Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We are being cheated

I think Chris has a point
Centauri Dreams has a great post about the decline of the science fiction magazine, and its migration to digital media. I think the scifi community is losing part of its soul in exchange for... well for nothing, really. Nothing that's even close to the value of what we're losing because we're too lazy to get off our asses and walk to the nearest magazine store, or wait a few weeks for the mail.

If we lose the last of the scifi pulps and magazines, we're going to lose our heritage. We'll lose the magnificent cover art for starters. That cover art helped define the shared identity of whole generations of scifi fans. I'm not as eager to cheer the end of that era as some people. And we're going to lose the collections, the nostalgia factor, the sense of being connected to tradition, the sense of being part of a culture that is esthetically distinct from all the other niches out there. It'd be a shame if the online descendants of Wonder Tales all end up looking as soulless and procedural as Digg.
My first real SF was a copy of Analog that a first class passenger left on his seat on a flight to Portland, Oregon in 1976. I was nine. I read that thing cover to cover.

A few years later I discovered a huge stash of Asimovs at the Salvation Army in Salem, Oregon. Dime a copy? Maybe a whole quarter. I spent fifteen bucks and had my reading needs for the summer taken care of.

Times change and there is no going back - but I still look at the news stand and wish I'd find a copy of Analog there.

This is the cover of the Analog I found on the plane. Tell me that isn't cool.
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