January 29th, 2009

cuppa

Realms of Fantasy website gone

Wow that was fast, news leaked out yesterday and now the website is gone.

Some funny things about this particular prozine closure. I mean, obviously I'm watching the state of the publishing world, and sf/f, with more than idle interest. I want to be able to draw some conclusions, figure out what I think is going on and then make any changes within Twelfth Planet Press that may be needed.

The thing about RoF is ... well ... it was near on impossible to find in Australia. It's hard to read all those posts yesterday about the closure of this market and wonder how many had actually read a single copy of it or bought one. I actually really loved this one and spent a whole year chasing copies down across newsagents in Perth. I loved it though for the look of it. The fiction inside I didn't think was aimed at me. And when we discussed it at Last Short Story, there wasn't really any one of us readers who loved this market for the work it published. Personally, I think Fantasy Magazine outcompeted it, both in terms of quality and consistency of fantasy fiction published. There are also many aspects of Fantasy Magazine that appeal to the 21st Century reader that I think maybe RoF didn't - I don't download the podcasts but I like that they are there. I kind of like the publishing of one piece of fiction every Monday - it's a good way to ration out a monthly magazine to a busy reader. And Fantasy is as shiny and glossy as RoF, to me, it's just online.

The issue I can never get past with RoF was the way I was treated in terms of the subscription fiasco. And blogging it at the time, I discovered many others, in Australia at least, who shared the same experience. The ... trial issue fiasco ... I like to call it. Sign up online to receive one trial issue of the magazine. To the subscription department this apparently meant that you had committed to buy the magazine and you were a total bastard when you didn't immediately send them your money. I got 3 maybe 4 harrassing letters from the magazine with absolutely no contact details for me to able to discuss it or ask them to please stop. It was the point at which I believe they threatened me with debt collectors that I actually called the US phone number to sort it out, got the voice mail but was unable to leave a message as it was full. Probably cost me $10 to make that call. There were never any contact emails or any way to contact anyone within the magazine on their website.

It was after that that I swore I would never spend another dime (it was American money after all) on that magazine. If other people had similar experiences ... I can see where part of the problems came from.

But the fact is, regardless of all of this, times are incredibly tough right now. We don't know how much tougher they are going to get and publishers are tightening their belts and carving off what they can. It's too soon to offer real commentary on this period of time, since we're still smack bang in the middle of it. But for what it's worth, my thoughts are that we have just passed out the other side of one of the most decadent and prosperous times in our history. Things are easy in times like those and businesses can get away with a lot of loose business models but eventually, what goes up must come down. And I think we are going through a time when bad business models that have no buffer to weather out the bad times are going to fold.

Is it a bad thing? It's sad to know that we can no longer prop everything up but ... that's evolution, isn't it?
Willow

OMG Reading!!

I know who is going to kick me for this post but here goes, nonetheless.

I forgot how much I love reading. How did that happen?

See, there's two kinds of reading, especially at LSS. There's the browsing to make sure you don't miss anything good (this is most of the reading) and then there's the immersion into a story that takes your breath away and inspires you to think or feel or emote (this is most of the reading I miss out on doing).

I'd say most of the latter kind of reading I've been doing of late is with works I am going to publish this year. And that's great - you should love the work you print and you should love them because you will read them each, oh like, 8 times in the next month. But if that's all you read, you have no context within which your publishing sits. And ... you miss out on reading good stuff. For fun. And for inspiration.

Yesterday my brain was not fit for finescale thinking. That's what I call the brain power required for balancing finances, proof reading, figuring out the kind of rewrites a story needs, problem solving - critical thinking at a magnified power. I couldn't even sew; I switched to knitting socks instead. So I read. And I read a lot at the former kind - lots and lots of average stuff that I skimmed just to check I didn't need to allocate time to read in depth. Good notching up numbers in the LSS spreadsheet kinda reading.

But then, I made a point of reading a few stories that I knew needed brainspace and time allocated to them for immersion and engagement. I put the laptop away and I read a few short stories from an actual print copy, for fun, before bedtime.

