Very ,very sad to announce that Realms of Fantasy is folding.
The news broke yesterday.
Realms of Fantasy has been with us for fifteen years and “was coming up on its 100th issue,” Cleveland said. “We were excited about the special Halloween issue we’d been planning, which would have been our first.” The staff is obviously harried by the news, and that it’s become public so quickly. Cleveland had been hoping to tell the authors and artists the news before it broke publicly.
Realms of Fantasy has been one of the anchors of the Fantasy short story publishing industry. As a print magazine, Realms was billed as “the largest magazine in the world devoted to Fantasy”. It was part of the big four anchor magazines of the industry (the others being Asimov’s, Fantasy and Science Fiction and Analog) partly built on the venue–a large glossy magazine (not a small pulp), its reputation for helping careers begin, the high distribution from subscription, and the amount it paid for stories. Editor Shawna McCarthy was recognized as one of the best editors in the business (and she will be here in the Yukon in April!–I hope!!). Will all venues and markets go web-only? Is that an answer to part of it–or is it about advertising, and since you’d have to have advertising either way, are closings inevitable?
With Fantasy and Science Fiction going bimonthly, Realms‘ closing narrows the market for writers of short FSF considerably. If this is the beginning of the economic crisis, recession, depression, etc., then this isn’t a good sign. Two out of four of the big anchor markets down or downsized? I’m assuming Realms thought of all options–bimonthly, web-only zine, etc.— so I’m not gonna try to come up with suggestions for fixes…
However, now is the time to save a ‘zine. If the economic crisis is just going to get worse, is there a way to help ‘zines as fans and writers? Can we donate money? Tell us. Can we help support in other ways? Tell us. Can we ask universities to adopt a Zine for a short period of time? I was never one to subscribe much–mostly because I moved around every couple of years, and my subscriptions had a hard time finding me, and because I was often broke. When I could I bought from the newsstand. But if I can help by choosing three zines to subscribe to in order to save them from oblivion–let me know. I should have been doing that all along. However, if I thought it was balanced on my subscription, I would have done it earlier. And I suspect many writers would feel the same way—that if people needed to borrow from us, they could.
Is there a way to stop the closing of Realms of Fantasy? Is there a way to stop the decline in markets and venues and places to read great science fiction/fantasy?
I don’t know if we can save it, but we can try. There’s a Save Realms of Fantasy Facebook page up right now:
Maybe more print magazines will have the make the transition to internet publication, or die out for lack of readers. It seems people read more online than ever before, and my hunch is this will get even stronger. That’s where the readership is moving, then magazines will have to go with them.
Is it right for science fiction to challenge progress, to resist the move to electronic media for storytelling? As a bibliophile, I would always rather hold a book than a mouse, but even I am itching to get my paws on a Kindle.
I am a bit of a “representative realist” in the thought that RoF’s fall might serve as a wake-up call to the other big zines that some part of their model needs to change.
I love RoF, it has introduced me to many artist. But who really subscribes or buys mags anymore? It’s just sad….