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Saturday, June 01, 2013

On Editing ASIM

I've been a member of the Andromeda Spaceways Collective(now Association, long story) since it was in single digits. Now, I'm finally going to edit an issue, #60.

I never intended to do this. I have done some subediting and participated in the multi-editor issues where each of us chose one or two stories to edit. That was fun; I got to pick something special and didn't have the responsibility of the full job. It will certainly mean I have to put aside most of my own writing. But I offered to subedit this issue for a member who has since vanished into the blue, nobody having heard from her in months, without having started and now it's up to me. This has sort of happened to me before, with #38, but that one was nearly ready to go when the editor vanished for several months, to the point where some authors assumed the magazine had died and sent their work elsewhere. She had even chosen the cover artist and paid from her own pocket. We rolled up our sleeves and got it out in time. I had help. I will have help this time too, but in the end, it's my job to make the decisions.

I will post about the process as it happens.

Right now, I'm reading. And reading. And reading. Lucy Zinkiewicz, our slush wrangler, has come up trumps, sending me slush that has passed all three rounds of reading as soon as she gets it. I need a  balance of SF, fantasy and horror fiction. Fantasy is the easiest, as most of our submissions fall into that category. SF is harder, because we get less of that and what we do get is not always believable. Fortunately, we have scientists in the collective to check the physics for me. I have found one wonderful piece that is believable and has an emotional punch too. Not many can do that. Off the top of my head, Stephen Baxter can, among the current crop of hard SF writers. I don't really like horror fiction, so I have asked for opinions from someone who knows the genre better than I do. In the end, I still have to care about the characters and the writing has to be excellent to get me to consider it, whether it's a space opera or a brooding Gothic horror. When I have chosen stories in the past, they have mostly been ones that I couldn't stop thinking about two days after I had read them. I may not have that luxury for a whole issue, but I still want stuff that is better than just "quite good".

I'm reading this as a reader, not an editor, asking myself,"What would I want to read if I bought this?"

And it's not just a balance of genres - you can't have a bunch of stories that all all grim or even all funny, despite ASIM having been founded to create a market for funny stories. There's also poetry, reviews, possibly articles to choose.

Ah, the challenge! Stand by for the next exciting instalment...


Sean Wright said...

Excellent news. I look forward to the next issue. Speaking of which do you know who to contact about subscriptions. I got issue 55 as part of a epub subscription package (12 months) and don't seem to have received any copies since then. Have tried contacting the ASIM twitter account and the accounts address and have had no reply. Not even sure which numbers I should have received - bought it in January

Sue Bursztynski said...

My issue will be out either late this year or early next, there are two issues to come.

As for the other matter, send me this query by email and I'll forward it for you to the appropriate person. You do realise 55 came out AFTER 56? So really, you're only missing one issue, the current one. We're a small bunch of people and it's easy to miss things.