I just bought one-year subscriptions to INTERZONE and ASIMOV’S. Which I like to think is fair trade for the shit I’ve been giving the sf magazines this time around.
A few people have asked me what the twelve things that could be done to “save” the sf magazines are. Maybe I’ll get into that next week, if the time becomes available. Half of them start with this: a magazine is a thing that must be designed to be wanted.
But you know what? ASIMOV’S, ANALOG, F&SF — they don’t think they need saving. I mean, they haven’t changed for years, have they? They’re not designed to be wanted because they don’t want to be wanted, not really. They want to be left alone to do their thing, and they don’t want any loud new people in the room. They serve a dwindling audience, and they have to be aware of that — so they have to be in it to simply serve that audience, to provide that presumably cosy experience to their people until the last light goes out. Otherwise they would have done something different years ago. This is why those three magazines have a web presence that can charitably be described as “vestigial.” That’s not a dishonourable thing.
I can feel this turning into a longer thought (it’s going to lead into what an sf magazine for the web might really look like) that I don’t have time to beat into coherency. Another time.
Go and read an issue of Flurb instead.