Save the Semiprozine – Part 3

If you are just coming into this discussion at this post, I suggest that you check out part 1 and part 2. Same rules apply.

“And remember the point I made about how few of the fiction semiprozines ever get nominated in the existing category anyway. There’s no reason the editors should be discouraged any more than they presently are (if they are, which I doubt) by having to compete for Best Editor, Short Form.” –Mike Glyer (in comments at File 770)

At present, short fiction semiprozines get nominated for the Hugo. Just because it doesn’t happen as frequently as it does for non-fiction magazines is irrelevant. Neither will be represented by the Hugos if they are forced to compete within Best Editor Short Form alongside that category’s perennial nominees.

“A friend wrote that the news of Charlie Brown’s death had convinced him to vote against abolishing the Semiprozine category. He thinks the timing is unsavory, and it would be disrespectful to the memory of a giant in the field.” –Mike Glyer (post at File 770)

One of the things that saddened me in this process was learning that there were people involved in this movement just to keep Locus Magazine from winning more Hugos. I won’t lie, I would have liked to have seen someone else win from time to time, but it was the will of the voters and that was that. There has been a great deal of disrespect to both Charlie and the people who voted for him and that is a shame.

When I launched this site a few months ago, I contacted Charlie for the profile information on Locus Magazine and invited him (like the others) to participate in any way he felt comfortable. He was well-aware of the sentiment against him. He told me: “As the 800 lb gorilla, we probably should keep out of this. Anything else will seem self-serving, whether intended as such or not. I *do* think there are too many good publications being disenfranchised for the amendment to make any sense.”

It’s a shame that any of this should be about one person. In some circles this whole situation is believed to be a scorched-earth solution to a perceived problem with one person. It is time to move on. The vote needs to happen. We need to put this behind us.

This series will wrap up tomorrow with part 4 – looking to the future.

Save the Semiprozine – Part 2

If you are just coming into this discussion at this post, I suggest that you check out part 1. Same rules apply.

The next few quotes will from a recent post and comments at File 770.

“When I looked at the wordage rates offered to beginning writers by semiprozines and prozines, I was surprised to see they often aren’t that far apart, by no means the great chasm I expected. The competition to develop a successful magazine involves more than money, it requires a lot of other skills and personal intangibles, too. Exactly the spectrum of abilities already recognized in this Hugo category:

3.3.8: Best Editor Short Form. The editor of at least four (4) anthologies, collections or magazine issues primarily devoted to science fiction and / or fantasy, at least one of which was published in the previous calendar year.

The present rule is not limited to editors of printed publications. It isn’t restricted to professional publications. Fiction semiprozine editors are already eligible for the award as presently defined. There will still be a Hugo recognizing their services if the Best Semiprozine category is eliminated.” –Mike Glyer, (in Post at File 770)

The new rules would protect the fanzines from becoming once again dominated by the semiprozines. Historically, this makes sense. The Semiprozine category was created to do just that. I applaud the efforts to be fair to the fanzines, but at the same time, I must cry foul when it comes to pushing the semiprozines into best editor short form. Mike illustrated my concern beautifully through another history lesson:

“People voted to divide the Best Editor category into Long Form and Short Form partly so that David Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden and other noted novel editors would share some of the glory going to magazine editors every single year.”

Semiprozines are being pushed into a category with people that even Patrick Nielson Hayden couldn’t beat. I fail to understand how this can be considered a fair solution. It is no different than pushing semiprozines into the fanzine category. Like it or not, there is a middle ground between fanzine and professional editor. It is a group of people who are significant contributors to our field and deserving of recognition for their accomplishments. For lack of a better name, they are the semiprozines, a group that since the inception of the category continues to grow and evolve. They should be encouraged, not squashed.

“What’s more, I gained the impression from my recent survey of semiprozine word rates, award-nominated stories that have appeared in them, and pro-published collections from them, that the semiprozine editors already regard themselves as in competition with larger but similar commercial enterprises like Asimov’s.” –Mike Glyer (in comments at File 770)

As the publisher/editor of a semiprozine fiction magazine, I don’t regard the professional editors (magazine or anthology) as direct competitors. Non-fiction magazines have even more distance from these editors. Fiction semiprozines publish far more newer authors than the “big three” (Source: Research by Sean Wallace on short stories published in 2008) and I don’t see that changing in the near future.

Believing that I should pay my authors does not make me a professional editor. I don’t get paid and in fact, most semiprozine editors make receive little to no financial compensation for their efforts. If this award goes to the editor, why should we focus on what the author is paid and ignore what the editor is paid? In my mind, a professional can make a living at what they do.

Save the Semiprozine – Part 1

hugoThe fate of the Best Semiprozine Hugo will be determined next week at Worldcon. In preparation for the vote, I’m been spending some extra time  reading what the opponents of the award have to say. Over the next few days, I’ll be posting some quotes, their sources, and my responses. By all means, consider this an open discussion. Use the comments, make your case, but remain civil. I know that passions have run high in some corners. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Please be respectful of that.

First off, a couple of statements made during last year’s business meeting:

“Reason we have categories is that we like to honour work. Locus has done a marvelous job. But we like to have categories where it’s an honour to be nominated.”  –Ben Yalow, 2008 WSFS Business Meeting Minutes

Locus has done an incredible job over the years and has won its stack of Hugos courtesy of the voter’s recognition of their accomplishments. While Locus Magazine can be quite proud of this accomplishment, we (the other nominees) feel no less proud for being nominated. This nod from Hugo voters is an incredible honor. Given the number of nominations the category received this year (nearly as many as the Campbell Award and more than several non-endangered categories), these nominations have meaning to more than just those who receive them.

