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Difficult Times For SF Magazines

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the genre-you-save-may-be-your-own dept.

Sci-Fi 218

Lawrence Person writes "Another speculative fiction magazine folds: Realms of Fantasy is ceasing publication. This comes hot on the heels of the announcement that the venerable Fantasy and Science Fiction will be moving from a monthly to a bimonthly schedule, and underscores what a tough environment this is for science fiction and fantasy magazines, all of which have suffered declining circulation for quite some time. This is a real problem, since short fiction is generally where new writers cut their teeth, appearing in print alongside their more famous peers. Given that a one-year subscription costs less than the average video game, those with an interest in science fiction might want to consider buying subscriptions to Asimov's, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Analog. (Those in the UK might want to add Interzone and/or Black Static and Postscripts as well.)"

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Online uptake? (5, Funny)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681701)

Maybe people are doing most of their reading on online? Spending too much time on /.?

Re:Online uptake? (3, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681749)

Or the Bean Free Library. http://www.baen.com/library/ [baen.com] Also a good place for authors starting out.

Re:Online uptake? (5, Informative)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681893)

Or Jim Baen's Universe [baens-universe.com] , a darned fine science-fiction and fantasy magazine published in electronic format only.

Re:Online uptake? (1, Troll)

spintriae (958955) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681955)

That, or they're like me and choose to spend their reading time with Joyce, Fitzgerald or Faulkner instead of reading about some cheesy distance future that will be outdated in 10 years. Fantasy is even less appealing.

Not every geek is into sci-fi and fantasy, you insensitive clods.

Re:Online uptake? (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681991)

Troll.

Everybody likes something different, and even though you enjoy reading works by alcoholics, I prefer Asimov and Heinlein. Deal with it. Embrace IDIC.

Re:Online uptake? (1, Funny)

spintriae (958955) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682101)

Deal with it. Embrace IDIC.

Deal with what? I don't care who reads what. I was merely proposing a possible explanation as to why a genre of fiction with no literary merit happens to be waning in magazine subscription. This isn't about me or my love for alcoholic writers. This is about academia's love of said writers. How's this for science fiction:

The year is 2309. The iPod has passed the Turning Test. College students are still reading and analyzing the great works of Hemingway. Asimov who?

</troll>

(For the record, I like Asimov too. Jeez.)

Re:Online uptake? (4, Interesting)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682121)

I pretty much agree with you. I've read a shit load of fantasy and s.f. over the years, but as I've gotten older, I've found much of it less satisfying. The truth of the matter as I see it is that a large portion of fantasy/s.f. is akin to those trashy romance books that my grandmother used to read by the hundred. They're geek porn.

Just to be clear, it's not the the entire genres are bad--it's that a lot of what is popular and people read are popcorn fluff. There's still a lot of really good fantasy and s.f. lit out there, it's just not always readily apparent.

Re:Online uptake? (4, Interesting)

yog (19073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682125)

Can't someone post an oppositional opinion on slashdot without being modded "troll" or "flamebait" or the even more senseless "overrated"? The guy's got a right to an opinion, however off the beaten path he may be.

The entire publishing industry--magazines, newspapers, and books--is in trouble these days; the traditional hard copy distribution system is breaking down and there's no clear alternative that will provide authors and publishers a similar level of employment.

Millions of us have basically switched from reading books (or watching TV, which is the original book-and-magazine killer) during evenings and weekends to interactive media--cable/satellite TV and, increasingly, the internet.

Probably a majority of people now get their daily news hit from the internet, and after a couple of hours of surfing there's just not much mental space left to sit down with a magazine, except maybe on the toilet.

I foresee a time when hard copy is basically a thing of the past, with some kind of cheap, reusable or recyclable programmable paper replacing grab-and-read magazines at the supermarket check-out line (if indeed we will still have supermarkets). I think Neal Stephenson in "The Diamond Age" did a great job describing future books and magazines with multimedia graphics dancing on the pages in place of plain old static ink.

Since there's still a huge market for creating compelling content, it stands to reason that we'll find a way to charge for it. Maybe in the end it will come down to advertising or else a pay-if-you-like-it approach that will probably eliminate the large production houses that make movies and TV shows today.

I used to love taking home a science fiction magazine--Analog was my favorite--but today there's just so much stuff available for free, and real life has caught up with so much of science fiction today that it seems more interesting to read about real world developments. Isaac Asimov in an introduction to one of his collections wrote about growing up in the 1920s and 1930s when real world science progressed at a much slower pace, and every new issue of Analog had this special glow around it as he retrieved it from the magazine rack and paid his ten cents. Now that was a time!

Re:Online uptake? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682645)

Can't someone post an oppositional opinion on slashdot without being modded "troll" or "flamebait"

Amen, brother.

"Millions of us have basically switched from reading books"

I don't think so. I look to the T.V. and see shit like Lost and Heroes and I reach for the hardcopies of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Hunter S. Thompson, or Tom Wolfe among others, without looking back. There's no sadder sight than somebody who watches Lost but dosen't know who the real John Locke was. Some of us would rather get to know the human condition further without delving into the throwaway escapism of fantasy or bad sci-fi.

A side note: William Shatner had as the protagonist in the movie adaptation of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov [imdb.com] which was the best fucking book ever written. The best intersection of sci-fi and the human condition since the Shakespearian actor Patrick Stewart became captain of the Enterprise ;)

Re:Online uptake? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682657)

Can't someone post an oppositional opinion on slashdot without being modded "troll" or "flamebait" or the even more senseless "overrated"?
Yes, and it happens all the time. He's not a troll because he disagrees. He's a troll because he insults.

Re:Online uptake? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682179)

As an author I'd rather publish online than in a magazine. With a magazine I get an artificially limited readership (due to subscription cost) and am paid indirectly if at all. By publishing online I get unlimited potential readership and can earn revenue directly.

Re:Online uptake? (1)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682457)

You do? Some actual numbers comparing online versus magazine publishing revenue would be nice to see, from your perspective as an author, for other budding authors out there who may be dismayed by the news reported in TFA.

