The end of an era

Jed Hartman’s retiring from editorship at Strange Horizons.

Jed talks about this himself, so go over and read his blog post, and say goodbye. It’s not a sad affair; it’s just time to move on for him, which I totally get. But I think it’s important to point out just how revolutionary SH has been — and no, I’m not heaping praise upon it because Jed & the gang have published two of my short stories, which gave me 2/3rds of the sales I needed to reach SFWA pro status. I’m heaping praise upon it because the folks who started that magazine have done a lot to change this genre for the better. At the time SH first started, SFF magazines were largely all print, hard to find on the newsstand shelves (you had to subscribe to be sure), and representative of many things wrong with the genre: women rarely appeared in their tables of contents, people of color rarely appeared in their pages, and too many of the stories published were thinly-veiled paeans to colonialism or white male power fantasy. SH just threw that whole model out and went back to the drawing board. They opted for broad accessibility rather than esoteric tradition. They embraced literary quality with the same fervor as speculative content, where other markets turned up their collective noses at genre meandering or stylistic shenanigans. And despite many, many naysayers at the time who predicted their early and ugly demise, they succeeded. They’ve been here all this time. They pay authors a pro rate even though they’re funded solely by donations. And they’re largely responsible for the rise of a new era of diversity within the genre, in content and composition and personnel — of whom Yours Truly is just one example.

I wish the new SH team luck, but I’m sad to see you go, Jed. Still, go with the assurance that ya done a good thing. Or three. Good luck in all your future endeavors!

2 Responses »

  1. Thanks so much for this post. It made me cry.

    One of the best things about working on SH has been seeing authors who we’ve published, including you, go on to awesome success in the field. We SH editors of course can’t take credit for that, but it’s nonetheless great to see.

    I feel like I should note that we haven’t always succeeded in some of the areas you’re talking about; we’ve stumbled now and then, and (for example) although we’ve published authors of color, we’ve never published as many as we would have liked, and we’ve never done as much outreach as we should have. We’ve taken steps in good directions, but sometimes they’ve been baby steps–necessary, but not sufficient. I’m hoping and expecting that the new editors will continue in those directions and improve on what we’ve done.

    Anyway, thank you again.

    –Jed

  2. My first pro sale ever was to SH. I’ve great respect for the magazine, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the new editors do with it.

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