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Monday, August 4, 2008

The Long, Sad Death of the Sci-fi Magazine

posted by on August 4 at 12:43 PM


Warren Ellis looks at the circulation numbers of all the major sci-fi magazines that publish short fiction and sees an impending death knell:

As was stated over and over last year, any number of things could be done to help these magazines. But, naturally enough, the magazines’ various teams appear not to consider anything to be wrong. They’ll provide what their remaining audience would seem to want, until they all finally die of old age, and then they’ll turn out the lights. And that’ll be it for the short-fiction sf print magazine as we know it.

When I was a kid, I used to read an uncle’s old copies of Asimov Science Fiction and I really liked it. In many ways, short stories are the best way to enjoy science fiction: get in, introduce an idea, get out. Too bad everything is all series of super-giant overpadded books now. Ellis points to Clarkesworld and Farrago’s Wainscot as good online examples of sci-fi magazines, if you’re interested in giving them a shot.

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I've read hundreds of these...a friend gave me his collection of Asimovs, F&SF, and Analog years ago. I've probably got every issue from 1969-89, some older and some newer. Sure some of it is not so great, but a lot is worth reading. A 2 parter by Kilgore Trout complete with fake photo/bio from '69 (I think) is very cool.

Posted by Gabe | August 4, 2008 1:01 PM

@1: I so want that Kilgore Trout 2-parter.

Posted by Greg | August 4, 2008 1:16 PM

uh, you didn't really need to put "Sci-fi" in your title...ALL print magazines are dying to one degree or the other...

Posted by michael strangeways | August 4, 2008 1:19 PM

Sadly, @3 has a point. But writing short stories for a magazine always felt a lot more fun than slaving at a novel, from my perspective.

Even if book authors are the ones that do better in the long run.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 4, 2008 1:23 PM

@2: Looks like it was Decemder 74 - Jan. 75, not '69, and not Vonnegut. Still a good story, though.

Posted by Gabe | August 4, 2008 1:50 PM
6's the cover, this is the one I have somewhere:)

Posted by Gabe | August 4, 2008 1:59 PM

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