“We don’t seem to have any nominees for this category apart from the five who get nominated each year. It’s a weak category.” –Ben Yalow, 2008 WSFS Business Meeting Minutes

There are over 25 semiprozines listed on this site. They represent a broad range of fiction and non-fiction, online and print, and new and well-established magazines. They’ve won awards, received honorable mentions and Year’s Best citations, introduced new authors, published  established authors, lead the way in online publishing, and have made valuable contributions to the community. They are anything but weak and it is my hope that we have opened more than few eyes to both the quality and quantity of semiprozines through this website.

Furthermore, I direct your attention to some recent calculations by Warren Buff (posted at File770).  He has discovered that over the last ten years,  the level of venue diversity on the semiprozine ballots has been very similar to that of Best Fanzine, Best Fan Writer, Best Fan Artist and Best Professional Artist. No one is suggesting those Hugos be eliminated, nor should they.

Greater representation of the field on the ballot is a worthy goal in any category and I’m happy to see people looking at it. How would you go about educating people about the alternatives? Has anything been tried in the past?

Semiprozines in the 2009 Locus Poll

The results from the annual Locus Magazine poll are detailed in the July issue and highlights the accomplishments of many semiprozines:

Best Magazine

  • #6 Interzone
  • #7 Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet
  • #8 The New York Review of Science Fiction
  • #9 Clarkesworld Magazine
  • #10 Strange Horizons
  • #11 Weird Tales
  • #14 Ansible
  • #15 Postscripts
  • #19 Fantasy Magazine
  • #20 Black Gate
  • #21 Internet Review of Science Fiction

Best Novelette

Best Short Story

July 2009 Issue of Clarkesworld

cw_34The July issue of Clarkesworld Magazine is now available:

Placa del Fuego by Tobias S. Buckell
Placa del Fuego (AUDIO VERSION) by Tobias S. Buckell, read by Mike Allen
On the Lot and In the Air by Lisa Hannett

Dirty Hands and Invisible Words: Speculative Fiction Book Editors Speak Out, Part 1 of 2 interview by Jeremy L. C. Jones
Doing Crappy Things to Good Characters: A Conversation with Jim C. Hines by Jeremy L. C. Jones
Helping Hands: Fairylands, Boneshops and More by Neil Clarke

Sea Monster by Jasper Ng

Talebones to cease operations as a magazine

Taken from Patrick Swenson’s blog:

Talebones the magazine is closing up shop. There are many reasons, some of which I’ve mentioned before in earlier attempts to close the magazine (I thought I was out…but they dragged me back in!). Subscribers are hard to come by. I could throw numbers at you, but why bother? They’re not pretty. Talebones has stayed afloat for the last few years only because of (a) the Save Talebones drive two years ago and (b) other funding from Fairwood Press, the Rainforest retreat, and my pocket.

But even so … money is not the main reason I’m ending the mag. I need just a little less stress in my life, and more time for other things. My son. My health. My job. My writing.

And even so … Talebones is not dead. Oh no.

Talebones #37 will be out within the next month. Issue #38 before the end of the year. (Decisions were made not too long ago on that issue.)  I am returning all submissions that come to me, unread, with a note attached regarding the closure. I will take all of 2010 off from Talebones except for the work/planning needed to put out the long-awaited Best of Talebones anthology. By the end of this year, Talebones will be owned by my book company, Fairwood Press.

Starting in 2011, Talebones will become an annual anthology. It will be all fiction, no poetry, probably no artwork other than the cover. It will have broader distribution (I hope). Submission guidelines will go up sometime in late 2010, and I will probably do some invites for that first anthology to get a good jump on things. I expect the guidelines to be fairly similar to the magazine guidelines. I also expect that submissions will be accepted during a limited window of time each year, and probably all online. Down the road there might be guest editors and themes. Don’t hold me completely to all these expectations, though.

So Talebones isn’t really going away. Just entering its chrysalis phase; when it comes out, it will hopefully be changed for the better. There’s no guarantee it will survive that way, either, but I’ve got to give it a try.

Subscribers…I’ll be contacting you about your options. You can certainly beat me to the punch and email me (or send a note to my LJ inbox) and I’ll get right to you. Some subscribers will have one or two issues left, some four, some even more. I’m not taking in any more subscriptions (the subscription option is gone from the website), but in the meantime, anyone, subscriber or not, can consider buying the last two issues individually, and even consider picking up some back issues. This will be extremely helpful, as it will not be an easy road financially getting subscriptions paid back and getting #38 out without any subscription money coming in.

BFA Shortlist and Semiprozines

The shortlist for this year’s British Fantasy Awards has been announced and voting is now open between now and the 1st of August. Semiprozines are represented in the following categories:


  • “All Mouth”  by Paul Meloy, Black Static 6, Ed. Andy Cox – TTA Press
  • “Winter Journey” by Joel Lane, Black Static 5, Ed. Andy Cox – TTA Press


  • “Mutant Popcorn” by Nick Lowe,  Interzone – TTA Press


Ditmar Awards and Semiprozines

The Ditmar Awards have been awarded at the Australian National Science Fiction conventions since 1969 in order to recognise achievements in Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Nominees and Winning Stories from Semiprozines

Best Novella

Best Short Story