Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What's the Diff?

It's the age old question. Wise men throughout the years have debated this. Their long white beards, thick black spectacles, some even with pipes that they light with stick matches as the scent of cherry tobacco fills the air.

I even Googled it, searching among the mass knowledge available to modern researchers, hoping to stumble upon some collective knowledge of the matter. Answers came back from years ago. Posts that were dated as far back as 2005 and later (gasp).

The Answer: Nobody knows.

Oh, I nearly forgot to tell you the question, Cheesy Readers.

"What is the difference between Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine?"

I've read many issues of both and I certainly can't tell the difference, nor do I have any real preference. I like the tradition and history of Ellery Queen, while at the same time, I grew up listening to "Alfred Hitchcock Ghost Stories for Young People" available on 33 1/3 rpm records from my local library. So for me it's always been a debate of Tradition versus Nostalgia.

Further clouding the debate is that both magazines are owned by the same publisher (Penny Press, a division of Dell Publishing). From what I can tell, they are two separate entities, although their webpages link to each other. Ellery Queen has a plug from Stephen King at the top of its page; Alfred Hitchcock has no plug from anyone on its site. Both magazines follow the same basic format, and their webpage layouts are nearly identical. They have two separate editorial staffs, and writers concur that a submission to one is not a submission to the other. It's not usual for a budding writer to be rejected by one magazine only to be accepted by the other. Even to writers they've published the distinction isn't clear.

The Collective Wisdom on message boards and forums seem to have no consensus on the differences. One person says the EQMM has been quality writing, another says the quality has fallen off enough that in ten years it'll be out of business (that was posted in 2005, and so far, I haven't heard a peep about either publication folding). Another keeps his subscription to EQMM because he used to love receiving it in the mail when he was young. Some say one will take "blue" language while the other doesn't, but everyone seems confused about which is which. More than a handful of readers subscribe to both simply because they love reading and love reading mysteries.

All of which brings me around to my original dilemma. What's the Diff? Yet another universal enigma that shall always remain unanswered.

Until Next Time...
Perplexedly Yours,

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