Websites, Magazines, and Everything in Between

I’ve gotten a bit of feedback on the revived Other Websites Monitor page (once posted as a monthly ‘E-Publications’ page), which raises the question of whether or not online ‘magazines’, such as Lightspeed, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Clarkesworld, et al, shouldn’t be listed with the print magazines like Asimov’s and F&SF, on the Other Magazines pages. There is apparently this lingering perception that online magazines don’t get the respect that print magazines do… a situation which I, as proprietor of the online counterpart to a print magazine whose editors are regularly showered with Hugo Awards, can’t say I’m unaware of.

So let me put the question to readers of Locus Online. The intent of the various ‘Monitor’ pages, for new books and magazines, paperback reprints and reprints of classic material, has always been to alert readers of what’s newly available that they should be aware of, in as timely a manner as possible. Covering web content has been an unfortunate omission now for several years, due to my own inability to keep up [there's no one here but me, running this website], but now that I’m able to resume that coverage, the issue of where to draw the lines between departments has arisen.

So, readers, what makes more sense to you? Include periodical web ‘magazines’ on the same page with print magazines? And put blog-style websites on a separate page? Or, say, have one page for all print/online publications providing fiction, and another page for all those providing nonfiction and reviews and whatnot? (And on which of those would go? Both?) Or… simply put all print and online publications on a single, weekly, page?

Let me know your ideas.

18 Responses to Websites, Magazines, and Everything in Between

  1. Fred Collignon

    Print is one medium, websites another. Both have a place. But don’t intermingle. Users of this Locus website will go where they want – some to one or another, some to both. I systematically went thru the Other Websites page links, and learned a lot about my preferences. Continue it. But don’t confuse the two media.

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  3. It seems strange that web content can’t be seen as comparable to the analog by THE SCIENCE FICTION COMMUNITY. Come on, people! We should be the first to be okay with it!

  4. Categorizing things like this is always hard, but let me toss in my own reading habits:

    I read the online venues you mention, as well as others (including other pro markets in terms of rates or SFWA eligibility such as Redstone SF). I do not read content from any of the “Big Three.” This is partly a financial issue, and partly one of not understanding why they are so snooty about their content. (You can’t buy electronic back issues! Why? You already made an epub version, and I want to give you money for it! And I have to find a printer to submit to them? Is this 1969?) Also, frankly, I don’t want all of those magazines in my house. With an electronic venue, it’s free to me to read, I can support it when I’m able (I’ve bought both of the Clarkesworld anthologies, plus both issues of Lightspeed thus far released), and they aren’t snobs about technology and rights and etc.

    The issue raised by Fred is whether the “two media” distinction is at all useful. Is it? Aren’t they doing exactly the same thing? Why are they getting separated? Personally, I give more respect and cred to online venues, but I’d reckon that most people would do the opposite. Does keeping them separate actually accomplish anything except to reinforce the idea that they are different? Does the idea of that difference get us anything else?

    I’m with Heather—why is there this thing with the sci-fi community where technology is bad?

  5. I think they should be treated the same and subject to the same standards standards. So list online magazines that pay whatever you list for print – I think it’s through semi-pro rates? Or if it isn’t money, then use whatever you use to screen print magazines. An increasing number of our award nominees and winners are now electronic format, and some venues like Strange Horizons have long track records as well.

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  7. There is a difference between print and ‘E’ – one is real, the other one isn’t. But we don’t have to get into that debate on this issue. There’s another way of grouping things that I think makes more sense:
    Free content and not-free content, perhaps broken down into fiction and non-fiction (largely mags vs blogs).
    (I’m not happy with any of the formats these days; the print magazines went to that funky almost a digest size and ezines have just never done it for me.)

  8. Antiqueight

    Why do you call them ‘magazines’?

    ***There is apparently this lingering perception that online magazines don’t get the respect that print magazines do… a situation which I, as proprietor of the online counterpart to a print magazine whose editors are regularly showered with Hugo Awards, can’t say I’m unaware of.****

    Surely by doing so you are reinforcing this perception?

