Locus Recommended Reading List for 2009 – Stort Stories

Now that Locus Magazine has published its recommended reading list for 2009, 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:

  • Number of short stories on  the list: 61, up from 50
  • Number of publications represented: 29, up from 24
  • Number of publications with 2 or more stories on the list: 12 (41%), down from 14 (51%)
  • Number of stories from online magazines: 18 (27.9%), up from 7 (24%)
  • Number of online magazines represented: 6 (20.7%), up from 4 (14%)
  • Number of stories from print magazines: 16 (26.2%), down from 18 (36%)
  • Number of print magazines represented: 6 (20.7%), down from 6 (25%)
  • Number of stories from anthologies/collections/chapbooks: 28 (45.9%), up/down from 25 (50%)
  • Number of anthologies/collections/chapbooks represented: 17 (58.6%), up from 14 (58.3%)
  • Online magazines represented: Clarkesworld, Fantasy, Lone Star Stories, Strange Horizons, Subterranean and Tor.com.
  • Print magazines represented: Analog, Asimov’s, Cosmos, F&SF, Interzone, and Realms of Fantasy
  • Anthology/Collections/Chapbooks represented: Conjunctions, The Dragon Book, Eclipse 3, The Eternal Kiss, Federations, Firebird’s Soaring, Interfictions 2, Lace and Blade 2, Other Earths, Poe, Postscripts, Sideshow, Songs of the Dying Earth, Troll’s Eye View, What Happens When You Wake Up in the Night, What Remains, When it Changed
  • There is a four-way tie for publications with the most recommended stories. Two online magazines (Clarkesworld and Strange Horizons), one print magazine (Asimov’s), and one anthology (Postscripts).

Notes:

  • In 2009, Postscripts switched from a magazine to an anthology series.
  • The selected story appearing in Cosmos is available online, but was originally published in the print edition of the magazine and is counted as such.

Final Standings:

5 – Asimov’s (+1)
5 – Clarkesworld (+3)
5 – Postscripts (+2, in comparison to PS Magazine)
5 – Strange Horizons (+5)
4 – F&SF (-3)
4 – Troll’s Eye View
3 – Eclipse 3 (-1 in comparison to Eclipse Two)
3 – Fantasy Magazine (+1)
3 – Firebirds Soaring
3 – Interzone (+1)
2 – Analog (+2)
2 – Subterranean (+2)
1 – 17 other markets

Observations:

  • This year’s list represented a greater diversity of publications.
  • This is the first year that online stories have outscored stories from print magazines.
  • This percentage of online stories has finally passed the peak it achieved when Sci Fiction was still being published. (When Sci Fiction closed, there was a big jump in the percentage of stories picked from anthologies and collections.)
  • Although the number of stories on the list increased by 122%, growth within the categories was not proportional. Online magazines increased  by 243%, anthologies/collections/chapbooks increased by 112%, and print magazines declined to 89% of last year’s figure.
  • Anthologies/Collections/Chapbooks saw very little change from last year. This is their fourth consecutive year at the top.
  • Postscripts converting from a magazine to an anthology had an impact on the category distribution. (It has been argued that Postscripts was always an anthology since it bore an ISBN instead of an ISSN. I’m not convinced.) In prior years, we’ve seen print magazines switch to online (Fantasy, Subterranean). These migrations are proving significant.
  • Print magazines continue to decline as a presence on the list. Two years ago, Asimov’s (alone) represented 25% of the entire list. That’s more than all of the print magazines combined this year.

For the Visual People:

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