Register or log in:

F&SF Forum » Other Topics

F&SF to change publishing schedule

(63 posts)
  • Started 10 years ago by Gordon Van Gelder
  • Latest reply from Badfish

  1. EThomas
    Member

    And if you are interested in finding out about the current lifetime subscription deal, you can ask about it by using the "contact" form:
    http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/contact.htm

    Posted 10 years ago #
  2. PaperPilot
    Member

    I hope there is not going to be a cut in the number of books reviewed. I use the reviews extensively. Many times I buy a book that is mentioned in reference to the book being reviewed, so keeping the number of reviews the same while cutting down the space per review would not be the same.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  3. rreugen
    Member

    Warren Ellis blogged about this change too. Nice of him, I think.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  4. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    My present plan calls for a drop of 10% in our annual book reviews and a bigger overall drop in our coverage of films. But these are areas where I'm particularly interested in hearing what readers have to say. I love the reviews myself, but I know some of our readers never even look at them.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  5. Hillro
    Member

    I skim the book reviews (seems like they could be edited down 10% and still keep the tone). Frankly, the movie reviews are too long. I remember Baird Searles' reviews: 3 pages, and accessible. But seven pages? I skim 'em. In addition I really do like the Plumage installments, and the science by Pat and Paul are fun and (to me) strike the sprightly tone that dear old Isaac always started his with. I also get a kick out of the Curiosities (sometimes they seem too short!).

    Looking forward to seeing the new format.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  6. rreugen
    Member

    Mr. Van Gelder, you have my opinion on mr. Shepard's film critique in the thread for the February Issue. For me, it's only a matter of Voice, not of information. Mr. Shepard's Voice transforms Information (which, in this Internet era, is freely available) into Knowledge. That is a valuable, precious thing and I would not like to lose 10% or 0.5% of it.

    However, I think that F&SF being primarily a literature venue, most readers find the book reviews more helpful. I'm not reading those, usually. I liked Elizabeth Hand's article for it's author's opinions, again, not for the Information provided (not because I agree with those views, but because it's okay to read an intelligent, thoughtful opinion; it's what makes my life richer, I think).

    Posted 10 years ago #
  7. PaperPilot
    Member

    If I watch one film a year, it is a busy year for me. As for television, my wife watches the Cooking Channel all the time. I don't even know what's on the TV. Reading and writing are what makes my world go round. If you cut out the film reviews, I probably wouldn't notice. As for the 10% drop in book reviews, I need to read a few issues before I can decide.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  8. Anonymous

    Gordon,

    Frankly, I could do without the film reviews completely. Mayby if there were some special reason to review a particular film (as in the case of the film having been based on a story that had appeared in F&SF - or if you can get Harlan Ellison to do some more reviews himself) then ok. But everything I could want to know about a film before seeing it could, I think, be covered in one or two pages at the most.

    Book reviews are another thing entirely and I hope to see them continue. We're now in an age when some of the best book-legnth genre fiction is appearing from speciality publishers whose products don't appear in the local bookshop (and there are less and less local bookshops every year, I notice) so I might not even learn that some of them had even been published without the reviews in F&SF. They are important to me and they are usually what I read first. I *could* do with shorter reviews of each book and would like to see more books covered. Back in the 50's, Ted Sturgeon used to write little micro-reviews in VENTURE (a long vanished sister magazine of F&SF) that I found to be very useful. I wouldn't suggest cutting them back quite that much, but I would remind all who review books that while long essays about a book can be very interesting and certainly do have their place, most readers probably turn to a book review column not for extended commentary but for a useful guide as to exactly what books we might want to spend our money on.

    By all means please keep the "Curiosities" feature in every issue. I lied in the paragraph above; I only *used* to read the book reviews first. Now I read the "Curiosities" column as soon as each issue reaches my hands. Please also keep "Plumage From Pegasus". I'd be in favor of giving Paul Di Filippo extra pages, a reserved parking space right out in front of the F&SF World Headquarters building, and a special "All-Paul Di Filippo Issue" with his portrait on the cover. (Kind of puts the pressure on, doesn't it Paul?) Paul's columns are among my favorite parts of F&SF so I hope to see plenty of them in the future.

