Word is spreading around that Jim Baen's Universe is closing. While the most impact it has on me is that I will have no more submissions to JBU -- and will never appear on its webpages -- the fact is they are announcing this "early" and will continue e-publishing through the April 2010 issue. All the stories they currently have contracted for will be published and paid.
I'm sure that many SF writers will comment, as I did above, about losing another market to sell their stories. Of course, one of the arguments against short fiction markets is that too many of those interested in them are interested in SELLING to them and not BUYING. A lot of people hoped that JBU had found a model that would work in today's marketplace, and after being open for a couple of years, perhaps people got complacent that a successful business model had been found. It is ironic that JBU's announcement comes on the heals of SFWA's announcement that the Tor.com website will count as a SFWA pro market.
I met Eric Flint and Mike Resnick at Windycon two years, at a talk about JBU. They were both very concerned with both getting quality SF out there, and of giving a chance to the next generation of writers. Multiple people read through the slush piles, and they also used Baen's Bar as a way to help new writers wring out the problems of their stories. Though I never got a chance to meet Jim Baen himself before his passing the other year, I kind of hoped that JBU would be able to stand as part of his legacy. Alas, twas not to be.
Finally, I'd let to send out a Thank You to nancyfulda Nancy Fulda, who was one of the slush readers for JBU and mostly the assistant editor who sent me my rejections. JBU had a fast turnaround time and a wide word count range, so nearly all of my stories could be routed through them -- and Nancy saw most of them. I used to joke to my friends that "Nancy Fulda hates me", but that's not true. Editors are rejecting the story, not the writer -- send them another one, write more, write more better. (grin) Another assistant editor who stands out is Sam Hidaka, who I know comments on the WOTF Forum, again helping out new writers.
Jim Baen's Universe and its dead tree offspring The Best of... will be missed. But not yet. They're still running until the April 2010 issue. And that's still a lot of SF stories to read. Just not mine.