Neil Clarke

The Award-Winning Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, and More

Month: July 2008

Some quick Clarkesworld Updates

Congratulations to Rebecca Ore. Her story “Acid and Stoned Reindeer” from Clarkesworld #14 has been published in Wilde Stories 2008: The Best of the Year’s Gay Speculative Fiction, edited by Steve Berman,

Editor search update: I had hoped to settle this last weekend at Readercon, but instead we ended up with more interested candidates and some interesting viewpoints that required serious consideration.

After burning through several printers and countless other problems, the Clarkesworld chapbooks are back on track and moving forward. Our new printer has done a great job and is currently talking to me about things we can do better with the next batch. (I think they are seriously enjoying working on these.) Anyhow, I now have in my hands the signed limited edition chapbooks for issues #1 and #3. If you preordered copies, expect to hear from me this weekend.

I’m embarrassingly behind on these chapbooks and there will be a huge push to play catch-up over the next several months. Next week, the printer and I will finish details on a large batch of cover/signing sheets, which should be returned to me early August and shipped out to authors. On return, signed sheets will go right off to the printer, so it’s entirely likely they’ll be issued out of sequence for a while.

More on the Locus Poll and Awards Voting

When I went after Locus Magazine for sleazy vote counting in their annual poll, I wondered if either of the authors impacted would have anything to say.

Patrick Rothfuss, who would have won the Locus Award for Best First Novel if votes were counted properly, weighs in on “Not Being a Winner.”

Clarkesworld Magazine according to Gardner Dozois

The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection (Year’s Best Science Fiction) by Gardner Dozois was published earlier this month and I’m quite pleased with how Clarkesworld Magazine is represented in its pages:

“Stylishly written and usually faintly perverse fantasy is also available at Clarkesworld Magazine, edited by Nick Mamatas, which this year published strong stories by Caitlin Kiernan, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, Jeff VanderMeer, Ken Scholes, Jetse de Vries, Cat Rambo, and others.” –Gardner Dozois

One bone to pick there… I have two editors. Sean Wallace deserves as much of the credit as Nick. In fact, most the authors he mentions there are from his stories. Otherwise, I certainly can’t complain. Having it described as “faintly perverse fantasy” is amusing to me.

I’m absolutely thrilled by this… Over half the stories we published in 2007 have received honorable mentions. Congratulations to our authors and editors!

Orm the Beautiful by Elizabeth Bear (issue 4)
Automatic by Erica L. Satifka (issue 4)

Chewing Up the Innocent by Jay Lake (issue 5)

The Third Bear by Jeff VanderMeer (issue 7)

Qubit Conflicts by Jetse De Vries (issue 8)

The Oracle Spoke by Holly Phillips (issue 9)

I’ll Gnaw Your Bones, the Manticore Said by Cat Rambo (issue 10)

The Beacon by Darja Malcolm-Clarke (issue 11)

The Ape’s Wife by Caitlin R. Kiernan (issue 12)
Lost Soul by M P Ericson (issue 12)

A Dance Across Embers by Lisa Mantchev (issue 13)

Summer in Paris, Light from the Sky by Ken Scholes (issue 14)
Acid and Stoned Reindeer by Rebecca Ore (issue 14)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that all but three of these stories are also available in our print anthology, Realms: The First Year of Clarkesworld Magazine

A piece of my past has become un-notable

In a time before the internet was a household name or even widely available at most universities, there were these beasts called Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) that ran on people’s home computers. You’d call one up via modem (how many people here remember 300 baud? 1200 baud? 2400 baud?) and only one person could use it at a time. To put it very simply, it was a world of a million little disconnected internets. People emailed, shared files, had message boards, flame wars, etc… all on a very local level.

While I was in college in the mid-1980s, I started a software company called 2AM Associates. (The name came from the average time the programmers went to sleep. I was on the far end of the curve at 3AM.)  Our one product was 2AM-BBS and at its peak there were more people using it than I could keep track of. A large number of these customers were in NJ, but I was in touch with people from as far away as Malta. We didn’t make much more than pizza money (it was shareware), but it was something I loved doing. By the late 1990’s, the internet was killing the BBS community. It was small town vs big city and we lost.

I met some of the best people through the 2AM. Heck, I married one of the sysops. I’m still in touch with a few, some have died, and others I just can’t find despite my best efforts.

So why this trip down memory lane?

Wikipedia once had an entry for 2AM-BBS. It was there for quite some time and now I see that someone deleted it back in January because they didn’t think it was notable anymore.

*sigh*

2008 Locus Poll… Did we get the REAL results?

Last year, I did an analysis of how online magazines were represented in the results of the Locus Poll and was looking forward to comparing this year’s results to last. The July issue is out and I jumped right to the numbers.

The first thing I see is that online magazines are well-represented in the magazine results: Subterranean (5th), Jim Baen’s Universe (8th), Strange Horizons (9th), Ansible (13th), Clarkesworld (14th), SFSite (15th), Fantasy Magazine (16th), SFRevu (21st), and IROSF (22nd). Locus counts only eight online magazines, where I see nine. My bet is they considered Subterranean a print magazine.

However, the next thing I see really bothers me and completely invalidates any year-to-year analysis I had planned:

“Results were tabulated using the system put together by webmaster Mark Kelly, with Locus staffers entering votes from mail-in ballots. Results were available almost as soon as the voting closed, much sooner than back in the days of hand-counting. Non-subscribers outnumbered subscribers by so much that, in an attempt to better reflect the Locus magazine readership, we decided to change the counting system, so now subscriber votes count double. (Non-subscribers still managed to out-vote subscribers in most cases where there was disagreement.)”

They changed the vote counting system after the polls closed. If they were so concerned about the results reflecting reader opinion, why allow non-subscribers the chance to vote in the first place? Doing something like this makes it seem like they were unhappy with the results and put a fix in. Given their long-standing reputation, I’m sure that wasn’t their plan, but what were they thinking?

I think this action significantly hurts the credibility of the poll and the Locus Awards. By their own admission, changing how they counted the votes took the Best First Novel Award away from Patrick Rothfuss and handed it to Joe Hill. That’s just a horrible way to lose and a horrible way to win.

I’d love to get my hands on the raw data and see how things really shook out.

July Issue of Clarkesworld Magazine

The July Issue of Clarkesworld Magazine is now online and available for your reading (and listening) pleasure:

Fiction:

When the Gentlemen Go By by Margaret Ronald
The Glory of the World by Sergey Gerasimov
When the Gentlemen Go By by Margaret Ronald (audio, read by Cat Rambo)


Non-Fiction:


Cover Art:

“Colorless” by Patipat Asavasena

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