    The Science column, the Competitions, and the cartoons I'd suggest keeping as occasional features for when you get something along those lines that's particularly good. And I hope the annual index continues to appear. I find it quite useful. I like your Editorials because they have a tone that promotes the feeling that we, the readers, are very much a part of the magazine. Something of a "we're all in this together" feeling that I find very agreeable when I relax for a few hours with the latest issue.

    So I suppose what I'm really saying is "keep on doing what you've been doing." Whatever it is, I like it.

    Curt Phillips

    Posted 10 years ago #
  9. BrianCrowley
    Member

    Gordon,

    I think your proposed reductions to the book & movie reviews sound quite reasonable. I believe 10% could easily be trimmed off the current length of book reviews without losing much. In fact, I also would be in favor of further reducing the length of book reviews to allow space to review more books.

    The movie reviews can be trimmed down considerably. The February issue is a perfect example - the first full page is dedicated to rambling about the "Day-Glo apocalypse". There is almost a full page dedicated to talking about VinDiesel & how he should be utilized. 3/4 page deciding to who to blame for the movie. And I don't really need 2+ pages of plot summary. A total of 6.5 pages to conclude that "Babylyon A.D." was the worst movie of the year. I did enjoy reading about Kassovit's other films. This could easily have been a solid 2 page review rather than a 6.5 page essay though.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  10. Ruala
    Member

    I don't read the science column or the curiosities. I love the film reviews. The cartoons are often beyond me. I skim the book reviews. SO, really what I'm saying is...I love the stories, all else is unnecessary. Cut them however you need to as long as the story content stays top notch.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  11. Japanfan
    Member

    Well I am like some of the others above. The first thing I do is look at the cover, then flip to the back page and read the "Curiosities".
    As for the movie reviews, they are probably the last thing I read, though I do read them for the entertainment value. I don't go to or rent a lot of movies so the reviews would be long forgotten before I got a chance to watch them on dvd.
    The book reviews are interesting but as above, they could be shorter. I find myself skimming through them. A 20% cut in the books section wouldn't be noticed by me. I might notice a 20% cut in the movie review only because I read them to see how Lucius will tear into something else he is not fond of. I can't say I agree or disagree with him, I just like his columns.
    The comics I would assume are used to fill half a page when a story finishes on the top half of the page. Deleting them would do little or nothing to make the magazine shorter or cheaper. (save on the payment to the artist I guess.)

    Posted 10 years ago #
  12. Annie
    Member

    I like the book reviews - now and then they are discussing books that I had missed completely. And most of the reviews are very close to what I think for the book.

    And the movie reviews is what I usually do not read at all (except if I am stuck somewhere with nothing else to read).

    Posted 10 years ago #
  13. Anonymous

    I like the film reviews because they're so well written, but I never see any of the movies. I love "Curiosities". I am not such a big fan of the book reviews because mostly fantasy/young adult stuff gets reviewed. I would like to see more SF reviews. Plumage from Pegasus does nothing for me, and the cartoons are not very good. Here's two areas where you could cut back and not bother me. The science column could also go. Dr A is not with us any more.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  14. steffenwolf
    Member

    I think movie and book reviews could be cut 10% without being a large detriment. I like the reviews, and I both read and watch movies as often as I can so I like having an idea what's worth my time. As others have suggested, I think the length of each book/movie review could be cut to allow more books to be reviewed, I don't need several pages on each item. If this was done at the same time as the 10% overall cut, you might make it more palatable, because there could still be more books and movies reviewed than before.

    I really like the "Curiosities" section. I had even read one of the books listed in a recent issue before I read the column (The Man Who Was Thursday).

