Strange Horizons Announces New Editors-in-Chief

Strange Horizons is under new management: as of today, Jane Crowley and Kate Dollarhyde become the magazine’s Editors-in-Chief, taking over from current editor Niall Harrison.

Crowley and Dollarhyde joined Strange Horizons in early 2016 as Associate Editors. Over the last year, they have curated several special issues, including features on the work of Nalo Hopkinson, utopia, and Spanish SF. They have also overseen the growth of Strange Horizons‘s broader publishing activities, including the recent launch of sister magazine Samovar.

Harrison has been Editor-in-Chief since early 2011, and involved with Strange Horizons since 2005. In his outgoing editorial “Moving On”, he described Crowley and Dollarhyde’s contribution over the last year as “invaluable”, noting that “it’s important for Strange Horizons, given the type of space it aspires to be, that it continues to look outwards and forwards. Kate, Jane, and the rest of the team understand that, and I’m excited to see where they take things.”

Jane Crowley said: “It’s a huge honour to be involved in a magazine like Strange Horizons, which has such ambitious plans and has hosted so many exciting new voices over the years. It’s hard to imagine the place without Niall but we’re excited to start this new chapter of the magazine’s history. I’ll try not to break anything.”

And Kate Dollarhyde said: “As a long-time reader of Strange Horizons, the past year I’ve spent working for the magazine as an Associate Editor has been a surreal and gratifying experience. I feel very lucky to have had Niall as a mentor and am sad to see him move on. But I also have great faith in the editorial team, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to help steer the great ship Strange Horizons into new seas.”

Harrison commented in his farewell, “We talk a lot about the fact that everyone who works on Strange Horizons is a volunteer, and there are probably as many reasons for volunteering as there are staff, but for me personally, it hasn‘t been a career move; I have no intention of attempting to make editing my livelihood. For me, working on Strange Horizons has been about being a part of a tradition, a community; about helping to build a thing, a space, that I think is of value.”

Strange Horizons is a not-for-profit, volunteer-staffed magazine of and about speculative fiction, founded in 2000 with the aim of highlighting new voices and perspectives in speculative fiction and related nonfiction. Since its founding, fiction and poetry published in Strange Horizons has been nominated for or won awards including the Hugo, World Fantasy, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial, Rhysling, and James Tiptree Jr Awards.

[From the press release.]

Strange Horizons Fund Drive

Most people visit Strange Horizons to read the fiction, I’m sure, but since you’re among the select few who visit my blog the odds are if you go there it’s to read Mark Plummer’s column, just like I do.

Whatever your reason, now is the time to show appreciation by supporting the online magazine’s fundraiser.  

Founded over a decade ago by its first editor, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Strange Horizons is staffed by volunteers, and is unusual among professional sf magazines in being funded entirely by donations.

These days Niall Harrison is editor-in-chief, fiction is handled by senior editor Brit Mandelo and editors Julia Rios, An Owomoyela and Jed Hartman, and many others run departments and support the work.

The 2012 fund drive aims to raise $8,000, with stretch goals up to $11,000 — increasing pay rates for poetry (if $9,000 is raised), reviews ($10,000), and introducing fiction podcasts ($11,000) that would, like the rest of the magazine’s content, be freely available online.

All donors are entered into a prize draw which includes novels by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Angelica Gorodischer, original artwork by Alastair Reynolds and Marge Simon, magazine subscriptions, and tarot readings. Prizes will be announced in batches throughout the month of October.

The full press release follows the jump.

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More Plummer on the Horizon

Attending Renovation inspired Mark Plummer to explore the history of the Trans-Atlantic Fan fund in his latest column for Strange Horizons, “Paraphernalia: Beyond the Enchanted Convention to the Enchanted Peter R. Weston Memorial Defibrillator Station” —

The roots of TAFF go back to at least 1941, when D. R. Smith suggested in the pages of the December 1941 issue of Futurian War Digest that after the war British fans should club together to bring leading American fan Forrest J Ackerman to the UK. It never came to anything, but Ackerman himself later initiated The Big Pond Fund which sought to bring British fan and New Worlds editor Ted Carnell to the US.

Once you’ve read Mark’s column you’ll know the answer to the question: “What TAFF delegate took the Queen Mary to America?” More importantly, you’ll learn why this is an enduring fan institution.

