Historical list of online prozines

Today, instead of doing anything on my to-do list, I spent about five hours drafting an article covering the whole history of online prozines.

I'm not done with the article yet, though I'm pretty close. But I realized that I'm missing some data.

So I put together a list of every online prozine I know of, in hopes that y'all can help me fill in missing info.

I know the question of how to define “pro” is contentious; my definition for the purposes of this list is roughly “paid SFWA-qualifying rates for fiction for a significant length of time or a significant fraction of its existence.” Which doesn't mean all of these were SFWA-qualifying markets; in some cases, factors other than rates resulted in their not qualifying. I'll go into that more in my article.

[Added “for fiction” the next day; sorry to have somehow left that out.]

For now, here's the list. Please let me know if you can fill in any gaps, correct any mistakes, or add any new information, including magazines I've left out. And for that matter, if there's any venue on the list that shouldn't be, let me know that, too. It's surprisingly hard to find information about a lot of these, even with the help of the Internet Archive and of the many emails I sent about this stuff in the early 2000s.

These are in order of publication date for the first issue after starting to pay pro rates (the “first issue” column).

The word “current” in the “last issue” column means that the magazine is currently still publishing, as of late 2010.

And a question mark means I'm unsure of the accuracy of the given date.

Note: I'm updating the table as I find out new info.

Title First pro online issue Last pro online issue
Omni Internet (Omni Online) late 1996 April 1998
Tomorrow SF either January 1997 or between February 1997 and 18 July 1997 (moved from print to online) 2000? but may've stopped buying fiction in August 1998?
Deep Outside 15 April 1998 late 2002 (reduced rates, changed name)
Event Horizon August 1998 July 1999
Cyber Age Adventures 1 January 1999 June 2005?
Gothic.net February 1999 February 2003 (reduced rates)
HMS Beagle early 1999? January 2002?
Ideomancer after August 2001 2002 (reduced rates) or 2003?
GalaxyOnline January 2000 November 2000 (editor resigned; not sure when they stopped buying fiction)
Would That It Were April 2000 April 2005
SCI FICTION May 2000 November 2005
Speculon August 2000 February 2003?
Strange Horizons 1 September 2000 current
FearsMag before November 2000 after 2001?
The Pedestal Magazine 21 December 2000? current
Chiaroscuro (ChiZine) April 2001? (raised rates to 3¢/word) current
The Spook/Metropole July 2001 April 2003
Infinite Matrix 1 August 2001 17 July 2008
Oceans of the Mind 2001 2006
Future Orbits late 2001? mid-2002
InterGalactic Medicine Show October 2005 current
Jim Baen's Universe June 2006 April 2010
Heliotrope August 2006 20 April 2009
Clarkesworld 1 October 2006 current
Subterranean Press Magazine Winter 2007 current
Grantville Gazette May 2007 current
Fantasy Magazine October 2007 (moved online) current
Flash Fiction Online 1 December 2007 current
Apex June 2008? current
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 9 October 2008 current
Tor.com 2008 current

I have a note saying that Fearsmag paid pro rates for fiction in 2001, but I can't find any more info about that. Anyone know more?

(Update a couple days later: I've received information from multiple knowledgeable sources that Helix's pay structure ended up not resulting in pro rates; my faulty memory was to blame for their inclusion on the original version of this list. Apologies for any resulting confusion. I've now removed that line from the list.)

18 Responses to “Historical list of online prozines”

  1. Sean Wallace

    Offhand, for Cyber Age Adventures there were two series . . . one in 1999 through 2002, and then a print edition in June 2005. For Speculon I show only one last issue in 2002, but that could be wrong. What about Heliotrope? (Five issues). For Fantasy Magazine it’s October 2007, when we transitioned online. Before that it was six print issues.

  2. Sean Wallace

    For Galaxy Online, Ben Bova resigned as publisher, and Rick Wilbur as fiction editor, both in November 2000. After that it pretty much collapsed.

  3. Cheryl

    By “professional” do you mean “pays professional rates for fiction”? A lot of the above publish non-fiction as well, but you’ve not included anyone who only does non-fiction.

  4. Sean Wallace

    When do you plan on running the article?

  5. Sean Wallace

    Helix was a profit-sharing venture, and rates were paid afterwards. It was considered semi-pro on the basis of that, if I recall properly.

    [Comment lightly edited a few hours later at Sean’s request.]

  6. Sean Wallace

    I think there was a very brief period that Infinite Matrix was paying pro rates, but stopped, according to Gardner Dozois’ The Year’s Best Science Fiction.

  7. Neil Clarke

    According to this:

    In November 2000, Fearsmag was paying 3 cents a word.

    The SFWA increased the qualifying rate for short fiction to 5 cents in 2003, so Fearsmag was qualifying (at least on the pay criteria) back then.

  8. Sean Wallace

    You forgot Algis’ Tomorrow SF, which was a print magazine for a number of issues, and transitioned online in 1997 and continued onwards for a bit. He was paying five cents a word, according to an interview.

  9. Anonymous

    The Pedestal Magazine doesn’t strike me as a genre magazine, at all . . . if we include that then we get into the ugly mess of qualifying other literary magazines :p

  10. Sean Wallace

    That was me, by the way :p

  11. Jed

    Cheryl: Oops, yes, I meant fiction. I told myself “Be sure to put the word ‘fiction’ in there to make clear that I’m not looking at nonfiction-only venues,” and then I apparently left the word out or lost it in a rephrasing accident. Sorry about that.

