Thursday, September 2, 2010

RIP Beyond magazine

Combing through my research materials, I found two issues of Beyond Magazine.  I bought them a good three or four years ago and failed to buy any subsequent issues.  This was due mostly to the cost as they were about $10 per glossy issue as it was a UK publication.
The first issue that I bought was #6, at least according to the cover.  Said cover caught my eye in Borders one day.  Upon it was a prominent image of a typical Grey alien and a UFO hovering in the background.  The banner headline read, "The Darker Side of Ufology: Murder, blackmail, abductions, and conspiracies."  In the lower right hand corner was the photo of a US Navy ship and a headline promising a story on The Philadelphia Experiment and the fate of Carlos Allende.  As I was writing a NaNoRiMo book at the time that obliquely alluded to The Philadelphia Experiment, I was reeled in for the purchase.  Not that it helped the book any for the attempt ended up being aborted due to pneumonia.  But that's neither here nor there.
Beyond Magazine did have a great many pretty photos and was chock full of UFO stories, conspiracy lore, cryptozoology, and generally a lot of New Age hoo-hah.  It also covered the entertainment world, mainly in regards to sci-fi TV and film.  For instance, this issue #6 featured a nifty retrospective on the original version of The Wicker Man.
While on the surface it would seem like this mag had every ingredient necessary to hook one Jon Nichols, it ended up being just a lot of flash.  Too much frosting, not enough cake.  That and the coverage of sci-fi and horror really diminished its credibility in my estimation.  I know, I know, I write about all of those subjects here on Strange Horizons and I seem ok with the various facets coexisting, but for whatever reason it troubles me in other publications.  I suppose I should mention that I reserve the right to hypocritize myself.

Despite my better judgment, I pledged to buy the following issue as it promised a feature on Mokele-Mbembe, the alleged dinosaurs that still survive today in the Congo.  So the following month I plunked down another $10 and got pretty much the same thing...only worse.  The living dinosaur article was written by one Karl P.N. Shuker.  It was so littered with grammar and spelling mistakes that there should be provisions in the Geneva Convention against such things.  Geez, did they employ any editors??  Undaunted, the issue made a valiant attempt to recover my interest with an interview with David Icke and a story on how JFK was assassinated due to his involvement with UFO matters.  Still, it was too little too late.  Whatever respect I had for Beyond Magazine was pretty much shot at that point.  That combined with the steep price led me to never buy another issue.

In looking for a topic for tonight's post, I sifted through my bookshelves and found the two issues of Beyond that I just described.  Curious to see what they're up to now, I followed the link to their website.  Surprise surprise, the site was gone and Beyond is defunct.  In light of all that I described, I cannot say that it is unwarranted.  A review of the two issues that I own does bring to mind a certain "sideshow hawker" kind of feel.  Despite that, I cannot help but feel a tinge of sadness.  There are so few publications out right now that deal with Fortean matters.  Sadly, few of them do so without a checkout tabloid mentality that gets shoved to the lowest, farthest rack in the bookstore periodical section.  
Why there seems to be no room for a quality publication that deals with these matters is beyond me.  Guess that's what we have the Internet for.

NOTE: I just realized that I made reference to more than a few paranormal concepts without explaining them.  If you already know what they are, you're ahead of the curve.  If not, don't panic.  I will do a blog post on each of them at one point or another in the future.  



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