Filler content with cold print

A review that originally appeared in The Dream Zone #12 back in 2002:-

COLD PRINT #3 – Reviewed by Peter Tennant

Cold Print doesn’t have the professional look of some magazines, with card end pages in lieu of a wraparound cover and 54 A4 sheets side stapled but, to put that in context, it costs only £2 and you get plenty of content for your money. And, to be fair, it doesn’t really look that shabby. The print is clear, the layout uncomplicated and there are few typos. Artist Steve Fabian provides a striking Cthulhuesque image for the cover, while most of the interior illustration consists of photographs that have reproduced rather well. The content splits roughly down the middle between fiction and non-fiction, and is a heady eclectic brew, editor John Ratcliffe publishing apparently whatever takes his fancy. There are three interviews, with writers Stephen Palmer, Nicholas Royle and Jon Courtenay Grimwood, all of whom have interesting things to say, Grimwood in particular providing good copy. In ‘Heaven or Hell’, a regular feature, writer Beth Webb offers her favourite (and worst) books, films, music etc. (think ‘Desert Island Discs’, but with a wider scope). There are reviews, with an emphasis on obscure poetry collections, and a comment piece by Rupert Loydell in which he disses the comics medium, but so good-naturedly fans needn’t bother to take offence. Two oddities round out the non-fiction, ‘Latency, Loss and Recapture’ by Robert Joyce, looking at the artistic potential of old Super 8 film stock, and ‘Against the World’ by A. C. Evans, which I’d guess is a spoof but maybe not, an article with plenty of learned asides about one of those forbidden books Horror writers are so fond of. Like I said, eclectic. Of the fiction ‘Muezzinland’ is the most accomplished, an escapade in some future Africa which intriguingly blends high tech and tribal culture, though sadly this isn’t a story but a taster extract from Stephen Palmer’s novel of the same title. Nearly as good, and certainly more self-contained, is Steve Redwood’s grotesquely imagined ‘Stillborn’, which cleverly explores an unhappy marriage through the metaphor of the child the couple never had. In ‘Oblivion Fade’ David Murphy presents a grim, media dominated world of the future and examines the effects of this self-imposed dystopia on one individual. Not so satisfying is one page ‘Transparency’ by Robert Garlitz and Rupert Loydell, which is more in the nature of prose poem than story, compellingly phrased certainly, but too self-indulgently abstract. Similar problems afflict ‘A Blue Plastic Bag’ by Ian Robinson, which again is well written and intriguing, but ultimately too vague to deliver on its early promise. Cold Print is an interesting magazine with a lot to commend it, and a bargain at only £2, though I can’t help feeling it suffers somewhat from too wide a focus and in trying to be all things to all readers will leave many only part satisfied.

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