Harlan Ellison's Watching...

[ Harlan Ellison]

When the Hugo Ballot came in this year for the World Convention, you know, they had categories for the best short story, the best novella, the best novelette, the best novel. In the three shorter categories of fiction: novelette, novella, and short story, I think there's something like four or five stories nominated in each category. All but two, all but two were from this magazine here, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, which is edited by a terrific guy named Gardner Dozois. And you say, "What's the problem with that?" I'll tell you what's the problem with that. Gardner and a number of the writers themselves went on the Internet and built up a constituency, built up a base of people who would vote for them. There were a couple of writers who said, "Vote for me! Please vote for me! God, vote for me, I only have two Hugos!" And you say "What's wrong with that?" Why shouldn't people promote themselves? Why shouldn't a good magazine like Asimov's " and it is a good magazine, it's a terrific magazine, its publishes great stories "why shouldn't it have that many nominations?" Well, I'll tell you why. The other two are from a magazine called The Magazine for Fantasy and Science Fiction. That's this magazine here. It is edited now by a woman called Kristine Kathryn Rusch. It is a dynamite magazine. Now, no secret agendas here: I write for F&SF. I used to do the film column there; I do short stories all the time. I don't write for Asimov's any more. The reason I don't write for Asimov's any more is strictly personal. It's got nothing to do with the quality of the magazine, nor does it have anything to do with my friendship with the people who edit the magazine, who are terrific, decent, good people. I don't write for a reason of my own, which Gardie knows, Gardner Dozois knows. But that's another thing.

[ book] The problem is this: the market is shrinking so fast that when you have Hugos, the selections of which come from one magazine, not from any of the anthologies (the original anthologies that were edited, and there were dozens and dozens of 'em last year), not from any of the short story collections (and there were dozens and dozens of those), not from any of the other Science Fiction magazines like Science Fiction Age, or Aboriginal Science Fiction or half a dozen others that I can't think of. Not to mention nothing from the small press. There are terrific small press magazines. And only two stories from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The rest were all from Asimov's, or its companion magazine, Analog.

Now, Stan Schmidt publishes Analog. He's also a good guy, they publish a certain kind of stuff. But when a field is dominated like this, it does not mean this is the best magazine in the field. All it means is that you've got the largest readership at the moment, and you are sucking for votes more profitably than anybody else. I ask you, please, this is an unashamed appeal: go get The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Send for a copy. Go buy one issue, take a look at it. It's got some of the best writers in the country, and this magazine is a magazine that, if we do not support it, is gonna vanish along with the other magazines, like Science Fiction Age which Scott Edelman edits and Aboriginal Science Fiction that Charlie Ryan edits. These magazines don't have a chance, because Asimov's is now the 800 pound gorilla. And I just got a thing against 800 pound gorillas. I don't think that they should be fed quite such a rich diet. And if you agree, maybe you can help reduce them.

From Sci-Fi Buzz, episode 167

Publishing Rights to 'Harlan Ellison's Watching' copyright 1996 the Killimanjaro Corporation.