Clarkesworld science fiction magazine
December 5, 2008 8:49 PM   Subscribe

Clarkesworld Magazine has been serving up new science fiction and fantasy short fiction monthly free of charge since October of 2006. The current issue has a story by Robert Reed. Among the authors who have been published in Clarkesworld Magazine are Mike Resnick, Elizabeth Bear, Jeff VanderMeer and Sarah Monette. Clarkesworld has a podcast of readings of selected stories from the magazine. The magazine also publishes non-fiction, separated into two categories, commentary and interviews. Among those interviewed are Gene Wolfe, Kage Baker and Steven Erikson. There is also a covers gallery and a discussion forum.
posted by Kattullus (13 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for the FPP. I used to buy all of my small press SF/F purchases through Neil Clarke's site, because he often had great prices and awesome service. So needless to say that I was was disappointed when he closed down. I'm glad to see that he's still putting out the magazine and also to see some MeFi action for him.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 9:50 PM on December 5, 2008

I'm with Jedi: I used to buy lots of good stuff from Clarkesworld books (UK imports, etc) and its closure has left a void I still haven't found a good replacement for. Anyone know of a good replacement for Clarkesworld Books?

Clarkesworld Magazine is doing the lord's work.
posted by Justinian at 9:57 PM on December 5, 2008

Clarkesworld Books is open temporarily for orders of $35 or more.
posted by Kattullus at 10:10 PM on December 5, 2008

They're also quite committed to the whole supplicant-master relationship, in terms of writer-to-publication. I've been turned down by at least three dozen publications, and I've never been as insulted as by Clarkesworld. It's quite odd, the more you read about how traditional paper magazines are going out of style, and then they have the decency to treat you like a human being, and an online-magazine feels inclined to spit in your face.
posted by Football Bat at 10:48 PM on December 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Football Bat, it sounds like you received some of Nick Mamatas's (in)famous rejection e-mails. He's no longer an editor for Clarkesworld; now they use polite form letters.
posted by overglow at 11:10 PM on December 5, 2008

They're also quite committed to the whole supplicant-master relationship, in terms of writer-to-publication... I've never been as insulted as by Clarkesworld.

Ah, that would be the mark of Nick Mamatas, Clarkesworld's slush-reader/editor/top. MeFi may remember Nick from this post. Nick pulls no punches, takes no guff, and does not suffer fools gladly.

Whatever you do, DO NOT argue with him by e-mail over his rejections. He will copy your flailings to his blog, and make fun of you there for the entertainment of his audience, which is sizable, and often includes important people in the sff field.

Nick's rejections, however much they may hurt, are some of the best rejections in the business. Why? Because Nick doesn't just reject you with pleasant banalities, but with actual, incisive, useful criticism of your work. I've been rejected by him, and I've read the rejection letter of a friend, and both were pertinent and accurate. Nick bothers to try to teach you to write better, which is more than 99.9% of other editors do. It's worth submitting to Clarkesworld for that reason. (It's also worth submitting to Clarkesworld because they pay better than almost any other sff mag.)
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:11 PM on December 5, 2008

overglow: Oops, really? I didn't know that. A shame. An era passes.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:13 PM on December 5, 2008

Interesting, and thank you. All the same, I've received tons of actual, incisive, useful criticism of my work that wasn't arrogant, lazy, and ignorant. If they fired that cocksucker, then maybe I'll pay attention to them again. Ah, to be Stanley Crouch...
posted by Football Bat at 11:17 PM on December 5, 2008

If they fired that cocksucker, then maybe I'll pay attention to them again.

They didn't fire him.
posted by ninebelow at 12:47 AM on December 6, 2008

Slithy_Tove, right the fuck on. I have never received advice equivalent to Nick's in any rejection. I've had one or two come close, but I'll take a scathing "your foreshadowing sucks donkey balls and here's why" over "nice, but not for us" any day of the week. He showed me tricks to improve everything from dialogue to character development that have significantly improved the quality of my fiction. I'll take feedback from a professional, experienced, engaged editor over an earnest-but-clueless workshop member's any day of the week, regardless of the tone of the criticism.
posted by cupcakeninja at 4:38 AM on December 6, 2008

From the submission guidelines:

"Though no particular setting, theme, or plot is anathema to us, the following are likely hard sells:

* stories in which a milquetoast civilian government is depicted as the sole obstacle to either catching some depraved criminal or to an uncomplicated military victory
* stories in which the words "thou" or "thine" appear
* talking cats
* talking swords
* stories where the climax is dependent on the spilling of intestines
* stories where FTL travel is as easy as is it on television shows or movies
* time travel too
* stories that depend on some vestigial belief in Judeo-Christian mythology in order to be frightening (i.e., Cain and Abel are vampires, the End Times are a' comin', Communion wine turns to Christ's literal blood and it's HIV positive, Satan's gonna getcha, etc.)
* stories about rapist-murderer-cannibals
* stories about young kids playing in some field and discovering ANYTHING. (a body, an alien craft, Excalibur, ANYTHING).
* stories about the stuff we all read in Scientific American three months ago
* stories where the Republicans, or Democrats, or Libertarians, or the Spartacist League, etc. take over the world and either save or ruin it
* your AD&D game
* "funny" stories that depend on, or even include, puns
* sexy vampires, wanton werewolves, or lusty pirates
* stories where the protagonist is either widely despised or widely admired simply because he or she is just so smart and/or strange
* stories that take place within an artsy-fartsy bohemia as written by an author who has clearly never experienced one
* your trunk stories"

Hilarious! I'm repressing the urge to send them a story about a talking cat whose best friend is a talking sword. They're the original odd couple!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:35 AM on December 6, 2008

My sense is that if you feel the need to argue with a rejection email: a) your stories aren't ready to be published b) you chose a new market by an inexperienced editor.

Looks like they'll consider stories about sexy pirates or lusty vampires. Whew.

And if you're looking for another market, check out Three-lobed Burning Eye magazine.
posted by asfuller at 11:45 AM on December 6, 2008

posted by John of Michigan at 2:08 PM on December 6, 2008

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