Discussions and debates have been ongoing for quite some time about the fate of genre magazines. Many encourage subscriptions as a way of giving a magazine a solid readership and some cash to put into production. Others advocate contacting the editors to let them know what you do and don’t like. Of course, there are so many magazines that if only we could read them all we’d all find one we like.
I’ve bought and read individual copies of a number of magazines recently, as well as reading on-line zines. One of the main reasons I don’t want to subscribe to most of them is that they’re frequently a mix of science fiction, fantasy and horror. I presume that there are many people who like all three, else there wouldn’t be so many cross-genre magazines out there, but it might just as easily put off single-genre readers. I only read science fiction. Fantasy and horror don’t really interest me. Of course that takes us to a whole different discussion on the definitions of each genre, but the fact is that I know what I like and, however it’s marketed, it’s most definitely SF rather then F or H.
So, if I’m going to pay good money for a magazine, I’m not going to buy one in which only 1/3 of the contents interest me. Or, possibly worse, a mixed genre magazine that does a ‘Fantasy Special’ occasionally that I’m really not bothered about at all.
Now, before I’m accused of narrow-mindedness, I have come across some fantastic stories that are probably leaning more towards F and H in the course of my reading. Murky Depths, for instance is a fabulous cross-genre magazine. With so many zines to choose from though, readers can afford to be picky. Each magazine has to do enough to attract a section of that audience. I recognise that it must be exceedingly tough to launch a new genre magazine, and I don’t have the answers any more than the next fan, but its something to think about.