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zine review:

Absent-Cause: Duality

Often I get zines that I feel kind of under-qualified to review. A lot of people make zines for an audience of their friends or those in their community, and when they end up in my hands, context-less, I end up feeling like I’m missing something. I don’t think I’m part of Absent-Cause’s target demographic (which, if I’m judging solely by the cover, consists of bipolar, punk rock, S&M enthusiast zombies), so I think I miss a lot of the resonance certain pieces in here might have for other people. The zine uses a bunch of contributors and the subject matter varies widely–there are articles about body image issues, cockfighting, multiple person­ality disorder, Lupus and the Maoist move­ment in China. There’s fiction and zine reviews and a lot of centred poetry. There’s art, most of which is vividly sexual and kind of creepy. There are some really good inter­views (all by Redguard, the zine’s creator) with Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls, writer Laura-Marie Taylor, activist Walaa Quisay, and the Chinese punk band Break­ing To Top. The interviews are the standout pieces of the zine–all the people are fascin­ating, and Redguard knows his stuff. The majority of the essays and articles in Absent-Cause are pretty good, actually, which is rare for a zine with so many contributors. That said, Absent-Cause’s problem is that it’s too all over the place; it’s hard to figure out who it’s for, exactly. With a little more focus (and a little less art) Absent-Cause could be a really interesting zine. (Emma Healey)

zine, Absent Cause, PO Box 1568, New York, NY, 10276, uSA,, $3 or trade

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