Welcome to Issue Number Three.
The news is mostly good: the forums, as you may see, have arrived. They're not the snazziest forums in history, but we're continuing to flesh them out. Give them a whirl. Let our writers know what you think of their stuff. If you find bugs in the system, there's a forum for that, too.
We're also actively working on making IROSF available in other formats—for palm and other handheld readers as well as, believe it or not, WebTV.
The next big feature to come down the pike, once we have the forums in tip-top shape, will be a daily news-log. Industry coverage, book and movie releases. We're going to need your help with that, though. Those of you who might have used Slashdot before will understand the concept: you find the news-story, provide the link and some explanatory text, and it will go straight into the record for everyone else's edification (and conversation). We're hoping this will come in with Issue Number Four.
The response so far has been astonishing. If all of you who subscribed were to convert to paid subscriptions—which is not realistic, I know—we would just be hitting the break-even point already, and could start handing out popularity bonuses to writers with another hundred subscribers or so. This is certainly beyond my expectations.
Still, we can add new features until we're blue in the face, refine the software until the linux box it runs on sings for joy, and even then this will not be a finished product.
Of all the criticisms leveled at The Internet Review of Science Fiction since our first issue in January, I think I agree most with Dan Goodman's comment: "This issue is a bit thin." (blog).
It's a scary thing to look at the rapidly increasing subscriber count, to see some of the Big Names signing in to read the magazine, and to realize that since the publication is not yet fulfilling my own vision for breadth and depth of coverage—that it won't fulfill yours either... and you won't come back.
Ah, how a parent does fret.
One thing I have learned is that writers—like Aslan—like to be asked. So, I have gotten some good advice on whose arms to twist, and how to twist them, and I think we have some very exciting pieces lined up for the next few issues. Still, we don't have enough lined up. That means we are well disposed towards any strongly written, tightly argued, insightful, provocative criticism you may be inclined to write.
We are always going to be in need of in-depth, analytical reviews and works of serious criticism. Right now we are particularly hungry for journalistic articles covering the industry or the culture of science fiction. I am keen to bring in reports from outside the United States: For example: what's going on in science fiction in other languages? What's going on in Australia? Israel? Asia? Poland? As always, we are looking for the real stuff, and just because we are hungry, doesn't mean we're going to buy empty-calorie fluff.
(In fact, the majority of pieces we reject are reviews. While it is true that the word 'Review' is in our title, this doesn't mean we want capsule reviews of every single book ever published. There are sites that do this. We're not one of them.)
Sometimes I like to devise articles by asking questions. So here are some questions. If you think you want to answer one, then fire up that word processor and get going.
- Are there too many awards in science fiction?
- What is the New Weird?
- Is the short story dead?
- Is science fiction too politically liberal? Conservative? Inert?
- What happened to the science in science fiction?
- Could someone please explain how interstitial fiction is different from slipstream? With definitions? And etymologies? And quotes from their various creators?
- Has anyone read any of those fantasy romances I keep hearing about? Are they as bad as I expect them to be?
- If publishing is so hard now, how come publishers keep publishing more titles and more authors every year?
- Is there anything good on TV these days? I mean anything?
- What's the deal with all these films made out of Phillip K. Dick books? What would Dick think of them?
- Should WorldCon go to Japan? Maybe we could charter a couple of planes and just haul everyone over together.
- Are video games science fiction?
Maybe you're not a writer yourself, but you have some topics you'd like to see covered. Please post them here.
So: spread the word. The Internet Review of Science Fiction is growing fast. Contributors will be read by some of the most important editors, authors, and publishers in the industry. We pay. Help this publication reach its full potential.