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Farewell to Sci Fiction

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Like everyone else, I'm sad at the demise of Sci Fiction, which has been indisputably the premier online sf magazine for five and a half years now. I'm particularly surprised that the powers-that-be would decide to shut it down now, when the publication and Ellen are finally starting to get the attention and respect they deserve from the print sf community; I would have thought if the sponsors were going to shut it down, it would've been a few years ago, when most people were still saying "Online sf? There isn't any such thing."

The flip side of that: I have to thank the Sci Fi Channel for sponsoring Sci Fiction for as long as they did, much as I wish they would continue. For five and a half years, they've funded the highest-paying market for short sf in any text medium, and my understanding is that during that time they've given Ellen free rein to publish what she wants to; I think that's pretty cool.

And, of course, thanks to Ellen Datlow for bringing us Sci Fiction every week for five and a half years. I look forward to seeing what she does next.

Also, thanks to Kelly Link (who's been Ellen's first reader for a while) and the copy editor and proofreader (whose names I'm blanking on), and any other Sci Fiction people I'm not thinking of, for their generally unseen but nonetheless valuable contributions to keeping things running.

Probably everyone who cares about this has seen Ellen's farewell message and JJA's recommendation to send a letter to scifi.com to let them know what you think, but I figured it couldn't hurt to repeat those links.

Dave Schwartz has started a project to show our appreciation for Sci Fiction by having people sign up to post appreciatory notes about each of the 320+ stories that Ellen published there (both originals and reprints). If you're interested, stop by.

I spent quite a while on Saturday, after hearing about Sci Fiction, writing up a piece on the State of the Online Sf Market. (And a long companion piece intended to dispel prevailing myths about online sf.) But I didn't have time to finish it, and it's huge, so I probably won't post it 'til next weekend or later. The very short version is: online sf has suffered some losses lately, but there are also interesting new ventures launching. Also, there are currently about 15 online sf magazines that pay 3c/word or more, many of which have been around for years. Sadly, I think there's now no online sf magazine that publishes novellas. (Where by "now" I mean "after Sci Fiction stops publishing at the end of this year.")

4 Comments

Paul Witcover was Ellen's copyeditor. I don't know if there was a separate proofreader.


Though it may not be to my taste, if you're discussing online publishing it's worth mentioning that Baen are starting up their online magazine which is supposed to pay up around 20 cents per word. And Orson Scott Card just started one too.


And OSC's magazine will consider works of any length (but the pay rate caps at $500, I think).


Hi Jed,
Coming in very late here but Francesca Mingione has been our proofreader.


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