11 September 2008

Slamming F & SF

Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine is popular with genre writers for a lot of reasons: it has a good circulation, pays pro rates for stories, and has the fastest slush turn-around time in the biz. I admire F & SF for all of those reasons. I confess that I'm a frequent submitter (aka recipient of rejections) from the magazine, but I'm a former subscriber. Why? Although I found many high quality stories in the magazine, very few of them truly grabbed me. I found issues piling up in my in-box because I wasn't quite willing to put down whatever it was I was reading that did grab me. Also, I found many more stories in free web-based magazines that were, IMHO, better.

I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Recently, F & SF has been slammed in the blogosphere. Check it out at Wet Asphalt  and Asking the Wrong Questions.

5 comments:

Tburger said...

I think about that kind of stuff a lot. How there seem to be so many stories in certain pubs that - in my opinion only - stink.

But it's gotten way worse now that I've made a dedicated effort to write stories myself. Kind of like I decided to put up or shut up. Since that decision I've (a) discovered how hard it is to write decent fiction and (b) learned a lot about what I like and don't like.

What's my point? I wonder if as writers - and especially you guys as editors AND writers - the bar is substantially higher for us than most, and maybe that's why I've gotten so critical of certain writers/magazines? Does becoming a writer and/or editor change the way in which I/you read? Just rambling here, sorry.

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sex scenes at starbucks said...

I can't NOT read critically. Unfortunately, it's a side effect of spending 90% of my day doing just that. Not all bad. I love it anyway.

When I was "in the throws" of learning to write (not that we're not always learning, but you know, it slows down as we get older) I read even more critically than I do now. I was piiiiiiicky. I think that had more to do with my trying to determine my own style, where I wanted my own writing to lead me, than it did with what I was reading.

I sense two things among the established mags: complacency and fear. Complacency in that, well, they're still kicking, ain't they? So they're satisfied with just getting on. And that leads to fear; they fear to reach out and embrace new things, new styles, because it's risky.

I don't make a secret that I like dark fiction. I like the depths of evil souls and the discomfort and violence it takes to reach them. But I rarely read stuff that pushes it far enough for me out on the marketplace, or even in my own slush.

So, maybe it's the writers' faults. Who knows?

Ok, the day seems made for rambling...

David E. Hughes said...

Really good questions, tburger. I don't think being a writer or an editor affects how I read my "for pleasure" stories. I'm better at identifying why a story isn't working for me or how it how it could be improved, but I think I still end up liking the same kinds of stories as I did before I was a writer or editor.

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I think editing has definitely expanded my tastes. I mean, I even rooted for a love story for the last issue. Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age...