Amazing Stories, the short-story SF/fantasy magazine which ceased publication in 2005, has been revived as an e-zine. The Summer issue is available online at the Amazing Stories website, and should go on sale at Amazon and other retailers within a few days. (It was not on Amazon as of the morning of 8/14.) This first issue features responses by a number of authors to questions such as “Is fantasy eclipsing science fiction?”, retrospective looks at the magazine’s past from Barry Malzberg, Robert Silverberg, and Patrick L. Price, and two short stories by Jack Clemons. The August issue is in the works; some features are already live on the website.
Amazing Stories has a long and not entirely illustrious history. It went through a number of incarnations before its 2005 demise, and its reputation rose and fell over the years. Despite the magazine’s somewhat checkered past, it boasts an impressive list of authors. Amazing published the first stories of several well-known SF/fantasy writers: Isaac Asimov, Roger Zelazny, Ursula K. LeGuin, Thomas M. Disch, and Piers Anthony, among others. Over the years, the magazine has printed stories or serialized novels by writers such as E. E. “Doc” Smith, Arthur C. Clarke, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, Orson Scott Card, and George R. R. Martin.
It does appear from its first two issues that the newly-revived Amazing Stories is skewed toward nonfiction about the field, but perhaps the balance will shift toward fiction over the next few issues. Perhaps the editors found it difficult to acquire enough short stories for the initial issues; I hope they will be able to attract more authors in the months to come.
It’s hard to gauge whether the new e-zine incarnation of Amazing Stories can survive. It will depend in part on whether readers are willing to pay for the e-zine and even subscribe to it. Magazines like Amazing and Analog once provided a unique opportunity for new writers to get published and for SF/fantasy readers to discover them. But in an age when short stories can be sold (or given away) as e-books, and fan-fic and self-publishing sites abound, is there really any need or demand for short-fiction e-zines? The publishers of Amazing Stories are betting that there is. Here’s hoping they’re right.