Originally published in 1958, Vector magazine is published for the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) six times annually. Contains reviews, interviews and features on the (mainly literary) world of sci-fi.
Subtitled ‘The Critical Journal of the BSFA’, this long-running magazine is distributed to all members of the British Science Fiction Association 6 times a year and contains interviews with prominent science fiction authors, annotated discussions by sf professionals and superfans on a whole host of themes relevant to the genre, and more general articles which may, in principle, examine any aspect of sf, but which, in practice, tend to concentrate on literary trends within the genre and the works of individual authors; science fiction in other media is usually neglected, although it has to be admitted that this is more than amply catered for elsewhere. Each issue starts with a brief editorial and readers’ letters page, and also contains a very lengthy (approx. half the magazine) section of book reviews which are generally very useful. Due to the fan nature of this magazine the quality of the contents can vary considerably from piece to piece, with excellent and thought-provoking articles and discussions occasionally being followed by others which amount to only slightly more than lists of books with very little actual opinion on display, and although thankfully this does happen relatively infrequently it is worth being aware of. This, however, is to be expected (and forgiven) since the magazine has an open submissions policy (and those who are not members of the association receive a free copy upon publication) which, in my opinion, is a massive bonus to the science fiction community in general and more than makes up for the disadvantages outlined previously. Printed in an A4 format, entirely black and white but with a glossy cover, the magazine certainly looks and feels worth its £2.50 cover price. Printed science fiction is something given far, far too little critical coverage in this country, either ignored or grossly misunderstood by most mainstream literary reviewers and reduced to a footnote in the media sci-fi magaz
ines. Vector is a welcome step towards filling this void and, along with the other BSFA magazines, the obscure and very academic Foundation, and the brilliant Interzone, it is a shining beacon of hope for those who genuinely believe that sf should be taken seriously as a literary form and be allowed to rise up from its current position in the critical ghetto; the fact that this magazine possesses a cover price at all is probably an indication that it is sold somewhere, and if you do come across it Vector is certainly worth a look. If not, however, join the BSFA (www.bsfa.co.uk) and receive not only six issues of this, but also six issues of Matrix and two issues of Focus per year — I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.