New sf mag on the block: Lightspeed to launch in 2010

Via BigDumbObject, some excellent news in the short fiction publishing sphere: Prime Books are launching a new science fiction magazine called Lightspeed in the summer of next year. Fiction editing duties will be handled by John Joseph Adams, who will leave his current assistant editor post at F&SF to take up the reins; non-fiction will be handled by Andrea Kail.

Lightspeed will focus exclusively on science fiction. It will feature all types of sf, from near-future, sociological soft sf, to far-future, star-spanning hard sf, and anything and everything in between. No subject will be considered off-limits, and writers will be encouraged to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope. Each week, they’ll post one piece of fiction and one piece of non-fiction. They’ll debut with four original stories, and then move to two new and two reprint stories each month thereafter (all of the non-fiction will be original).

Lightspeed Magazine

Lightspeed will open to fiction submissions and non-fiction queries on 1 January 2010. Writers’ guidelines are expected to be posted by 1 December 2009. They plan to pay five cents per word for fiction, one hundred dollars per article for non-fiction, and variable amounts for art.

Isn’t launching a print magazine in the sf short fiction domain a mite quixotic in the current climate? Possibly so, but it looks like Prime have thought carefully about ways to make the magazine pay its own way:

[Publisher Sean] Wallace said “The website will be free, but the hope is that the magazine should be making money by its third year, if not sooner, through multiple-revenue streams, including advertising, ebooks, merchandise, and more.”

Three years doesn’t sound like an unreasonable time-frame for a business model to bed in, but things change fast in the content industries these days; hopefully Prime have some smart people at the wheel who can roll with the punches of a fluctuating marketplace. Having John Joseph Adams at the helm is a promising start; I’ve been impressed by the visibility he’s brought to the numerous anthologies he’s edited in recent years, and I think he’s got the enthusiasm and foresight to try new ideas in order to make it work.

Definitely one to watch… and great news for writers, too. More pro-rate markets can never be a bad thing.