SF Signal: mind melds me

SF Signal does a feature, called Mind Meld, where they ask several different writers the same question. This weeks question asks Is the Short Fiction Market in Trouble?

One of the many perennial arguments in the science fiction blogosphere centers on the health of the short fiction market, so we turned the Mind Meld microphone to people in the field and asked them:

Q: Nobody questions the relevance of genre short fiction, but there is some debate about the health of the market itself. From your perspective, is the short fiction market in trouble? If not, why the debate? If so, what is the cause?

I’m one of the writers they asked to pontificate.

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3 Responses

  1. Dave Bara

    I think you’re closest of all the opinions here, Mary. Those tiny little digest mags with dirty, lousy-looking newsprint pages are a dying breed. Online publication seems to be the way forward for the “traditional” short fiction markets, but not the only way. When I look at magazines like “Fantasy” I see a full-sized color glossy magazine with great graphics and art. If the magazine markets are going to continue with print publication this seems to be only model that will work for attracting the graphics-heavy gamers, which are in reality the genre’s future.

    If the magazines convert to online publication, traditional text-on-web-page models will probably work for part of the audience, but in the future I think stories will have to be more interactive for the reader. That probably means more content-specific stories produced by authors rather than original works. Still there will remain a market for good old orignal genre’ fiction, just in a different format.

    Of course, all of this would be helped by a genre’ anthology series in the tradition of Twilight Zone or Outer Limits, but maybe that’s too much to ask for.


  2. Mike F

    You make some good points. I found a couple of old magazines at my mom’s house from when I was (much) younger, and they are exactly the same. I don’t know any finances of the mags out there, but if the readership is low they probably don’t have the money to make grand changes. They are kind of stuck in a negative loop. Electonic versions will probably take over, but they still have to make sure people follow them there. Make it visual and make sure it us easy to read at work on lunch breaks, etc.