So, 2009 is not shaping up to be a good year for writers or fans of SF/F short fiction. Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine are reducing production to six double (as opposed to twelve single) issues a year, Years Best Fantasy & Horror is closing, Years Best Fantasy is going online, and most shocking of all Realms of Fantasy has announced that April 2009 will be the last issue.
News from Sheila William’s (editor of Asimov’s) is that Dell amagazines (publisher of Asimov’s and Analog) have taken effective cost cutting measures which will ensure the magazines continued publication. Thats good news, but not as good as it could be.
While I hope I am incorrect, it seems likely to me that these will not be the last casualties of 2009. In short, the total economic collapse of the wester world may well to be the final nail in the already well sealed coffin of short fiction magazines. Pro-zines are going to face at least a year or more of really adverse econmic conditions, while the valiant volunteer producers of the many great semi-pro and amateur zines are going to face their own adverse economic conditions that will likely impact on the time they can put into such hobbyies. Its going to be a tough year for all of us.
But its always darkest before the dawn. My hope and indeed sincere belief is that the SF community that grows out of the ashes of 2009 will be stronger, fitter, better. The model for short fiction in particular has been unhealthy for a looonnnggg time. But in the vacum left behind, enterprising publishers and editors are going to find new models that in the long term will serve readers and writers much better.
That said, if you are reading this and share my love of short stories, I urge you to go and take out subscriptions or donate to your favourite mags. For the price of a DVD you can have a whole year of literary entertainment. Go…go now!