I recently checked a call for submissions for short science fiction stories. It’s for e-publication and the submission time window is now closed, so there’s no use me giving it out. However, one of the conditions for acceptance is that the story must not have been published anywhere on the web. That includes forums where authors can ask for comment on their work.
Also, although, it has been going on for some time, I think there are more themed science fiction anthologies coming out.
Now I find these interesting developments. Why? Well, in science you have the teaching / populist magazines like New Scientist that require first publishing rights anywhere, the specialist subject magazines such as the Journal of British Interplanetary Science and the leading edge magazines where the research is published. [OK - there will be hybrids between them, but this is what happens in the main.]
Do we have a pattern developing here? Where the science fiction publishing world takes up the basic structure of the science publishing world?
The thing about the science publishing is that it is successful! It makes enough to keep itself in business.
So where to the likes of Analog and Interzone fit into this science publishing model? They are certainly not what I would call populist / teaching magazines. So do they publish leading edge science fiction? Whilst they publish well-written stories, I don’t believe they publish that kind of stuff. So who does? Ideas, anyone?
So this is what I expect the science fiction market place structure to develop into (and it’s already a long way down the road to getting there).
For short stories, I would expect
1) more e-published general science fiction magazines (think of Daily Science Fiction as an example)
2) more themed anthologies that are both e- and paper-published
3) the start-ups of avant-garde science fiction magazines
For novels, I would expect as they are understandably behind the curve of the magazines and anthologies:
1) more mix and match themes in the shorter term (I’ve heard Ann Leckie’s recently published Ancilliary Justice describe as cross between Iain M Banks culture series and Anne McCaffrey’s Brain and Brawn series), which in a sense is equivalent to (1) in short stories
2) more in depth single themes – by in depth I mean understanding the underlying mechanisms that make the themes tick / work, which in a sense is equivalent to (2) in short stories
3) avant-garde novels are very unlikely to happen on their own because of the investment required to get the books out of the door, so I expect the novels to take up the themes of the avant-garde short stories when they come along.
I’m sure the next question you’ll ask is what will be the avant-garde themes? Well I’ve already hinted at a few in a post not too long ago…