Lapine Closing Fantastic Stories of the Imagination

Warren Lapine, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, has announced he will stop publishing Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. The January issue will be the magazine’s final regular issue, and the “People of Color Take Over” issue will be its last issue.

Lapine revived the title in 2014 and according to Internet SF Database has produced nine issues in three years. He said in his statement:

I’m really proud of the body of work that we produced at Fantastic. There are a number of reasons that now is the timefor me to close the webzine. According to my projection, it’ll take more than five years for Fantastic to become self sustaining, and I simply don’t feel that that is a reasonable time frame.

I had planned to stick it out another year, but my personal life has made that much more difficult. Last month my daughter’s house burned down and she and her family are staying with us while we try to sort everything out with an insurance company that doesn’t want to pay; and this month my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Right now, I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.  In addition to Fantastic Stories, I also run Wilder Publications, which turns a profit and has a number of employees and contract workers. I’m faced with the reality that I need to trim something out of my life, and Fantastic Stories makes the most sense.

[Thanks to DMS for the story.]

Realms of Fantasy — It’s Alive!

Here’s why fantasy is more fun than reality. Realists would have believed we’d seen the last of Realms of Fantasy once Warren Lapine announced he was closing it because of the prohibitive investment required to continue. Throughout history print magazines have fallen faster than autumn leaves, and in real life autumn leaves do not climb back on the tree.

It was easy to overlook that Lapine’s announcement included a wishful offer to “sell Realms to a responsible party for $1.00 and give them the finished files for the December issue.” But guess what? Wishes can come true: SF Scope reports Realms has been bought by Damnation Books:

Warren Lapine, publisher of Realms of Fantasy, and Kim Richards Gilchrist, CEO and co-owner of Damnation Books LLC announce the sale of Realms to Damnation Books LLC Damnation Books.

The just-concluded deal will see the December 2010 issue produced in print (as opposed to the previous announcement, which expected it to be an electronic-only final issue). The new owners will begin their tenure with the February 2011 issue, meaning there will be no gap in the bi-monthly magazine’s publication schedule. All subscriptions already paid for will be honored.

The new proprietors say:

Future plans include continuing to produce the same quality fiction magazine in print and to expand digital editions for ebook and desktop readers. The April 2011 issue will be themed ‘dark fantasy’ to coincide with World Horror Convention 2011 where Damnation Books will be hosting a party, and a booth in the dealer’s area.

[Via Don Glover.]

Lapine Folds Realms of Fantasy

Publisher Warren Lapine is closing Realms of Fantasy and Dreams of Decadence magazines.

In his farewell he says about his attempt to bring back RoF:

I invested more than $50,000.00 of my own money into reviving this magazine. I tried every traditional method I could think of to increase the circulation, but nothing worked. I also spent a great deal of money trying nontraditional methods. I advertised online with Google and Facebook, neither of which came close to covering their costs. And we created DRM-free electronic versions of the magazine to see if that would help increase our circulation. Sadly, the DRM-free versions never sold more than twenty five copies per issue, and the Kindle editions sold fewer still.

The staff had completed all work on the December issue in hopes of continuing, and that issue may be posted at their website for subscribers to download.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

The Politically Correct Constitution

Wilder Publications disclaimer text.

We’ve found out what the Tree of Liberty is fertilized with.

FOXNews reports that Wilder Publications, a print-on-demand operation, adds a warning to its paperbound reprints of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, the Articles of Confederation, and the Federalist Papers telling readers that “This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today.”

Fans ordinarily are just as divided over FOXNews as the country at large, but many have been fascinated by network coverage of the Wilder Publications controversy because the imprint is owned by Warren Lapine, someone well-known in the sf field.

Wilder Publications, which mainly offers non-genre works, is a venture Lapine started following the disintegration of his sf & fantasy magazine empire in 2007. Among the casualties was Science Fiction Chronicle, sold to Lapine years earlier by founder Andrew Porter, and Porter greeted news of Lapine’s 2009 return to sf publishing with a suggestion that the story be headlined “Sauron Not Dead After All.” 

In the wake of the latest controversy a Facebook page has been created to encourage people to boycott of Wilder Publications. And a number of bloggers have called for people to put the heat on Amazon.com, presumed to be a significant market for Wilder.  

While I agree with those who feel it’s silly to add disclaimers to historic texts warning about their lack of political correctness, the publisher must have taken this step with serious intent. The warning doesn’t read like satire. And that makes me curious about the thought process — it could easily have a Queegian geometric logic of its own. After all, in this country history increasingly is viewed without context — think of all the bloggers who claim to be shocked to discover that Abraham Lincoln’s racial views weren’t proper for a 21st century politician. Might Lapine have imagined product liability claims being filed against the publisher of a document that perpetuates the slave trade?

[Thanks to Elspeth Kovar for the links.]

Snapshots 16

Here are ten developments of interest to fans:

(1) The original graphic novel The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen will be published by Dark Horse in 2010. “The action-fantasy, with art by Rebecca Guay, will join other titles that the publisher says have successfully attracted a large young female audience.”

(2) Book-A-Minute offers the ultracondensed Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

(3) The April issue of Apex Magazine will be edited by Michael A. Burstein: “Ever since we published Michael’s collection I Remember the Future, we’ve been hoping that Michael could find the time to edit an issue,” said Jason Sizemore, publisher and editor-in-chief of Apex Magazine.

(4) Follow this link to “Wrath of Khan – The Opera as performed on the Cartoon Network/Adult Swim program Robot Chicken.

(5) Viz Media is launching Haikasoru, a new science fiction imprint that will bring the best in Japanese science fiction and fantasy to English-speaking audiences.

(6) For this SF Scope story about the return of Warren Lapine, Andrew Porter says he would have preferred the headline “Sauron Not Dead After All.”

(7) Sam J. Miller’s blog has lots of insightful analysis about sf on television, including Lost and Battlestar Galactica:

Watching Lost last night, after the initial euphoria died down, I realize – I don’t trust these people. I love the show a ton, I really do, but there’s something about Lost that makes me feel like the producers are used car salesmen trying to rush me through a shiny showroom so I won’t notice how flimsy and cheap all the merchandise is.

(8) There are big cuts at Publishers Weekly. Among those on the chopping block are Sara Nelson, editor-in chief since 2005, and Daisy Maryles, executive editor, who had been with the magazine for more than four decades. Andrew Porter says, “Daisy Maryles always helped me a lot when I was doing my SF/Fantasy at the ABA guides.”

(9) BookViewCafe.com has been invited to participate in New York Review of Science Fiction’s monthly reading series. On Tuesday, February 3, BVC members will be reading at the NYRSF’s new meeting place, 12 Fulton Street in the South Street Seaport in New York City. Scheduled to be on hand include Laura Anne Gilman, Susan Wright, and Sue Lange.

(10) New Zealand’s 2010 Natcon, Aucontraire, will be held in Wellington August 27-29, the weekend before Aussiecon 4, to accommodate fans travelling “down under.” Australian SF Bullsheet recommends visitors to Wellington at that time of year bring sturdy shoes and wet-weather gear.

[For their links included in this post, I thank John Mansfield, David Klaus, Sue Lange and Andrew Porter.]