators were dropped for claimed budget reasons in 2016, with Langford's final column (illustrated as usual by Andy Watt) being in #274 for July 2016.

Over the years SFX has been supplemented by such free pull-outs as The X-Files Special, included with #19 (December 1996) (see The X-Files), and a number of separately priced productions such as the 1997 one-off The Authorised Terry Pratchett's Discworld Magazine, produced by members of the SFX editorial team and marketed through the magazine's usual outlets.

The SFX formula blends media-savvy writers, high production and design standards, lavish use of colour, photographic covers almost invariably centred on film or television actors, and a cheerfully irreverent tone which occasionally lapses into juvenile humour. Examples include the regular "Couch Potato" department – wherein staff members gather informally to mock one or more genre DVDs – and a long-running gag of cover designs with actors' heads positioned to suggest that the partly obscured magazine title is SEX. Evidently the editors understand their target audience: SFX has consistently been the bestselling sf-related magazine in Europe since its launch. Audited circulation figures for 2006 were close to 35,000; circulation stayed over 31,000 even in the bad financial period of 2009. A point of bibliographic interest is that mail-order subscription copies omit the newsstand edition's copious front-cover text headlines announcing the contents, and instead show only the SFX title and cover photograph. [DRL]

see also: Media Magazines.

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