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S. Hamm
Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 10:00 pm:   

Stephen King, guest editor of Best American Short Stories 2007, has been exceptionally kind to F&SF this year. In addition to reprinting Bruce McAllister's "The Boy in Zaquitos" from Jan. 2006 (as GVG has already mentioned here), King also includes four F&SF stories among the "100 Other Distinguished Stories of 2006" listed at the back of the book: Terry Bisson's "Billy and the Fairy," Gardner Dozois's "Counterfactual," Carrie Richerson's "With By Good Intentions," and Christopher Rowe's "Another Word for Map Is Faith."

Still more mainstream props for young Irvine's burgeoning file!
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PM
Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 10:56 pm:   

Go Irvine Go!
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 08:49 am:   

I think it's striking that none of the five F&SF stories singled out by BASS qualified for the preliminary Nebula ballot. The only one that's still elgible, Carrie Richerson's, currently has one nomination. (It needs ten to make the prelim. ballot.)
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Alex Irvine
Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 09:24 am:   

Congrats to all the F&SF writers in the book!

But as far as mainstream props for me: Huh?
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ccfinlay
Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 09:42 am:   

Alex, see:

http://www.nightshadebooks.com/cgi-bin/discus/show.cgi?tpc=378&post=129575#POST1 29575
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PM
Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 10:07 am:   

"I think it's striking that none of the five F&SF stories singled out by BASS qualified for the preliminary Nebula ballot."

Heidi Pitlor (the editor) should have the answer.

The perpetual trip word is "Best". I think that if anthologies would drop that word then considerable controversy would be averted.

If one were able to fully explicate the decision making process then one might agree that the choices that were made were understandable.

Without that information one is left wondering why this story was chosen as opposed to another.

I would speculate that the choices [in BASS] do not reflect the commitments already made by say the Nebula voters.
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ccfinlay
Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 10:18 am:   

I dunno. I think the flaw is with the Nebs, not the BASS. I've given up on the Nebula nomination process (and also pretty much on SFWA).
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 11:43 am:   

I was pointing up the Nebulas, PM. BASS has its own difficulties and they probably change from year to year, but I find it hard to believe that none of the five stories in question should wind up on the preliminary Nebula ballot.

(I should mention that as of right now, there are only eight works total on this year's preliminary ballot: three novels, three novelets, and two scripts.)

Charlie, the problem is that the more people who give up on the Nebs (like you), the worse the awards get. Perhaps the whole system is flawed: selecting award nominees by having the works nominated by the same body or people who create the works might simply be a mistake. But for right now, it's the only system the Nebulas have and for it to work at all, people have to participate.
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ccfinlay
Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 11:51 am:   

Gordon, the Nebulas need to be reformed to the calendar year (among other things); the current president of SFWA says that any reform of that type is flat out of the question; so alas, the smart choice is to let them get dramatically worse--as currently seems to be the case this year--until a SFWA administration finally considers reform.
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PM
Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 12:08 pm:   

It would be easier to explicate BASS's decision making process assuming that the decision makers are willing to participate.

The Nebs. Well not so easy. Who knows? Perhaps these stories will make the ballot?

All these awards all the time...never ending awards.

The Dozois story won a Sidewise and was in a Hartwell's Years Best.

At any rate, obviously folk are going to be committed to one another, and one wonders just exactly how much the voters are reading. Are the voters even reading what they're voting on?

I think we can all agree that no one is reading all the work published year after year in all the categories...
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PM
Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 12:53 pm:   

"selecting award nominees by having the works nominated by the same body or people who create the works might simply be a mistake"

The larger mistake is asserting that the awards are more than what they are. I find it easy to fall into the trap that the awards reflect more than they actually do.

