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Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Friday April 16, 2004. There were about thirty science fiction magazines during the great sf boom which peaked and crashed in 1953. Most would be considered semi-prozines by today's standards.

Today, http://ralan.com lists 62 pro and semi-pro short fiction markets. I think that if you eliminate the non-markets (ones with warnings against submitting, ones like Century which are officially resting, ones which are overstocked), that leaves more places to submit than in 1953. Take out ones which don't accept unsolicited fiction, or buy only from Australian writers; I think that still leaves more than in 1953.

The early 1950's sf boom's collapse is usually attributed to the bankruptcy of what was then the only national magazine distributor in the US. Today, a high percentage of sf magazines are published on the web or emailed -- including sci.fiction, which pays 20 cents a word. (Fantasy & Science Fiction -- one of the top-tier printzines -- has an electronic edition.)

Standard wisdom is that books are where the markets are. So far as I can tell, most major
sf publishers don't accept unsolicited manuscripts; in some cases, they don't accept query letters. This is not encouraging for beginning writers, to put it mildly.

Other things being equal, it looks to me as if an sf writer who wants to break in has a better chance with short fiction.
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The second most interesting part of my day was frying carrot chips with onion. The most interesting was a cooking disaster.

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