The Blog

More on King & Short Fiction

In a LJ comment, in response to some of the discussions about Stephen King’s essay about short fiction that I linked to, J. T. Glover said:

I think it’s a little bizarre to suggest that Stephen King is unaware of F/SF/H short fiction markets. No, he doesn’t know about every last little one of them, but he has published in plenty of them, and I’ve read endorsements of some of them by him over the years. I would assume his non-mentioning of these markets is an… understated… comment on his part of their popularity among and importance to the general population of readers.

I agree that it’s a bit bizarre to suggest that; King certainly knows all about genre markets. He’s published in F&SF a number of times, and once (a few years ago) called it "the best fiction magazine in America." He also reprinted a story from F&SF in BASS (and listed four others on the 100 distinguished list), so obviously he’s aware of genre magazines.

Flipping through the back of BASS, where it lists the addresses for magazines publishing short stories (which I assume to be their "magazines received and considered" section), I did notice that while F&SF was listed, Asimov’s, Analog, and Realms of Fantasy were not. I didn’t comb through it looking for other genre magazines, but if F&SF is the only genre magazine BASS considered, that’s curious.

Discussion

  • Trent Hergenrader

    10:26 pm Oct-9-2007

    The inclusion of F&SF in the 2007 BASS is not an anomaly. I was doing some research and looked at the magazines considered for BASS back to 2000 and F&SF was in every one, but no other genre mags that I recognized. I have not checked this year’s, but back in 2005 Michael Chabon did include some interesting choices like Argosy and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. I have a list comparing the markets from 2004 and 2005 posted on my website.

    If you didn’t already know, BASS has a full-time series editor and the “guest” editor. The series editor reads throughout the year from a wide range of (literary) magazines and forwards stories she likes to the “guest” editor. The “guest” editor can read whatever s/he likes to supplement what’s ever forwarded. So it would appear to me that F&SF somehow made it into the core group of literary magazines that’s reviewed by the series editor, while Asimov’s, Analog, Realms, and others have not.

    Also, it’s worth noting that Random House posts the magazines they review for the O. Henry award and there’s not a genre mag among them.

  • Joe Sherry

    9:34 am Oct-10-2007

    It is possible, too, that only F&SF sends the series editor issues of its magazine. Perhaps Asimov’s doesn’t send copies.

  • Trent Hergenrader

    3:29 pm Oct-10-2007

    That could be Joe, but my hunch is that’s not the case. Otherwise it would behoove every magazine on the planet to forward their copies for consideration and that would be overwhelming. I’m fairly sure that the series editor selects a core group of magazines (many are literary magazines affiliated with a university) to review and lets the “guest” editor to bring in outside sources.

    For example, the O Henry awards look at my school’s (UW-Milwaukee) literary magazine, the Cream City Review, but the BASS does not. Neither of them consider UW-Madison’s literary magazine. No I’ve talked to seems to know how this came about, and to my knowledge we haven’t receive solicitations to submit to either place.

    I can’t say either way for sure though. This is all from my own research and asking people I know in my program.

  • Joe Sherry

    6:27 am Oct-11-2007

    You may be right. I do remember reading, though, in the BASS a page that gives information on how to submit issues for consideration and / or where to send a subscription to the editor.

    It may still be a stretch for the BASS editor to consider genre mags, but I think (emphasis on “think”) that there is a way to send copies to the editors.

  • Ted Chiang

    2:35 pm Oct-11-2007

    I remember seeing genre magazines in the BASS list back in the 80s and 90s. Ellison’s “The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore” was reprinted in BASS after being published in OMNI in 1992. Don Webb’s story “Jesse Revenged” made the BASS Honorable Mention list, and it was published in ASIMOV’s in 1986.

  • John Joseph Adams

    4:16 pm Oct-11-2007

    Hi Ted,

    Thanks for dropping by, and for the data points.

    I wondered if those two instances might be because of a genre-friendly guest-editor. Looks like for Don Webb’s year (1986), it would have been Ann Beattie. For the Ellison story, looks like Louise Erdrich as guest-editor.

    Some of Erdrich’s work can certainly be considered fantasy; not sure about Beattie’s. Not that writing genre is a requirement to be friendly towards it, but it does make one more inclined, I would think.

  • Ted Chiang

    8:21 pm Oct-11-2007

    Well, throughout that period ASIMOV’S and OMNI were both included in the list of magazines consulted (as was ANALOG and, for a time, AMAZING), so my interpretation is that the selected stories were seen by the series editor and then forwarded to the guest editor. Only in cases where a selected story first appeared in a publication not in the list of magazines do I suspect a genre-friendly guest editor.