Why Asimov’s was founded

Interesting tidbit in the June 2003 issue of Asimov's, in an article by Sheila Williams about the 2003 Isaac Asimov Award:

During the ten years that we worked together, [Asimov] often mentioned that he had founded Asimov['s] Science Fiction magazine so that talented writers who were just starting out would find the same kind of welcoming home for their stories that he had once found. Nowadays, there are far fewer fiction magazines, and Rick [Wilber] and I both felt that starting an award aimed the works of younger writers would be a way to further Isaac's objective.

I wonder if it's inevitable that as magazines become more established and respected, they'll publish more established writers and fewer beginners. It hasn't really been an issue for SH yet; I haven't done stats lately, but we're still publishing quite a few first pro sales. But I can imagine that as today's fresh new faces become tomorrow's established big name pros, we might be tempted to stick with the authors we know and like (assuming they keep sending us stories). But I hope we'll continue to actively seek out new voices and new civilizations and publish them.

Btw, the deadline for submissions to this year's Asimov's Award is December 15; if you're an undergrad, check it out. Contact information for Rick Wilber (to obtain the guidelines and rules) is included in the abovementioned article.

3 Responses to “Why Asimov’s was founded”

  1. David Moles

    Of course those of us who didn’t start sending stuff out till graduate school are left out. Typical ageism. 🙂

    (But, seriously, doesn’t there seem to be a disconnect between “writers just starting out” and ”younger writers”? Norman Maclean didn’t find a market till he was in his seventies.)

  2. Jed

    Yeah, it’s an easy mistake to make. I’m embarrassed to admit that there’ve been writers who’ve made first pro sales to us who I assumed were chronologically young (solely because they hadn’t been published before, not because of anything in their stories) and who turned out not to be. But I’m trying to train myself to not say “young” when talking about neopros and others relatively new to being published, ’cause really there are a lot of people who don’t get started ’til they’re older, or who don’t start selling ’til they’re older. (And “young” is a relative term anyway—I get the impression that any new writer under 35 or 40 years old is considered “young” in the publishing biz.)

  3. John B

    So I am an “old” new writer (being 48)[wink].

    The ariticle’s mentioning of Isaac Asimov’s goals for starting the magazine, do raise the question whether the editors of Asimovs discuss their role with new writers and if they ever wonder whether they should return toward his goals and publish more new writers. But on the other hand, if one has a crackin good story, no editor will turn it down, so much of the challenge still lies squarely on the new writer’s shoulderrs.

    Fortunately, there a some cool new mags such as SH that actively encourage the new writer, even us “old” new writers [grin]


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