Oct 18 2010 2:37pm

RIP Realms of Fantasy...Again

Realms of FantasyI wish I could say that I was surprised, but sadly I was not. Earlier today, notes from publisher Warren Lapine and editors Shawna McCarthy and Douglas Cohen announced the end of Realms of Fantasy magazine. Lapine bought the magazine little more than a year ago with hopes of reviving it. Things did not work out as he had hoped.

There are likely many contributing factors this, not least of which, as Lapine himself notes, is the poor economy. I don’t know if they had embraced electronic publishing earlier on in their process and made a concerted effort to push into that realm, no pun intended, that things would have worked out better.

Given that Amazon recently announced their intention to sell Kindle Singles, I think the electronic medium is the way to go for short fiction. Much like how the MP3 has changed music (almost a retro slide into the single-buying days of music in the 1950s and 1960s), single-shot short stories might be just what readers are looking for. In my experience, the short story works wonderfully on an e-reader.

Will people be able to buy just a few articles or stories from a magazine? Will magazines even publish traditional “issues” in the future, or will they just release content as it’s ready and let their readers decide what they want to read? I have some thoughts and opinions on the subject, but I don’t know any more than the next person what might happen.

I always enjoyed reading Realms of Fantasy, and I will miss them. Unfortunately, I think it’s unlikely that someone will step in and save them again.


John Klima is the editor of the Hugo Award-winning Electric Velocipede, a print magazine. He watches the developments of electronic publishing and short fiction with a keen interest.

Irene Gallo
1. Irene
An illustration for every story + a gallery spotlight. I'll miss them as well.
Tony Linde
2. tonylinde
I subscribe to Asimov's on the Kindle and F&SF in hard copy: much prefer the former. It comes out sooner, costs nothing in shipping and is generally cheaper. I'll not be switching my art/photo mag subscriptions any time soon but electronic for short stories, fiction and poetry really is the way to go.

Not sure I want a story at a time, though. Still want magazines (and I prefer albums as well!).
John Klima
3. john_klima
@Irene I will miss that, too. That was always impressive.

@Tony I go back and forth myself. Sometimes I just want a song, sometimes I want the whole thing. The idea of a magazine one story at a time, or a story here and there? Not sure what I think of that.

Part of me gets excited at the idea, part of me wants to sit in a corner and hold onto print copies of EV.
James C. Wallace II
4. James C. Wallace II
I was a part of ROF back before the sale last year. The costs associated with it were more than I could afford and I found the readership to be outside of what my readership usually is. Nonetheless, it was an excellent production with great articles and illustrations.
It will be missed.
Tony Linde
5. tonylinde
@Irene: it'll be interesting to see how artists respond to the limitations of Kindle-like (as opposed to iPad) magazine illustrating. I imagine woodcuts would work well.
randy gallegos
6. gallegosart
@tonylinde: It's likely going to be a short-term problem, as high-resolution color screens will have to be the norm for any
technology to last long-term, with iPad sales soon if not already
eclipsing Kindle lifetime sales.

In the meantime, RoF will be greatly missed as a venue for illustration. And stories, too, of course, but mainly I was always a fan for the attention given to illustration. :,-(

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