oldcharliebrown (oldcharliebrown) wrote,
oldcharliebrown
oldcharliebrown

Ostriches Sure Like to Shove Their Heads in the Sand . . .



I wrote this post (and on the Black Gate message board) after seeing David Truesdale responding twice as to why he didn't post a list of online recommendations, to accompany his Black Gate article on the best short fiction for 2007, and this was his last post on this matter:

"Just a statistical note that may or may not be of interest. Take it as you will. Looking at Locus' Recommended Reading List for 2007 I see 57 short stories, 55 novelettes, and 18 novellas, for a total of 130 stories.
Now, I admit I don't remember if Subterranean is online or not, and it has a few recs. But if it isn't an online publication (I knew it used to be print if it isn't now), there are only 9 online selections out of the 130, unless I missed something else.

Just something for us numbers nuts. :-)"

Now, being the co-editor of two online magazines, I certainly do have a dog in this discussion, but more importantly I think it slights and discounts those authors published online as rather insignificant or not important, but even moreso, I think that this points out the issues with this field, in that instead of embracing change it sometimes likes to shove its head into the sand. I'll expand further in this reply to David's statistical ramblings:

"David, why post this if you didn't think you weren't making a statement? :p It's quite easy to find out for yourself if Subterranean actually is online. Google and click through. Any one can do that (and does). It takes all of five, mebbe ten, seconds to work this out. It's constantly linked by Locus Online, when it does so, so a lot more people than me trip over it :p

And I actually count 13 online stories on that list, which is 10 percent of 130, which is partially meaningful. If you actually study the last eight years, you might see what is happening. Looking at a single year gives you nothing, without looking at the entire eight years, for trend analysis:

2007 had 13. [130 stories; 10%]
2006 had 8. [123 stories; 7%]
2005 had 27 (excluding SciFiction it comes to 10). [147 stories; 7% ]
2004 had 29 (excluding SciFiction it comes to 5). [144 stories; 3%]
2003 had 19 (excluding SciFiction it comes to 2). [129 stories; 1%]
2002 had 18 (excluding SciFiction it comes to 3). [128 stories; 2%]
2001 had 20 (excluding SciFiction it comes to 0). [128 stories; 0]
2000 had 15 (excluding SciFiction it comes to 0). [131 stories; 0]

The same happens in the Locus Poll, where more and more online fiction venues are weighing in the top twenty-five slots:

2007 - 3 (Baen's Universe / Clarkesworld / Strange Horizons)
2006 - 3 (SciFiction / Strange Horizons / Infinite Matrix)
2005 - 3 (SciFiction / Strange Horizons / Infinite Matrix)
2004 - 2 (SciFiction / Strange Horizons)
2003 - 3 (SciFiction / Strange Horizons / Infinite Matrix)
2002 - 2 (SciFiction / Strange Horizons)
2001 - 1 (SciFiction)
2000 - 0

Trends are usually interesting, and show a direction, a future, of what might be happening, for better or for worse. It certainly seems shortsighted, considering this field of science fiction prophets, to discount something that is happening now, and later, because it makes you uncomfortable. I only expect online venues to continue gaining on their print cousins, a process that will take years, but it is happening and will continue to do so.

Anyway, "just a statistical note that may or may not be of interest. Take it as you will."

Take it as you will, people. It's just numbers, after all. :p
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