Re:Online uptake? (1)

vindimy (941049) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682327)

A great resource [365tomorrows.com] for short sci-fi stories written by experienced as well as beginners.

Oh, THAT SF! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681713)

At first I thought you meant the new hard times were keeping the gay community at home rather than visiting San Francisco, but, then I remembered this is Slashdot and SF has a different meaning....

FP, y'all.

Re:Oh, THAT SF! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681809)

FAIL

these things still exist? (3, Informative)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681715)

i thought they died out in the 60s

Re:these things still exist? (3, Interesting)

rlseaman (1420667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681845)

They started their decline about the time Astounding turned into Analog (around the time of Sputnik), but really the SF magazines are being dragged to their death from above. Having grown up reading science fiction, I'm now embarrassed to be seen anywhere near that section of a book store. The speculative aspect of the genre has been completely lost. The adolescent drivel has triumphed. But then, short fiction of all types is endangered.

Of course, written science fiction of all types has been diluted by the inanity of Hollywood. For instance, Gort was the Martian emissary in the original short story of "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Instead, we get Michael Rennie (or Keanu) as a leading man.

Re:these things still exist? (3, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682105)

No they haven't died out, the heydey of Analog was actually in the 60's. Analog went through a few years when it was published in a large format offset printed magazine with some very nice artwork. And the content was wonderful. Among other things Dune was serialized in Analog during those years.

There was some good stuff in the 70's too. Joe Haldeman's Forever War, which Ridley Scott is planning to make into a movie first appeared as a serial in Analog then.

I still have my old large format Analogs in a box in my garage. I've been a continuous subscriber for 43 years... since I was about 12. It is now quite painful to read knowing the former glory. I have about 3 years of back issues now that I haven't read.

The publication volume numbers are also painful to look at. They are less than 10% of what they were in the 60's.

Given the tough economy and the general trend away from the sciences and worse yet reading anything longer than a web page it would not surprise me to see Analog stop publication for a while. Or forever.

bimonthly? (1)

toupsie (88295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681723)

bi-monthly

adj.

1. Happening every two months.
2. Happening twice a month; semimonthly.

Re:bimonthly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681881)

BI-MON-SCI-FI-CON!

Re:bimonthly? (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681959)

Context.

If it's less than ("ceasing publication", "declining circulation") then assume the first, if it is more than (ie: "new publication") assume the second.

But you already knew that.

Re:bimonthly? (1)

leamanc (961376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682243)

Although that is the dictionary definition, it is antiquated at this point. It almost always refers to the first definition. "Semi-monthly," as noted in definition 2, is universally used for twice a month now.

Re:bimonthly? (1)

Chrutil (732561) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682711)

"Semi-monthly," as noted in definition 2, is universally used for twice a month now.

Universally, as in the English speaking universe? ;)

Their subscription model is screwed up. (3, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681741)

I've been buying Asimov, Analog, and S&SF for a LONG time, but I won't subscribe to them. The extra cost involved if you don't live in the US means it's the same price - or less - to buy it at the local book store. AND, unlike when I *did* subscribe, it arrives at the book store a month earlier. WTF is up with that? What are they doing - taking back the overstock and mailing it out to subscribers?

Re:Their subscription model is screwed up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681823)

Yes, but if you buy it at a bookstore the checkout clerk will be able to judge you for your terrible taste.

Re:Their subscription model is screwed up. (4, Funny)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682187)

Yes, but if you buy it at a bookstore the checkout clerk will be able to judge you for your terrible taste.

Only a problem for those insecure enough to care.

Re:Their subscription model is screwed up. (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682077)

What are they doing - taking back the overstock and mailing it out to subscribers?

Actually, at times, yes.

Re:Their subscription model is screwed up. (4, Interesting)

microcars (708223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682089)

I publish a magazine, so I understand what the problem is:
When the magazine is printed, one pile gets sent to the magazine distributor who gets them to the bookstores.
They have a relatively efficient system and they get to the stores in a timely manner.

The other pile goes to the mailing distributor who puts labels on them and then they are at the mercy of the USPS.
These are NOT sent First Class Mail, but Periodical rate or "STANDARD" (used to be called BULK)

It can take from a week to 4 weeks for the mailed copies to make their way across the USA.
I have seen people on both coasts get theirs while other people that are a 6 hour drive from where they were originally mailed wait 4 weeks!

Some mail bags are held until there is "enough" mail to get moved from a main USPS point to someplace else. All this used to work much better when there was a lot of other BULK mail in the system, but now that there is less, a lot of this stuff just sits waiting for enough for a full truckload or something.
It is extremely frustrating and has gotten much worse in the last year.

This is how it works for smaller publications.
Larger ones like TIME, NEWSWEEK, etc have their own PRIVATE Distribution system that gets all the magazines delivered to the main Post Offices around the country so they can ALL be delivered on a Friday or Saturday and that is when they also hit the Newstands.
They can benefit from the economies of scale of their operation, smaller pubs cannot.

Re:Their subscription model is screwed up. (1)

Nekomusume (956306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682337)

Actually, that's only a delivery problem. A bigger problem is that too many people don't even know the magazines exist. I only stumbled accross RoF last year... I had thought there weren't any Fantasy fiction magazines anymore, so never looked. Only one branch of one bookstore chain in my area ever carried it in stock, and they only got a few copies of each issue. Hard to subscribe to a magazine you've never heard of.

Re:Their subscription model is screwed up. (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682505)

I think TIME at least is having problems too.

Even with ads, it has been extremely thin lately.

Re:Their subscription model is screwed up. (1)

Artifex (18308) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682967)

I've been buying Asimov, Analog, and S&SF for a LONG time, but I won't subscribe to them. The extra cost involved if you don't live in the US means it's the same price - or less - to buy it at the local book store. AND, unlike when I *did* subscribe, it arrives at the book store a month earlier. WTF is up with that? What are they doing - taking back the overstock and mailing it out to subscribers?

