Semiprozine Recommendation Thread

In response to a comment by CJ, I think I will try allowing people to post recommendations as comments to this post. I have been hesitant to have open threads like this and instead focus on linking to recommendations on other sites because I don’t have the time to devote to moderating comments, and comment threads succeed or crash and burn in large part due to moderation.

I still prefer linking to recommendations you post elsewhere, but, ultimately, I am more interested in as many recommendations as possible.

So feel free to recommend any semiprozines in a comment below (again, preferably 150 words or more – something more substantial than “Hey this one is great!”). Thanks!

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Best Semiprozine Part 1

The first set of Best Semiprozine Hugo Award recommendations

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine – Small Australia-based magazine with a high proportion of writing by new authors. It was part of last year’s slate, but it’s worth a look in its own right.

Interzone – It might be almost old enough to run for President of the USA, but the UK’s best-known SF magazine is still in there, still putting out good stuff, still well worth consideration.

Uncanny – Relatively new online magazine, already attracting some well-known names, with a good mix of stories, articles and poetry. It may be new, but it looks like it could go somewhere.

Uncanny and Lightspeed – Brief overview of my favorite content from this year’s issues of Lightspeed Magazine and Uncanny Magazine.

Still a couple days to submit more recommendations for Best Semiprozine!

Semiprozine.org has an excellent list of eligible publications to peruse with links to their websites. Also,Rocket Stack Rank has an awesome resource that includes links on how to freely access or buy issues of the top magazines as well as the recommendation results of short stories organized by publication.

Submit your recommendations!

I’m a bit behind (lousy day job), but I figured this might be a slow start anyway. Hopefully it will grow over time,

However, I have created the submission form and the basic guidelines of what I am looking for.

Please submit recommendation links here.

And please, definitely spread the word and the link. The more people we get talking about the works, the better this Hugo season will be.

Links to recommendations for any category are being accepted, but especially need Best Semiprozine and Best Fan Writer recommendations ASAP.

Thank you!

Another good source – Rocket Stack Rank

Almost forgot about another great source that could be useful the first week of Hugo Rec Season – Rocket Stack Rank focuses on reviews and recommendations of Hugo eligible short fiction. I will definitely be plugging them more in at least Short Story week (January 17), but since a large portion of likely every semiprozine is short fiction, finding short stories you like can help lead you to which zines you would like as well. 

Also, right after Semiprozine week, we should focus on fan writer, so keep that in mind. Note: “Fan Writer” here refers to anyone writing about fandom or something related to fandom. It is not necessarily a non-profesional writer, as several pros have won in past years. 

Two Weeks Until Hugo Rec Season Begins! Read your Semiprozines!

Been a bit quiet getting ready for things, but now the countdown begins.

Starting on November 2nd, I will start posting links to reviews/recommendations of Semiprozines. So start reading some now and getting ready to post your recommendations that week (and send your links to me, too, of course). I will have details later this week on how to submit links to your recommendations.

First off, what’s a “semiprozine”?

The specific wording from the WSFS Constitution is quoted at Semiprozine.org.

This is one of three categories that’s for a series of works – along with Fanzine and Fancast. Everything else goes to a single work or individual. (Although, as we will see later in the Hugo Rec Season, sometimes “a single work” can be defined rather loosely.)

It does exist in this odd space of being “semi-professional” but pretty much means what you think. It paid contributors and/or staff (so it’s not a fanzine), but it’s not paying enough to be anyone’s full time job (so it’s not a professional zine).

Why semi-pro?

There are various historical reasons, if I understand correctly, mostly dealing with trying to avoid any one publication totally dominating and therefore making the award more interesting. But I’m not an expert so won’t state facts beyond my knowledge. If you are interested in the history, I suggest some Googling, or better yet, ask one of the long time Worldcon members (and while you are at it, feel free to mention the Hugo Recommendation Season! Hint hint). I have found they really enjoy sharing the history of the Worldcons and Hugo awards. I might see if any of them want to contribute some thoughts to any of these weeks.

Whatever the reason, looking at the list of semiprozines (linked below), it’s pretty clear there are a wide variety of publications to choose from – far more semipro than actual professional, in fact.

But why isn’t there a prozine category?

Again, historical reasons, but from my understanding, Best Editor (Short Form) is considered by many as the de facto Best Prozine. Not everyone is happy with the category divisions and/or names, but all I am concerned with are the categories as they will be in 2016. Semiprozine is there, so let’s talk semiprozines!

