and Jonathan Strahan
have been blogging the news of F&SF mag going bimonthly as of April. It has us thinking about the future of short story markets. I wanted to write an article about my thoughts on the topic the other day but my brain is not yet turned on for the year.
You have to be thinking about the future of mags at the point at which what many consider the top market is now dropping half its yearly issues. It doesn't seem promising does it? I have lots of thoughts on the matter - I discuss this on the latest ASif Podcast - my theory of exclusionism whereby newcomers are not welcomed or entry made easy. For example, F&SF has taken to running a classic reprint per issue this year but with no real commentary or context on why the story is a classic or why the editor has chosen to reprint it. Both of which would enhance the value of the decision to include old fiction.
Another aspect for me that makes it obvious that these mags are in trouble is the fact that since I have been reading them (only 3 years) they have not adapted or changed at all to move with the rapidly changing world of the short story. There is no interface with online and where there is - option to buy electronically - it is clumsy and unwieldy. The pdfs are merely the magazine in soft copy which is a really unpleasant way to read it onscreen. Magazines won't survive if they try to continue to push a product that is increasingly becoming oldfashioned.
That said. People are reading less. People are reading short stories less. Maybe the form really is just dying out.