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June 1, 2010 3:53 PM   Subscribe

Lightspeed, a new online Science Fiction magazine featuring fiction and nonfiction, launches today.
posted by Artw (39 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cool! Thanks for the tip, Artw. Always fun to see new publishing efforts launching...

Also, if anatomical correctness is any indicator, this magazine will lack shoulders.
posted by circular at 4:05 PM on June 1, 2010


Huh, I bookmarked that site some months back and was sure I had heard about it here, but apparently I read about it on Wired.
posted by christopherious at 4:06 PM on June 1, 2010


Judging by the looks of it, it feels more like Science Romance.
posted by uraniumwilly at 4:17 PM on June 1, 2010


It's cool that they're doing this, but I sadly don't think they'll have much success selling issues directly for $2.99 each. Maybe if they got on the iPad somehow, either through an app or through Apple's store, that could work.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:21 PM on June 1, 2010


Judging by the looks of it, it feels more like Science Romance.

Really? Because though they say "Here you can expect to see all types of science fiction, from near-future, sociological soft sf, to far-future, star-spanning hard sf, and anything and everything in between" from the line-up and the science articles I;m going to guess they lean to more science fiction science fiction, which is no bad thing (possibly even a gap in the market right now).

Oh, and it looks like the image of the couple hugging is specific to the first story, and I assume they’ll be changing it each time they run something. If so then that’s pretty cool.
posted by Artw at 4:23 PM on June 1, 2010


It's cool that they're doing this, but I sadly don't think they'll have much success selling issues directly for $2.99 each. Maybe if they got on the iPad somehow, either through an app or through Apple's store, that could work.

Looks like that's what they are selling, and the website content is free:

And it’s also a monthly ebook magazine, so if you’d rather read it every month on your Kindle or Nook or Sony Reader, that option is available, or if you’d rather just download it onto your iPhone or iPad, well, there’s an app for that. The best part about the ebook option is that even if you buy it at the beginning of the month, when there’s only one story posted on the website, the ebook version will have the full month’s worth of content.
posted by Artw at 4:28 PM on June 1, 2010


They also offer a yearly anthology, in a similar model to Clarkesworld.
posted by Artw at 4:35 PM on June 1, 2010


Remember, Kurt Vonnegut got his start writing science fiction. After he got a chemistry degree from Chicago U
posted by glaucon at 4:38 PM on June 1, 2010


It might have been nice if they had launched with a little more content. Right now they have basically one story.
posted by DarkForest at 4:43 PM on June 1, 2010


I find it interesting that they're trying to reincarnate the direct-payment revenue model for ebook downloads and/or mobile devices as opposed to ads. Of course, ads tend to monetize horribly on site like this so I can hardly blame them. They are doing Amazon affiliate ads/sales though although they're not placed very aggressively.

The first issue looks good and I wish them the best of luck!
posted by GuyZero at 4:43 PM on June 1, 2010


It's a sign of how loathe to change the publishing industry is that they cannot seem to fully realize the obsolescence of the print medium; you still see people publishing "zines" and "magazines" online. The magazine format was an artifact of a world in which information was non-ubiquitous, in which a discrete packet of data in the form of a magazine was a sensible format. On the web, a discrete packet of data is a webpage, or a website, and it is interesting to see which publications have adapted and which are trying fiercely to hang on, to implement a format within the web context which was appropriate for a different context and which is irrelevant within the web context.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:57 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Remember, Kurt Vonnegut got his start writing science fiction.

You say that as if he ever stopped!
posted by interrobang at 5:03 PM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


The magazine format was an artifact of a world in which information was non-ubiquitous

If Wired can sell digital editions on the iPad, why can't Lightspeed?
posted by GuyZero at 5:05 PM on June 1, 2010


Hi folks! I built the Lightspeed website, so I can answer a few questions and address a few things.

The iPad-- there is an iPad/iPhone app in the queue with Apple. It'll just syndicate the content like the site, one new story a week.

However, we also have an epub version in the Apple Store, but we ran into some technical difficulties with the file and are working to fix it and get it reposted.

So it will be on the iPad again shortly.

Pope Guilty, I agree with you on the issue of the publishign issue not wanting to let go of the print medium, but in SF in general, things are really starting to move. Sometimes at a glacial pace, but changes are happening.

The banner graphic will change with each "issue" (yeah, another left-over artifact from print I suppose) so each month, not with each story. 4 stories a month, I believe, with 2 originals and 2 reprints, bringing print stories to the web for the first time (not in general, but those reprint stories specifically).

Sorry if I've missed anything. If anyone has any other questions or comments, let me know and I will try to check back and answer them.
posted by JeremyT at 5:14 PM on June 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


One other thing I wanted to add-- the site is published by Prime Books, a small press SF/F imprint. The ads you see on the site are advertising their books. It's kind of a marketing vehicle for Prime in some ways.
posted by JeremyT at 5:15 PM on June 1, 2010


Good luck Jeremy and co. I submit, by the way, that the magazine format—not the physical object anymore, but the length of the pieces, and the diversity that can be found in a single good magazine "issue"— is wonderful, and that there is a place on the web for good magazine length work.
posted by Mister_A at 5:26 PM on June 1, 2010


JeremyT - Nice use of embedded fonts.
posted by Artw at 5:37 PM on June 1, 2010


Judging by the looks of it, it feels more like Science Romance.

God, if only. You know what I love more than planetary romance? Nothing.

:voice gets all raspy:

Nothing.

Mark my words: if/when I relaunch Astounding, there are gonna be a lot more guys in bomber jackets punching of beetle-men right in the mandible.
posted by Amanojaku at 6:20 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that is nice!
posted by Mister_A at 6:22 PM on June 1, 2010


Jeremy, I like the design.

