Wed
Sep 17 2008 4:29pm

Magazine Closings

Yesterday, I read on SF Scope that two online magazines had closed their doors. First, I saw that new magazine Oddlands was closing up shop after five issues. The un-named editor states:

I have been considering [closing] for a couple months, but had ultimately decided that despite my lack of time and enthusiasm I would continue Oddlands. Then my computer imploded. I have lost ALL submissions, correspondence, personal work, etc. I simply never backed everything up on a regular basis. I would file this under TOTAL STUPIDITY. But it has happened and I tried all I could to stop it from happening.

I’m always excited to see new publications come out, and I’m always a little sad and disappointed to see them disappear. I know exactly how hard it is to keep a magazine going. I even wrote a series of articles on how to start a zine. (Note: that link takes you to all the entries, but they are in reverse chronological order; here is the first one.) You need to have at least a two-year plan in place if you’re going to start something like this. I write a new five-year plan every year.

Second, I read about the end of Helix SF; you can read the full announcement This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Helix was a little different as it was founded by authors William Sanders and Lawrence Watt-Evans, certainly not newbies to the field.

The magazine had its share of big name contributors (including writers such as Terry Bisson, Jay Lake, Jane Yolen, Robert Reed, Esther Friesner, and others) and paid professional rates. It even just barely missed out on making the Hugo ballot this year.

It also had more than its share of controversy, often due to the outspken Sanders. Most recently, there was a flare-up about racial comments Sanders made in a rejection letter that was summarily posted online by the rejected author. Flare-up is probably mild given the intensity of response to his comments (authors asked to have their fiction removed from the magazine’s site) and Sanders’ own rebuttals.

Even though I don’t agree with Sanders’ opinions in general (we’ve never met, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he considered me a pantywaist or some similar thing) I’m still a little sad to see a market go away. Helix published good stories, whatever I think of the editor, and in my opinion it’s always good to have markets that publish good stories.

[Image from Flickr user Jasoon;  CC licensed for commercial use.]

2 comments
Joe Sherry
1. jsherry
I agree with your basic position here, I don't like to see any magazines close and limit the options for writers or readers.

Helix also published the Nebula nominted story "Captive Girl" from Jennifer Pelland. I don't see too many online markets picking up nominations for their fiction (it happens, I know, but not nearly as frequently as print mags).
Mike Allen
2. Mike Allen
Actually, Helix did make the final Hugo ballot, in the semi-prozine category. Not surprisingly, the award went to Locus.

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