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    Posted: Mar-09-2015 at 6:57am
Two Reviews: NFG: Writing with Attitude and The 3rd Alternative, by Heather HuntTwo magazines are under review here, both from outside the U.S.A. but available for purchase on the wonderful global marketplace that is the Internet. Canada's "NFG: Writing with Attitude" is available at www.nfg.ca and England's "The 3rd Alternative" or TTA as it likes to refer to itself can be accessed at www.ttapress.com.

NFG (incidentally I never did figure out exactly what nfg stands for) is the new kid on the block. I had Volume 1 Issue 3 for review, which I'm assuming is the third issue. The youth of the publication shows in its straightforward layouts and the mixed quality of contributions. The simple pages are not a detriment to this reader, however, because the large amount of white space gives the text breathing room and makes it easier to read than the densely packed pages of TTA.

NFG also scores with a full-color center spread of artwork along with a smattering of black and white art as well as precious few advertisements throughout the magazine. This issue includes poetry and entries from the "Great 69er Contest," which is for stories of, you guessed it, 69 words.

Several of the poems and some of the stories, namely "Euthanasia Day at the Children's Shelter" (though it really needs a new title that doesn't give away the shock value before the reader even gets started!) have merit though I wasn't too impressed with any of the "Great 69er" entries. Writers come from Canada, U.S.A., and U.K. and brief biographies are included. I wish the bios were included with the stories, however, and not grouped at the end of the magazine. [See TTA review.]

DISCLAIMER: The magazine definitely deserves an NC-17 rating, with Kaolin Fire's "The Last To Have Sex" being the farthest outside the bounds of taste in his weak storyline that serves no purpose other than an excuse to create gratuitous porn.

"The 3rd Alternative"
Issue 33 Winter 03
Issue 35 Summer 03
Each issue 66 pages
Cover price: $7.00 US

TTA has published 35 issues (as of Summer 03) and its experience shows. These pages are densely packed with lots of stories, artwork, and reviews. If you're interested in the state of the science fiction and dark fantasy worlds in Britain, then this magazine is for you.

The quality of stories overall is of a higher level than those in NFG from subject matter to execution. In fact, the best story from all 3 magazines is "The Butterflies of Memory" by Ian Watson from Issue 35. Another plus is that author biographies appear at the conclusion of their works, which is the perfect place; if I enjoy their story then I can see what else they have done without having to flip to the back of the magazine.

In addition to the stories, each issue includes a "celebrity" interview: Brian Aldiss in Issue 33 along with a new story and John Connolly in Issue 35. At the back of the magazine are dozens of in-depth reviews some of which are accompanied by brief interviews with the authors. These pages are literally packed with information in print that can only be classified as "fine."

Readers certainly get their money's worth with TTA (though they may need a visit to the eye doctor after reading the review pages). NFG is also worthwhile and is much easier on the eyes. If money is a consideration, then decide which side of the pond you're interested in: if North America then go for NFG, if England then go for TTA.

Copyright© 2004,  Heather Hunt

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