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Old 08-28-2007, 04:32 AM   #1
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SF Magazines

Fictionwise offer a number of different SF/Fantasy magazines in eBook format, among which are:

Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF)
Analog
Asimov's

As an SF fan I've heard of all of these but, because they are very expensive and difficult to get hold of here in the UK, have never read any of them.

Could someone who is familiar with them tell me whether they all publish much the same kind of thing, or does each have a different emphasis and style? I know that F&SF is the oldest, but which would you recommend reading?

Thanks!
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:54 AM   #2
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I have e-subscriptions to all three and have been reading them off and on for decades. Analog is actually the oldest, not F&SF, being founded in 1930 as Astounding and published continously since a brief gap in the early 30's. It aims at a fairly narrow band of traditional SF readers. All the stories revolve around some aspect of technology, and tend to be straightforward in terms of narrative style. It tends to have the most consistent reading experience of the three-- and publishes the kind of stories people think of as "classic American SF." Robert Sawyer's novel "Rollback" was recently serialized in Analog. It's where you'll find the "technical stories" where someone has a problem and the story focus is on how the problem is resolved as much or more than character growth. It's also the only one of the three that serializes novels, usually before publication in book form.

F&SF is the second oldest, starting in the fifties. It has the widest variety, publishing fantasy as well as SF. I find it has works that are more character and style driven than Analog. It's hard to characterize F&SF stories, but there aren't a lot of nuts & bolts style SF pieces, as it has more of a literary flavor. Look for contemporary fantasy more than sword and sorcery here.

Asimovs' is the new kid on the block, starting in the late seventies. It's published by the same people as Analog, but has a different editorial style. They tend to publish what they call serious and thoughtful character driven fiction. Essentially their stories focus more on the soft sciences than Analog, and are primarily about character change. If there's a technical problem, the story is much more on how it affects character than how it's solved technically.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:05 AM   #3
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Thanks, Lemurion, that's extremely helpful. I am of course familiar with the old "Astounding Stories", but didn't know that it was related to "Analog". It sounds as though that's the one for me - I'm a big fan of SF of the "old school".

Very much appreciate the help - thanks again! I'd like to be able to read all three, but I just don't have the time, unfortunately.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Thanks, Lemurion, that's extremely helpful. I am of course familiar with the old "Astounding Stories", but didn't know that it was related to "Analog". It sounds as though that's the one for me - I'm a big fan of SF of the "old school".

Very much appreciate the help - thanks again! I'd like to be able to read all three, but I just don't have the time, unfortunately.
Harry - don't forget that you can sample all three as single issues without getting the subscription. Depending on when you spot them on Fictionwise that may not always be obvious. Unless they do something weird with pricing on your side of the pond they should all be less than 2 pounds for a single issue.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:19 AM   #5
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Harry - don't forget that you can sample all three as single issues without getting the subscription. Depending on when you spot them on Fictionwise that may not always be obvious. Unless they do something weird with pricing on your side of the pond they should all be less than 2 pounds for a single issue.
That's exactly what I've done . One can't always judge the overall "style" of a magazine from a single issue, however - hence the request for info!

My basic problem is that my reading tastes far exceed the time I have availble for reading, so I need to be a little selective. I always enjoy crime/mystery books too, so I'm faced with an equal dilemma when it comes to magazines in that area too, but I think I've settled on reading "Ellory Queen's Mystery Magazine" for that.

Many thanks for the suggestion, anyway. I'm sure that others will find it useful.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:38 AM   #6
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To add to what Lemurion wrote: I also read all three, and have for a long, long time. For what it's worth, Asimov's seems to have published the preponderance of Hugo winners over the last thirty years or so. I should also point out, by the way, that Fictionwise has almost all of the Hugo-nominated shorts and novelettes available for free.

Another e-magazine that has recently shown up on the Fictionwise list is the small, but excellent Aeon Speculative Fiction.
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Old 08-28-2007, 09:30 AM   #7
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Old 08-28-2007, 09:50 AM   #8
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Baen's Universe is on a level with the big three-- it's bimonthly and electronic only, but each issue is bigger. Of the other three, it's closest to Analog, having more plot-based stories.
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Old 08-28-2007, 10:32 AM   #9
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Lemurion gave a good analysis. I have always favored Analog first and then Asimov's. F&SF I generally ignore, the editing and general style just never clicked with me.
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Old 08-28-2007, 10:40 AM   #10
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Everybody is different! I've subscribed to all three for a long time and gradually dropped Analog and Asimov's and am staying with F&SF. I generally find that the quality of writing at F&SF is higher than the other two.

Of course RWood would say just the opposite :-)
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Old 08-28-2007, 11:22 AM   #11
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My own preference is for Analog, I find it gives a more consistent reading experience than the other two. As to F&SF, I'd agree that the quality of writing is very high; my problem is that they tend to publish well-written stories that don't interest me that much. From my perspective F&SF may tell a story better, but Analog has better stories.

It's all about what you like to read. F&SF is very good for literary speculative fiction, but it's not so much for old-school sense of wonder SF. For that I'd go for Analog or Jim Baen's Universe. Asimovs tends to have more of a blend between the literary and sense of wonder sides-- almost an SF mainstream.

I've been reading the magazines for the last thirty years or so-- and at one time my back issue collection went back to about 1930 in some cases. There's a huge amount out there.
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Old 08-28-2007, 05:40 PM   #12
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Personally I like Asimov's the best just because of the writers it publishes and the fact that is mostly sf since I do not like fantasy as much.

FSF is second, has some quite interesting writers too, but too much fantasy for my taste.

I dislike Analog, their stories are very rarely on my taste and many of their writers are on my top to avoid sf writers (scientist saving the world worked in the 50's but nowadays seems quaint)

There are 2 more interesting sf magazines published by Fictionwise though both you gotta get issue by issue not being regular, Aeon which has some great issues and some so-so, and Challenging Destiny which again has some surprisingly good issues.

I was a club member for the first year of Baen's Universe and I was very dissapointed by the magazine; very few stories that I liked, mostly J. Ringo and some new authors, so now I wait for each issue of the second year, preview it and buy it if there is something of interest only.

On the other hand I love the 163* universe, so I became a club member when it went regular last year (read all previous issues too, some bought, some came with the Universe membership) and I still love it, so I will renew my membership if it continues next year...
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:28 AM   #13
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Does anyone know how magazine subscriptions work with Fictionwise? If I buy a subscription to, say, "Analog", will I automatically get on my "Bookshelf" the next year's worth of issues to be released? It's just that I've bought a couple of sample issues already and I wouldn't want to duplicate these through having a subscription.
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Old 08-29-2007, 06:17 AM   #14
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Does anyone know how magazine subscriptions work with Fictionwise? If I buy a subscription to, say, "Analog", will I automatically get on my "Bookshelf" the next year's worth of issues to be released? It's just that I've bought a couple of sample issues already and I wouldn't want to duplicate these through having a subscription.
I should have looked at the site more carefully. There's a FAQ here:

http://www.fictionwise.com/help/subscriptionfaq.htm
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Old 08-29-2007, 11:35 AM   #15
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