Earlier this month Frances Hardinge was the BSFA’s guest at the AGM/Minicon jointly held with the Science Fiction Foundation. Transcripts of her interview with Tom Pollock and a panel item with Frances, Niall Harrison, Farah Mendlesohn and Virginia Preston are now online at Strange Horizons. Thanks to Niall and his SH team for arranging the transcription and hosting these, and thanks of course to Frances for being an excellent guest.
I’m particularly fond of Strange Horizons for a number of reasons. It has high-quality, regular, thought-provoking science fictional content. It offers a good range, from poetry to reviews to short stories to news. It’s free to read, but still pays professional rates for work it publishes. Lots of Vector contributors, past and present, work on the site, whether as volunteer editors or paid contributors. And I have a geographical bias in favor of it (funny, since it’s an online magazine) – its mailing address is in the US state I grew up in.
Strange Horizons has two weeks left in its annual fundraising drive, and still has two-thirds of its target goal left to reach. As an added incentive for donating, donors have a chance at winning one of the many prizes available, from an anthology of Mexican science fiction and fantasy to paintings by poet Marge Simon to Stephanie Burgis’ young adult/regency/fantasy novel A Most Improper Magick.
If your finances permit it, I very much encourage you to consider donating to support Strange Horizons. Many of Vector‘s contributors would benefit from it, and so would you and the rest of the internet’s science fiction readers in having ongoing access to Strange Horizon‘s excellent content, both critical and fictional.
Happy new year, everybody — hope you had a great break, and got plenty of reading done. I did, on both counts, although I haven’t yet read a single word of fiction this year, because I’ve been preoccupied with getting some things ready for Strange Horizons’ first issue of the year. There are some changes to our schedule and pay rates, detailed here, and we’re recruiting for a few positions, which you can find details of here.
But more importantly from the point of view of Torque Control, we’ve raised the Strange Horizons blog up to become a permanent part of the site. I’ll be blogging over there regularly from now on, and since my final issue of Vector is being prepared for printing at the moment, this seems as good a time as any to start phasing out my posting here. I’ll be around until the deadline passes for this year’s BSFA Award nominations — deadline midnight, on Friday 14th January — and possibly around intermittently after that, but I’ll be handing over to the incoming features editor, Shana Worthen, and the occasional post from Martin in his guise as reviews editor. We’ll kick things off tomorrow, with a post in which I interview Shana about her plans for the magazine.
As those who were at the BSFA AGM earlier this year may remember — for that is where it was first announced — my time as features editor of Vector is coming to an end. Specifically, I’m standing down at the end of 2010, which means there are two more issues with my name on left to go (the first of which should be printed this week, and the second of which is not far behind). I’m feeling pretty good about the run, on balance; it’s been a rewarding experience, a privilege to curate a journal with such a fine history, and I hope has produced some things worth reading. Of course, everyone else who’s worked on Vector during the last five years must get credit as well: reviews editors Paul Billinger, Kari Sperring, and Martin Lewis; production editors Tony Cullen, Liz Batty, and Anna Feruglio dal Dan; my co-editor for the first year, Gene Melzack; and everyone who wrote an article or a review or a letter of comment. My thanks go to all.
But, while I’m in no danger of challenging Andrew M Butler for the title of longest-serving editor, five years feels about the right point to stand aside and let someone else have a go. The incoming features editor will be known to many of you, and certainly anyone who regularly attends the London Meetings, and I have no doubt that Shana Worthen will do an excellent job. I’m certainly looking forward to reading her first issue.
Meanwhile, things are also changing in another part of my sf life. As of today, I take over from Susan Marie Groppi as editor-in-chief of Strange Horizons; you can read her announcement of the handover here.
I’m extremely proud to be part of Strange Horizons. It stands for a lot of things I believe in — say, for speculative fiction, rather than sf and fantasy narrowly; for new voices, both in fiction and non-fiction; for diversity of all kinds — and is produced by a group of people I respect and admire. It’s the longest-running online sf magazine out there, and it’s entirely volunteer run and donation-funded. (One week left in this year’s fund drive! Prizes to be won! Just for mentioning the fund drive!) It is, so far as I’m concerned, a Good Thing.