    …I left out nonfiction for two reasons: (1) I don’t know as much about the venues, and (2) I don’t have useful criteria for what counts as pro. But if anyone would like to help out with those things, I might add them to the list.

    Sean and Neil: Thanks for all the data! No time to respond right now—gotta catch a train to a plane. More later.

  12. Jed

    Sean: Thanks again for all the info!

    So Cyber Age Adventures wasn’t online after 2002?

    Speculon: Could have sworn I saw info about an issue in February or March of 2003, but maybe it was 2002? Will research further.

    Heliotrope: Didn’t know about it!

    Gotta run; plane is boarding. More later.

  13. Sean Wallace

    Offhand Cyber Age Adventures changed its name to ihero sometime in 2002, and the last story posted that I’m aware of was by the owner, in February 2003. Previous postings were also by the same owner. All were done under the ihero imprint. According to their faq the name change was because they wanted to avoid the porn-implications of their name.

    For Speculon the last one was probably January or February, from 2002. However, there is confusion. Lawrence Schoen claims a story “Cruel Teacher” was published in 2003, but according to Marissa Lingen’s blog, from February 2003: “Timprov had a decision in front of him. He hasn’t posted a new issue of Speculon in months. Many months. Those of you who have been following Speculon know that. His health, you probably also know, has been an ongoing, major problem. I don’t talk about it much here, because this isn’t his journal, and because a person’s health is a fairly personal issue. But those of you who know him know how much of an issue it’s been in making plans for things like dinner, much less a business.

    So when the webhosting expired, it became a decision point: was he going to attempt to keep Speculon going? Should he pay for a site that he hadn’t been able to work on for months and likely wouldn’t be able to for a good while? The answer ended up being no.”

    So that seems to suggest Speculon went under before 2003? I’ve emailed Marissa, for clarification, in any case.

  14. Jed

    An iHero page says Cyber Age Adventures launched on 1 January 1999 and that “CAA ran online for more than six years before we took that great and final leap into print.” So I’ve dropped a note to the editor to see what’s up with that.

    Thanks for contacting Marissa! I meant to drop her a note yesterday, but forgot.

    Thanks for the info about Heliotrope. I’ve now added that to the table. It was remarkably hard to find dates for their issues, but I eventually found images of the cover illos, which had dates embedded.

    Thanks for the Fantasy info. I’ve now updated the table with that.

    Re Galaxy: Yeah, my article has a whole big section about Galaxy. I was just uncertain for the purposes of this table what exact date to put as the end date, because I think they only ever published one original story.

  15. Jed

    Re when I plan to run the article: I was just gonna post it here in my blog when it’s done, which might be sometime in the next week or two. Suppose I ought to run it by the SH article editors and see if they’re interested. But some of it is kind of snarky right now, more suitable for a blog than for a serious publication. But maybe I’ll clean that up. Will think about it.

    Re Helix: Huh. I could’ve sworn they were listed somewhere as having paid pro rates, though I see now that they weren’t on the SFWA list (I had thought they were). I thought that at least for the first issue, there was an announcement about the rates being equivalent to pro. I’ll ask around about this.

    Re IM: I’ll ask Eileen; I know the history was kind of convoluted.

    Re Tomorrow: Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. Have now added it to table. Will look for more details.

    Re Pedestal: It’s explicitly listed on SFWA’s list of qualifying short fiction venues, and not in their non-genre list. Figured I’d follow their lead.

  16. Sean Wallace

    SFWA qualifies all pro magazines, if asked, and The Pedestral states: “Mr. Amen’s mission for the magazine is to publish a premier literary journal, exclusively online, featuring new and established writers and visual artists.” No different than SFWA’s statement regarding markets “which have been asked about and specifically determined to meet the criteria: Cicada, Cricket, Nature, Nerve.com”

    Furthermore, Mike Ashley, who is currently working on the fourth volume of HISTORY OF THE SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE does not consider it a genre magazine, and therefore not included. If you decide to include literary magazines in your article, it opens things up way too broadly, and where do you stop? (Basically, if you’re published by a pro literary magazine, you can get SFWA-qualified . . . they just don’t list it on the official list). It’s just a question of asking, basically.

    With regards to Cyber Age Adventures I saw that same notice, on their ihero.net page, but then I went to older pages, via the wayback machine, which said otherwise, indicating that it was only around for a few years, and that they switched quickly to ihero.net very much soon. (You can check archive.org). I’m inclined to believe the original posts, but . . .

    The SFWA qualifying list is a good start, but only that, a good start. There’s lots of venues not listed there, but I see that someone is making a move to retro-add markets: http://community.livejournal.com/sfwa/179855.html which is an interesting surprise.

  17. Cheryl

    I suspect that there are very few magazines daft enough to publish only non-fiction. However, the SFWA Bulletin is a paying venue, as of course is Salon Futura. Also you can qualify for SFWA Affiliate Membership by getting SFWA rates for non-fiction, so I think the same pay rate applies.

    I can’t recall offhand what Locus pays, and it may depend on what you are covering. I think NYRSF is well below SFWA rates, and I’m pretty sure IROSF was too.

    I’d also like to note that Clarkesworld pays the same rate for non-fiction as it pays for fiction. I’ve found a number of magazines (not necessarily online) that pay considerably less for non-fiction than they pay for fiction, which is one of the reasons why I’m keen for the distinction to be made.


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