Clarkesworld

Tagged: Publication

US Online Magazine which has appeared monthly since October 2006. It is published and co-edited by Neil Clarke, in Stirling, New Jersey, under the imprint Wyrm Publishing. The initial editors were Sean Wallace and Nick Mamatas until July 2008, respectively handling solicited fiction and unsolicited fiction/nonfiction; Clarke and Wallace then co-edited until October 2010 and though Wallace theoretically moved on to his own magazine Lightspeed, he continued an involvement in Clarkesworld and returned as co-editor from January 2012. Cheryl Morgan was nonfiction editor from January 2009 to November 2011 and has been succeeded by Jason Heller. Although it pays SFWA qualifying rates and has a readership of just over 20,000, Clarkesworld was regarded as a Semiprozine for purposes of the Hugo, and won the award in that category in 2010, 2011 and 2013. It was planned that the contents of each issue would be released as a chapbook, in a 100-copy limited edition, several months after online publication, but printing problems meant that this happened only to the first three issues. In addition all of the stories from each year are collected and published in an annual Anthology. To date these are Realms: The First Year of Clarkesworld Magazine (anth 2008) and Realms 2: The Second Year of Clarkesworld Magazine (anth 2010), both edited by Sean Wallace and Nick Mamatas, and Clarkesworld: Year 3 (anth 2013), edited by Neil Clarke and Sean Wallace. The magazine introduced nonfiction content from issue #13 (October 2007), a regular podcast (fiction only) from issue #21 (June 2008) and an Ebook edition from #43 (April 2010), which is also being applied to back issues. As at the end of 2012, Clarkesworld had an estimated 30,000 unique visitors every month.

Clarkesworld is open to any form of Speculative Fiction and stories can range from folklore and fable to hard sf and dark horror. In establishing the publication criteria for short fiction, the editorial team believed that to make it easier to read online, stories should be short (originally a 4000-word limit was set but this has since been dropped) and should have a strong "pass along" factor, meaning that each story's, and thereby the magazine's, reputation would rapidly be networked. This meant that whilst the stories did not need to be necessarily sensational, they had to be memorable and perhaps take risks. The most extreme example to date is "Spar" (October 2009 #37) by Kij Johnson, an unpleasant, visceral account of a human and alien trapped in a space lifeboat where the only common denominator seems to be endless Sex. The story won the Nebula award for that year's best short fiction, which not only showed how the "pass along" factor could work, but also demonstrated how liberating the magazine could be. In fact from the second issue, Ian Watson and Roberto Quaglia had pushed the boundaries of taste in "The Moby Clitoris of His Beloved" (November 2006). Such stories contrast with the beauty of "The Ape's Wife" (September 2007) by Caitlín R Kiernan, the poignancy of "The River Boy" (January 2008) by Tim {PRATT}, the ingenuity of "The Sky That Wraps the World Round, Past the Blue and Into the Black" (March 2008) by Jay Lake, the perceptive recursiveness of "After Moreau" (April 2008) by Jeffrey Ford, or the savage intensity of the multi-award nominated "The Things" (January 2010) by Peter Watts, all of which have that "pass along" factor that has made Clarkesworld one of the most exciting online magazines. A further short-story Nebula winner is Aliette de Bodard's "Immersion" (June 2012); Naomi Kritzer's "Cat Pictures Please" (January 2015) won a short-story Hugo. [MA]

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