Reading Short Fiction

My reading habits have changed a little recently, in that I’ve started to fairly regularly read short fiction. Usually I spend all my reading time on novels; I’ve had a few magazine subscriptions (Electric Velocipede, Weird Tales, Fireside Magazine), but what always happens is after a few issues I start putting them to one side and never getting back to them – I still have years-old issues, unread. I get the Tor.com newsletter and follow them on Twitter, but rarely visit the site directly.

What’s happened now, though, is that I started collecting links people share on Twitter. I’ve been doing it for a while with articles, but now whenever a piece of short fiction is mentioned I save that link in Pocket, too. It can take me a while to get round to reading these – I usually do it on a train ride into Newcastle two or three times a month – but I’ve been really glad to have read this stuff I would have missed otherwise. I’ve only read some of Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s stories because I saw links on Twitter, and now I know she’s one of the best writers out there right now.

The interesting thing to me is that deliberately keeping up with publications – whether print or online – has failed for me, and I’ve found myself now reading stories where the venue is irrelevant, where I’m barely aware of which site is hosting the piece I’m reading. I read individual stories, not publications.

Obviously I realise that kind of reading behaviour is bad news for the sites in question – particularly when I do so through an app that mostly just pulls the text and images from the body of the page and leaves out everything else, such as ads. I know I want to support sites that are providing me with this content, but I’m not inclined to want to visit all of these pages on a regular basis and see what’s there – I’ve grown accustomed to just having certain ones picked out and directed my way by names I trust (ie, writers and other book people I follow on Twitter). So I have a conundrum there.

There’s a panel at Loncon3 on the Friday called A Reader’s Life During Peak Short Fiction which looks at things like how people find short stories and pick out what to read in the current environment. It looks like an interesting one, and I’ll be looking forward to it, and looking for insight to apply to my own habits here. Of course they’ve scheduled it alongside the Diversity in Comics panel, which I’ll be disappointed to miss, but oh well.

I’ve rambled on long enough without reaching any conclusions. Now I have to get to sleep. Less than two weeks to go until Loncon3!

(I’m going into Newcastle on Saturday. I wonder what stories I have saved up.)

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Kickstarter: Electric Velocipede

I’ve just been made aware that Hugo Award-winning speculative fiction magazine Electric Velocipede is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds. I was a subscriber to EV back at the tail end of university; I allowed the subscription to lapse because I just wasn’t finding the time to read short fiction, but I enjoyed what I read of it a lot – John Klima has published some excellent fiction through it.

Since the last time I looked, it appears the magazine has gone online, offering up the content for free on its website. The current campaign, where they hope to raise $5000, will allow them to continue publishing for another year – producing 4 issues – and rewards for backers include ebook subscriptions to these future issues.

Check out the site. Read some of the stories. If you like what you see, consider backing the campaign to keep the magazine going.

Things

  • The World Fantasy Awards were given out at this year’s World Fantasy Convention a little over a week ago, with Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death taking the Best Novel prize – another one I’d been meaning to add to my pile. Full results on the official site here.
  • I read one issue of Electric Velocipede (issue 12, Spring 2007) before picking up another novel. I guess I’ll slip these old zines in between my other reading instead of all at once.
    I have two more Velocipedes left. Digging through my cupboard yielded 7 issues of Weird Tales (4 or 5 unread) from 2007 and 2008, one HP Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror (think it came free with a Weird Tales), and the Bull Spec from last year.
  • Jeff & Ann VanderMeer have started a new online publication, Weird Fiction Review, with all sorts of great, weird content, that’s well worth checking out.
    Right now there’s a bit of a focus on the VanderMeers’ new anthology, THE WEIRD: A Compendium of Dark and Strange Stories, which collects over 100 years of weird fiction, including works in translation some of which have never before been published in English.

Overdue zine catch-up

I’m not sure why, but I’ve always found it easier to pick up a novel than read short stories. This has led, unfortunately, to collections in my to read pile tending to linger longer, and the few magazines I’ve bought over the years going unread.

I’ve had subscriptions to a couple of magazines in the past – Weird Tales and Electric Velocipede – but only got about halfway through the issues before I stopped finding the time. I know there is a lot of good writing I’m missing in the field of shorter work.

So, a few years late, I’m catching up. Before I move onto another novel I’m going through the unread issues, which are from around 2007-2009, along with one issue of Bull Spec I bought last year after seeing a recommendation.

Who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy it enough to try another subscription, and not waste it.

I Just Ordered an Electric Velocipede

EV #10

Seems to have some pretty good content, and comes very highly recommended; plus this new issue just looks so darn good. Thought I’d give it a look, since I’ve never gotten into the zine side of things before. If only I had money to throw away on a subscription – alas, I’ll have to settle for just a taste.
I’ll probably post what I think after I get it.