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

Annual Analysis of the Locus Recommended Short Story List

Now that Locus Magazine has published its recommended reading list for 2010, I can once again dig into my spreadsheets and take a look at how this year’s data reflects on the state of short stories. I’ve been monitoring the list’s short fiction category for a few years now and have always found the results interesting.

Some Quick Facts:

Final Standings:

7 – Asimov’s (+2)
7 – Clarkesworld (+2)
6 – Lightspeed (new)
5 – (+4)
5 – Fantasy Magazine (+2)
4 – Strange Horizons (-1)
3 – Subterranean (+1)
3 – Apex (+3)
3 – F&SF (-1)
3 – Is Anybody Out There?
3 – Sprawl
2 – Zombies vs. Unicorns
2 – Wings of Fire
2 – Shareable
1 – 13 other markets


  • This is the first year that there have been more stories selected from online venues than from books or print magazines.
  • Although the number of stories on the list increased by 111%, growth within the categories was not proportional. Online magazines increased their total by 212%, but anthologies/collections/chapbooks and print magazines respectively declined to 71% and 75% of last year’s figures.
  • Anthologies/Collections/Chapbooks spent the last four years at the top. This is their first decline since 2005.
  • Overall, print magazines continue to decline as a presence on the list. Three years ago, Asimov’s (alone) represented 25% of the entire list. That’s more than all of this (or last) year’s print magazines combined.
  • Notable publications absent in the short story category: Analog, Realms of Fantasy, and Interzone.
  • 38 stories are by women, giving them the majority. 20 of those stories were in online magazines. 12 stories were in print magazines. 18 in anthology/collection/chapbooks. (30 for men, 16 online magazines, 12 print magazines, 2 in a/c/c).

For the Visual People:


Clarkesworld Stories on the Locus Recommended Reading List


Reading Clarkesworld on your Ereader


  1. Correction:

    The novellette Amor Vincit Omnia by K.J. Parker appeared in Subterranean as reprint. The original place of publication was Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine issue 45.

    Locus has been notified of this.

    Patty Jansen

    ASIM co-op member and editor of issues 47 and 53

    • Thanks for passing that along. Fortunately, I was only looking at the short story category, so this change in novelette won’t mess up my math.

      • OK. I wasn’t sure if you lumped novellette in with short story, because novellettes are almost always published in magazines, and almost never independently

        • I may still do a separate analysis of the novelette category. I have a tendency to burn out before I can finish that side of things.

    • According to your site, ASIM 45 was released on August 7th.

      And this is from the July 9th Subterranean Newsletter:
      “We’e just kicked off the Summer issue of Subterranean Online with “Amor, Vincit, Omnia”, a novelette by K. J. Parker…”

      That might be why Locus listed it as published by Subterranean.

      • there has been some confusion about this, but the author wrote the story in response to a request from the editor of issue 45, and Subterranean asked to have the story after that, aware that it had already been accepted for issue 45, after which production of that issue hit a snafu and was delayed.

        It’s being cleared up at the moment

        • But that would still mean it was first published in Subterranean, wouldn’t it? That’s different than first purchased.

          • Agree that it’s tricky, but the fact that ASIM published it first was part of the reprint arrangement with Subterranean.

            The editor (not me for that issue) says that ASIM 45 was released in late June/early July.

            Something I’m going to have to check, but the above agreement was made. They bought it as reprint.

          • Sadly, contracts and behind the scenes agreements don’t often come into play in determining the first printing. It’s all about when and where it was available first. If it was available online at Subterranean first rather than in a purchasable issue of ASIM, contract or not, they have the first printing. I hope, for your (as a rep of ASIM) sake, that you didn’t end up being the reprint. That would suck.

          • Yup. I’m checking up on this.

            The moral in this tale: publish your issues on time 😉

          • Ah, I see. You found the August date on my personal blog. We don’t send out internet promotions until all print subscribers have received their issues, and the PDF is available on the website, usually a month after the print release of the magazine.

            I will have to check this, though.

  2. Wow, I had no idea you are so statistically minded. Thanks for the info! Really puts things in perspective, the movement from print to online.

  3. This is fantastic, Neil. Thanks for doing it. I’m heartened to know that my thoughts about online publications are supported by data, as opposed to meaning I live in an internet bubble of my own making.

  4. Good information, Neil. Thanks for sharing it!

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