First and most important, let me thank the new folks who—after last month's plea for help— have stepped up and offered their time and talent. This issue already shows some of the fruits of their efforts, although any lingering blunders are certainly mine. New on staff are Kim Gonzalez, Travitt Hamilton, Niall Harrison, Robert Hoge, Yoon Ha Lee, Carey McGee, Marcia Barrett Nice, Simon Owens, and Sherry Ramsey.
Of far less importance, I feel compelled to point out that this issue contains articles by not one but two people sporting the last names of infamous Vice Presidents of the United States.
Next, I am pleased to say that we are finally starting to get ahead of schedule in a few regards. I wouldn't say I have the next quarter's issues all finalized, but we have a small inventory of very strong material in hand, and a number of exciting features in the works. What I still don't have, however, are great reviews. I have rumors of reviews, even promises, so I think that there might be some motion on this front, but the call is still open. The Internet Review of Science Fiction still wants reviews. And not just of Science Fiction: Fantasy and Horror are fair game. You know the drill: insightful, original, in-depth, intelligent.
One feature that I have been hoping to see, but haven't even had the opportunity to reject yet, are convention reviews. IROSF aims to cover both the literature and the culture of science fiction, and there's nothing so representative of the experience of being a science fiction fan as going to a convention. (Trading fan zines, writing letters of comment, and the like may be the true badge of fandom, but these do not necessarily translate to newsworthy experience.) Now, obviously I'm not looking to publish your blog entry on how you got drunk on Altaran Wine at World Con, and woke up with a Klingon in your bed, but any in-depth, yet entertaining coverage of a convention or conference that communicates something about the experience of the event or digs into the issues discussed at the event will receive preferential treatment.
One of the features that I am looking forward to publishing in some future issue is a thorough review of the new Science Fiction Museum in Seattle. I have had a chance to go through it myself, and must say the experience was tremendous fun!
The museum—which includes the Science Fiction Hall of Fame—occupies part of Paul Allen's Experience Music Project, which is housed in a rather foolish looking scrapheap in the Seattle Center complex. This architecture is more appropriate to science fiction than it is to music, even though, from the air, the building is said to resemble Jimi Hendrix' smashed-up guitar. From the ground it looks like an alien space ship crash landed. So that's good.
Prior to the museum's opening there was considerable concern that it was going to be all about media science fiction. And, while Star Trek, Star Wars and various other television and cinema franchises to provide some of the most stunning displays, the museum curators have gone to great lengths to show— in just about every display—the literary origins of science fiction. Books, magazines, fanzines, even letters are interspersed with space suits, phasers, aliens, robots, and model space ships. Some of the high-tech displays are particularly awesome, and could well spawn a new generation of home toys. At least one fellow fan meandering through the museum was overheard to say: "I want a videoglobe in my living room!"
So, hopefully we'll get full coverage of the museum, and the story behind the museum, in the next month or two.
Finally, we have generally put it about that the free subscription would go to a paid subscription at the end of June. Technically, with bluejack off doing full time work for The Man, this is not likely to actually take place on July 1 as planned. However, we are behind schedule on a few other planned steps, such as advertising, fully functional forums, some user profile features and the like. Accordingly, and I can't imagine anyone is going to complain about this too loudly, we are going to push the paid subscriptions out to December 1st. Since most people subscribed between January and May, and all those subscriptions remain good for one year, this is not actually going to impact most readers at all.
As a side note to this, a number of people have informed us that we are out of our minds to think of charging subscriptions at all, and that we should do fund-drives instead, as Strange Horizons does. I am mulling that over: on the one hand I like the idea of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." On the other hand, I believe that it is reasonable to ask readers to compensate producers for work that is of value—which I believe this magazine is. There's nothing like the action of a free market to put an actual dollar amount on value, however. Ultimately, if we can pay our authors, and compensate Quintamid for our share of the network, I will be happy either way. I'm always interested in hearing more thoughts on this subject, so feel free to drop me a note or post to the forums.