Back in 2001 a small online science fiction magazine became my very first publisher of my science fiction: Strange Horizons. Then, as now, the magazine was funded by contributions — and right now the magazine is having its annual fund raising drive to generate the budget for the next year. I’m giving SH editor-in-chief some space today to talk about the site and what it does, in the hopes that you’ll see the same value out of it as I do and help keep it going for another year.
(And, why, yes, I have donated!)
Hi! I’m the editor-in-chief of Strange Horizons, and I’m here to ask for your money, to support what will be our fourteenth full year of publication.
The funny thing about crowdfunding an ongoing venture like SH is that it gets both easier and harder over time. Easier, because you build up a reputation and a community: you become more of a known quantity. Harder because you have to keep and grow that reputation and community. Hence posts like this.
So what does another year of Strange Horizons mean?
It means another year of a magazine committed to new voices. We’re proud to be able to say that we were the first pro sale for writers including Kameron Hurley, NK Jemisin, Mary Robinette Kowal, Justine Larbalestier, Nnedi Okorafor, and Vandana Singh — not to mention my gracious host here. (If you want to see who we’ve added to that list recently, check out “Difference of Opinion” by Meda Kahn, published earlier this month.)
It means another year of a magazine committed to diverse voices. This year we’ve had contributors from Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and Sweden, as well as the UK and US. We’ve published writers of color, queer writers, and non-neurotypical writers. We want to do much more of all of that, because we believe the best sf is written by everybody, that we need a global, inclusive tradition.
It means another year of more than just fiction. We publish new issues each Monday, and in addition to stories (in text and audio) they include poetry, columns by writers such as John Clute, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and Genevieve Valentine, interviews and essays, and — if we do say so ourselves — some of the most demanding (if occasionally controversial) criticism in the field.
Since 2000, all of this has been supported by direct donations from our readers. Which is an amazing and humbling thing, to be honest. We are an independent non-profit organisation, and we value that independence — no adverts, no corporate sponsors. We’re also staffed entirely by volunteers, and we don’t have much in the way of overheads: so when you donate, almost all of your money goes directly to paying our contributors. (And if you’re in the US, donations are tax-deductible.)
We also have a few fund drive bonuses. Everyone who donates to Strange Horizons this month gets entered into our prize draw. We’re adding new prizes each week, but so far we have new books by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Christopher Priest, Ann Leckie, and Lavie Tidhar, subscriptions to Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and the Twelve Planets series of collections, knitted toys and emoji translations, and much more. Take a look.
We also have a special issue, with bonus content published throughout the fund drive as we raise money. You can see what’s been released so far here — still to come we have a story by Tiptree Award-winning author Nisi Shawl, and an interview with Helen Oyeyemi, one of Granta’s latest Best of Young British Novelists, plus reviews, poetry and essays.
2013 has been a pretty good year for SH so far. Molly Gloss’s “The Grinnell Method“, which we published last autumn, won the Sturgeon Award for the best sf story of the year. The magazine as a whole was nominated for a Best Semiprozine Hugo. We’ve published (we think) some great work, and have more coming up: stories dealing with imperialism and cultural exchange, stories exploring queer YA experience, stories featuring doomsday machines and giant squid; and next week, a special issue devoted to Indian and Indian-diaspora sf.
We love what we do, and we want to keep doing it.
But we need $11,000 to make it happen. We’ve got two weeks left in this year’s fund drive and we’re about a third of the way to that goal — so if you like what we do, please consider chipping in. Thank you!