I had subscriptions two at least two of these, and dropped them in favor of picking up all three at the store. I had several reasons, but the biggest ones are 1) that the postal system tears up these cheaply printed mags, and 2) I find almost all the issues with multipart stories in them to be a waste of time, so I just skip those months unless my browse in the store turns up interesting other stories. (I guess that leads me to a third reason: the quality of the stories is not always very good. It seems that not only are they having trouble finding readers, they are having trouble finding writers.)

Two words... fan fic (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681745)

fanfic is the craigslist of the publishing world.

Re:Two words... fan fic (5, Funny)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681837)

fanfic is the craigslist of the publishing world.

And just like craigslist, 2/3 of it deals with sex and some kind of disturbing fetish.

Does fantasy include... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681777)

... the quarterly earning reports of many companies? (need I mention Satyam)

Well worth it. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681779)

Subscribe to these magazines. I have particular experience with Analog & Asimov's and the amount of quality stories in each issue is quite high, providing many hours of good reading each month.

I would have never discovered either if it weren't for downloading 'illegal' digital copies via IRC. One of the biggest problems of these magazines is people just don't know, the more exposure they get the better off they will be. I would advise them to freely post a certain number of back issues online to entice potential subscribers. I think they need to re-invent their content delivery model if they want to stay afloat. It would be a great loss if they faded away.

Re:Well worth it. (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682081)

The departure of Gardner Dozois killed Asimov's for me.

Not just Science Fiction magazines (3, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681793)

Magazines in general are hurting. Mad magazine also cut down from being a monthly magazine to being a quarterly. It's rival, Cracked, has been doing well because they adapted to the internet (cracked.com vs mad's crappy website).

Sorry guys, it's a brave new world, it's not 1984 anymore. Get with the program.

BTW, I don't read a lot anymore, but besides the odd fanfiction (fanfiction.net), I find fictionpress for original stuff a decent place to read. Perhaps there are others. The problem is (and what magazines with editors used to do) was picking out the gems from the crap. There are various ways to do this on those type of sites, but many still still don't make any effort and dump the whole lot of listings on you.

Re:Not just Science Fiction magazines (2, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681841)

BTW, I don't read a lot anymore, but besides the odd fanfiction (fanfiction.net), I find fictionpress for original stuff a decent place to read. Perhaps there are others. The problem is (and what magazines with editors used to do) was picking out the gems from the crap. There are various ways to do this on those type of sites, but many still still don't make any effort and dump the whole lot of listings on you.

Having not read much amateur writing myself, I think you make an interesting point. I wonder if a magazine like F&SF could have any success by having a website on which anyone could submit stories, and their editors read through, find the good ones and publish them. All the stories could be available for users to browse through and rate, but the prospect of being put into print might attract more authors and make the site a success.

Re:Not just Science Fiction magazines (4, Insightful)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682173)

Having not read much amateur writing myself, I think you make an interesting point. I wonder if a magazine like F&SF could have any success by having a website on which anyone could submit stories, and their editors read through, find the good ones and publish them. All the stories could be available for users to browse through and rate, but the prospect of being put into print might attract more authors and make the site a success.

Probably not. The sticking point is-- how do you pay the editor? Editors (of the good/reputable magazines, at least) tend to be educated, and have a knack for the language, and are in tune with the "art" of writing. In short, they're talented, and this is their livleyhood. Given that:

1) You pay for these editors

2) You use free editors.

With #1, you need a website making money to pay them for making the content of the website good enough to pay money for. I wonder if ouroboros.com is available?

With #2, you're hoping for the best. You might get good editors, you might not. Would you want to read fiction controlled by Wikipedia editors?

The last thing is the sheer volume of entries you'll get. Just ask any editor about the slush pile. Buy them a drink first. F&SF has a turn-around time of about 2-3 weeks-- and that is a phenomenal feat. Most magazines will take 1-2 months for a submission to make it through the queue. That's a lot of submissions, given that people (in most cases) still need to snail mail it. Can you imagine what will happen when you open it up electronically, and everyone including every Harry Potter/Picard fanfic writer submits? That is a lot of slush.

I'm not saying it's not possible, but it would be quite the challenge to find a working, profitable sweet spot between amature free-for-all and professional tightly-run-ship

Re:Not just Science Fiction magazines (1)

WCLPeter (202497) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682875)

With #1, you need a website making money to pay them for making the content of the website good enough to pay money for. I wonder if ouroboros.com is available?

With #2, you're hoping for the best. You might get good editors, you might not. Would you want to read fiction controlled by Wikipedia editors?

Can you imagine what will happen when you open it up electronically, and everyone including every Harry Potter/Picard fanfic writer submits?

Why not use both?

Assuming you have a decently interesting site that is geared towards new and semi-professional authors, you already have a large base of people with which to validate and critique new works. Let the "Option 2" people rate stories and provide feedback. The sheer volume of people should, in theory, allow the better stories to rise to the top.

Then you have the "Option 1" editor read only the highest ranked stories, kind of like reading Slashdot at Score: 5, and then only picking the best of the best stories from that shortened listing for publication in the print magazine.

Or if you're *really* confident in your abilities, and are willing to put your money where your mouth is, you could always do what this guy (http://www.icebergpublishing.com/ [icebergpublishing.com] ) did and start your own publishing company. [Disclaimer: I am not in any way associated with the site, but I do admit to enjoying the author's work.]

New Writers (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681795)

As an unpublished writer myself, I think what this means is that writers are going to have to get their starts by posting their stories on the Internet. If they write well, perhaps they will build a following, and that will make it easier for them to get published by more regular means (which pay better, but beginners never made that much money anyway).

It is too bad for me that I seem to complete one short story or novella every four years, but that is my own problem... I could always put out the stories I have...

Posting on the Internet is currently easier for novelists than it is for short story writers. Magazines want first serial rights and that means they want to get your story before the Internet does. Book publishers don't care so much about being first as about having exclusivity. So you can put your book out, and if it becomes popular, some publisher might pick it up without you having to write another one. But then book publishers prefer to keep a book in print for a while, if it keeps selling.

