Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bloody Sodding Asimov's Science Fiction and the Bastards at the Post Office

Periodically (ha!), the editor of Asimov's Science Fiction (ASF) waxes poetic on the subject of their own covers, of which she is justifiably proud from all accounts. I can't comment on that because mine always arrive with a bloody great address label glued to the cover.

Many magazines now mail out without any sort of bag. Some used to use plastic, some used a cardboard "cigar band", but most now just glue the label on the cover and mail the magazine loose. To do this they must glue a label on the magazine cover somewhere. Do they glue it on the back? No, because that is valuable advertising space (although ASF actually seems to use it to advertise itself mostly) and Azathoth forbid they should use up valuable ad real estate. No, they glue the damn thing on the cover art.

Moreover, relatively few mags have the wherewithal to use a glue that will release from the cover (like Model Railroader does). It makes me furious that my National Geographics and ASFs, both mags that have spiffo covers, glue a buggery-bastard label across the cover, often obliterating some desirable feature of the artwork, using some secret milspec adhesive that cannot be enduced to let go without tearing the cover itself. If they used this glue to stick tiles on the Space Shuttle we would never hear another "tile" nightmare ever again.

If that wasn't bad enough, my last few issues of ASF have been arriving with their covers pretty beaten-up, with the current double issue so badly mangled it looks as though it was delivered by passing it through the works of a hay-baler1. The entire bottom right-hand corner is missing. To add insult to injury, this issue is the first one of the newly upped three-year subscription they were begging me to take out.

I find myself asking why I have these magazines delivered when I could get them in pristine condition for just about any newsagent in NYC and many in my area of Long Island. Yes, it would cost more, significantly so in the case of ASF, but I collect these things and want to pass them on to the Stevieling one day. To do that I don't want to have to set about a laborious reconstruction of the bloody covers before packing them in storage.


1: Curiously, the copies of Analog that arrive from the same publisher seem to get to me in one piece.

1 comment:

Gareth Penn said...

I remember that magazine from years ago, and used to collect them from the newsagent. Buying them stopped ages ago so it is good to see it still going, I even had thoughts of passing them on but without a games console attached there is very little interest.

These days I read the SF short story magazine Interzone now if only I could manage to have them drop Richard Calder.