As for the mag itself, all I can say is ... hey hey, a paying market.

Best of luck to everyone involved.
posted by hoodrich at 6:22 PM on June 1, 2010


The nice thing about magazine "issues" is also that good magazines work on an issue as a unit, so you can get lots of nice themed issues with articles that complement each other, etc. There's definite value in that.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:03 PM on June 1, 2010


Thanks for the well-wishes and feedback, everyone. I'll pass them on to the team as well.

Amanojaku, have you read Paragaea by Chris Roberson? That's a great planetary romance--I hear the others that are in that loosely related series are equally great, but I haven't gotten to them.

I miss Astounding which is kind of weird, given that it's not really been published much in the time that I've been able to read.
posted by JeremyT at 9:06 PM on June 1, 2010


Er, it's still going as Analog isn't it?

Sexy, sexy futuristic sounding Analog, what a title that is. Well done people of 1960!

Of course I write for something called 2000ad. Looks down, shuffles feet

(Yes I know it means "analogous too" and not "not digital", and that joking about it's name as if it were is older than I am)
posted by Artw at 10:54 PM on June 1, 2010


Review
posted by Artw at 11:54 PM on June 1, 2010



Artw, yes, of course. I think I was getting confused with Amazing Stories a bit. I always got Astounding and Amazing confused.

Analog is the most hilarious SF mag name to me, but I find it fitting for the content they run.
posted by JeremyT at 5:36 AM on June 2, 2010


Remember, Kurt Vonnegut got his start writing science fiction. After he got a chemistry degree from Chicago U

Not exactly. He majored in chemistry at Cornell, then left school to join the Army during WWII (and there might have been more to it than that, like depression, poor grades, and pneumonia). The Army sent him to a couple of random universities to study engineering, and after the trauma of the war he studied anthropology at Chicago. During almost all of his education he wrote for various student and professional newspapers, if I recall correctly.
posted by aught at 6:03 AM on June 2, 2010


When you relaunch Astounding? That's funny, the July 2010 issue doesn't mention anything about my subscription ending unexpectedly.
posted by rlk at 7:11 AM on June 2, 2010


Anyone remember SF Eye? Those were heady days for science fiction. Plus they still owe me 3 issues on my subscription.
posted by UncleJoe at 7:48 AM on June 2, 2010


Pope Guilty: On the contrary, I think the Web is probably the ideal medium for timely and periodically-updated fiction and non-fiction. I fail to see how a magazine or journal is fundamentally different from a collaborative weblog in this respect.

Some of the buzz regarding Wired and Adobe's iPad collaboration suggests that it's the wrong way to do it. The presentation is apparently image-based and you can't select text.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:36 AM on June 2, 2010


JeremyT: I haven't, but I *do* have a copy sitting in my "to be read" pile. I'll take your recommendation and move it to the top. I've really, really appreciated the guys at Paizo doing their Planet Stories imprint, even if I already had a lot of the stuff they've reissued. I don't know much about their sales, but I do hope they keep on keepin' on.

Artw: It's still kind of a funny line, but the number of people who don't realize it's a joke -- who really think Campbell or whoever just thought "Analog" sounded futuristic and now it's all dated and dumb -- is probably an order of magnitude greater than you might think. Either that or it's the usual SF internet sniping and they're going after low hanging fruit. Never can tell.

rlk: Well, no, not really. I mean, "really" in that I'd love to, but "not really" in that I have my doubts about how well a pulpy planetary-romance & hard science fiction Astounding would go over compared to pure hard science fiction Analog anyway.
posted by Amanojaku at 9:37 AM on June 2, 2010


Right now they have basically one story.

Decent story.
posted by Artw at 9:41 AM on June 2, 2010


I see (well I stumbled over it by accident) there's a cross over with Escape Pod
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:44 AM on June 2, 2010


Yeah, that's actually how I heard the story, which like I say was pretty decent - not groundbreaking in any way, but it had some really nice touches and was a good thematic fit for launching something called "Lightspeed".

Oh, and Escape Pod is going to be podcasting all the Hugo short story nominees, which is pretty cool.
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on June 2, 2010


I'm getting a 404 on the contract template link (appears to be a link to a PDF).

It's quite fitting that the author's name is so easily SciFi'd as it were. I met my first wife at the Vylarian Consulate on Heuristice Prime. No disrespect intended (or taken I hope).

Now to get on that story that features, as a main plot point, a failed Vigoda Coil. Those coils never die. Is that actually true? Chief Engineer Tkol ]Tz says otherwise. Will anyone heed his warnings or will the Yemana Collective silence the truth ruthlessly?

I see a rejection in the future.
posted by juiceCake at 11:39 AM on June 2, 2010


Aw, heck, I'll name-drop. Vy's in my writers' group and I critiqued a draft of that story. My recollection is that I had little to say -- it was in darned good shape already.
posted by Zed at 12:19 PM on June 2, 2010


On the contrary, I think the Web is probably the ideal medium for timely and periodically-updated fiction and non-fiction. I fail to see how a magazine or journal is fundamentally different from a collaborative weblog in this respect.

Collaborative weblogs are cool. It's the "magazine" format that I find silly when people try to implement it online.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:32 PM on June 2, 2010


Anyone remember SF Eye? Those were heady days for science fiction. Plus they still owe me 3 issues on my subscription.

Yes, and they owe me issues too!
posted by aught at 1:09 PM on June 3, 2010


SF Eye rocked so hard. Tangent was damn good in its day, too.
posted by Zed at 1:55 PM on June 3, 2010


Second story up: The Cassandra Project
posted by Artw at 1:02 PM on June 8, 2010


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