Geeky Magazine Roundup

Geek Culture

zineszinesI subscribe to a bunch of periodicals. With two toddlers running around, sometimes I just don’t have more than 5, 10 minutes to devote to reading — a magazine can be picked up or dropped at a moment’s notice, can be smeared with peanut butter or smashed into the cushions of the couch without major loss. Perfect for busy dads!

The following are some magazines I currently subscribe to, as well as some that I’ve heard of and think fit into the category of geek fodder. What have I missed? What magazines do you read?

Science fiction pulp magazines were the geek crack of the first half of the 20th Century. Most have gone bye-bye but a few still remain. Analog has been around since 1930 and publishes a mix of science fiction as well as “fact” articles that talk about the technology described in sci fi.

While this zine has wide appeal, Geeky girls in particular swoon over Craft. Now, I’m not saying that arts & crafts are, or ought to be, only for women, but we have to accept that girl geeks and boy geeks differ in their interests.

I haven’t read this one but it bills itself as the same types of stories as SciAm but written for ordinary joes instead of scientists.

The best @&*% magazine out there right now! I honestly feel these guys are closer to the forefront of technology than any other magazine. And because it’s a DIYer’s zine it does a better job of helping you understand the cool stuff they cover; it’s one thing to get it, but doing it brings it to the next level. They also publish an awesome line of books.

I am mistrustful of magazines directed at kids, but this one bills itself as a science zine for children ages 10 and over.

More how-to and gadget oriented than PopSci. It also provides advice for cars and other areas perhaps not hip enough for other DIY zines.

I have to admit that this is not my favorite magazine. The articles are too brief, and most of the “cool and new” concepts have been rehashed in blogville for weeks before it hits paper. However, I will probably subscribe to PopSci for many years to come and here’s why: it’s a great science and technology magazine for kids.

This magazine is what Make would be if you halved its IQ and made it much prettier. It does do a decent attempt to capture some of DIY zing that Make and Craft do so effortlessly, and they do it with much more Madison Avenue polish — for example, using models in their DIY demos. Watch the hipster himbo pretend to build shelves! If Make isn’t hip enough for you, try this one.

Allegedly one of the premiere mainstream periodicals for working scientists. Certainly science geeks will appreciate its incredibly in-depth and challenging articles. As an added bonus, subscribers get additional publications like a 12-page “Parallel Universes” essay.

A science magazine on par with SciAm in terms of its difficulty level — probably too sophisticated for any kid except a very bright teen. Unlike many science zines, however, it is beautifully designed and elegantly laid out. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the science articles in the zine owe a huge debt of gratitude to art director Jeffrey Docherty for making their concepts so accessible.

National Geographic on steroids. Good for archeology and anthropology geeks. Also provides great geek cred: Subscribers are automatically members of the Smithsonian Institution.

Not for everyone and certainly not meant to be taken literally. Still, if you’re interested in computers and alternative thought processes this puppy is worth checking out. Also, 2600 is one of the few zines that actually publishes kids’ articles articles on a regular basis.

Of course we at GeekDad can’t forget our parent zine! Still the premiere technology periodical with great articles and cool art. (I think I’m one of the few people who miss the ’90s “neon orange on metallic silver” era of art direction!) Also a heckofa deal at $10 a year.

So what are other good ones? What’s a good astronomy magazine? What zines do programmer geeks read? How about computer magazines? Leave your suggestions in the comments area.

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