Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Last of the pulps; NPR Top Five Crime Novels

A very long, extremely well-done oiece on the fate of the last of the dugest sized fiction magazines:

Pulp Magazines Struggle to Survive in Wired World
Simon Owens

by Simon Owens, November 17, 2008

Every year Locus Magazine, "The Magazine Of The Science Fiction & Fantasy Field," publishes a year-in-review of the genre. This summation always includes a rundown of the circulation of the remaining speculative fiction magazines, sometimes referred to as the "pulps" because of the cheap wood pulp paper on which they used to be printed. In their heyday there were dozens of pulps -- ranging from the mystery to science fiction genres -- with circulations of 100,000 or more. But the medium steeply declined through the '80s and '90s, with magazine circulations for all the publications plummeting to well below six figures.

By the 21st century and the advent of the web, most of these once-great magazines -- Amazing Stories, Argosy, SF Age -- had died off, leaving only three speculative fiction magazines struggling to stop hemorrhaging readers: Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Asimov's Science Fiction, and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

The figures displayed in this year's Locus Magazine roundup were, as usual, not promising. Analog, the best performing of the three, had fallen to a paid circulation of 27,399, while Asimov's dropped 5.2% to 17,581. But the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction saw the sharpest decline -- 11.2% from the previous year -- to a paid circulation of 16,489. Countless science fiction convention panels and online message board topics over the last decade have tried to pinpoint the cause of such catastrophic declines and learn how to stop them. Such discussions often lead to at least one person predicting the eminent death of the short fiction magazines, always seen lurking just around the corner.


Both Asimov's and Analog (along with mystery pulps Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine) are published by Dell Magazines, a company perhaps best known for its puzzle magazines. In fact, outside critics often complain that Dell has let its fiction magazines fall by the wayside because it has concentrated its focus on crossword puzzles and Sudoku.

for the rest go here

------------------Shout out to Dave Zeltserman

Holiday Book Recommendations 2008, November 19, 2008 · Below you can find the complete list of recommended reading for the 2008 Holidays. To print this list, choose the "Print Page" icon in the upper right-hand corner. Click on the titles to read an excerpt from the book.

Recommended Books

Recommended by Maureen Corrigan
(Top Five Crime And Mystery Novels Of 2008)

Small Crimes, by Dave Zeltserman, paperback, 272 pages, List Price: $14.95

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson, translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland, hardcover, 463 pages, List Price: $24.95

Death Vows, by Richard Stevenson, paperback, 212 pages, List Price: $14.99

The Chinaman, by Friedrich Glauser, translated from the German by Mike Mitchell, paperback, 186 pages, List Price: $14.95

The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved, by Judith Freeman, paperback, 368 pages, List P


Anonymous said...

Another great read is Michael Connelly's Brass Verdict - in fact any of his books.
Ditto for books by Dennis Lehane and Robert Crais

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think I was born twenty years too late.. I do love the short story format, and the number of markets just aren't there any more... a pity...

Todd Mason said...

Well, Brendan, 20 years ago the major difference was that the skin mags ran two or three stories, and ESQUIRE another two or so, a month...but that's still only a few dozen more sales. FWIW, there are some little magazines that actually pay almost as well as the lesser skin mags did, such as ZOETROPE ALL-STORY and TIN HOUSE and GLIMMER TRAIN. Though it's a pity MURDALAND collapsed so quickly.

The relentless reference to the digests as pulps, and ignoring any magazine not in digest format, was a bit annoying. But he did at least go to the right people to ask.

Todd Mason said...

Actually, that was more like 30 years ago.