So where can I find good semiprozines?

Once again, the folks who run semiprozine.org have an awesome resource with their directory of qualifying publications. I’m not sure if the list has been updated for 2016 Hugos because they have Uncanny as not qualified due to not having enough issues out, but I’m pretty sure they should be qualified now. I will double check because they are one I’m reading and am familiar with.

Revised Schedule

Based on feedback I have received and general ponderings on my own, here is my (possibly final) proposed schedule for the focus weeks:
Nov 1 – Best Semiprozine
Nov 8 – Best Fan Writer

Based on feedback I have received and general ponderings on my own, here is my (possibly final) proposed schedule for the focus weeks:

Nov 1 – Best Semiprozine
Nov 8 – Best Fan Writer
Nov 15 – Best Professional Artist
Nov 22 – Best Fancast
Nov 29 – Best Editor (Short Form)
Dec 6 – Best Fanzine
Dec 13 – Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
Dec 20 – Break
Dec 27 – Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Jan 3 – Best Fan Artist
Jan 10 – Best Novel
Jan 17 – Best Short Story
Jan 24 – Best Related Work
Jan 31 – Best Editor (Long Form)
Feb 7 – Best Novella
Feb 14 – Best Graphic Story
Feb 21 – Best Novelette
Feb 28 – The John W. Campbell Award
Mar 6 – Late Arrivals

I would have link round-up posts Monday through Friday. On the weekends we could possibly have posts for the Retro Hugos. Or if they announce the categories sooner rather than later, we could start early with the Retros, but we will see.

Further thoughts and opinions?

Tentative Schedule

Here is my first pass at a schedule for the focus weeks during Recommendation Season.

Focus Week Schedule (tentative)

Oct 18 – Best Novel
Oct 25 – The John W. Campbell Award
Nov 1 –  Best Related Work
Nov 8 –  Best Editor (Long Form)
Nov 15 – Best Fan Writer
Nov 22 – Best Novella
Nov 29 – Best Semiprozine
Dec 6 – Best Novelette
Dec 13 – Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
Dec 20 – Break
Dec 27 – Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Jan 3 – Best Editor (Short Form)
Jan 10 – Best Short Story
Jan 17 – Best Graphic Story
Jan 24 – Best Fancast
Jan 31 – Best Fanzine
Feb 7 – Best Professional Artist
Feb 14 – Best Fan Artist
Feb 21 – Late Arrivals
Feb 28 – Late Arrivals Week 2?

My thinking was as follows:

  • Lead with Best Novel. Good to start with a big one (many would argue *the* big one) to get as much interest as early as possible.
  • Related to that, have categories that might be more time consuming nearer the front to give more time for reading recommendations you like. So novel, definitely early. The (non-Hugo) Campbell Award for New Writer have early since it’s about people who may have several works, including novels. Same for Best Editor Long Form.
  • Mix it up some. This is my randomly just kind of adding things to dates by feel, ineffable guide.
  • Not have all of the fan awards at the end – although I’m not sure I satisfied that one well. I worried that with things like Best Novel, Campbell, and various prose categories at the beginning, it might fizzle more at the end with less interest. However, there is also the fact that the later half will be during actual nomination season. So there might be more interest overall during January and February than November and December, so it might be a wash.
  • I did add both artist categories at the end. The only reason for this is that, unlike, say novels, zines, or even short stories, evaluating what artists’ works you like and don’t can be pretty quick. We can be such visual creatures, we can seem to judge visual creative works faster than written. So leave the quickest for the end, I figured.
  • I left a break for Christmas/other December holidays, both because I will personally be traveling to visit family quite a bit then and because I’m a firm believer in breaks to rest and recharge.
  • Finally, I added a week or two at the end for works that come out in November or December after their focus weeks and things people simply thought of later. Might do “focus days” or something here and combine some categories. We will see.
  • Edited to add: Also, I went for mid-October to end of February because I wanted to finish before March so that there was time to check out things that caught your eye during recommendations, plus 1 week per category including the (not a Hugo) Campbell. So that pushed it to mid-October. We could shift it a couple weeks and have the Late Arrivals week or two in March and start November 1 (which was my original intent until I did the math).

Thoughts? Opinions? This seem workable? What should be moved where?