Do you subscribe to magazines?

stack of magazines

My io9 weekly fiction roundup continues apace. I decided that at the beginning of every month I would remind people that magazines need subscribers, and subscribing is awesome. Go, team! In searching for all the subscription links I took note of all the ways one can subscribe to the many and various SF zines. Where just a few years ago I complained about the lack of choices, now there are many. This makes me happy.

Side Note: Strange Horizons, what is up! There’s no way to subscribe in eBook format. The people are clamoring :)

I note that Amazon and Barnes & Noble are still not as helpful as they could be with subscriptions. Looks like many small press mags are in their systems, just not as subscribable entities. And certainly not with the fancy layout that the glossy magazines get (not that this is needed).

All this leads me to wonder how many people do subscribe to these zines, why, and what their experience is like. I’m just curious. We’ve moved into a time where tons of people can get content digitally, easily, for not too much money. How do lit mags fit into the stream of information coming at you?

And if you don’t subscribe to the magazines you read online: why?

Fiction Favorites By The Numbers #1

I’ve been keeping track of all my favorite stories over on Delicious as well as here on the blog. Delicious is still one of the best public bookmarking tools around thanks to the tagging system, which is a little better than it was under Yahoo (finally, spaces!). Due to the way I’ve been tagging stories, I have some good data on them. Peeking in there just now revealed a few things that surprised me.

To start, if you’d asked me what my favorite online magazine is, I would have said Strange Horizons or Clarkesworld. However, a look at the numbers reveals that of the 55 stories published in 2012 that I liked, Lightspeed published most of them (14, to be exact). Clarkesworld is a close second with 11 liked stories. Then after that Strange Horizons and Apex Magazine tie at 6 with Electric Velocipede right behind them with 5. Apparently, my tastes match up with John Joseph Adams’ pretty regularly.

Here are all the magazine numbers in helpful chart format:

Magazine Chart
click to embiggen

Some magazines have lower numbers because they don’t publish as often, but I’m a little sad for

I also track genre data and find that I like SF and Fantasy about evenly (27 and 24 stories, respectively) with a small smattering of horror. Very small. Of the 55 stories, 44 are by women and 14 by authors of color. Obviously there’s some overlap.

I’ll crunch these numbers again at the end of the year to see if anything shifts.I may also go a bit insane and calculate, based on number of stories published total and the number I liked if Lightspeed is still a favorite based on proportion. If a magazine publishes 12 stories a year and I like 5 vs one that pubs 50 stories a year and I like 10, the first one is obviously closer to my tastes.

Any of you out there keeping track of which magazines usually publish stuff that satisfies you in any kind of empirical way?



I’ll be attending Readercon in a couple of weekends and this time I’m on a bit of programming. If you’d like to find/stalk me, here’s the deets:

Friday, 3PM — VT: Interfictions 2 Group Reading
Delia Sherman (host) with Amelia Beamer, K. Tempest Bradford, Matthew Cheney, F. Brett Cox, Michael DeLuca, Jeffrey Ford, Theodora Goss, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Shira Lipkin, Rachel Pollack, Catherynne M. Valente, Genevieve Valentine
Readings from Interfictions 2: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing, edited by host Sherman and Christopher Barzak and forthcoming in the fall from Small Beer Press under the auspices of the Interstitial Arts Foundation.

Friday, 5PM — Salon E: Off Color
K. Tempest Bradford, David Anthony Durham (L), Eileen Gunn, Anil Menon, Cecilia Tan
At various sf conventions, we’ve been to more than one panel during which the panelists try to figure out why there seem to be so few writers of color in the field. As an alternative, we have invited several panelists to discuss what an sf field more enticing to writers of color might look like.

Friday, 8PM — ME/ CT: Annual Interstitial Arts (IAF) Town Meeting
Ellen Kushner with discussion by Liz Gorinsky, Theodora Goss, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Shira Lipkin, Delia Sherman, John Shirley, Sarah Smith, Catherynne M. Valente
Note: I’m not officially on this but will be there talking about the auction and salons and such.
Interstitial Art falls in the interstices of recognized genres. The Interstitial Arts Foundation is a group of “Artists Without Borders” fighting the Balkanization of art. They celebrate work that crosses or straddles the borders between media, the borders between genres, the borders between “high art” and popular culture. They are not opposed to mainstream fiction or genre fiction, nor are they seeking to create a new category. They are just particularly excited by border-crossing fiction (and music and art), and want to support the creation of such works and to establish better ways of engaging with them. The IAF has had a presence at Readercon from its beginning. In 2007, in cooperation with Small Beer Press, the IAF published Interfictions: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing edited by Delia Sherman and Theodora Goss, and in fall 2009 they will present Interfictions 2, edited by Delia Sherman and Christopher Barzak. They are also doing a lot with visual arts. Interstitial Arts is an idea, a conversation, not a hard-and-fast definition-and it’s a conversation you are invited to join.

