A while back I talked about the “holy trinity” of pro-level sci-fi publications- the prestige markets, if you will. They were Asimov’s, Analog, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Many a well published author has met with relative financial success, accolades and even awards and failed to place a story in one of these elder codices. To be sure, they are not the only top-shelf markets out there; Interzone, Clarkesworld, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Baens, Apex and Electric Velocipede are all great places to get published. Yet if you scan the index of honorable mentions and Hugo winners, or the ‘first published’ list in Gardner Dozois’ “Year’s Best Science Fiction” (which I know you have), you’ll see that an inordinate number of the stories come from these three publications**. Most of the writers I occasionally commune with look on these markets as a sort of watershed goal, and for good reason. These three have published, well, everyone. I’m talking Bradbury, Heinlein, Ellison, hell Stephen King. Starship Troopers made its debut in F&SF for crying out loud. These are the history keepers of the genre and to get a name in there table of contents is a singular honor.
So it wouldn’t be surprising that all three remained hold-outs against the electronic submission revolution. It made them seem more exclusive somehow, and as to the irony of magazines that dealt with science not utilizing a technology they had been (quite literally) predicting the birth and growth of for years, well, irony is a literary device too. Then Asimov’s broke rank.
I thought, “Okay, Asimov wrote the Robot’s Rules and all that jazz, makes sense for them to go digital. I mean, Analog is called Analog for χρ sake, and F&SF does have fantasy in the title… right?” No longer. Analog has gone digital!
For those of you that have been submitting for awhile you will note that Analog is using the pioneering submission system of Clarkesworld that is becoming somewhat ubiquitous (Electric Velocipede, Asimov’s and two others that I can remember right now). The only difference is they don’t want RTF files for your sub- they want .doc files. I don’t know what sort of software issue would cause them to want .doc files, but I think it is that issue known as Windows XP (maybe even 97). When you convert your file, assuming you are NOT using a version of word from Windows 97, you will need to convert it to a Word 97-2003 file (it is in the drop list where you find your RTF file type). If you have newer Word edition, you will likely save as a .DOCx, which they do not allow. Just a note. Oh, and you better have your hundred word cover letter templates at the ready, they require one.
So even in the future Analog manages to retain just a bit of the past. What do you expect? They are the oldest, longest running magazine in the genre. When they got started Herbert Hoover was president- had just gotten to the White House for that matter! So congratulations to Analog Science Fiction. I hope you enjoy the story I sent you yesterday… because if not I’ve got about twenty-five in line after that.
The pressure is on Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Will you cave to expediency? Will you persevere through all storms and squalls? In some ways I hope you never go e-sub, I am only about ten submissions away from being able to wallpaper my bathroom with your pretty rejection stationary!!!
Next up: The science fiction writer and the dachshund. I now know of three pair.