And so I’m proud to be taking over the organisation and running of the magazine, while being conscious that I’ll be following in big, World Fantasy Award-winning footsteps. As Matt Cheney eloquently describes, Susan’s presence has been a huge part of what’s made Strange Horizons what it is, and while she’ll still be around as fiction editor, it’s going to be different. Still, I have things I want to do, even things that could be described as plans, and I’m excited about getting down to them. I’m also excited to be able to say that my replacement as reviews editor will be Abigail Nussbaum, because I can’t imagine anyone I’d feel more comfortable leaving that department with, and I can’t wait to see how it develops with her guidance.
One downside of all this change is that, as things move on, I’ll be posting less here, since it’s a BSFA venue — although I won’t be scaling back until after the women and sf week in December, at the earliest. But I might well be posting elsewhere. Further updates, as they say, as events warrant.
… before doing your Hugo nominations (deadline 07.59 on Sunday, Brits), you could do worse than check out the short fiction reviews at Strange Horizons this week:
Alvaro’s comments on “Spar“, for instance, have made me reconsider its omission from my draft ballot, and Abigail is particularly right about “To Kiss the Granite Choir“, which is an enormous amount of fun. (Though I do feel it’s been a pretty weak year for novellas in general.) And I’d appreciate any additional thoughts on, in particular, Daniel Abraham’s “The Curandero and the Swede”, which I’m sort of teetering on the brink of nominating.
Well, I’m back. And, not entirely surprisingly, shattered. But I wanted to note that, while I was away, this year’s Strange Horizons fund drive started. Karen asked that, even if not donating, people consider posting about why Strange Horizons matters to them. I still hope to do that at some point later this month — for now, suffice to say that I’m proud to be part of the magazine, and specifically proud of my part of the magazine — but I have an immediate reason for reminding you all about the fund drive. Today, Friday, until midnight US Pacific time, John Scalzi is matching other peoples’ donations, up to a maximum of $500. So whatever you give could count double. If you like the magazine, therefore, this is the time to chip in! Click through to the fund drive page for ways to donate (and hey, you may also win a prize). And you can keep up to date with the fund drive progress and other news at the SH blog.
EDIT: As Susan reports (comment 111), good work everyone, and many thanks to Scalzi:
So up there in Scalzi’s post when he said “What I would say would be an even better outcome, however, is an even larger pile of donations sent along to Strange Horizons, for which my and Krissy’s $500 is just the cherry on the top.” You guys far exceeded any reasonable expectations for that “better outcome.” I’ve just finished doing all the tabulating, and the grand total for the 27-hour Scalzi Challenge period came to $9590. When you add in the matching funds from John and Krissy, that’s just over ten thousand dollars raised.
I don’t think I can possibly express how much this means to Strange Horizons, and to all of our staff members. We’re going to keep the fund drive open for a while longer in case anyone else wants to donate, but we’ve totally met and passed our overall fundraising goal. I’m totally overwhelmed by the generosity all of you have shown, and totally scared for what might happen if Scalzi ever decides to use his powers for evil.
It’s time for Strange Horizons‘ annual fund drive! As you know, Bob, Strange Horizons is a weekly online magazine of and about speculative fiction. It’s been going for nearly eight years now, staffed entirely by volunteers (including me) but paying professional rates to contributors, and is dependent on donations from its readers to keep going. Check out some of the fiction, columns, poetry, artwork, and of course reviews to see what the site is about.
This year there’s a shiny new SH blog to track the fund drive progress — for which you can add the RSS feed or livejournal feed. Exciting revelations so far include the fact that this year there aren’t just prizes for donating, but prizes for mentioning (and linking to) the fund drive. Each week, one person who’s linked to the fund drive will win a special prize; the first prize is a set of Ellen Datlow/Terri Windling-edited fairy tale anthologies. So, go forth and spread the word!