Huh. It's June already. I suppose that's what normally happens when May is done with, but still it does creep up on you. 2008 is almost half over.
But the new month brings us new things to read. And while I don't usually get around to talking about this stuff, I've run into enough interesting things in this young month, that I might as well talk about them.
Interzone is a major U.K. SF print magazine, which has both been around for a long time and underwent a change of ownership a couple of years ago. I find the stories in Interzone are often very different from what I read elsewhere, and it is interesting to get a different perspective on the SF field from across the puddle. I don't keep too many print subscriptions going, but this one from England and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine from Australia keep me plugged in, if even just a small amount, with the larger global SF community.
Anyway, just got a new Interzone in the P.O. box and found myself reading the first two stories, even though I didn't have the time -- a standard which I always find very telling. This was the special Mundane SF issue. While I'm not sure how some of the stories qualify as Mundane SF, there are some lovely pieces here.
Locus is the closest thing to a SF/F/H trade magazine and I consider it a real gem. I first started reading it when I got a gift subscription from Mrs. Dr. Phil -- she got a recommendation from a SF reading cousin. This was before I started sending stories out or applied to go to Clarion, so I only knew a few of the names in the business. Now that I am sending stories out, attended a couple cons, Clarion, etc., I find each issue filled with people I am getting to know in the wide SF/F/H world. Plus it's so cool that 2004 Clarionite Amelia Beamer is on the staff, too.
The June 2008 issue features a cover story on Jeffrey Ford 14theditch, a marvelous teller of tales who was along with Kelly Link formed the two-week anchor team of instructors at the 2004 Clarion.
Editor Charles N. Brown mentioned in passing that they had to compress some pages due to declines in ad revenue -- Locus and other specialty print mags are getting hammered by the annual rise in postal rates. You should really check out their online site Locus Online and get a subscription.
The Internet Review of Science Fiction is one online mag that I look forward to, because they manage to find different things to talk about. The new issue continues to reflect the changes of getting some new editors and IROSF continues to look like it will survive. I believe IROSF is still free to the reader online.
One of the pieces is on two SF novels in which language becomes a central part of the story. I remember reading Babel-17 by Samuel Delaney way back in college and being fascinated with the explanation that the language Babel-17 was something akin to trying to speak FORTRAN, a computer language, as it has no construction for "I". Really good SF writers can take the damndest concepts and come up with something to do with them. (grin)
I first found out about Clarkesworld because internet firebrand Nick Mamatas nihilistic_kid was reading their slush pile. Clarkesworld typically publishes two stories an issue, one from a Big Name Author and one from the slush, plus non-fiction articles. It's free to the reader online.
While the stories are often striking, it was this non-fiction piece Chicken Little and the Death of Short Fiction which finally prompted me to write this posting. Neil Clarke talks about those who claim that short fiction is dying and what the realities seem to be -- there's some excellent discussions in the Comments, too. Though not the point of this article, to me the problem is much more about the payrate of SF/F/H short stories -- which is tied up in advertising revenues, subscriptions, postage in the print world and the problems of coming up with a way to make money online. Neil's point is that besides The Big Three (or Big Four) print publications, there are lots of other venues for short fiction. And while Ralan's lists Dead Markets, the fact is lots of businesses and for-the-love ventures fail. Which is true.
So There You Have It
Two print and two online magazines you might want to checkout. And now I feel I've paid some penance for my cranky behavior the other day regarding the guidelines for a new market. (grin)