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GUD: Greatest Uncommon Denominator: Issue 0 Promo

gud magazine greatest uncommon denominator cover weird naked man tongue chestGUD Magazine (Greatest Uncommon Denominator) Issue 0 Promo : Spring 2007

Printed: $10 (2 for $18)
PDF: $3.50

According to the blurb at the beginning of the book, the team behind GUD Magazine consist of Mike Coombes, Sal Coraccio, Kaolin Fire (Instigator), Sue Miller (All editors), Julia Bernd (Copy Editor), Sue Miller (Layout) and their accompanying website by Kaolin Fire.

GUD Magazine describes itself as publication which contains literary and genre fiction, poetry, essays, and art and features authors and artists from around the world. GUD Magazine pays semi-pro rates for content and pays royalties on the profits of the sales of the magazine, effectively making the contributors shareholders for that issue. That is a neat idea, as the shareholders would, of course, do their utmost to promote the issue to increase the fruits of their labour.

It is available for purchase in print and electronic (PDF) format. It is published twice yearly, although they expect to go to four issues a year in our second year of publication. The initial print run for Issue 0 was 200 copies, and they are investigating distributorship for the magazine within the US and abroad. They expect the circulation to grow as word gets out.

So, what does this new publication look like? Well, it certainly isn’t like any pulp publication I’ve seen before. It’s roughly the same size as Asimov’s and Fantasy And Science Fiction - more of a paperback size than magazine size. It consists of 196 pages and is bound solidly, with a tight spine like a book. The paper is good quality, it looks like its been selected for its readability, especially in sunlight; it’s a lower contrast pulp (i.e. not completely white) making it much easier on the eyes. And it works.

The cover is somewhat mysterious and a little weird. You can see it above - basically it’s digital art - something to look at for a bit, then to turn the page. I’m not really a fan of this kind of art (unless it jumps out and throttles my senses), but there again it sure does look weird, and this is, I believe, how GUD Magazine is being marketted - just that little different from usual.

It seemed a shame, but I had to actually turn the nicely bound book’s cover, bend it slightly out of shape, and…

I like the design. It’s very readable. I’m not sure of the font, but it is spot on in my mind. I’m occasionally comparing to F&SF and Asimov’s because they are quite similar in their appearance. But the font in GUD Magazine is just so clean and crisp, non of those arty farty fonts which take more effort to decipher than read (ok, a bit extreme, but you get the picture). Interzone is another publication which uses nice, clean and crisp fonts, which still look good and readable even when there’s colour abound.

I was suprised to see in the table of contents 40 entries; most are short stories, a few bits of digital art, some pencil/pen art and some poetry. A nice mix and the poetry and art (my least favourite) doesn’t overshadow the stories.

If I were to review each story seperately, I’d be here until Christmas 2009 and miss my Doctor Who Easter Eggs. Suffice it to say that, as a whole, these stories are different. I’ve never read anything quite like them - most are original ideas, some are reworks, but cleverly done. All are on the strong end of the spectrum. I read about half of it in one session.

I’ll paraphrase their website blurb to give you an idea of the types of stories: a variety of works from semi-gritty fantasy; far-future time travel; modern sci-fi humor; historical paranormal; mainstream literary; a fable; poetry that doesn’t rhyme but has a rhythm (involving coffee, mayhem, love, death, and television); reports concerning poetry and software and narrating a journey to a poetry conference in Taiwan; and art of all sorts, from humorous and surreal line drawings through haunting brush work and even a single-pane comic from a celebrated illustrator.

The latter illustration I liked; it reminded me of a short story I read quite a while back, about a guy driving on a lonely road in the desert, he feels hungry and sees an eatery offering ‘All You Can Eat For $3′. He pulls in and … but that’s another story.

So, GUD Magazine is packed with entertaining stories and makes the publication something to look forward to.

This review is primarily looking at the printed version, but GUD is also available as a PDF download for a small sum. Both versions are contentually (!) identical, it’s only the medium which differs.

Personally, I prefer the printed version (old fashioned, I’ve said it before). I could never read 196 pages on a screen and come out with my eyeballs intact. If you can handle it, it’s a cheaper alternative, though I recommend the printed version.

This is certainly an outstanding publication, especially since it is Issue 0. A promo issue, is of course, to promote the publication, which this Issue 0 is definitely doing a splendid job of accomplishing. But also they can be used to iron out any ‘bugs’ in the publication process, or any issues which arise from layout, and generally listening to feedback from readers. Well, I can’t see anything wrong with the publication itself - except maybe ditch the poetry, but fair’s fair, it doesn’t take up much room and if it gets more readers because of it, then all the better.

Their site has the full teaser of GUD Issue Zero or enter their vault to see their line up of extended teasers.

It’s a breath of fresh air, in an otherwise, somewhat, anticipatable market. Looking forward to Issue 1!

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Sue Miller Says:

    Thank you for reading and reviewing us! We really appreciate you getting the word out about GUD.

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