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Full Unit Hookup #1

Full Unit Hookup #1
Conical Hats Press
From their web site:
"Guidelines for Full Unit Hookup Fiction: Science fiction, dark/urban fantasy, magic realism, slipstream, humor, and mainstream stories between 500 and 5,000 words. Because of space limitations, stories longer than 5,000 words will be a hard sell to Full Unit Hookup, but PLEASE nothing over 10,000 words. No horror, high fantasy, or S&S stories. There are markets for all of these, but unfortunately, this magazine isn't one of them. Please submit only one story at a time and wait for a response before submitting another. If you have a collection of related stories, each less than 1000 words long, you may submit them as a single manuscript. Reprints are acceptable (please specify when and where in cover letter,) but the Full Unit Hookup editor will give priority to new works of fiction. No simultaneous submissions."

Conical Hats Press

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

Here is another in the recent near flood of small press slipstream 'zines. Full Unit Hookup offers six relatively short stories, and a number of poems, as well as two essays. It fits very readily in the same general category as Electric Velocipede, which I reviewed here recently, or the by now venerable Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, which I have called the "gold standard" of the SF/slipstream 'zines.

Full Unit Hookup's fiction, on the whole, is a bit disappointing. The stories are mostly quite short. Robert Wexler's "Indifference" is the longest, and by far the most substantial, about a man dealing with his wife's leaving him for another man. I also liked Joe Murphy's strange "The Father Who Lived in the Hiss", with its curious use of 60s record albums, and Karen A. Romanko's "August 12, 2017" looks at a new technology from a slightly slanted viewpoint, to some good effect. The other stories, by Beth Bernobich, Douglas Lain, and Ed Lynskey, are all competent, but none thrilled me.

There is some nice poetry here. Some true "names to conjure with", at least in the prose side of the field, appear here with poems: Maureen McHugh and James Sallis, notably, as well as the very promising new writer Charles Coleman Finlay. The pick of this issue's poems, I think, is Lucy A. Snyder's "Real Life", but pretty much all the poets show off well. (Notable too is a longish, quite odd, poem by Lady Churchill's editor Gavin J. Grant, "My Uncle Egbert".) And the essays are worth a look as well, particularly a short piece by Mark Rich considering the function of speculative poetry.

Reading these 'zines, often, is more of a participatory experience than with many more "finished" magazines. You feel like you are in on something new -- newer writers stretching their wings, prose writers trying poetry, writers of whatever stripe experimenting, not always successfully. The 'zine at hand isn't quite a resounding success, but I enjoyed the time I spent with it.

Copyright © 2002 Rich Horton

Rich Horton is an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in St. Louis area. He writes a monthly short fiction review column for Locus. Stop by his website at

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