It can still work for short story writers to give stories away, but only if they complete stories fairly often. If I could complete a story every month, I could offer it to the magazines first and then put it on the Net. Maybe eventually I would write something good enough that a magazine might decide to catch the next one...

Re:New Writers (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681861)

The issue (pardon the pun) is that having one's story in print physically sitting on store shelves gives one significantly more notority than having a story on a website. Internet only, its extremely difficult to separate the good writings from someone's crossover slash fanfic of Drizzt on Legolas while being flogged by Commander Rico under the supervision of Corwin, with many Lensmen watching the show.

I am going to subscribe to the magazines mentioned. Even if I don't read them, there is something nice about reading a book and quality fiction, as opposed to having to separate the good stuff from the garbage. Call me an old fogie, but I can't bear to sit on a computer and read even a short story. I rather buy a book.

Re:New Writers (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681981)

I won't read long works on the computer. Sorry, but paper copies are much easier on the eyes. There are many papers I know I should read, but I won't unless I first print them out, which I'm reluctant to do because loose, unfileable papers make a tremendous mess.

I've recently been throwing out old papers because I couldn't find anything...on the computer I can find it, but can't read it. As loose papers, I can read it but can't find it. As a bound work I can read it AND find it again when I want to refer back. (And if I'm not going to refer back, why was it worth the bother of printing in the first place?)

Note that program listings are things which one only reads a small part of at a time. It's a much different reading experience than a dense mass of text. Ditto for SlashDot. On SlashDot one skips around, and when one is typing (responding) one mainly sees the appearance of what one is going to be typing. Another very different experience.

Re:New Writers (3, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682335)

As an unpublished writer myself, I think what this means is that writers are going to have to get their starts by posting their stories on the Internet. If they write well, perhaps they will build a following, and that will make it easier for them to get published by more regular means (which pay better, but beginners never made that much money anyway).

The problem is, it's like indie music. First, publishing on the Internet doesn't mean you'll get noticed. You may have written mankind's best SF story, but if it sits in some dark corner of the Internet that no one ends up going to, well, it sits, stagnant. You can get a few hits by using blogs and what not, but driving traffic that way gets difficult, fast. If you're lucky you'll get hit with some article in a newspaper or popular website.

That's why the magazines got people discovered - you had the usual brand-name authors beside the more obscure ones. Flipping through the mag trying to get to a story, you may stop by the obscure author's few closing words, get intrigued, and read from the beginning. Others do the same, and some obscure author gets boosted. Or heck, being stuck with the mag and having nothing else to do, you may read some of the other stories to pass time.

A website trying to emulate this behavior won't have the same effect - if you stick with the standard Table Of Contents model, people reading a certain author will just click straight to that author's story and stop. Then they'd go off for their next distraction (another website), while the more obscure authors go unclicked.

While the mag's story has a few lines to possibly hook a reader, a website only has the title/subtitle to do so (leading to the "Short Catchy Title - Long explanatory subtitle" titling format we see today).

But I suppose the demise of the mags comes from the fact that quality is going down - good authors don't need mags - they'll just post it online and get other blogs to generate traffic for them. The so-so kind either try to submit into a mag and hope, or expect to post it on the Internet and have it magically generate publicity to them. Unfortunately, getting noticed on the Internet is difficult, because with literally everyone publishing, there's way too much content out there.

Concerning (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681803)

Whether writing is distributed online or in paper form, the author still has to afford to eat and should be able to recieve renumeration for their efforts.

I think this is somewhat due to the way the middle class is being squeezed and there is less spending money than there once was. It may also be due to video games, and that does not bode well for the video game generation who spending their time moving a figure around the screen, and who lack the intellectual and brain development that comes from reading.

This situation mirrors that of what is happening to newspapers. While blogs are the ever so popular fad, most blogs are repackaging stories which are being provided by large media institutions such as newspapers who have well paid reporters. There is some kinds of reporting that can only be done with the kinds of budgets that major media outlets have, like investigations in sometimes dangerous foreign countries. The result of losing this is americans will become even less informed and aware of what is going on in the world, and is this awareness which is essential to the functioning of a democracy, an informed population.

I think the idea of online subscriptions should be done more, maybe sci-fi mags should have a bundled print-online subscription and an online-only subscription.

For newspapers perhaps there should be a national alliance of newspapers, maybe for some additional features or perks, you would pay an online subscription to your local online paper, but that would also grant similar access to all of the other newspapers in the nation as well. The subscription revenue would go to local reporters and to national wire news agencies. This provides newspapers a source of revenue, but retains the benefits of being able to instantly access news stores from around the country via the internet.

Re:Concerning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682021)

Whether writing is distributed online or in paper form, the author still has to afford to eat and should be able to recieve renumeration for their efforts.

I guess I don't really understand the problem. People have decided that they will just write down whatever whimsy comes to mind, and for some reason they should be paid? I mean, really, isn't this somewhat stale at this point? I'll just go write down a derivative work based upon some generic, done 1000 times, fantasy of mine, and for some reason people should pay me? To take it a step further, if I publish a magazine filled with stories that have been written 1000 times, but with a new nuance, I should be able to sustain myself and a staff? Please.

Which to get? (2, Interesting)

urbanmapper (1466247) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681807)

Ok, I'm game. I have always loved SF, and read quite a lot of it. I have never got into the magazines, though. Which are your favorites, and why?

Re:Which to get? (1)

kkrajewski (1459331) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681869)

It seems like an insult that the e-version is actually more expensive per-copy than the paper and snailmail version. Our convenience is your tax, I suppose.

Re:Which to get? (2, Interesting)

htiefshorty (597656) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681897)

It is a matter of taste. Analog is more geared towards hard SciFi. There are also science articles geeky enough to make anyone happy. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction accepts, well, fantasy and science fiction. Even the occasional ghost story. Stephen King publishes in F&SF. I think Flowers for Algernon was first published there. Analog has published more Nova winning stories in recent years.

