Message from the Publisher

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It’s with deep regret that I announce the closing of Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. The January issue will be our final regular issue and the People of Color Take Over issue will be our final issue. I’m really proud of the body of work that we produced at Fantastic. There are a number of reasons that now is the timefor me to close the webzine. According to my projection, it’ll take more than five years for Fantastic to become self sustaining, and I simply don’t feel that that is a reasonable time frame.

I had planned to stick it out another year, but my personal life has made that much more difficult. Last month my daughter’s house burned down and she and her family are staying with us while we try to sort everything out with an insurance company that doesn’t want to pay; and this month my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Right now, I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.  In addition to Fantastic Stories, I also run Wilder Publications, which turns a profit and has a number of employees and contract workers. I’m faced with the reality that I need to trim something out of my life, and Fantastic Stories makes the most sense.

I want to thank all of the writers who’ve supported us with their work. If anyone out there is looking for a columnist, let me recommend all of mine. Each one of them has been a joy to work with. They all deliver on time and are incredibly easy to work with. And I’d especially like to thank Robert Davis and Jay O’Connell, who both went above and beyond; this magazine was as much theirs as it was mine.

For those of you who are owed portions of an electronic subscription. Your subscription will be filled with electronic copies of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and The Cascadia Subduction Zone. That means you’ll be getting two magazines for every one we owe you.

 I will continue to be involved with genre fiction through Wilder Publications’ Positronic book line, so you can expect to hear calls for submissions from me from time to time, for the various anthologies I’ll be editing.

Sincerly,

Warren Lapine

Crowdfunding Update

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by Warren Lapine

 

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First off, let me tell you how honored everyone at Fantastic Stories is that so many people contributed to our campaign. That tells us that you value what it is that we are doing. As you know we did not reach our goal. That left us with some difficult decisions to make.

As we mentioned in our last update, because of your support we’ve decided to keep this magazine alive. We also said there would be changes. Most of the changes you will not notice as they will happen in the background and should have very little effect on what you read when you come to the pages of Fantastic Stories. The one change that you will notice is that we are going to move from being a monthly magazine to being a bi-monthly magazine.

If one of your perks was a one year subscription we’ll be converting that to a two year subscription so that you get the same number of e-pub issues as you were promised in the campaign. Again, thank you very much for helping us keep the dream alive. You will begin to receive your perks the second week in June.

We’ll keep you updated as to when they go out and when future perks will go out. And we’re also considering other ways of thanking you for being there when we needed you.

Thank you again, and look for a new issue in July!

Sincerely,

Warren Lapine
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

 


 

Reposted from: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fantastic-stories-of-the-imagination/x/10170707#/updates

Removing the Whitewash: People of Color in FSI Illustrations

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by Jay O’Connell

 

square-columnist-jayI’ve been illustrating Fantastic Stories of the Imagination for about a year or so now. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of work. It’s also been an education on whitewashing and representation in genre illustration as I’ve struggled with two opposing realities; SF and fantasy is increasingly diverse in terms of its readers, writers, and characters… but stock photo source libraries are horribly weak in POC.

I could avoid faces and work with landscapes and still lives and silhouetted forms, which could read as any ethnicity; I could use white people wherever a text was ambiguous; or, I could struggle to find POC in stock photo libraries where they are not only often in short supply, but also frequently costumed (or un-costumed) in perniciously stereotypical ways.

I poured through the stories looking for clues as to ethnicity, and finally, recently, came to the conclusion that I needed to simply speak to the authors about this and discuss the options. Also, I simply got the ethnicity wrong on several occasions, missing obvious cues, whitewashing a story accidentally; sometimes I caught myself; other times the editorial process caught my oversight.

As I sift though the hundreds of thousands of images, I am looking for matches in age, gender, ethnicity, attitude-facial expression, pose, prop, lighting and attire. Backgrounds can be changed, and in fact, almost always have to be. The process is strangely exhausting; you have the image you’d like to make (if you had an unlimited budget), and then the images that spring to mind as you look for stuff by keyword that matches your initial vision. You search for the most bang for the buck.

I include here a few of my whitewash mistakes, and the fixes, so you can see this process in action.

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This was my original, accidentally whitewashed illustration. the model reminds me a bit of the author, who I knew from a workshop. I was thinking of her, instead of the character, whose name gives us a better sense of a look for her.

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After showing the illustration to the author, and realizing, duh, the name, I came up with this; the story is about a Latina Michael Jackson impersonator, and this really worked for the story so much better than the image above.

Continue reading

Fantastic Stories Launches Indiegogo Campaign

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Dear FSI Reader,

First of all, we want to thank you for being part of the FSI community, as a reader, writer, or potential contributor.

We’re proud of the work we’ve published to date, the speed with which we have responded to our contributors submissions, our production quality, and our  industry-challenging pay-scale of 15 cents a word.

We’re proud that our stories represent a more diverse face of SF, and we’re proud of the insight and multiple view points of our columnists, the breadth of experience and background they bring to all things genre; from unsung movie SF classics of the 50s to last months great short genre fiction, and everything in between.

We’re sending this note to you to give you the opportunity to help us bridge the gap, carry us through to a sustainable business model which our web-tracking data indicates is within reach, while preserving the vital components of web based fiction. Free content; professional payment for writers, and multiple funding sources including ebook editions, print on demand editions, subscriptions…

…and crowd-funding.

Crowd funding allows us to offer a large variety of perks to our supporters, and while yes, it does remind one of public radio support drives, that analogy is meaningful. Your donation will make an immediate impact, but even if you can’t donate right now please consider sharing this link to our campaign on social media or your personal blog to help us get the word out.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fantastic-stories-of-the-imagination/x/1796746

We care about short fiction; we care about genre fiction; we want markets for new writers to find their voices in, to be discovered in, to discover themselves in, and for all that to happen, we need your help to help us bridge the gap, from what we’ve done so far, to what we know we can do going forward.

So look over the perks, and see what you’d like to contribute. We’re grateful for our readers, for our writers, for this community, and so we’re reaching out to keep FSI going while we continue to grow into a self-sustaining enterprise.

Don’t forget to check out the March issue and the great stories we’ve got for you this month for free on the website. We’re also giving away the e-book version of the August 2014 issue. We’d like to thank you in advance and happy reading!

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination — Award Eligibility

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**Hugo Award nominations are open**

In 2014, our first calendar year, we proudly published four issues of short fiction and reviews, making Fantastic Stories of the Imagination eligible for the Hugo Award, Best Semiprozine; Locus Award, Best Magazine; and British Fantasy Award, Best Magazine/Periodical.

Our Editor-in-Chief, Warren Lapine, is eligible for the Hugo Award, Best Editor (Short Form), and the Locus Award, Editor.

Gillian Daniels, who writes the insightful New & Noteworthy Short Fiction column, is eligible for the Hugo Award, Best Fan Writer, and the Hugo Award, Best Related Work.

The following original stories from 2014 are eligible for the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, World Fantasy Award, and British Fantasy Award in their stated categories:

Novella

“New Beaches” by Daniel Hatch — August issue
“Invisible Friends Too (Or, I have no bananas and Ice must cream)” by Steven Sawicki – September issue

Short Story

“Rope Burns” by Kelly McCullough — October issue
“Night of Apophis” by Brenda Kalt — November issue
“Chocolateland” by Shariann Lewitt — December issue

 

Thank you to all of our contributors, and of course, our readers.