Visions issue 2
Delivered to Stack subscribers in Dec 2019
Visions is a science fiction magazine that brings together writers, designers and researchers of the past and present to explore the future. Experimental and ambitious, it combines a wide range of writing, including super-short fiction; stories by both established and emerging authors; and even a cult French novel in serial translated into English for the first time. This second issue looks at visions of humanity.
Creator of Visions? Founder? Editor, designer and publisher? Not sure…
What is Visions?
Visions is a print science fiction magazine where writers, designers and researchers of the past and present come together to explore the future. It tries to create a new introduction to the genre and show its literary qualities as well as its critical thinking capabilities.
What makes it different to the rest?
Each magazine has a theme and explores it with an internal narrative where each piece links to the next to tell a larger story. You can read it in a linear fashion or pick a piece and read around it to develop the theme in the direction you like best. It also provides a unique mix of fiction and non-fiction to let the reader appreciate the sometimes small difference between sci-fi and reality.
Who makes Visions?
Visions is largely a one man band. I edit, commission, design, typeset, deal the production and marketing, etc. But you don’t put out a 256 pages magazine without a little help from your friends and there are contributors who have been invaluable in shaping the project visually such as Matthew Young, Tom Etherington and Francisca Monteiro.
Who reads it?
That’s something I’d like to know myself. I think some people have bought it for its design, some have bought it because they like science fiction, and some have bought it because they wanted to get a nice present for someone who’s into sci-fi. I like to think that it also appeals to people who want a literary magazine, regardless of genre, that offers a new angle.
Why do you work in magazines?
I worked at Penguin for a couple years and that really opened my eyes to the world of printed things. I’d been making digital things for over a decade and I wanted to make something long lasting and physical. I saw all these amazing designers making wonderful things and I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to learn that craft which seemed so connected to what I was doing but also so different. So making a magazine seemed like a good project to get a handle on the complete stack of publishing, making a complete object from start to finish. Of course, it started as a small thing and then grew out of proportions. I like that magazines represent a point in time — they don’t get reprinted — but remain a great experience past that time.
Aside from the print magazine, what else are you involved in?
My full time job is Creative Technologist in Research & Development at the BBC. As researchers we get to take a peek into the future and bring back what we think is gonna be the most useful insight to solve problems people might have before they really have them. I juggle design, technology and product design to come up with prototypes to try new ideas. I mean, you can see how the structure of Visions is inspired by what I do the rest of the time(!)
What would you change about Visions if you could?
I think I’d like a variety of voices. Making all of that mostly on my own is exactly what I wanted to experience. It was extremely exciting challenge. But after two issues, I see how much the quality of the magazine improves with new contributors and it’s maybe time to open the floor to new people, both graphically and editorially. But then you have time constraints, budget constraints etc. One of the reasons it’s mostly solo is because I can’t afford to pay for all the help I would need.
Where do you see Visions in five years?
Visions is quite a slow going operation, so five years don’t represent a huge leap. That said, I think a couple more pairs of magazines, but also maybe a couple standalone books. I really want to work on some “out of collection” items to break the pattern a little bit, things that are connected to the magazine but don’t necessarily have the same shape or purpose. What I don’t anticipate changing is the attention to detail, the full stack nature of it, and of course one foot in the past and the other one in the future.
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