I'm going to write two essays like this in two months. This is the first; the second is for my column in Baen's Universe. Both magazines are going away, both for different reasons.
If I were the pessimistic sort, I'd think I'll never work again. Or that internet magazines are doomed. Or that magazines in general are doomed. Or that writing is doomed.
But as anyone who has read this column through its first incarnation in Æon and now here at IROSF knows, I'm a realist. I know magazines come and go, markets come and go, and that's normal.
Robert Silverberg, in his column for Asimov's, once wrote about the various places he published that column. He used to write it for one of the incarnations of Amazing Stories and for a few other magazines, all gone now.
The bookshelf over my internet desk houses a wide variety of pulps, all beloved once upon a time, all no longer in existence. My own personal shelf of all my published writings probably contains a dozen different publications that have gone the way of the Dodo, including a few I edited, and a few my husband Dean Wesley Smith edited.
The same day I discovered that IROSF was going down, I learned that John Joseph Adams will edit a new magazine for Prime called Lightspeed Magazine. He's got a great track record as an editor, and Prime does as a publisher (they already publish Fantasy Magazine), so I have hopes for this new publication.
What kind of hopes? Hopes that it'll be around long enough to make its mark.
Because that's all we can ask for. The magazine must join the community of magazines, get noticed, and make a difference. Dean and I did that with Pulphouse; Baen's Universe did it as one of the first online magazines to pay well and get excellent fiction; and IROSF brought focused criticism and much needed nonfiction to the sf field.
I'm sorry to see IROSF go, but I'm hoping that the team which bought you this lovely publication (and Æon as well) will venture into the murky waters of publishing again. Because once you make that difference, you have the knack. You'll make a difference again.
As for opinionated little me, I'll keep writing my essays and columns. I used to write editorials for Pulphouse, then moved to F&SF, then fell silent for a few years. I wrote for Æon and now IROSF. I do an occasional essay for other publications.
I like to say I gave up writing nonfiction in 1987 when I became a full-time fiction writer, but really, that's sooo not true. I've continued writing nonfiction—
I'm sure I'll continue doing the rest. I hope that the other contributors to IROSF will find new venues for their work as well.
You guys have been a great, marvelous, interactive audience, and I hope you follow the whole IROSF team to our new ventures, whatever they may be.
But mostly, I hope you continue to consume science fiction in all of its forms. Because without sf, we really would fall silent, and that would be the greatest tragedy of all.