Re:Which to get? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681949)

I prefer Asimov's. It has a good mix of interesting sci fi. Analog isn't so different, but the editor (Stanley Schmidt) is a real blow hard and his editorials and response to reader questions are unbearable. Asimov's has more even (though rarely great) editorials, and has Robert Silverberg's monthly column on random stuff, which is often fun.

FAILZORS!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681829)

you should bq8ing Lay down paper that support

here's my idea (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681839)

Every month, feature a different gorgeous model on the cover with a flower in her hair, as in:

  If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

Yeah it's gimmicky, but it's the kind of thing people remember, especially since they have little or no time to read nowadays. Even article summaries.

The cause: escalating prices (1)

kbrasee (1379057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681857)

Ink and paper prices are both way up, and not to mention that mom's charging way more to rent out the basement.

Re:The cause: escalating prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681909)

Maybe one of the them should experiment with the Kindle delivery model.

Re:The cause: escalating prices (1)

kbrasee (1379057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681983)

Maybe you entirely disregarded my joke about mom's basement.

Re:The cause: escalating prices (1)

smussman (1160103) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682075)

What joke? She is!

Re:The cause: escalating prices (1)

kbrasee (1379057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682097)

True, true.

Re:The cause: escalating prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682129)

Let's keep fmr Gov. Spitzer and people with similar needs out of this discussion.

A real problem? (2, Interesting)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681867)

From the summary:
"This is a real problem, since short fiction is generally where new writers cut their teeth..."

A real problem my ass... I'm sure new writers can find a place on the internet all the same. In fact, anyone who really thinks it's a problem should go start a site right now. With the right business model, you could provide the same service to new writers and readers alike. There are all kinds of ways this could be done where writers even get paid.

There is no problem, chill out. Print media is dead, the internet is the new library... or something. Either way, calling this a problem is like when the RIAA thought the internet was a problem for music... but it was really the answer to better accessibility.
-Taylor

Re:A real problem? (2, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682013)

You are sure.... I'm not. I don't know of any place on the Internet where an author can get paid for a science fiction story.

It is very hard way to make a living. The only way Niven was able to get started was because he had the right parents. Asimov had a flexible day job.

The pulps dying is a bad sign.

Re:A real problem? (2, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682177)

I don't know of any place on the Internet where an author can get paid for a science fiction story.

At pro rates (ie, SFWA qualifying), there's Jim Baen's Universe and Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show. There are a few others around (eg, Raygun Revival) that pay quite a bit less than pro rates. (And even pro fiction rates are far, far below typical non-fiction rates. Back when, Byte magazine paid me for an article the better part of an advance on a first novel, and that's not too atypical.)

But the exposure on the internet fiction sites is far below what the magazines, even in these days of declining circulation, can give. And you can pick up a magazine years later and 'discover' an author you hadn't read before, but internet stories are (often) evanescent.

Re:A real problem? (1)

Veggiesama (1203068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682085)

IAAEM (I am an english major... how often do I get to use that acronym on slashdot?), and I can assure you that writing fiction and (more importantly) expecting to be paid for it IS a problem.

Traditionally, writers start in small literary magazines before a larger publisher will take them seriously and offer a book deal. Very few publishers take internet experience seriously, though as I understand that is changing rapidly.

However, fiction readership is down and continues to decline (especially the high-browed literary sorts), so it's quite an exclusive business to get into. Sure there are plenty of big-name writers, but plenty of others are toiling around in obscurity. I don't expect that to change much.

I do believe that the Internet has and will continue to evolve fiction. For one, some of the middle-men printing companies will be cut out of the money loop, so perhaps there will be more money around for the average writer. I hope that's the case, but generally writers are squashed beneath the publishing bureaucracies.

Re:A real problem? (2, Insightful)

Nekomusume (956306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682231)

Real publishers, as a general rule, don't count anything that was only published online as a real credit. Being printed in a reputable magazine means your work has withstood editorial scrutiny. The web is basicly a huge step down from vanity presses in their eyes. They don't really count those either. On the internet, you're basicly an independant. If you don't already have a name for yourself, good luck getting anyone to read your work, because nobody will find your work in the first place, amongst other issues.

Re:A real problem? (3, Informative)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682351)

I have 100+ rejection slips (not including emails) disagree with you. Writing is hard. Publishing is harder. Whether in print or online, things are not getting any better.

Science Fiction is history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26681887)

Science Fiction isn't even keeping up with Wired, let alone journals. So why bother?

SF, noun - Technologically illiterate baby-boomers writing about a "future" which looks like late 20thC. In space.

A REAL problem? (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681891)

> This is a real problem, since short fiction is generally where new writers cut their teeth,

Hello! This is the future calling. You know, the one the SIFI writers have been writing about all this time...?!?

The writers have the web. They can make more selling google ads on any blog site than they ever could have getting published in a low-volume sifi rag.

I don't see this as a "Problem" for anyone except the publisher, and even they were clearly not in it for profit. It's just another example of people rationally abandoning their failed business model for a more high-tech one.

Do this: Grab last year's copies of any of these rags and google some of the authors you find in there. You will find they are not dead, merely transported to another reality.

Re:A REAL problem? (4, Interesting)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682051)

They can make more selling google ads on any blog site than they ever could have getting published in a low-volume sifi rag.

Speaking from experience:

Bullshit.

Seriously. It's not as easy, nor as profitable, as you think. Furthermore, your stupid (and it really is stupid) assumption that a blog will provide the same kind of exposure is...well, exactly that: stupid. The magazines are used to find out who are the good authors. Somebody published in Analog is automatically considered better than Joe Fuckstick who posts his stories on a blog, no matter how many readers he has. The separation of wheat from chaff is largely done there.

(This excludes stuff like Jim Baen's Universe, which are online magazines of wonderful quality. You can get Analog and the rest through Fictionwise just fine, too, however, though that's not where the majority of their subscribers come from by any means.)

