Freighted With Treasures for Boys and Girls,” promised the first Argosy magazine made back in 1882. The tagline could well hold true this month as a new, two-volume Argosy arrives under an aura of nostalgic intrigue and sealing wax. Despite the editorial protestations that this Argosy does not mean n. a large merchant ship but rather n. a rich supply, it has a shiver-me-timbers flavor. The magazine’s offerings are as many, manly, and mottled as any frigate’s crew. Caitlin Kiernan’s chilling portrait of New York after an alien siege, Jeffrey Ford’s man-walks-into-a-bar story that nests an ancient curse within, Ann Cummins’s testosterone-fueled thriller, an interview with Samuel Delany, and even a South Seas pirate yarn delivered in dialect make Argosy freighted indeed.
Michael Moor-cock’s novella, The Mystery of the Texas Twister, features Sir Seaton Begg, the multiverse’s finest metatemporal detective. He and sidekick Doctor “Taffy” Sinclair once again battle Zodiac, albino inventor of the filthy internal combustion engine. While swashbuckling to avert a war between California and Texas, the heroes narrowly escape death no less than five times in 80 pages, encountering such heinous villains as “King” George Putz, president of Texas. Twister metatemporally preserves the past, present, and future in a nod to the original pulps and is an apt cap to this Argosy.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 13, 2004