Tag Archive for short stories

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 – Tor.com (+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

Observations:

  • 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:

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:

Locus Recommended Reading List for 2008 – Stort Stories

The Locus Recommended Reading List for 2008 has been published. For the last two years (2006, 2007), I’ve taken a close look at the short story portion of the list and given a summary of my findings.

The 2008 list contains 50 short stories, which is 7 less than last year, but still more than the year before (45). There are twenty-four different markets are represented, up from twenty-one in 2007. The number of markets on the list with two or more stories is 14 (58%), which is up from last years 11 (52.4%).

Seven stories (14%) were selected from the four online markets are represented (Clarkesworld, Fantasy, Tor.com, and Abyss & Apex). This is the same number of online markets as last year, but a slightly higher percentage. Of these, Clarkesworld was the only market to repeat from last year’s list. (The number of stories appears to be the same as well, but to be certain, I need to go back and see how many of Subterranean’s stories from last year were actually online vs print.) Among others, three significant online magazines, Subterranean, Baen’s Universe, and Orson Scott Card’s Intergalatic Medicine Show, did not appear on this year’s list.

With print magazines, F&SF maintains the top spot, while Asimov’s continues to drop. Two years ago, Asimov’s stories claimed 25% of the list. Today, they have 8%. Analog, the current leader in terms of subscriptions and sales in the US, once again failed to place a single short story. Realms of Fantasy has also dropped off the list.

Half of this year’s stories are from anthologies or collections, which is up considerably from last year’s 39%. This represents 14 markets (58%) in 2008 and 9 markets (42.9%) in 2007. This will likely fuel the continued debate over whether or not magazines have lost their position as the place to find the best new short fiction.

This is how things fell out by market:

7 – F&SF (-1)
4 – Asimov’s (-4)
4 – Eclipse Two (-3 in comparison to Eclipse One)
3 – Del Rey Book of SF / Fantasy
3 – Postscripts (+2)
3 – Solaris Book of New SF
2 – Clarkesworld (-1)
2 – Dreaming Again
2 – Extraordinary Engines
2 – Fantasy (+2)
2 – Interzone (+1)
2 – The Serial Garden
2 – Tor.com (new)
1 – 10 Other Markets

Locus Recommended Reading List for 2007

Last year, I read the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2006 for Short Stories and was a bit disappointed by how lop-sided it appeared and by the number of markets represented.  This year’s list looks a lot better to me.  It is considerably longer (45 stories vs 57) and the number of markets with 2 or more stories on the list grew from 7 to 11.  Asimovs went from 25% of the list to 14%, which was more in line with my expectations. It’s also nice to see 4 different online magazines (Challenging Destiny, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons and Subterranean) represented. If I have some time later, I may poke through the novella and novelette results.

Just in case you’re interested, here’s how they fell out:
8 – Asimovs
8 – F&SF
7 – Eclipse One
5 – Subterranean
4 – The New Space Opera
3 – Clarkesworld
3 – Realms of Fantasy
3 – Wizards
2 – Fast Forward 1
2 – Strange Horizons
2 – The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction
1 – 10 Others Markets

Congratulations to everyone who made the list!  A special congrats go to Barth Anderson, Elizabeth Bear, and Jeff VanderMeer for their Clarkesworld stories that made the list.

Gender and Clarkesworld

Over the last few months, there has been a lot of discussion about gender distribution in magazines.  Now that I have the complete list of stories for the first 12 issues of Clarkesworld Magazine, I decided to do some math:

All Stories (24)
Male: 10*
Female: 15

The mathematically inclined among you are probably thinking, “10+15=25, not 24.”  You’re right.  Our second issue contained a collaboration between two male authors, so I counted that story as 2 male authors.

The two stories in each issue are split between solicited stories and open submissions. 

Solicited Stories (12)
Male: 6*
Female: 7

From the Slush (12)
Male: 4
Female: 8

Not bad at all.  I wish I could say the same for my other venture, Wyrm Publishing.  I have announced three books and have a fourth in the wings pending contract.  All four authors are male: Wolfe, Stross, Buckell, and JV (initials only until I have the contract).  I do hope to give more balance to the catalog over time and if the next proposal is accepted, I’ll be taking a step in that direction.  Looking at my personal wish list, it seems that balance is not an impossible goal.  I trust you people will call me on it if I fail to come through.  :)

Did this surprise anyone else?

Is anyone else surprised by the short story section on the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2006?    To save you the effort of counting, here are the publications with more than one recommended story:

11 Asimovs
7 F&SF
2 Analog
2 Interzone
2 Realms of Fantasy
2 Paraspheres
2 Strange Horizons
2 Red Spikes

45 stories made the list.  Asimov’s gets nearly 25% of the recommendations and as someone who reads a lot of short stories, I never expected things to fall out that way.  It should be interesting to see how this compares to the multitude of Year’s Best collections.

This is NOT a criticism of the stories selected.  In fact, congratulations to all of you.