It's an award exclusive to an organization that doesn't exclusively nominate from within. If I'm understanding what's being said it sounds to me as though there's dissatisfaction with the award results and one proposal would be to expand the votership.
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Jeff Smith
Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 09:33 pm:   

One of the other stories in Best American Short Stories 2007, "St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves" by Karen Russell, may not have come from F&SF, but it would have felt perfectly placed here. It's the title story in her short story collection, which I bought when it came out because...well, I just couldn't resist that title. I enjoyed the book as a whole, but I've read "St. Lucy's" multiple times; it's wonderful.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2007 - 06:11 pm:   

Stephen King appeared on Leonard Lopate's radio show today to promote BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES. You can hear it here: http://www.wnyc.org/

He says some very nice things about F&SF and goes on to reveal that he recently sold us a short story.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2007 - 10:30 pm:   

Depressingly obvious, isn't it? No wonder he plugged all those F&SF stories in the back of the book. He just wanted the sale.

Sordid. Sordid! Shame on you both.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, October 19, 2007 - 06:01 am:   

It's true, Sam. Everything is about log-rolling.

I sent him a note to say I was horrified to hear that he revealed in public how much we paid for the rights to publish his new story: "Now all the other writers are going to expect to be paid, too!"
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ccfinlay
Posted on Friday, October 19, 2007 - 07:07 am:   

Wait... you pay some of your writers?!?!
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Michael Libling
Posted on Friday, October 19, 2007 - 07:38 am:   

Stephen King: "...and I maintain Fantasy & Science Fiction is still the gold standard when it comes to short fiction in the United States of America..."

Okay, Gordon, so this is what we do.... We get this long, long banner printed up. And then we hire this small plane and hook the banner to the tail. And then we....

Or what's it cost these days to rent that message board in Times Square?

Or maybe we do up a bunch of shelft-talkers and slip them onto the magazine racks....

Or better yet, how about some guerrilla marketing, where we print the quote on stickers and plaster them every damn place we can....

Or...or...um...uh...
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, October 19, 2007 - 07:48 am:   

Good for him. That makes up a BIT for his annoying essay in the Times Book Review (aka intro to BASS).
Congrats! I hope it gives F&SF a big boost.
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Friday, October 19, 2007 - 09:13 am:   

Stephen King: "...and I maintain Fantasy & Science Fiction is still the gold standard when it comes to short fiction in the United States of America..."

Okay, Gordon, so this is what we do.... We get this long, long banner printed up. And then we hire this small plane and hook the banner to the tail.


With respect, no. You buy a full-page ad in People magazine with a picture of King, a couple of excellent F&SF covers, and the "gold standard" quote. If one out of a thousand People readers are led to subscribe to F&SF, that would be some ten thousand new subscribers. Of course, the new revenue would probably not cover the cost of the People ad, but it's a start.

Matt Hughes
The Spiral Labyrinth
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PM
Posted on Friday, October 19, 2007 - 09:27 am:   

Online banner ad?

"Stephen King: We'll claim him as ours now"

Can't wait until he wins an award for his story.
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Michael Libling
Posted on Friday, October 19, 2007 - 11:58 am:   

Just trying to be cost-effective, Matt. Guerrilla marketing, my boy. Guerrilla marketing!
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, October 19, 2007 - 09:21 pm:   

Well, Matt, if you know someone who's willing to put up the $165,000.00 for a full-page ad in PEOPLE, I'll look into the possibility of running an ad. By my estimation, we'd need to get about 6,000 subscriptions from the ad for the effort to pay off for us. I believe that's 0.16% of their subscribers.

On the other hand, I'll note that while I've heard from a handful of people who heard Stephen King's comments on the radio, we have not yet received one subscription from somebody who said they subscribed on account of SK's plug for us.
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Sheila Finch
Posted on Saturday, October 20, 2007 - 02:57 pm:   

I have to admit, I'm not reading as much sf as I used to. I read mostly non-fiction these days. And I also am a terrible procrastinator who needs prodding to get my recommendations in for the NAR before really good stuff falls through the cracks -- like Paolo Bacigalupi's story that Gordon mentioned.
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Monday, October 22, 2007 - 02:45 pm:   

That much, eh, Gordon? What a world, what a world.

