Monday, October 6, 2008

Why Not Sponsor the Literature You Love?

I am feeling perilously close to panic. Asimov's and Analog are converting their format to an L trim.

Okay, you say. What the heck is an L trim and why should it matter? Briefly, the magazines are going from 5.25" wide and 8.3125" high, with 144 pages, to a new size: 5.875" wide and 8.625" high, with only 112 pages. By changing the font size, the editors are able to limit the damage to the loss of a single short story per issue.

This is scary because the change of size was done in order to cut expenses. And magazines only make such penny-pinching moves when things are so tight that the very real possibility of going under looms on the horizon.

The reason we all should care is that not only are Asimov's and Analog and the other genre magazines the school in which young and talented writers master their trade, but the crucible in which new modes of fiction are created. (Cyberpunk, to take the easiest example, was created not in Neuromancer but in William Gibson's short fiction, mostly published in the Omni.) The science fiction and fantasy genres would be a lot drabber and less lively without the magazines.

If you'd like to make a positive difference for the literature you love, the single best thing you could do would be to subscribe to one of the magazines. I already subscribe to a couple of them and I'm sending in my check to a third tomorrow. You can subscribe to Asimov's here or to Analog here.

And if the two big guys are wobbly, you can bet the other magazines could use your money too. You can subscribe to Fantasy and Science Fiction here or to Realms of Fantasy here.

Keep in mind that this isn't charity. You'll be getting first look at some of the best short fiction being published today. And you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you're making a difference.

End of lecture. I promise not to do this often.


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