Re:A REAL problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682079)

You will find they are not dead, merely transported to another reality.

One with much worse prospects for them being able to support themselves with their writing.

Your idea that online ads will pay writers handsomely for their work is true only as an exception to the rule. Writers, like other creative types, are finding that if they work in a low-bandwidth media, they're going to have a tougher time of it now. Today, most people are used to taking a free copy of anything they see without the slightest inkling to offer remuneration to the creator of the work they just enjoyed.

Writers will generally find themselves better off if they focus on writer for another media - writing something that requires video, preferably, as that is still fairly tenuous for most people (*not* /.ers) to rip off. If you want to profit in creative fields (including software), your best bet is to find popular locked-down platforms and focus on developing for them: DVDs, video, game platforms, some cell phones, appliances, etcetera. People are usually okay with paying for the work of others, but they're not going to volunteer to pay after they've gotten it for free.

I subscribe to four SF Magazines Electronically (5, Informative)

sehlat (180760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681941)

Jim Baen's Universe - http://www.baens-universe.com/ [baens-universe.com]

Always been electronic, and I'll keep this subscription going as long as I'm breathing.
Worth every penny of what they charge and there are membership bonuses. Some of the
best short fiction I can find comes out of this shop.

Fictionwise - www.fictionwise.com Carries Analog, Asimov's and F&SF. I've had
subscriptions to all three since 2000 and intend to continue them until either they
or I fold.

Print may be dead, but these guys publish zero-DRM and I can stuff them into my Palm and
go. That was the approach that got me back into reading science fiction.

Re:I subscribe to four SF Magazines Electronically (2, Insightful)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682207)

I think magazines like Analog, Asimov's and Fantasy and Science Fiction should AGGRESSIVELY pursue other means of distribution besides the printed magazine format. Why aren't they making their magazine available in encrypted PDF, Amazon Kindle or Sony Reader format? Or just as good, have the stories in these magazines available as an audiobook from Audible.com?

Re:I subscribe to four SF Magazines Electronically (5, Informative)

sehlat (180760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682263)

Did you go to www.fictionwise.com?

The entry on Analog's April 2009 issue reads:

Available eBook Formats [MultiFormat - What's this?]: Adobe Acrobat (PDF) [1.1 MB], Adobe Acrobat - Large Print (PDF) [1.2 MB], eReader (PDB) [310 KB], Palm Doc (PDB) [230 KB], Rocket/REB1100 (RB) [251 KB], Microsoft Reader (LIT) [813 KB] - PocketPC 1.0+ Compatible, Franklin eBookMan (FUB) [263 KB], hiebook (KML) [1.2 MB], Sony Reader (LRF) [985 KB], iSilo (PDB) [207 KB], Mobipocket (PRC) [547 KB], Kindle Compatible (MOBI) [601 KB], OEBFF Format (IMP) [390 KB]

That enough formats for you? Note, Multiformat == Zero DRM.

Science Fiction? (4, Interesting)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681961)

There's a "Science Fiction" bookstore near where I live, and they've shifted gradually towards carrying mostly fantasy.

Genuine Science Fiction has always been rather thin on the ground. Doing it well is *hard*. Hal Clement was one who did it well. Larry Niven occasionally did it well. (Known Worlds series incl. Ringworld et seq.)

Currently I only know of Charles Stoss, though there may be others. (I've cut back on my reading a lot.)

But a thing to note is...the Science Fiction book store near me doesn't care the magazines regularly. They can't get the distributors to deliver them. And this is in the SF Bay Area, California, USA. Books they can get, but not magazines.

Unfortunately, in my opinion the quality of the single magazine I followed regularly, Analog(Astounding) has also deteriorated. Significantly. Very significantly. So much so that a subscription is practically a waste of money. (There have been a few periods when I also regularly followed Galaxy or Worlds of If...but those are now decades in the past.)

And it's not that I don't still like good Science Fiction...or even good fantasy. I still buy many books. (*Almost* all of which I count as fantasy of one sort or another...but NOT Science Fiction.)

I wish Randall Garrett had lived. *He* could have written decent Science Fiction in the current age. (He wasn't just the Lord Darcy series. There were long periods when he was the most prolific writer that J.W. Campbell had writing for him...under lots of pseudonyms.) He wouldn't have written the same stories that Charles Stoss writes...and nobody will ever know what he would have written. Sigh.

But, in my opinion, most of the magazines don't really deserve to live. It's a real pity, because the magazines is where authors used to develop their skills. Now ... now there doesn't seem to be any decent place for such development. Which means that the people who can become authors are far fewer.

On line? Who pays for on line? IMHO that only works if you are already a well enough known name that a publisher will pick up your work anyway. (I.e., even if they don't have exclusive rights to distribution.) A few authors can get away with that.

Science Fiction has always been a shoe-string operation. And SF magazines have always been VERY highly dependent upon their editor. A change of editors can make a weak magazine or break a strong one. Astounding/Analog was extremely lucky in having Campbell for so long. Galaxy was lucky in HL Gold. Asimov's ... faded rapidly when he did. I don't think that Stanley Schmidt was as good an editor as Campbell (average rating...Campbell sure had his off periods!), but he was more than adequate. But he didn't keep the spark going. He didn't have the fire that inspires authors and readers. Recently...I haven't been following. Occasionally I see one and pick it up. But rarely...meaning I rarely see one. When I do see one, I'm rarely inspired to buy it.

All magazines are falling off, but Science Fiction magazines have always lived closer to the edge...so any fall off in business affects them more profoundly.

Re:Science Fiction? (3, Interesting)

StonyCreekBare (540804) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682083)

I agree that Analog has really, seriously deteriorated. I have been a subscriber since the 1950's. I would eagerly await each issue, devour it in a single sitting, and then impatiently await the next one.

A few years ago I began to notice I was reading fewer and fewer stories. For every one I enjoyed, there would be one that was inane and incomprehensible. Then there would be more and more worthless ones, and fewer and fewer good ones.