Saturday, Noon — VT: Federations Group Reading
John Joseph Adams (host) with K. Tempest Bradford, Robert J. Sawyer, Allen Steele, Catherynne M. Valente,
Genevieve Valentine

Sunday, 11AM, Maine/Connecticut: The Future of Magazines, Part 2 (Online) — (part 1 is at 10AM)
K. Tempest Bradford, Neil Clarke, Robert Killheffer, Mary Robinette Kowal (L), Matthew Kressel, Sean Wallace
Are print magazines doomed? (Heck, if newspapers can’t make it …) Or will they survive in their tiny niches? Are there ways to make them more viable? Is that even worth the bother? After all, online magazines are now easy and relatively inexpensive to start — are they the answer?

Farewell, Realms of Fantasy

Farewell, Realms of Fantasy

I haven’t commented on the news that Realms of Fantasy is closing yet, and I feel as though I should for several reasons. So, I will.

Way back when I was a wee!Tempest I was very much unaware of fandom and the wider SF world. I liked Star Trek. I liked Narnia and other SF/F YA and children’s books I’d read, I liked The Martian Chronicles. I didn’t know that this could all coalesce into an identity.

I don’t know how exactly this happened, but at some point I came across the magazine Science Fiction Age and just fell in love. I still feel like SF Age was one of the best genre magazines ever. I was attracted to it due to the big, glossy covers with awesome images but what held me was the stories inside – I read the thing from cover to cover.

During this time – late high school – it was pretty hard to find SF Age. This was before the explosion of B&Ns everywhere and such. I had to beg and cajole and blackmail my poor mother to drive me to the only newsstand in town where I knew I could reliably find it. And one day I happened to notice another mag sitting on the same shelf. Instead of a cool spaceship on the cover, there was probably some woman in chainmail or whatever, but I remember immediately recognizing that this magazine was related to SF Age. It had a similar cover sensibility – a design that said “This is the fantasy version of that magazine you already like.” So I picked that up, too.

I was not disappointed.

Through reading SF Age and Realms of Fantasy I decided to join the SF Book Club which led to me reading every Dozios year’s best (along with some other stuff, but mostly just that) which led me to read beyond the Star Trek novels I’d been devouring for years which, by many turns, led me to writing science fiction and fantasy.

The first time I ever saw Scott Edelman at a con I stood paralyzed 10 feet away from him for 20 minutes until I worked up the nerve to go and say, “HiMrEdelmanmynameisKimandIamabigfanofyours SFAgewassoawesomeanditchangedmylife andIhavealwayswantedtomeetyouandsaythatbecausereallyitchangedeverything Iwouldn’tbeawriterifnotforyouIthink.” Or something like that. I’m sure Scott was completely scared of me, but he did smile when I mentioned SF Age (which Sovereign totally killed before its time and I will never forgive them for that, omg).

Since SF Age died before I got my writing chops, I always had a notion in the back of my mind that I might be published in Realms someday. For a long time it was my whole short fiction world, except for year’s bests. And I loved every story I read.

Yes, this changed over the years. I stopped sending to Realms long, long ago because, really, I’m not all that in to sending stories off to a black hole from which they’d never return (the price I paid for being passed up to Shawna so many times). I stopped reading it after the story that ended with two people having sex on top of a dead unicorn (and no, I am never going to get over that. I like Carrie Vaughn a lot as a person, but ye gods, dead unicorn sex? Booo!). But I will always, always be grateful that it existed, and that it introduced me to so much wonderful fiction and so many amazing authors.

I read Theodora Goss and Hilary Moon Murphy for the first time in Realms and now I’m happy to call them friends. I saw many friends I knew to be amazing authors get published there for the first time – Tim Pratt, Sarah Prineas, Samantha Henderson, Eugie Foster (these are the names coming to me right this second, there were many more).

I still treasure my old copies from high school and the stories I loved therein. I still treasure my memories. And I hope that there will still be great magazines that high school girls who love Star Trek and Martian Chronicles and Narnia can stumble upon that will change everything for them and open up a new world of awesomeness.

SF Reddit?

SF Reddit?

Several months ago Ian Randal Strock (I think) was making noises about creating some system to aggregate/collect links to online magazines when they put up new issues. My memory on this is sketchy, but I remember thinking it was a good idea. I never heard anything more about it, though, so I’m guessing it never moved out of the idea phase.

I was thinking about it yesterday when poking around on For those who don’t know, Reddit is a bit like Digg, but not as slick. People submit posts/articles and redditors vote on them (up or down) and the stuff with the most votes rises to the top of the main page. I just found out a few days ago that users can create subreddits on topics they’re interested in and other users can subscribe to subreddits and see the latest additions on a separate page. There’s a feminist one (that seriously needs some participation from non-assholes) and I found a couple of Short Story ones.

This got me thinking, would an SF/F/H subreddit be useful for what Ian or whoever suggested before? Editors would be encouraged to post whenever they had new fiction available or links to the individual stories, if they like. Readers would subscribe to the subreddit and get alerts whenever new fiction is available. The links from reddit go directly to the site with the content. And I believe subreddits have rss feeds, making things even easier.

Anyway, what do others think of this idea? Would you find it useful? Editors, would you find it annoying to announce new issues/fiction in this way?

ETA: I went ahead and created the subreddit. I figure if it takes off, it does.  If not, no skin off my knees.