Saturday, April 30, 2011

Run! Flee! Cthulhu is Coming!!

I was off to get lunch yesterday when I stumbled across this frightening looking thing lurking in the garden at work:

Aargh! I thought to myself. It's the Great Cthulhu, come again! Run! So I fled back to my office, my rumbling tum no longer of any concern, thinking only of condemning those blasted warlocks who'd been trying to recite forbidden spells from dangerous books without any thought to the rest of us.

But as I hurriedly packed my survival kit in preparation for said fleeing, I learned that the monstrosity peeking up from the garden bed was actually an Octopus Flower, A Cuttlefish Fungus, Anthurus archeri.

It puts off a stench like decaying meat or rotting fish, but it's no ancient deity being summoned back into out world. So everything's fine. Carry on.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The State of Spec-Fic Magazines

The death of the magazine! It’s all doom and gloom... Well, not necessarily. While print circulations for most magazines are down on previous years, readership for digital and online issues continue to increase (as too do pay rates for online magazines). Digital subscriptions for Analog in 2010 totaled 2,500; for Asimov’s it was 4,700; both figures are up from last year. What does this mean? It’s obvious; print magazines really do need to offer digital editions to survive, and maybe even flourish. Most already do.

But it’s still great to see that some spec-fic magazines have print circulations in the tens of thousands! Their figures become even more impressive when online sales are included. Hell, these are the mags to get into, although I imagine doing that will require a feat of some brilliance. Best I go put my brilliant shoes on then and get brilliant-ing.

Here are some facts for 2010 (from Locus magazine, February 2011):
  • Analog – 22,791 subscribers (20,291 print) and a circulation of 29,050
  • Asimov’s Science Fiction – 17,866 subscribers (13,166 print). Circulation is 24,747
  • Clarkesworld (online magazine)  – readership is about 21,000 per issue (conservative figure)
  • Lightspeed (online magazine) - average 20,000 readers per month
  • Fantasy & Science Fiction – 10,907 subscribers. Circulation is 15,172
  • Fantasy Magazine (online magazine) – average 15,000 readers per month
  • Apex (online magazine)  – 95 subscribers, and ~12,000 unique visitors per month
  • Realms of Fantasy – 9,000 subscribers and a total circulation of 10,600
  • Cemetery Dance - ~5,000 subscribers and a print run of ~10,000
  • Albedo One – 125 subscribers and a circulation of ~900
  • Aurealis – 320 subscribers and a print run of 650
  • Strange Horizons (online magazine) – no website figures but traffic is up from 2009
  • Subterranean (online magazine) – no website figures but traffic is up from 2009
  • HorrorWorld (online magazine) – (approx. 648 unique visitors per day according to I added this one as I had a story published there in April 2011)

Science fiction and fantasy have the bigger audiences, which is no real surprise. But it’s good to see a number of horror outlets drawing large numbers of readers.

It’s also interesting to see how poorly Australia fares here (I’ve only included Aurealis in the above list as it has the biggest circulation of the Oz mags); are we not embracing the digital evolution strongly enough, or is there some other problem afoot in the magazine industry down under? Maybe I’m missing data that would refute what I’m saying (Eclecticism E-zine)? The quality of Aussie fiction isn’t in question. Does it come down to marketing? Maybe we’re not promoting ourselves well enough on the world stage. Is it that we don’t pay enough to attract bigger names that would, in turn, attract a wider audience? (There are no Australian magazines paying professional rates.) Or perhaps consistency, both in publishing schedules and quality per issue, has something to do with it?  

With the online world going from strength to strength, I really can’t see any reason why an Aussie online publication couldn’t get into the 10s of thousands of online readers per month. Sure, it would be a hell of a big job, but is it really impossible? I don’t think so.

I had a horrible thought the other day, one no demented look from my ever suffering shifty sideshow of a freak of a muse could tear apart, and that was I’d love to get involved in running a magazine again... I told my wife and she just walked off, shaking her head.

Fortunately though, I drowned that idea in Maker’s Mark, and that seems to have ended the nonsense...

The Vampires are Here!

Ticonderoga's awesome looking Dead Red Heart, edited by kilt-wearing Russell B Farr, and featuring my short tale Desert Blood has been released! It's alive, ALIVE! Oh, wait, wrong monster--ah, who cares? It's alive!!

Check out the table of contents - there are some brilliant writers in this bloody book so it's shaping up as a fantastic read - 32 stories, 454 pages, and over 130,000 words. Another door stopper.

“The Tide”, Martin Livings and friends
“Mutiny on the Scarborough”, Shona Husk
“Sun Falls”, Angela Slatter
“Such is Life”, Jeremy Sadler
“Apolotoi”, Chris Lawson
“Punishment of the Sun”, Alan Baxter
“Red Delicious”, Felicity Dowker
“Just a Matter of Economics”, Yvonne Eve Walus
“Quarantine”, Patty Jansen
“Out of the Grave”, Amanda Pillar
“Desert Blood”, Marty Young
“Thin Air”, Simon Brown
“Kissed by the Sun”, Jodi Cleghorn
“Black Heart”, Joanna Fay
“Renfield’s Wife”, Damon Cavalcini
“Listening to Tracy”, Jen White
“Breaking the Drought”, Jay Caselberg
“Children of the Cane”, Jason Nahrung
“The Sea at Night”, Joanne Anderton
“Sky in the Morning”, Sonia Marcon
“Taking it for the Team”, Tracie McBride
“All that Glisters”, Pete Kempshall
“The Rider”, Martin Livings
“Vitality”, George Ivanoff
“Coming Home”, Kathryn Hore
“The Little Red Man”, Ray Gates
“Deathborn Light”, Helen Stubbs
“The Life Stealer”, Donna Maree Hanson
“Behind the Black Mask”, Jacob Edwards
“Interview with the Jiangshi”, Anne Mok
“White and Red in the Black”, Lisa L Hannett
“Lady Yang’s Lament”, Penelope Love

The anthology was launched at Swancon36 this past weekend, and rumour has it that the launch was filled with debauchery, insanity, bloody stakes and red wine. I'm bummed I missed it--and the whole con for that matter.

Still, at least there are photos on Facebook I can enjoy...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gunslinger action

I was recently given volumes 1-7 of Stephen King's The Dark Tower, and have now devoured the first 3 volumes. It's just brilliant, I'm loving it--and the best part is, I still have 4 more volumes (well, 5 really, counting the new one due out in 2012) to get through. It's been a long, long time since I've been so lost in the pleasure of reading. Come one am and I'm going, just one more chapter before I go to sleep, just one more...

It's great to be pals with Stephen King again.

And just to confirm how behind the times I truly am, I've just discovered that The Dark Tower is being adapted into a couple of feature length films and TV series, directed by Ron Howard (who I have a lot of respect for as a director). Check it out (although I suspect everyone in the world other than me knew about this years ago):