When I began to see more and more issues that were entirely devoid of Science Fiction content, and filled with inane trash, I became more and more unhappy with them. I started just tossing each new issue on the shelf unopened, perhaps getting around to checking them out weeks later.

I finally realized I hadn't found an issue worth reading in over a year, and renewal time came up. I wrote them a nice letter and explained why I was dropping them. I promised to check the newsstand issues for content and that I would resubscribe when I started seeing something I wanted to read. That was three years ago.

They've been dead a long time. It is time to bury the corpse.

Stony

Re:Science Fiction? (1)

Telephone Sanitizer (989116) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682465)

That's almost exactly why/how I stopped subscribing to F&SF.

I don't know whether it was the frequent change of editors screwing up the submission-process or a lack of quality submissions or an inability to pay better authors for their good stuff, but there came a point where I didn't enjoy reading it anymore. The columns were inane and rambling. The stories were shallow and mostly just character-sketches of fantasy characters. The only reliably good writing in the magazine was satirical or an excerpt from a larger work.

When I let my subscription lapse, I wrote them a letter explaining that I'd keep checking it out on the newsstand. I did for awhile, but excepting the occasional excerpt from a new novel I didn't see much to entertain me and eventually gave up on it.

I don't find a heck of decent Sci-Fi at bookstores anymore. I wonder if our collective imaginations are failing under the onslaught of the information-age.

Re:Science Fiction? (1)

Veggiesama (1203068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682095)

All magazines are falling off, but Science Fiction magazines have always lived closer to the edge...so any fall off in business affects them more profoundly.

The more esoteric, the more difficult it is to get people to read it. This goes doubly for science-fiction, doubly for literary fiction, and quadrupally for literary science-fiction.

Re:Science Fiction? (1)

Bagels (676159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682137)

Hm. Well, give Vernor Vinge a shot. His work can be in a somewhat similar vein to Stross' stuff, but I've liked it.

Re:Science Fiction? (1)

steeleye_brad (638310) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682161)

Analog(Astounding) has also deteriorated. Significantly. Very significantly. So much so that a subscription is practically a waste of money.

Ugh, agreeing with this. I ended my subscribtion to Analog around a year and a half ago, when I realized that the story quality had really gone down the shitter. I found myself starting to read a story, but then quitting 1-2 pages in because they were just so terrible. When I would get an issue and go through every story like this, I gave up. Stories with neat concepts completely ruined by confusing writing and indecipherable plots, lame tales where it was screamingly obvious the main character was an author's self-insert, and vomit-inducing non-stories that served only to let the author express their political views (normally this is ok, except when the author's soap-boxing completely drowns out and overwhelms the story).

Re:Science Fiction? (1)

Nekomusume (956306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682249)

Define "genuine" Science Fiction. Because I'm sort of curious as to where the line is between that and fake SF.

Re:Science Fiction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682251)

Larry Niven occasionally did it well.

You're remiss in not mentioning the Mote series.

I guess that's half Pournelle, too, though.

Re:Science Fiction? (2, Informative)

Marticus (128290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682891)

Sean [seanwilliams.com] Williams [wikipedia.org] .

(Then of course, there's Peter Hamilton, Vernor Vinge, Stephen Baxter, Iain M. Banks...)

Nope, not the 1980s anymore. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681975)

Seriously - back then, Asimov's, Omni Magazine(pity it was too short-lived), Heavy Metal, Analog... I devoured them with the appetite of a starving man in a fully-stocked pantry.

That said, I prefer the online copies - though downloadable would be nice as opposed to strictly online (hint hint). This way I don't have to worry about big stacks of paper, I can carry them all in one go without breaking my back, and being digital, I can search 'em in very short order instead of having to rely on crappy brain cells to hunt down a story that had piqued my interest, but not enough to remember what/where it was in the stack.

Just remember to bring the artwork with you into the digital realm, guys. The artwork makes the whole thing worth the trip. :)

/P

Re:Nope, not the 1980s anymore. (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682217)

Given that the readership of these magazines tend to be technically very savvy, why isn't Analog, Asimov's and Fantasy & Science Fiction available in PDF, Amazon Kindle or Sony Reader formats? Or just as good, make the stories from each issue available as an audiobook from Audible.com? Given the huge number of portable media players that support Audible format files, there would be huge market for these shorter stories to be available as an audiobook.

Re:Nope, not the 1980s anymore. (1)

GeorgeVW (599773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682399)

Uh, they all are available for subscription as non-DRM multi-format (PDF, .pdb, and a multitude of other formats) through Fictionwise. Short stories in audio format are a difficult business model, since the production time for each magazine is equivalent to doing an entire novel, and you have to do it every month. If you're trying to get decent readers, they cost money.

Re:Nope, not the 1980s anymore. (1)

zegota (1105649) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682481)

I'm pretty sure some, if not all, are. F&SF have Fictionwise (ebook) and Audible links on the subscription site. Doing a brief search on Fictionwise, Asimov's shows up. So I would assume you can get all of them digitally.

science fiction vs fantasy (3, Insightful)

Xolom (989077) | more than 5 years ago | (#26681985)

SF ceased to be SF long ago. walk into a bookstore, and you'll see books with a cover of a giant muscular thor-looking dude with a huge sword fighting a dragon. that is NOT SF. that is fantasy. that killed true SF (such as heinlein)

Re:science fiction vs fantasy (2, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682061)

Sadly, yes. SF has turned primarily into cyberpunk/biopunk, which is fine (and enjoyable too) and Star Wars knockoffs. Once in a while there are some good surprises, but few and far between these days. :-(

Re:science fiction vs fantasy (1)

Nekomusume (956306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682261)

Funny you should mention star wars, as the original movies were a fairly lame fantasy novel plot, transfered over into a SF setting. Knight errant, mentor who dies, evil wizard, black knight, dashing rogue, princess who needs rescuing...

