Terror Australis

Terror Australis: The Australian Horror and Fantasy Magazine

An Australian prozine edited by Leigh Blackmore, Christopher Sequeira and Bryce J. Stevens.

Terror Australis: the Australian Horror and Fantasy Magazine (1988-1992) was Australia's first mass market horror magazine. It succeeded The Australian Horror & Fantasy Magazine (1984–85) edited by Barry Radburn and Stephen Studach and was the first magazine of its kind in Australia to pay authors. After working on the production crew of AH&FM, when Radburn eventually suspended publication (in 1987), Leigh Blackmore took over the subscription base and with co-editors Chris G.C. Sequeira and Bryce J. Stevens founded Terror Australis.[1] Kevin Dillon, a longtime Australian sf fan who had belonged to the Sydney Futurians, had the role of 'Special Consultant' for financial support and proofreading work on the magazine.

"Australia has never produced a straight fantasy magazine, though in 1970 Sword and Sorcery, a putative companion to Ronald E Graham's Vision of Tomorrow, reached dummy stage before a poor financial deal killed it. Void (5 issues 1975-1977), an sf magazine, published occasional fantasy. Not until The Australian Horror and Fantasy Magazine (5 issues Summer 1984-Fall 1985) did a specialist publication emerge in the small-press field, though it concentrated mostly on horror, in imitation of WT (Weird Tales). The same applied to Terror Australis (3 issues Fall 1988-Summer 1992), which emphasized graphic visceral horror."[2]

"Terror Australis was launched in autumn 1988 and was more ambitious than AH&FM. The first issue was a mammoth 170 pages and its fiction content was almost entirely Australian. The second issue, printed privately on a printing press owned by artist Kurt Stone, followed about July 1990, almost two years after the first, and despite its less than satisfactory physical appearance, was well received. The third issue, published in February 1992, overcame all the production problems evident with the earlier issues. It was professionally typeset, printed on quality paper and perfect bound with a glossy cover. It was also the final issue. While Terror Australis was primarily a horror magazine, it published a number of well-regarded dark fantasy stories, including work by Rick Kennett, Frances Burke, Graeme Parsons and Steven Paulsen."[3]

Issue 2 was the only issue distributed to newsagents, via Wrapaway Distribution.

Issue 3 was themed as a Jack the Ripper special and contained stories of 'Ripperiana' together with media guides and non-fiction bibliographies around Ripper-based material.

Content

In addition to fiction, some of which was by writers best known for their mainstream work (such as Beth Yahp and Coral Hull, each issue featured non-fiction columns including "The Black Stump" (editorial by Leigh Blackmore); "In the Bad Books" (horror reviews by Blackmore, 'David Kuraria' (Bryce J. Stevens) and 'Carl Uda' (Christopher Sequeira); "Out of Space and Time" (book releases in brief); "Views from Emerald City" (Fantasy Reviews by Phillip Knowles); "Dark Enchantments" (Horror and Fantasy Magazines); "Post-Mortem" (readers' letter column) and "The Chaos Club" (contributor biographies).

The column "Personal Terrors" by Christopher Sequeira appeared only in Issue 1, and that by Bryce Stevens, "Every Time the Candle Burns", in Issues 1 and 3 only. Mark Morrison's "Keeping Time" (column on horror gaming) appeared only in Issues 1 and 3. (Morrison notably went on to write various roleplaying game scenarios for Chaosium, including one as collaboration with Thomas Ligotti, "In a City of Bells and Towers" (based on Ligotti's story "The Journal of J.P. Drapeau") for the Horror on the Oriental Express gaming module for the 5th edition of Call of Cthulhu (1991)).[4] Keith Curtis's column "Bibliocide" (horror and true crime reviews) appeared only in Issue 1.

The magazine also featured interviews with several international writers such as Clive Barker and Whitley Strieber, and stories by such international writers as Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley and Nicholas Royle.

A wide range of Australian genre artists also featured in its pages. These included Gavin O'Keefe, Steve 'Carnage' Carter, Tony Baron, Karen Ravenlore, Brad Ellis, Mike McGann, Rama Mithiran, Physch, David Richardson, Jon Sequeira, Bryce J. Stevens, Kurt Stone, Catherine Waters, Phillip Cornell, Igor Spajic, Neil Walpole, Kerry Kennedy and Bodine Amerikah. Ravenlore and Mithiran had previously had artwork featured in Terror Australis's predecessor, The Australian Horror and Fantasy Magazine.

Influence

The magazine had a significant impact on the horror scene in Australia in the late eighties and early nineties and led to the publication of the mass-market horror anthology Terror Australis: Best Australian Horror (edited by Blackmore alone) (Hodder & Stoughton, 1993), a companion volume to Terry Dowling and Van Ikin's Mortal Fire: Best Australian SF (Hodder & Stoughton, 1993).

Author Robert Bloch said Terror Australis: Best Australian Horror was 'a landmark venture - a testament to the advancement of the genre'.

Author Leanne Frahm's story "Catalyst" from the volume won the Ditmar Award for Best Australian Short Fiction, 1993.[5]

Author Maurice Xanthos was the only author to have a story selected for each of the three issues.

Issues

1, No 1 (Autumn 1988)
1, No 2 (Winter 1988)

*Contents: Fiction and Verse*
"The Mistake" by Graeme Parsons
"Castle Elacteu" by S.R. Schultz
"He Had a Soul" (verse) by 'Carl Uda' (Chris G. C. Sequeira)
"How Long Will It Be" by Sheila Morehead
"Phantom of the Night" by Jonathan Krause
"Am I Not Asleep?" (verse) by Shane Doheny
"Willie's Struggle" by Kurt von Trojan
"Strange Fruit" by Rick Kennett
"Guitar Man" by Maurice Xanthos
"Suck Your Guts Out" (verse) by Coral Hull (as by 'Coral E. Hull')
"The Gift" by Frances Burke
"Old Wood" by Steven Paulsen

2, No 1 (whole number 3) (Summer 1992): The Jack the Ripper special

Gregory Cheeseman's essay "Portrait of the Ripper" deals with the painter Walter Richard Sickert and the Ripper crimes.

References

1. Steven Paulsen (1994). "The State of the Horror Fiction Magazine" reprinted from Bloodsongs 1 on the Australian Horror Writers Association website.
2. Mike Ashley (1997). "Magazines" in John Clute and John Grant (eds).The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. London: Orbit, p. 615.
3. Steven Paulsen (1998). "Dark Fantasy" in Paul Collins, (ed). The MUP Encyclopaedia of Australian Science Fiction & Fantasy. Melbourne, Vic: Melbourne University Press, pp. 46-47.
4. Darrell Schweitzer (ed) The Thomas Ligotti Reader. Holicong, PA: Wildside Press, 2003, pp. 166-67
5. Russell Blackford, Van Ikin & Sean McMullen (eds). Strange Constellations: A History of Australian Science Fiction. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999, p. 169.

External link

Indexed at Locus online