Final Staff

Stacey Janssen

Managing Editor:
Dave Noonan


  • Mishell Baker
  • Bluejack
  • Amy Goldschlager
  • Emily Lupton
  • R. K. MacPherson
  • Scott James Magner
  • Robin Shantz

Copy Editors

  • Sarah L. Edwards
  • Yoon Ha Lee
  • Sherry D. Ramsey
  • Rena Saimoto
  • Paula Stiles


  • Marti McKenna
  • Bridget McKenna


  • Geb Brown

Publisher: Bluejack

February, 2007 : Editorial:

Calling Reviewers! Calling Fans!

Most of the time, when I'm fretting about IROSF, I'm fretting about all the features that aren't finished yet, or the editorial workflow tools that aren't quite there, or the ever elusive subscription model that's going to set this thing on an even financial keel. But it's been a long time since I've worried about having enough content to publish an issue.

I remember the early days, when John Frost was scrounging articles from friends, relations, and strangers on the street. We managed to put out our issues, but it took a lot of begging, wheedling, pleading, and cajolery. But then, at some point we didn't really have to do that anymore. With just enough of a profile to count as a worthwhile market for those freelance writers building their name (and bringing in a little beer money), sufficient material came in unsolicited that we were able to plan just about one full issue ahead, at least in some areas.

Now, some categories are more popular than others. There's rarely a shortage of essays, some of which may bleed over into features. Every now and then we find ourselves out of interviews for a month or two, but authors always want to talk to each other, and eventually someone's going to write up the results and send them to us. Preferably with photos.

In the Sub-Genre Spotlight category (also known as Bibliographies), we've been fortunate to have John Joseph Adams setting the standard, and Cynthia Ward taking up the mantle.

But where are all the con reports? I go to a few cons each year, and I see a lot of people there, and yet I don't see a lot of incoming reports. Every now and then I get proposals before a big convention, and then the article doesn't materialize. You know who you are.

Maybe folks are intimidated by the idea of a con report. It's easy. Let's say you're going to OverHereACon. Take a cheap digital camera, or your cell phone camera, or whatever's handy and snap a few pictures of people in compromising positions, a couple of good costumes, and some of OverHereACon's local and/or visiting celebrities. Tell us about the spirit of the convention. What makes OverHereACon different from ThatThereACon? Is it local fans getting rowdy? Or the tourism event of the season? Are you knee deep in gamers? Fighting off drunken Klingons? Or discussing the transmissability of story with some dude in a Hawaiian shirt? What are the good panels to go to? Were there any memorable speeches? Awards? Amusing anecdotes? Give us the big picture, and give us your picture.

Now here's a strange one: reviews and criticism. Criticism is always a little tricky because we want to be serious and thoughtful and significant, but we don't want to swamp the reader in academic jargon. Sometimes it happens, but we aim for some middle ground here. I know what you're going to say: if you want serious criticism post "Calls for Papers" in academic places. It may come to that.

But reviews. Why aren't we getting more reviews these days? Why does this issue only have one review in addition to Lois' terrific short reviews column?

It's probably just one of those tidal things. Low reviews this month, but we'll be up to our ears in them next month. Still, because we want to be up to our ears in reviews—and I mean good, deep, meaty ones that give readers something to think about—we're going to start stepping up our efforts on this front.

If you've written reviews for us before, and are interested in getting assignments, use our Contact Form to send me email letting me know that you're interested, and what kind of material you feel most comfortable with. And if you haven't done so, but think you might like to, then do the same, but add some writing credits. We'll be getting review copies out to those of you who sign up for reviewing duty. IROSF does also get some review copies unsolicited, and I'll be posting a list of them for our reviewers sometime before the next issue. Finally, we're going to try to do theme issues covering books nominated for awards throughout the year.

I mean really, can we call ourselves The Internet Review of Science Fiction if we don't have enough reviews?

Copyright © 2007, Bluejack. All Rights Reserved.

About Bluejack

Bluejack resides in Seattle. In addition to publishing the Internet Review of Science Fiction, he herds cats for an Internet startup, designs and develops distributed software applications, and dabbles in a broad range of less useful endeavors.


Feb 7, 21:27 by IROSF
How's this issue?

The editorial can be found here.
Feb 8, 23:52 by J Andrews
I actually had plans to submit a con report. But you know what they say about plans. Something about mice ganging up in the back of the boat.

I took copious notes at the con, but never wrote them up as a report.

I love reading con reports. Though it's also sad to read about one I wanted to attend but couldn't.
Feb 11, 21:36 by Joe Prisco
Never having been to a con, I'd be interested to hear what someone enjoyed or disliked.
Feb 12, 22:54 by Jerry Wright
I'm going to RadCon this weekend. Perhaps I'll take my camera...

Of course, I'll write up a report for Bewildering Stories, but hey... I can write one up for you. Always more material than one can handle.

Feb 13, 20:06 by Bluejack
Make sure to stop by the small press party and meet Marti and myself!
Feb 23, 09:31 by John Popham
As I read Guidelines, reviews should be fairly deep (as with the Gattica retrospective) and not a book or movie review in the traditional news media sense. Is that a correct reading?

Also, how far afield dare writers move from Science Fiction into adjacent genres like fantasy? I note Lois covers short stories printed in the magazines she reviews, but I don't know if that's acceptable for IROSF in a stand-alone work review.
Mar 6, 10:00 by twosheds
Oo! I'm going to Nasfic this year. Maybe I could review that.
Mar 28, 13:20 by Anne Murphy
I could possibly get you a con report of <a href="">Penguicon</a>. While there I might also do an interview with a small press publisher.

I will admit to have been a little intimidated by the review guidelines' tone of "we don't want reviews like anyone else's reviews!"
Feb 18, 20:39 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
Great to see IROSF is back and rolling! Looking forward to renewing my subscription when your subscription renewal page is up!

Feb 19, 03:34 by Yoon Lee
pophamj, Blunt has final say on this, of course, but it has always been my understanding that anything you'd call "speculative fiction" (slipstream, fantasy, sf, etc.) would be fine for a review topic. For instance, we have a review of George R.R. Martin's A Feast for Crows in the archives, and that's pretty definitely fantasy.

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