Farewell to the Infinite Matrix

Friday brought the sad news that The Infinite Matrix, once the second-highest-paying online speculative fiction venue, is closing its doors.

Given the magazine's birthing pangs, it was remarkable that Eileen got IM off the ground at all, back in 2001. It was almost a casualty of the dot-com implosion. But it launched as a one-shot, then found funding, published a bunch of fiction and nonfiction, had a fund drive, published some more. . . . It never quite got as much attention as some other online publications, but Eileen's been publishing good stuff for four years now, and I'm sorry to see her go.

Here's what I wrote about IM in a journal entry almost exactly four years ago:

It's cutting-edge, it's hip, it's next-gen, it's so next-millennium you have to wear shades: it's the revived Infinite Matrix, Eileen Gunn's online speculative-fiction magazine. Daily Weblog by Bruce Sterling. Weekly "news & wit" in David Langford's "The Runcible Ansible" (featuring the entertaining "Thog's Masterclass" samples of bad published writing). Weekdaily "This Week in History" mini-micro-item by Terry Bisson, a sort of Great Moments from the Future feature. Short-short stories by Richard Kadrey.[...] Reviews by John Clute[...]. Illustrations by Paul Mavrides (one of the artists for The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers back in the '70s; also an artist for The Book of the SubGenius). All this plus fiction: novel excerpts from Cory Doctorow, Kathleen Ann Goonan, and Pat Cadigan; a posthumous Avram Davidson story; more to come.

The "more to come" has included fiction by lots of cool authors, such as: Daniel Abraham, Neal Barrett, Jr., Sally Gwylan, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel, Ellen Klages, Doug Lain, Ursula K. Le Guin, Chris Nakashima-Brown, Ben Rosenbaum, Christopher Rowe, Rudy Rucker, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Nisi Shawl, Robert Sheckley, Michael Swanwick, Ray Vukcevich, Leslie What, Walter Jon Williams, and Gene Wolfe. Among others. And nonfiction by Howard Waldrop and David Langford, among others.

A lot of that material was published in 2002 and 2003. Sadly, IM didn't publish a lot of material in 2004, partly (I think) due to Eileen focusing on getting her short story collection Stable Strategies and Others out. There was more material in the first half of 2005, but not as much in the second half.

But Eileen is posting a spate of new material as she closes down the magazine, so go take a look. And the archives will remain online for another year or so.

. . . In addition to being sad to see IM in particular go away, I'm also sad in general that it's another online magazine going away; especially in conjunction with Sci Fiction shutting down, I imagine it will cause a bunch of people to nod sagely and repeat once again, "Yup, just as I always said, online publication is doomed." But people will believe what they want to believe, and will ignore any evidence that contradicts their beliefs.

Okay, enough with the soapbox.

The real point of this entry is just that I wanted to say this: Goodbye, Infinite Matrix. We'll miss you.

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