  9. Why is “magazine” in quotation marks when you refer to the online version? I’ve looked up magazine in three different dictionaries now, and the only one that even mentioned paper qualified it with “usually.” Just because tables are usually made of wood, that doesn’t mean a wrought-iron table is a “table.”

    And I’m not sure the “usually” even applies in the case of speculative fiction. Take a glance down the list of SFWA-qualifying publications. How many print magazines do you see, and how many online magazines?

    I think now would be the time to start adjusting one’s paradigm, because while paper reading material is not going to go away (despite occasional hysteria to the contrary), it’s going to become more and more a collector’s luxury, and less and less the way that the general SF&F readership experiments with new short fiction. I love paper. I collect insane quantities of it with my favorite authors’ words on it. But when I just want to get something read, I look for it in electronic format.

    I would argue that online magazines, in addition to not needing quotation marks, should probably be treated in whatever manner you feel is appropriate to a soon (if not already) industry-standard format.

  10. From a collector’s viewpoint, I would consider the two completely separate. If an item appears in print, I have an option to purchase it and maintain it with the rest of the actual, physical items that I own. I have not objection whatsoever to reading a story–or anything–online; but as collectibles, web pages and hyperlinks fall somewhat short.

    For example, Subterranean Press has posted novellas by Peter S. Beagle and Lucius Shepard on their website. In both cases, fine editions are also available in book form. As a reader, either will do the trick; as a collector, I am VERY grateful to have the ink and paper manifestations of what in both cases are authors that I have collected for years.

  11. It makes sense to put them on the same page to me. They’re basically teh same thing, just “printed” differently. Just separate the two. Have one section on the page for print, and one for web. Done and done.

  12. I’d suggest a different, three-way division that gets around the whole “media boundaries” issue:
    * Regular Periodicals
    * Irregular Periodicals
    * Websites and Other Unscheduled Sources
    which also, indirectly anyway, folds the “regularly published issues” problem into the debate where it belongs: Regardless of format, it’s a problem, and periodicals that don’t regularly meet their publication schedules should be treated separately, whether they’re paper, web, or cuneiform tablets. And, of course, that also goes for podcasts, “video series” (e.g., The Guild — like it or not, it’s a “regular periodical” by any definition), etc.

  13. To my mind, things that appear periodically and contain primarily fiction should be considered and listed together. For my purposes, they’re doing “the same thing”. The differences between them are more individual differences (Analog is not the same as F&SF!) than class differences.

  14. Rachel Swirsky

    Fiction reviews should be located together.

  15. Jonathan Strahan

    Hey Mark –

    If the intention of the Monitor pages is to alert readers to useful information then you want to follow how users most likely think about the information that you are organising.

    While the print/non-print distinction one was valid five years or so ago (the last time a website won a Hugo as a “website”), I don’t think it is any longer. I don’t think readers – as opposed to bibliographers or collectors – make that distinction so I think it makes your listings less useful if they continue to reflect that distinction.

    Certainly, speaking as a reader and a year’s best editor (taking my own Locus hat off for a moment), I don’t distinguish between Asimov’s, Analog, F&SF, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, or Subterranean Online in any way other than how I might happen to respond to the specific works they publish.

    Hope that helps a little.


  16. Bob Blough

    I agree completely with Brenda Cooper. The fiction being published on line is (in many cases) as good as the “big three” periodicals. I say put the periodical magazines either print or online in one section and news, reviews etc periodicals – either print or online in another. For – flip a coin!

  17. Separate the fiction from the non-fiction. When it comes to a website like, whenever they run a piece of fiction simply give the notice in the fiction updates. Any other non-fiction news worthy of mention goes in the non-fiction updates.

    Run both e-zines and print zines in the fiction update section.

  18. Gotta disagree with Dave Truesdale (sorry Dave!). Locus doesn’t differentiate between fiction from non-fiction magazines in their Other Websites… magazines such as THE SFWA BULLETIN are included with ANALOG and ASIMOV’S, and that’s the way I like it.

    Similarly, I would prefer a single list for online magazines, separate from print titles. And I’d lump them all together ( included). The line between the fiction and non-fiction mags is too vague anyway… to some extent they cover fiction, and all include at least a little non-fiction.