Fanzines have been with us since 1930, when The Comet was being published by the Science Correspondence Club in Chicago. Since then they have become fertile ground for the imagination, giving new writers a way to share their creations with their fellow fans. Some of the best writers in the genre today got their start writing for fanzines. 

Today we direct your attention to Surprising Stories, edited by John Thiels and published under the auspices of Oort Cloud Publications and VacHume Press.

The cover for Surprising Stories , “Disconnected”, by Thomas Brown

Between the electronic covers of Surprising Stories is an ecclectic collection of short form fiction and poetry. The feel of the zine is extremely old school.  Surprising Stories doesn’t depend on flashy graphics, bright colors and a super-pumped social media campaign for its survival and success. Instead, it’s all about the mind palace created by the gestalt of the stories within.

It’s like stepping into a time machine and traveling back to an era before pop culture’s version of science fiction and fantasy grabbed the genre by the scruff of the neck and ran off with it. We love all the fantastic new high quality media, but Surprising Stories reminds us of where it all came from, and where we all started in this remarkable journey.

This fascinating zine has been around for sixteen years, with John Thiels and his team editing and producing three editions per year. It takes time to create something of value, and Thiels and company have worked out the good / fast / cheap triangle to find just the right balance. The stories are entertaining and thoughtful, and the publication has that sense of wonder and mystery that reminds  us of why we fell in love with science fiction in the first place. 

Stop a while, take a breath, and dive in. 


Gene Turnbow
Gene Turnbow

President of Krypton Media Group, Inc., radio personality and station manager of Part writer, part animator, part musician, part illustrator, part programmer, part entrepreneur – all geek.