I continue to hear people say something along the lines of “Oh is that mag still around?” or the scarier “It’s such a shame there are no science fiction magazines anymore.”
In fact, I have to be honest about this, a year ago I was one of those people. That was until I walked into a newsagent and stumbled upon an issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, about this time last year. My immediate action? I bought it. My follow up action? I subscribed. This was too rare a beast to allow it’s extinction without trying to at least enjoy it for a while.
I then began some real investigation, and I was amazed how many of those magazines I loved in my youth are still running, and how many were already deceased. Sure you never see them on Australian news stands, sure you can’t buy them in stores here for love nor money, but they are out there, struggling to survive in a world that has tried far too hard to forget them. And they need your help.
One of the most common complaints I read in writer’s forums is that publishers won’t take new authors. People bemoan the lack of options for emerging writers to prove themselves, and yet, here it is. Short stories, novellas, novelettes, pieces in the genre magazines, these were the bread and butter of many an author in the classic Science Fiction era. They honed their craft, and launched many a modern classic into the popular consciousness via these magazines.
Ebooks, print on demand, all the myriad self publishing options allow you to get your book out there, and writers are forgetting or ignoring their roots. The method for getting your name into the minds of readers and publishers alike, used to be through the magazines that your readers were buying. This should not be an aspect of our world that we allow to die. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction boasts a readership of 100,000. Well, I say that needs to be doubled, or tripled. We have no real excuses to be ignoring these publications. You may pick up on an author you never would have read otherwise, along with thousands of others, thus launching that new writer to fame and stardom, encouraging more and better works from them and encouraging other writers to do the same.
Many of these magazines are now available on Kindle, or through other ebook avenues, so even if you can not get them in a store, you can still get access to them in that manner. These periodicals are the bread and butter of genre fiction, and while currently largely forgotten, they are by no means dead. Let us all take action, and prevent them becoming any more of an endangered species. These magazines could well be the saviors of SF and Fantasy yet. In recent years, when new SF authors have been fighting uphill to gain acceptance by a skeptical, nervous publishing world, magazines like The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and many others, have quietly continued their efforts in the background, out of sight of the digital generation. Perhaps, in many ways, it is these new generations of rapid information access, short burst data gathering, digitally connected people for whom these magazines, with their tasty bite sized morsels of fiction gold, are most suited. Especially in their easily accessible ebook form. So if you have never experienced any of these wonderful publications, please, subscribe before it is too late. And if you already support them, thank you on behalf of readers and writers alike.