Helen (heleninwales) wrote,
Helen
heleninwales

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Do you read short stories?

Prompted by a couple of blog posts and a thread on rasfc:

Warren Ellis is concerned that people aren't reading SF magazines any more. Do you subscribe to SF magazines? In fact do you read short stories at all or do you stick to novels?

I have to admit that I don't read many short stories, though I did buy and enjoy The Faery Reel. (I've bought Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners too, but haven't started it yet.)

However, I am consuming at least 2 short stories a week from the Web. I say "consuming" because I'm not actually reading most of them, I listen to them on my iPod. Now I have my Eee, I may also get to read more short SF because I can sit in a comfy chair while I read things on the Eee, though I do sometimes read a short story at lunchtime or tea-break at work at my desk.

I definitely think that online is the place to look for good short SF and fantasy these days. I haven't subscribed to a magazine for years but when I pick up the odd copy at a convention, I usually find it abandoned and unread, months later. (Exceptions being Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and Farthing, which I do enjoy.)

But are other people reading short fiction? John Klima asks this question on the Tor blog thing

I do suspect that the type of people who used to read SF magazines in their heyday probably get their SF fix these days from TV via the specialised SF channels, or via computer games.

Actually I don't think it's quite so depressing as the Warren Ellis article makes out. If you look at other genres, there are virtually no magazines publishing short stories, though there used to be in the past. In the case of lit fic, everyone seems to enter competitions which means they're paying for the chance to have their story selected and read by other people.

It may be, as matociquala says in her blog:

"I have a theory. I think SFF short fiction is turning into a club scene, hothouse, by writers for writers. I think it serves an important purpose as that club scene. But I'm not sure how many non-writer readers it attracts anymore. This is the film festival stuff."

Some writers do see short fiction merely as a stepping stone to novels. On the other hand, if shorts are your thing and you can make a name amongst the online writer/readers, single author anthologies or themed anthologies are the way to break into print.

Which brings me nicely to the new Space Pirate anthology which includes a story by pdlloyd and her husband. :) It's good to see friends selling things, it reminds me that a) it is possible and b) that I ought to finish more short things and actually, you know, send them out to places.
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