Fear – the magazine of fantasy, horror, and science fiction

 

 

From  the late 1980s (1988) to the early 90s (1991) Newsfield Publications Ltd published a truly great magazine of horror, fantasy and science fiction named Fear.

 

Edited by John Gilbert, with cover art usually by Oliver Frey, Fear provided up-to-the-minute coverage of what was going on in the world of horror, fantasy and science fiction.

 

Fear (issue 7)

Fear (issue 7)

 

The magazine focused on horror/fantasy/science fiction films, books and art, but it also included interviews with genre authors, film directors and producers, actors, artists, and special effects experts, as well as anyone associated with the specific genres of its remit.

 

Fear (issue 8)

Fear (issue 8)

 

Clive Barker featured in Fear a lot, as did Shaun Hutson. James Herbert, Ramsey Campbell, John Carpenter, Sam Raimi, Ray Bradbury and other such horror/fantasy/science fiction luminaries also put in appearances.

 

Fear (issue 9)

Fear (issue 9)

 

The editorial staff didn’t always get it right – possibly the most disturbingly mistake they made was the time Fear published a reader’s letter that told of how the English writer of the letter (name withheld) had flown to Maine, hung around for hours outside Stephen King’s house, and called out to ‘the big man’ as he entered his house, after which he’d ‘knocked up’ a story and left it at King’s office, where he again hung around until asked to leave. He had then flown back to the UK and written of his adventure in a letter. It was bizarre and unsettling reading – in short, it was a casual description of obsessive behaviour (masquerading as fandom) that was almost chillingly stalker-ish in its intensity.

 

Fear (issue 10)

Fear (issue 10)

 

Despite the odd lapse in judgement, Fear genuinely seemed to be trying to provide its readers with interesting and entertaining genre information. For a while it was more than just a very good magazine – it was the best of its kind. Then the quality declined: the ubiquitous Clive Barker in nearly every issue; the obvious lack of awareness of/interest in Fear by Stephen King; the reliance on more and more substandard fiction from Fear readers; poorer quality paper on which the magazine was printed – and then, ultimately, perhaps inevitably, it was over – Fear folded.

 

Fear 24

Fear 24

Here’s the Wikipedia entry for Fear in its Newsfield Publications entry:

‘Fear began life as a full-colour newsstand magazine edited by former deputy editor of Sinclair User John Gilbert. Newsfield, keen to find publishing ventures outside the volatile computer game market, agreed to publish Fear with Gilbert as managing editor. The first issue of the magazine, which would be dedicated to horror book/film reviews and original horror, fantasy and science fiction, was published in June 1988. Despite relatively low sales it managed to survive for the duration of Newsfield’s business operations, seeing off rivals such as Skeleton Crew and Phantasmagoria, which entered the market midway through its run. Fear achieved recognition from many international writers, and is still quoted today on back-cover blurbs by novelists whose work it first championed.’

 

Although it was very much a product of its time, I enjoyed reading Fear immensely. I found the book and film reviews useful and insightful. I liked the author interviews, as they sometimes contained very useful hints for writers.

Fear (Issue 32)

 

For a while, John Gilbert (and Newsfield Publications) provided horror, fantasy and science fiction aficionados with a good quality magazine.

 

So thank you Roger Kean, Franco Frey, Oliver Frey and John Gilbert – for a while you burned so very brightly.

 

 

 

Fear – the magazine of fantasy, horror, and science fiction

 

© R J Dent (2009)

 

www.rjdent.com

 

r-j-dent-logo2

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , ,

7 Responses to “Fear – the magazine of fantasy, horror, and science fiction”

  1. John Gilbert Says:

    Thank you for your comments about FEAR, you are absolutely right in everything you say – even the negatives. It’s 21 years since FEAR was first launched so it’s appropriate that I am working on a relaunch which is destined to happen sometime in early next year. With the advent of digital print the new editorial team can be more ambitious than before – no more news print. If anyone is interested – or would even like to contribute – they can contact me by email at gilbert_john@hotmail.com

    Regards,

    John Gilbert

  2. Jon Peters Says:

    I remember reading that letter by the obsessed fan who went to Maine and tried to contact Stephen King by hanging around outside his house and office. His name was Jonathan Youens or something like that. When I read his account of his activities it sounded very odd. I don’t know if King had written Misery by then, but…
    Fear though, was a great mag… fantastic content.. Shame Stephen King wasn’t interested in it. Great post, good set of blogs in general… some nice material.

  3. Tom Wright Says:

    Fangoria was better. So was Interzone.

  4. Fear – the magazine of fantasy, horror, and science fiction (via R J Dent) « fantasylegion Says:

    […] From  the late 1980s (1988) to the early 90s (1991) Newsfield Publications Ltd published a truly great magazine of horror, fantasy and science fiction named Fear. Edited by John Gilbert, with cover art usually by Oliver Frey, Fear provided up-to-the-minute coverage of what was going on in the world of horror, fantasy and science fiction. Fear (issue … Read More […]

  5. Roy Says:

    Bit late to comment, but thanks for this. I also looked up a whole stack of mags I used to read in the 80s/90s and most of them are gone too (e.g. Starlog). RoyMathur.com

  6. Wayne Says:

    Did this project ever come to anything in the end? FEAR was far from a perfect genre magazine but it DID offer something in high-street shops when there was little and it had plenty to offer. The cover design/layout and artwork were beautiful (and still trump the cover design/layout of The Darkside to this day) and the magazine tried to cover as much horror/sci-fi/fantasy in every medium they could. Perhaps that was their downfall to some degree – a lot of people aren’t keen on fan-fiction and some of the peripheral interest stuff such as book reviews, soundtracks, etc. But the fact that it covered so many things made it a comprehensive mag. Its true downfall was that it played it too safe, focussed too much on the obvious filmmakers and films (as did Fangoria in the 1990s especially) and it lacked any ‘edgy’ quality. But I suppose balancing classy with edgy is not an easy thing to do. I would love to see it return… but not as an eMagazine. I would love to see John Gilbert recruit a few very worthy contributors and get a real, glossy mag out there to knock the shit out of the repetetive, plagiarism-plagued, stale Bryce mag. Bring back those original cover design layouts and fill that mag with a slightly revised version of what worked for FEAR at the time. Harvey Fenton’s FLESH AND BLOOD was perhaps the greatest all-round genre magazine in my opinion. If FEAR could come back to shelves with the original cover style and classy attitude but without making some of the mistakes it previously made, then I think it would blow Bryce’s pap away into being retired from the shelves. Get some people onboard with pedigree and sincere enthusiasm and respect for this stuff: Pete Tombs and the like. Cover new horror product (and related genre product as long as it doesn’t water down the overall ‘Fear’ essentials): some old horror; international genre works old and new; a few pages devoted to soundtracks/games/books/etc. Shit, there’s even enough horror/gothic stage plays that could be covered each month as well as musicals based on the likes of Re-Animator, The Toxic Avenger, The Evil Dead, etc…

    It’s about time The Darkside packed its bags. We need something like FLESH AND BLOOD combined with FEAR…something that covers everything genre-related in various mediums and does so with passion, respect and class. Forget the disrespectful, greed and ego-driven hacks and the regurgitations/plagiarism of that other tired rag….we need some FEAR back in our lives!

    • luvlit Says:

      Thank you for you kind comments, Wayne. We did relaunch FEAR last year and managed to put out a few issues before the inevitable funding and distribution issues occurred – my pockets only go so deep. As a result I am trying to do a new deal with a printer and develop a wider distribution network. All this has allowed me to take some time on writing and publishing some fiction but I also want to see FEAR back to the kind of quality we were originally putting out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s