Re:science fiction vs fantasy (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682443)

What's old is new again, eh?

Re:science fiction vs fantasy (2, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682193)

I don't really agree with this. There's ALWAYS been crap pulp fiction out there. From Buck Rogers to Asimov's lesser known Lucky Star series etc. S.f.'s origin was not always a lofty highbrow enterprise! Today's pulp fiction stories are every bit as much true s.f. or fantasy as were the pulp fiction of the 1920s.

I would also draw a divide between s.f. and fantasy....but anyway.

The difference between then and now--imho--is that the Asimovs, Heinleins, de Camps, etc etc etc are gone, and they haven't really been replaced. My other opinion is that s.f. was largely a product of the zeitgeist of the what, roughly 50 years that it roughly flourished (1920-1970 or so?). We've got HDTVs, the Internet, Star Trek and Star Wars on TV, rovers on Mars, decoding DNA, etc etc. The sense of wonder in s.f. is largely gone because we take so much for granted that was virtually unimaginable back then.

Re:science fiction vs fantasy (1)

Nekomusume (956306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682315)

Stop confusing bookstore marketting terms with the actual genres. SF is still SF. It's just that a huge number of bookstores put SF and F books into the same section, and call the entire section "science fiction". The name hasn't been accurate in decades. SF isn't dead. It's just not as popular as fantasy right now.

I used to think... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682047)

I used to think that print mags would survive as long as there were toilets. Crap, we need something to read while we're in there. But then I started to bring my laptop into the can. I know gross. But you can't beat surfing the net, while doing your business.

Realms of Fantasy kind of sucks (2, Informative)

Khaed (544779) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682127)

I really don't mean to be a troll with this. But I wanted to read RoF in order to see what kind of short stories were being published, and so I subscribed for a year.

Most of the story content during the year I subscribed came across as snooty/snobby artsy fartsy junk fantasy. At least as far as I can recall. I have like, zero standards when it comes to reading science fiction/fantasy so long as I can pronounce the character names without needing a guide, and this stuff turned me off. Seriously, I went through a phase where fantasy stories were like crack, and these guys couldn't publish one story in a year that made me feel like the subscription was worth it.

Maybe some of their problem comes from the fact a bunch of people didn't like the content? Content is everywhere. If you want someone to pay for content, it has to be more entertaining or valuable than they can get for free. I can get snooty art fantasy all I want at deviantart for free.

Submitter must live in some kind of fantasy world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682135)

To believe that this is a "real problem". Yay its very real compared to slashdot inhabitants losing their jobs and their homes.
Seriously, most of us don't give a s***.

Intergalactic Medicine Show (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682155)

Orson Scott Card publishes a great, DRM-free, electronic-only magazine called Intergalactic Medicine Show [intergalac...neshow.com] . They don't publish on a set schedule, so you can't buy a subscription, but you can sign up (for free) to have them email you every time a new issue comes out.

One of the nice things about their lack of schedule is that they don't have any pressure to "fill" an issue and get it to press on time: they collect good stories as they come along, until an issue is truly ready.

Another aspect of this medium which is a bit of a mixed blessing: no page limits. They don't have to cut stories down to size to get them to "fit," which means that they don't have to sacrifice any part of the story. Unfortunately, it also means that they can be less disciplined about their wordiness.

I just put down the science fiction magazine (4, Interesting)

DavidHumus (725117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682485)

I was reading in my comfortable chair, three feet away from where I'm now typing this.

Am I the only one who still finds it more comfortable to curl up with a book than to read a screen?

I really, really like modern digital stuff as much as any slashdotter out there but a book, or magazine, is still a superior technology in many ways: it needs no power, it's durable, I can stuff it into a pocket and take it with me, I can read anywhere there's enough light, from any position I find comfortable; if I lose it or drop it in the bathtub, no big whoop.

Some of these advantages would go away if I had one of these new-fangled readers, I suppose, rather than the laptop I mostly use but dead trees are still more "user-friendly".

SF mags are made for electronic book readers (1)

Exp315 (851386) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682509)

I've read these magazines since I was a kid, and I have subscribed on and off. They have been through good times and bad. F&SF in particular went through a period of being too artsy, but they've been great lately. Reasons for not subscribing: mailing cost to Canada ridiculously expensive, too much paper clutter to store or throw out after you finish reading it, months when I'm just too busy to sit down for a good read. But it seems to me that these magazines are ideal for electronic book readers like the Amazon Kindle. They're already published on small pages without a lot of graphic content, using cheap paper that isn't meant for long-term preservation, and the content is the kind that read once and don't need to keep. Their salvation may yet come.

Extibct Ibex Resurrected by Cloning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682523)

We don't need sci-fi anymore.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/sciencenews/4409958/Extinct-ibex-is-resurrected-by-cloning.html

Interzone is quite good (1)

buggy_throwback (259436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682715)

I'm an interzone subscriber and I think it's quite good, it could do with more book reviews, but I think it's worth the money. Since the pound has fallen so much it's a good time for all you Americans and Europeans to subscribe.

RoF deserved to fail (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682729)

The problem with this story? RoF deserved to fail years ago. Shawna McCarthy and friends have been publishing the most unimaginative, lame-footed fantasy and milquetoast editorials in the business and made the entire genre look like guilty pleasure mush for middle aged women. Even the barest acknowledgment of slipstream fiction, edgier urban fantasy, or anything genre-bending in the way that moves things forward would have saved them. It has nothing to do with "print is dead" -- it has everything to do with being out of touch with the larger audience.

But, alas, now they're taking down a full-color glossy with street cred. Writers will suffer, regardless of what business model emerges.

Actually (2, Informative)

Renraku (518261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682951)

The entire magazine distribution system in the United States is about to crumble. Two of the major wholesalers/distributors..Source and Anderson..have decided to up their rates to cover costs. Since they never upped their rates before, like most other companies.

Now the publishers, for the most part, are telling them to go fuck themselves.

Expect to see a major disruption and change in the way all magazines are handled in the US.

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