For anyone wondering, no I haven’t been reading since issue #1. I came in with issue #222 in May/June 2009. And I can still remember tearing off the plastic wrap in my University halls room, and diving in. Tim Pratt’s “Unexpected Outcomes” was the first story I read, and it blew me away (and you can listen to it for free at Escape Pod now).
But this is a landmark issue, and a real achievement in a climate where we are constantly being told that print publishing is on its way out, to have persisted publishing such a high quality product. I always look forward to holding it my hands — and, yes, to the smell — every two months.
Whilst I can’t speak to the first issue, the story quality has been consistently good since I subscribed. It is the first stop for top-notch SF and fantasy. The fact it’s British is just a matter of pride.