Issue # 54
November/December 2009

Lazette Gifford, Editor

In This Issue

Contact: Vision@lazette.net

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Market Analysis:

Mar's Market Analysis #6:
Analog: Science Fiction and Fact

By Margaret McGaffey Fisk
Copyright 2009 by Margaret McGaffey Fisk, All Rights Reserved


Finding new markets is only the first step of the research process. A crucial part is to consider what can be learned from the material already published by the editor or editors. This column will contain analyses that evaluate a specific publication based on one or more issues (or at least a month of content for webzines without designated issues).

First an announcement: This will be the last Market Analysis column, though check our next issue for a new market component. Over the past year, I have analyzed various pro markets both on the web and in hard copy, demonstrating one method of how to discover editorial leanings in the various publications. The hope is that you will continue this process for the magazines you plan to submit to so that you will be more aware of what they are looking for. Good luck with your future submissions, and have fun reading in the short fiction market.

This issue will analyze Analog: Science Fiction and Fact.

Analysis:

Analog: Science Fiction and Fact has been published as a pro market for 65 years, an amazing feat of longevity. This magazine draws on established names in both fiction and the scientific community, but at the same time, Analog does not shy away from new authors that have the talent to pull off a good story. Though known for its hard science fiction focus, editor Stanley Schmidt defines this focus broadly, incorporating both stories founded in extrapolation, like those advocated by the mundanes, and stories based on innovation, which posit possible futures, as described in his editorial. The guidelines ask only (in paraphrase) that stories are strong and realistic, with believable people doing believable things.

In this issue, the fiction word count was heavily weighted toward a serialized novella, part one of To Climb a Flat Mountain by G. David Nordley, but that still left room for four other fiction works that varied in length from approximately 12,000 words down to just under 5,000. Unlike so many magazines, Analog does not drive writers to cut stories down quite as much. This issue also saw the debut of Jay Werkheiser with his story Thanksgiving Day, a strong science fiction tale about the intersection of the technical and labor societies on a failing colony. The other four authors were already established, offering a variety of tales from time travel into the Middle Ages, through near future set on Earth with a group of modified humans and alien interactions surrounding an exploration mission to Mars, to the beginning of a far future novella with humans on the other side of the galaxy in unknown territory.

Across the board, the fiction was written in past tense, and four of the five were also in third person, with the one other, Amabit Sapiens, as a first person story. I classified all but one of the stories as primarily plot based, with Amabit Sapiens again as the one with more of a mood focus. I did note that Joan also depended heavily on mood as this time travelling story focused on one character's reactions to the events occurring around her, but the events seemed to carry the greater weight. Additionally, Joan was the only work set in the past with the science component more of a convenience to get the main character where she wanted to be. That said, I may be reading something into the end of Joan, but I think that the overall tale speaks to a scientific principle.

The three essays, however, were either in first person or a mix of first and third, often slipping into first person plural (we as opposed to I). All three were written in present tense, using a straight past tense to refer to events occurring before the essay's timeframe. The first essay was an editorial by Stanley Schmidt, mentioned above, that evaluates the state of science fiction (SF) itself, and considers mundane SF as one aspect rather than an overall goal. The other two were written by scientists, one evaluating the risk of an asteroid impact along with what we're doing to prevent one, and the other looking at how data gathered by the United States to support global warming may be compromised. All three had a strong opinion aspect, with the asteroid essay having the least, but the non-editorials were primarily analysis. The essays ranged in length from about 2,000 words to over 7,000 words, with the longest including charts as well.

This issue also contained four reviews, all of books that fall in the science fiction genre, though one had elements of horror. The reviews were written by the same pro author as a collection of small articles. As Analog does not take review submissions, this is provided just for reference and to confirm the magazine's complete focus on science fiction.

Analog has a lot to offer science fiction readers, and having your story appear between the covers, especially as a first-timer, is both possible and a real win. Just remember the focus is on plausibility and some aspect of science, be it technical or social.

Statistics:

Age 65 years
Genre Science Fiction
Cost Per Issue $3.99-$5.99 (newstand price for single issue/double issue)
Author Payment Pro
Editor Stanley Schmidt
Publication Schedule Monthly except for January/February and July/August which are double month issues.
Issues Reviewed November 2009
Essays in Issue 3
Reviews in Issue 4
Stories in Issue 5
Poems in Issue 0
Flash in Issue 0
Advertising? Yes, but only from the publisher or confined to a classified ads section.
Additional Notes: There is also an Upcoming Events list for conventions.

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Editor: Lazette Gifford

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