    Posted 10 years ago #
  15. steffenwolf
    Member

    What's the planned reduction in story space, if I may ask? That's the area of greatest concern for me.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  16. galaxie500
    Member

    You could put film reviews and more book reviews on F&SF internet pages.
    The same goes with science.
    I would keep Plumage from Pegasus (I think of those as stories), Curiosities and ocassional editorial, with half of book reviews (maybe shorter reviews).
    F&SF is primarily literary magazine, so the stories should be primary concern.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  17. MilesMcNerney
    Member

    I wouldn't mind seeing fewer book reviews. But some of the film reviews are hilarious. I'd prefer keeping them at the longer length.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  18. EThomas
    Member

    Keeping "Curiousities" is a must. I always look forward to reaching it at the end of the magazine.

    I don't think 10% decrease in book reviews would be too bad. I love reading them, but I'm sure the reviewers could write slightly shorter reviews. I'm not a huge fan of the film reviews, and the lead time has to be considered--unlike books, it kind of makes a big difference that the films being reviewed are no longer in the theaters.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  19. EThomas
    Member

    P.S. "Plumage" is hit or miss for me, but for me it feels like an integral part of the identity of _F & SF_, and when it is on, it is ON.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  20. MattHughes
    Member

    I'd prefer more room for fiction, especially longer stories, but that preference may be seen as special pleading.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  21. pussreboots
    Member

    I read everything in the magazines including the book and movie reviews. Would it be possible to have the ones that get cut from print be posted on the blog?

    Posted 10 years ago #
  22. Anonymous

    Gordon,last year there were 4 novellas published in FSF.
    If in the six double issues you publish the same number or more, that will be excellent for me.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  23. Japanfan
    Member

    After reading 6 pages of a single movie review in the January issue I gotta say, thats 3 or 4 pages that could have been used elsewhere.

    Not to slam Ms. Maio, the writing was fine, its just, if you can't say what you liked and didn't like in 2 or 3 full pages of print, what makes you think 3 more will help?

    Now if you were to slide in another story like "An Elvish Sword of Great Antiquity" that would have been as tasty as any snack from a Foreign Country.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  24. Mike
    Member

    Hmmm. Double issues. Mixed feelings.

    Typically I speed-read the movie and book reviews. Upon encountering something interesting, I'll back up and read slower. Still, fewer pages of reviews wouldn't disturb me - whereas longer stories would be a bonus.

    Maybe keep Dec and Jan as single issues (for potential holiday advertising) and double-up remaining months...

    Posted 10 years ago #
  25. pmriley
    Member

    Hope the planned changes help with your situation. I will keep reading and buying! Book reviews can be shorter but don't get rid of them completely. I read a good idea in these posts, why not put more out on this website? I haven't cared for the movie reviews. I always read the Harlan Ellison reviews because they were written by him. But I rarely read them now. They always seem outdated. I like the Science columns though. I have always liked the comics.

    Good Luck!

    Posted 10 years ago #
  26. Anonymous

    >>I always read the Harlan Ellison reviews because they were written by him. But I rarely read them now. They always seem outdated. I like the Science columns though. I have always liked the comics.<<

    what he said.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  27. Anonymous

    I'm fine with bi-monthly. FWIW I'd prefer a frequent (every issue) science article and no movie reviews.

    God health to F&SF,

    Andy subscriber since 1967

    Posted 10 years ago #
  28. Anonymous

    addendum: Curiosities, Plumage and the cartoons are great. Please keep them. Personally I just don't care about movies.

    Andy

    Posted 10 years ago #
  29. GerryDaumiller
    Member

    I'd like to see shorter reviews of more movies. All the other features are fine the way they are.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  30. Anonymous

    Dear Editor Van Gelder,
    I know you will love this idea: do the ACE double thing... two issues back to back, one side fantasy, one side SF, two great covers each issue. Or better yet one side all Matt Hughes each issue!!

    Inspirationally, Andy Buschmann

    Posted 10 years ago #

RSS feed for this topic

Reply »

You must log in to post.