And if you appreciate Mark’s column, show it today is by participating in Strange Horizon’s annual fund drive:

For over a decade, Strange Horizons has pursued a number of goals: to encourage and support new writers of speculative fiction from diverse backgrounds; to provide a home for readers looking for fiction that expands the possibilities of sf, and discussions of the same; and to offer content free of change while still paying contributors professional rates, without being dependent on advertisers or corporate interests.

Niall Harrison reminds me, “We’re an all-volunteer outfit, and we run off reader donations, so this is pretty important for us!”

Mark Plummer at Strange Horizons

Mark Plummer of Banana Wings has launched a new column about fandom, “Paraphernalia”, at Strange Horizons. Mark’s opening installment takes Susan Wood’s old “Clubhouse” column in Amazing and her experiences at the first Aussiecon (1975) as the starting point to compare science fiction fandom then and now. It’s a fine read.

Strange Horizons is a weekly web-based sf magazine publishing fiction and features. Editor Niall Harrison says “The idea is that Mark will be writing about fans and fandom, trying to do a little bit to bridge the gap there seems to be between different fannish worlds these days.” Columnists are on an 8-week rotation, so Mark’s next appearance will be in August.

Mark is off to a flying start.

Harrison Reviews Strahan’s
Best SF and Fantasy of the Year

Niall Harrison has posted a knockout review of Jonathan Strahan’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, volume 2, at Torque Control.

Let’s get one thing clear from the get-go: taken as a bundle, the stories in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 2 will almost certainly not be the best science fiction and fantasy stories of the year for anyone except Jonathan Strahan. Taste is too fickle a thing, and the acreage the book tries to encompass too great.

Locus Makes Some Voters
More Equal Than Others

The winners of the Locus Awards were announced online a few weeks ago, but controversial information about the voting was revealed for the first time in the latest printed issue of Locus. Janice Gelb drew to my attention, and SF Awards Watch discussed at length Neil Clarke’s online report about the double weight given to Locus subscribers’ votes in poll – a change made after the ballots were in, and which produced different results in some categories. Clarke quotes the explanation from the new Locus:

Results were tabulated using the system put together by webmaster Mark Kelly, with Locus staffers entering votes from mail-in ballots. Results were available almost as soon as the voting closed, much sooner than back in the days of hand-counting. Non-subscribers outnumbered subscribers by so much that, in an attempt to better reflect the Locus magazine readership, we decided to change the counting system, so now subscriber votes count double. (Non-subscribers still managed to out-vote subscribers in most cases where there was disagreement.)

Torque Control’s Niall Harrison went right to the heart of the problem in his irresistibly-titled “Locus Pocus”:

I have to say I’m deeply disappointed by this. The big selling point of the Locus Awards is, or always has been to me at least, their representativeness, precisely the fact that anyone can vote and that they are thus the best barometer of community-wide opinion that we have. As the notes at the start of this year’s result somewhat smugly put it, “We get more votes than the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy nominations combined … Nominees need at least 20 votes to make the final list, even though it frequently takes less to make the Hugo or Nebula publishing ballots.” All of that is still true, but it seems wrong to imply (as I think it’s intended to imply) that this legitimizes the results when you’ve just changed the scoring system to make some voters more equal than others — particularly if you only make the change after voting has closed, particularly if you only mention it in the print version of the magazine.

It’s hard to say which harms Locus’ reputation more, the way online participation was invited and then discounted after the fact, or that the change was not handled transparently online once it was decided. Further, the change seems to suggest that the Locus staff was unprepared to have the poll dominated by the views of fans attracted by free online voting. Anyone who didn’t predict that nonpaying voters would outnumber paying voters probably should be looking for work outside the science fiction field.

Goonan Wins Campbell Award

Niall Harrison’s Torque Control reports:

Strange day, when the John W Campbell Memorial Award is the award I feel positive about. The winner is: In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan.

I was quite interested to hear that the Goonan novel won. At Westercon, Kathryn Daugherty, Chris Garcia and I were on a panel discussing the entire Hugo ballot. When we had all said our piece about the Best Novel category, Kathryn pulled out a copy of In War Times and touted it as the book that should be winning the Hugo.

[Via SF Awards Watch.]