Jason's blog

These are seriously cool. Take a look at win, place, and show, as selected by a group of neuroscientists and psychologists. The curve ball one still freaks me out. It's amazing--and frightening--to realize just how imperfect our senses are. So much of what we see is actually provided by our own brains "filling in the gaps". Unfortunately, sometimes our brains just flat get it wrong.

Yes, the March/April 2009 issue is out. It's the annual Conferences and Residencies issue, with information on writing retreats and literary getaways. Of course, the database of writing contests is updated, as always. The Agents & Editors column this issue is a Q&A with Richard Nash, Lee Boudreaux, Alexis Gargagliano, and Eric Chinski.

Back on a Tangent Soon

After a long quiescence and a near-fatal loss of a Web host, Tangent Online is set to return soon. While The Fix has done a fine job of helping to pick up the slack in the area of short fiction SF reviews, TO has a fourteen-year history in the game and there's plenty of room for more.

It would have been a shame to lose TO. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thought so. When Dave Truesdale put out the call, looking for a hosting angel, I know at least two people stepped up. I know that because one of them was me. By the time I asked for details, though, Dave told me someone had already stepped up to the plate. It's getting converted to a new CMS, getting a facelift, and preparing to re-emerge.

If you write SF short fiction reviews, get in touch with Dave Truesdale. He'll be making a formal call for reviewers before too long, but it doesn't hurt to get a jump on things.

F&SF Is Going Bi-Monthly

Ansible #258 has a report regarding The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction switching to bi-monthly publication. According to the report, Gordon Van Gelder points the finger at the increase in costs--particularly postal costs. I can certainly see why. The last few US postal increases, in my opinion, unfairly targeted smaller publications by concentrating sorting-based price reductions in the segment of publications with massive subscriber lists. Oh, goody. People and Us and Stupid Crap Weekly can keep shoving drivel into people's mailboxes at reduced rates, but the segment of the culture that needs nourishing the most gets shafted. No, I'm not just referring to SF magazines. I'm also talking about thousands of literary journals and other niche-sized publications.

So here's the deal. All of my fiction periodical subscriptions are already electronic. I read F&SF, as well as others, on my Sony Reader and my BlackBerry courtesy of FictionWise. I'm not adding one penny to the dead-tree costs associated with the magazines I read. The problem is that a whole lot of you folks are either skipping the print pubs due to cost, or are opting for the paper versions. Neither one of those is going to help keep those pubs alive. That may not matter to you now, but it will when the only thing you have to read is corporate-produced, market-segment-targeted, ad-stuffed, rehashed, re-envisioned, rebooted garbage that was already awful the first ten times you read it.

Put that way, eInk screens start to look pretty readable, don't they?

From the P&W Newsletter:

The January/February 2009 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine focuses on what inspires us in our writing lives. In "Why We Write Now," authors Chris Adrian, T.C. Boyle, Matthea Harvey, Yiyun Li, and Patricia Smith offer their insights on what drives them to write, where they find inspiration, and how they stay focused during these unpredictable times.

We've also launched a new blog -- G&A: The Contest Blog, features the latest news from the literary contest world, including awards statistics, tips on entering competitions, interviews with frequent winners, and more. Read the blog.

This issue also marks the magazine's move to printing on recycled paper. The body stock is 95 percent recycled, containing 20 percent postconsumer fiber, and the cover stock is 30 percent recycled and FSC certified.