And I LOVED it! I need to remember to do that regularly. It's fun! How did I forget this?

Willow

(no subject)

He admits that while functionality is first and foremost, some women may find the idea of their cycles being "tracked" a tad offensive.

--snip--
ONE hundred thousand men sick of copping a monthly serve from cranky wives and girlfriends have signed up for an online reminder service that warns when pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is about to hit.

PMSBuddy.com, the brainchild of a 28-year-old bloke whose mates were too often in cycle-related strife, is designed for men who have a darling of a partner for three weeks of the month – and a demon for the rest.

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/0,28383,24975173-5007185,00.html

I offer this without commentary.

12PPblack

Twelfth Planet Press 2009 Publishing Schedule

Look out for the following Twelfth Planet Press projects out in 2009:

New Ceres Nights edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Tehani Wessely, to be launched at
Contact: Swancon 2009
Meet the world of New Ceres, an exciting and dangerous place. Its water is green and its inhabitants are sophisticates.
New Ceres is precarious: its New Enlightenment constrains society as well as liberating old thoughts and literature and drinking customs. The planet plays interstellar politics to defend its independence and it recruits refugees from Old Earth and the conquered New Alliance planets to maintain some dangerous habits.

On New Ceres you will find coffee houses and highwaymen, drinks, gambling and illegal hi-technology.

Horn, by Peter M Ball - the second in our
novella series. This book is currently scheduled to be launched at Conjecture: the 2009 Natcon in Adelaide, June 5-8.
Horn is a hardboiled urban fantasy detective story which may contain unicorns and a formerly dead person.
Read about the conception of this story from the writer himself

A Book of Endings by Deborah Biancotti edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Ben Payne, to be launched at Continuum 5 - Galaxies by Gaslight, Melbourne August 14 - 16
This collection by one of Australia's favourite speculative fiction short story writers over the last decade, includes 16 much-loved works and 6 new stories, with cover art by Nick Stathopoulos and introduced by Justine Larbalestier. Follow the emotional highs and lows as Biancotti explores what it means to be human in our modern society.

Robot War Espresso by Robert Hood to be launched at Continuum 5 - Galaxies by Gaslight, Melbourne August 14 - 16
This third volume in our ongoing novella series brings Robert Hood back to the YA genre with a hard core science fiction story about, well, exploding robots and coffee.

And if this is not enough for you hard core indie press addicts, there promises to be much to read over at Shiny Magazine with
Issue 5 out soon, edited by Tehani Wessely and Alisa Krasnostein and packed full of fiction:
- "Paper Dragons" by Sue Isle
- "Root" by Emily Mah Tippets
- "Not Like Us" by Tansy Rayner Roberts

and Issues 6 and 7 to be edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Guest Editors Ben Payne and Tansy Rayner Roberts. And of course, Season 3 Buffy commentary by Alisa and Rachel.
Willow

*shrugs*

Was just on the phone to editormum and like with all our conversations, ended up in TPPland.

Me: We need something awesome at the launch of Horn
T: Surely we know someone who would get naked and put on a unicorn horn for us?


There's so much that's disturbing about that conversation. Also that she started looking for horns on ebay.
Willow

More on Thorpie

Just so we're clear:

SWIMMING champion Ian Thorpe has rubbished continuing speculation about his sexual orientation by by insisting that he isn't gay.
--snip--

"In the past, on several separate occasions, I have answered questions about my sexuality openly and honestly with the media."

He then referred to an interview for Good Weekend magazine shortly after his retirement in March 2007.

In that story he said: "I don't have a problem being a gay icon, it's not a big deal to me. But I think the gay speculation, along with when I was accused of taking drugs in 2000, was an attempt to pull me down from the top.

"Some people think it's an insult to say, 'Oh, I think he's gay', but I don't take it that way. I'm not gay. I'm lucky that within myself I don't care enough to get worried or upset over it."

In the interview he also told how he hoped to marry and have as many as four children.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,24981192-421,00.html

As someone wise pointed out to me recently, you don't have to be married to someone of the opposite sex in order to have children.