I’m sad to announce that the fantasy-oriented magazine Realms of Fantasy is ceasing publication after the April 2009 issue, which is at the printer as I type this. It all started as a quick comment at the end of an author’s blog post. This lead me on a short wild goose chase through rumors, until I found the rumor confirmed at SF Scope. As reported at SF Scope, managing editor Laura Cleveland states that the current economic situation combined with declining newsstand sales are the cause of the magazine ceasing publication.
I see this as quite a blow to short fiction and short fiction publications. While not everyone liked editor Shawna McCarthy’s tastes, the magazine appeared to be doing well. I always enjoyed reading my subscription every other month. And with writers like Gene Wolfe, Liz Williams, Jay Lake, Theodora Goss, Sarah Prineas, Tim Pratt, Kage Baker, and on and on and on. They also provided decent coverage of fantasy media, and the nonfiction folk roots column was always fascinating.
It will be interesting to see what this does to the short fiction landscape. Will the submissions that normally went to Realms of Fantasy now go to some place like The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction or Asimov’s? Or will publications like Black Gate, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Clarkesworld Magazine, or anthologies like Polyphony (published by Wheatland Press) benefit? Or will things go to even smaller publications like Shimmer, Sybil’s Garage, or even Electric Velocipede instead? I honestly think this will be the time to shine for online magazines. They don’t face many of the same concerns that print publications have with distribution and single-issue sales.
The worst thing of all this is how it will affect all the people I know and respect who worked on this publication.