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Baen to Publish Online SF Magazine

Baen Books, home of the famous Baen Free Library, will be publishing an online science fiction magazine in 2006. The magazine’s editor is SF author Eric Flint, who makes no bones about trying to revive an economically stagnant short fiction market. He hopes to increase the amount of “popular” science fiction being written, by which (I think) he means sf/f adventure stories written by popular writers.

I’m not sure I agree with this seemingly controversial implication that science fiction has been steadily producing ever-increasingly “unpopular” (or does he mean low quality?) science fiction. There have been many outstanding stories just last year alone. But, hey, any new venue for short fiction is a good thing. I suspect, given the increasing popularity of online fiction, especially over the last couple of years, that the online magazine will see the birth of many great pieces of short fiction.

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

6 Comments on Baen to Publish Online SF Magazine

  1. I think that in this case “popular” means “those who read the books that Baen publishes”. Which is a different audience, for the most part, from those who read the “best of” books edited by Dozois, et al.

    Which is not to put either camp down, seeing that I buy books from Baen and I’m a avid purchaser of several of the “best of” series (going way back to when Donald Wollheim did one for the SFBC as well as DAW Books).

    Like you say, “But, hey, any new venue for short fiction is a good thing.” I’m all for a new magazine, online or otherwise (have you see Orson Scott Card’s effort?)

  2. I guess I see popular sci-fi as that written to a more general audience. Sad to say, but Gene Wolfe doesn’t write popular sci-fi – he’s hard-core. I look at the magazine’s like Astounding Science Fiction (now Analog) that published articles accessible to most folks.

    Unfortunately this probably means writing to a 6th or 7th grade reading level (although I’d like to think sci-fi could be written a bit better) as well as tackling subjects that will generate interest to the masses. This probably means aliens…

  3. No need to go to a 6th or 7th grade level. Some of Baen’s authors probably do go there, but look at the stories and novels of Charles Sheffield. Hardly a 6th or 7th grade level!

    Given how much I’ve enjoyed the majority of the books I’ve bought from Baen (hardcover, paperback, eBook), I’m more than cautiously optimistic that there will be good product here. Especially if some of the other folks at Baen (like T.K.F. Weisskopf) are involved.

    If nothing else…I need an occasional bit of snack food to go with all the heavy food (speaking metaphorically) that I consume. And Weber, Drake and other Baen authors can fill that category.

    (A thought about the 6th or 7th grade idea. How many of us got started with the YA novels of Heinlein? Nourse? Norton? Clarke? Asimov? Or how many encountered–more recently–Sheffield’s “Jupiter” series with entries by himself, Pournelle and Hogan? How about Gerrold’s recent trilogy? You can write to a younger and/or popular audience and write well and have something that will last. Here’s hoping!)

  4. Not particularly SF/F – more spiritual horror/mystery (is that a genre?), but Stormy Night Fiction is web publishing short fiction.

  5. Oh don’t get me wrong – I didn’t mean it needed to be youth fiction, but more that the language used (words, sentence structure, etc.) would be written to the 6th grade level – much like the newspaper is.

  6. Lennie LaBerta // January 14, 2008 at 8:00 pm //

    Hey y’all,

    I write stories, mostly with a sci-fi twist, but I appreciate other genres too. I’ve been trying to find an editor that LETS ME WRITE MY OWN STUFF, an outlet for my stuff, and that fabled wonder-of-wonders: Some Cash for the Effort……

    I’m not greedy, but I am pretty good. If an editor or publisher was smart/good/canny they would READ my stuff and determine whether or not it was worth thier time and money……And I think that letting the writer find his ‘voice’ or expression is more important than writing to a grade level. Can you imagine telling Silverberg, LeGuin, or Mehlville to write to a particular grade level???? That said, I did read and loved ‘Starman Jones’……

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