Matt Hughes
www.archonate.com
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PM
Posted on Monday, October 22, 2007 - 03:43 pm:   

That's a b/w ad too. Color costs more.

Advertising (depending on the publication) generally pays the bills. It also helps to keep the price down. And one also has to factor in usually a return rate in the 50% range. So 3 million copies on the newsstand means 1.5 million copies returned.

And of course People pays a lot of money for those celebrity photos and stories, etc.

So on casual view, the ad rates would seem to indicate a cash bonanza. But the cost of doing business is also high.

And then when one factors in the online website where the content is free and the advertisers don't want to pay print rates for banner ads, well it just makes profitability even more difficult.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 - 12:31 pm:   

Several people have commented on the irony that in a week when Stephen King calls us the gold standard of short fiction, we should also get bloggers like Warren Ellis and John Scalzi pondering the continued existence and point thereof of the science fiction print magazines:

http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=5212

http://scalzi.com/whatever/?p=66

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/10/22/sf-magazines-circula.html
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PM
Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 - 01:29 pm:   

Hopefully, Stephen King will help sell additional copies.

I don't know if you've addressed this but it's been and continues to be criticized...the "this" being the look of the print magazine and the website.

And while everyone is offering their solutions...

The subscription rate is too high. $18 for 6 months and $25 for a year.

I'd add 24-48 pages of ads. Conventions!

Subscribers would be offered the ability to download the PDF edition for free. The PDF edition would have the ads and color.

I would hire Warren Ellis to write essays because if you want cranky, don't give a fuck, piss all over the place, slap in the face writing well he can do it. And Harlan Ellison is pretty good too :-)

And they have fans...unlike the present fellow.

And if you can't afford to pay them. Just link to their blogs/websites because they do have interesting things to say from time to time.
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des lewis
Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 - 01:34 pm:   

With my own work, I have been publishing it all on the internet since 2000 (because I can't be bothered to get a printer, as one of those articles said). And I get more readership that way than keeping it in a cupboard.
Having said that, I'm a firm believer in magazines and books. That's why I've published so far 100 items of new short fiction by many authors in 'Nemonymous'. We shall need these books and magazines to cherish when the electricity dries up.
As to the the Big 3, I wish them luck. I think it would be great to have a story in them, but I have no printer. I can't write good enough stories, more like! Meanwhile I'm a subscriber to Interzone. And a lover of the printed word forever.
des
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Michael Libling
Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 - 02:02 pm:   

I'm curious. Do any fiction magazines, SF, literary or otherwise, have impressive and growing circulation numbers? I remember when Zoetrope: All Story launched with great fanfare a few years back. Does anyone know if its numbers grown or are they in decline as well?
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des lewis
Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 - 02:06 pm:   

I sell more Nemonymous than I ever expected, but basically I publish it philanthropically.
des
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 - 02:47 pm:   

Michael---

As far as I've been able to tell from the trade info I've seen and heard, there are only two genres that have had impressive and growing circ numbers in the past seven years:

1) celebrity women's magazines: These were seen as being very successful after Oprah Winfrey's O magazine launched. Then came the debacle of ROSIE magazine and that ended that trend.

2) teen versions of adult magazines: COSMO GIRL and similar magazines were doing well for a while, but I haven't checked any recent numbers to see if they're still prospering.

By the way, most of the industry stuff I read doesn't even list fiction magazines as a category. They fly below the radar (which is what Stephen King has been saying repeatedly as he promotes the BASS anthology).
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 - 05:29 pm:   

Gordon:

What you really need is to get yourself on Oprah's show. Oh, and to avoid pissing her off.

Matt Hughes
www.archonate.com
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S. Hamm
Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 - 11:56 pm:   

Agree with King that F&SF is the gold standard. Problem is, the U.S. of A. went off the gold standard in 1971.

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