Category: magazines

Subscription guilt

I try to have most of my magazine subscriptions renew around the end of the year. Many of them do, but not all of them. But this year I have a bit of a dilemma. I have 4 subscriptions which still arrive in paper form, but 3 of those 4 subscriptions I also receive electronically. Two of these are up for renewal in their print form: New Scientist and Analog.

My dilemma: I receive both of these electronically, New Scientist through Zinio and Analog on the Kindle. This means I’ve been paying for 2 subscriptions for each. It seems silly to pay for both paper and electronic subscriptions, especially since I am continually trying to decrease the amount of paper I handle. But at the same time, it’s difficult to cancel the paper subscriptions for these two magazines. I’ve been a long-time subscriber to both New Scientist and Analog. I feel guilty canceling the subscriptions even though I still receive them in other forms. In the case of Analog, I don’t want my cancellation to negatively affect Analog’s subscription numbers, but I don’t know how they count Kindle subscriptions. The one should offset the other. New Scientist has been sending me renewal notices, but seems to have no idea that I subscribe through Zinio. I wish these systems were better coordinated.

One might say that I could continue my Analog subscription. It’s only $35/year or so. But since I already get Analog on the Kindle, wouldn’t that $35 be better spend on subscribing to another magazine? Indeed, I’ve added subscriptions to Lightspeed and Clarkesworld over the last few months and I like getting all of those magazines. Isn’t that worth sacrificing the paper version of Analog? Perhaps, but I still feel guilty about it.

I suppose I’d feel better if I knew that the Kindle and Zinio subscriptions were accurately counted in the circulation and were tied back to my original subscription, so that it didn’t seem like I canceled my subscription to the magazine without them realizing it was merely just a change to a different format.

I know this must sound silly, but I do find myself facing this subscription guilt at this time of the year. But if I go completely paperless with Analog and New Scientist, it means that the only subscriptions I still get on paper are Time Magazine and Scientific American, and I also get Time electronically as part of my paper subscription. (There, the model is stilly: you can’t get an electronic subscription without a paper subscription. Kind of goes against the whole “going paperless” thing. Scientific American doesn’t yet have a non-PDF electronic subscription mechanism that I am aware of.

Going into 2012, therefore, I’ll be getting Analog, Asimov’s Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, F&SF, New Scientist and Time magazine all electronically. Time will also still come on paper, as will Scientific American.

What I like about digital publishing as a reader

This morning, after I woke up and showered, I turned on the iPad and looked to see what was new. Here is what I found that I had received while sleeping:

  • December issue of Analog (with a Brad Torgersen cover story) for the Kindle app
  • December issue of Asimov’s (with a Connie Willis Christmas novella!) for the Kindle app
  • October issue of Locus for iBooks
  • October 10 issue of Time magazine in the Time magazine app
  • October 1 issue of New Scientist for Zinio

I haven’t yet received notice of the October issues of Lightspeed and Clarkesworld, but I imagine I’ll see those notices soon.

How cool is it that I get all of this stuff automatically delivered to a single device with little or no effort on my own part. No clutter of magazines across my desk. No need to lug around issues in my backpack. No worrying about the things being lost or damaged in the mail.

And on a day like today, when it is cold and rainy, I can sit in my office reading chair and have enough reading to last me the entire weekend.

That is what I like about digital publishing as a reader.

The latest batch of Astounding’s have arrived!

This batch includes the April through September 1943 issues. The April 1943 issue is the last of the “bedsheet” issues. Astounding went back to its earlier format after the April issue, and even that would not last for long. Soon the premium on paper during the war would push the magazine down to digest size.

April 1943
April 1943

And here is May through September:

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More Golden Age arrivals: February 1943 Astounding

Yesterday, I received in the mail the February 1943 issue of Astounding. The issue contains part 1 of A. E. van Vogt’s serial “The Weapon Makers.”


When I turned to the contents page, I noticed another story in the issue that gathered some fame and popularity in the years since. It was even made into a movie (which I will admit I didn’t see). Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore, teaming up as Lewis Padgett present a little story called “Mimsy Were the Borogoves.”


And for those who don’t know it, that serial, “Opposites–React!” by Wil Stewart is none other than Jack Williamson in disguise. Looks like a fun issue that will make up Episode 44 of my Vacation in the Golden Age in June of next year.

I’m expecting a few more issues to arrive later this week.

Just arrived: the May 1942, and January and March 1943 issues of Astounding!

The magazines I obtained last week arrived today. The postman duly delivered them despite the flooding rains we’re having here and I am grateful to him for that. The big issue in the pack is the May 1942 issue of Astounding. This has been by far the most difficult issue for me to get my hands on. This may be because it contains Isaac Asimov’s story, “Foundation” which is the very first story in his famous series. I have been looking forward to obtaining this issue since I first conceived of my Vacation in the Golden Age. Now I have it:

Click to enlarge


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New Golden Age acquisitions!

As part of my Vacation in the Golden Age, I need to obtain the issues of Astounding between July 1939 and December 1950. Many of these I already have and in fact, my first gap wasn’t until Episode 35, the May 1942 issue of Astounding. I obtained the 1942 issues (many of which are signed) in a single block and the block included all of 1942 except for the May issue.

The May issue, for those who don’t know, contains Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation,” the first story in his famous science fiction series and I imagine that has made it difficult to obtain. I have been trying since the outset of my Vacation way back in January. Well, I have some good news to report:

Yesterday, I obtained a copy of the May 1942 Astounding! When the issue arrives in the mail, I will post pictures.

I also obtained the January and March 1943 issues, which means my next gap is February 1943. I’m not too worried, however. I don’t need this issue until the end of June 2012. It represents Episode 44 of my Vacation.

Still, I am very excited to finally have obtained the May 1942 issue and for a reasonable price, too! Expect a photo when it arrives.

It’s about Time (Magazine)

Not that I need even more to read, but I had a very good offer for a subscription to Time magazine and yesterday, I signed up. I was really on the fence about it, given how much I already have to read, but one-and-a-half things pushed me over.

First, free with my subscription is access to the iPad edition of the magazine. And second (the “half” thing), is that I don’t watch the news or read the papers and can barely keep up with what’s going on in the world. Maybe this would help fill that gap.

Once I was subscribed I had instant access to the iPad version of the August 1 issue, which I downloaded and read on the iPad. I was hoping it would be an exact replica of the actual issue, the way that New Scientist is on Zinio, but it isn’t. I looks like all of the articles and sections are there, but it is more interactive than New Scientist. I suppose this is the direction for magazines like these and it will take some getting used to. That said, it wasn’t bad and I was able to get through the magazine before bed last night.

The print issues will begin arriving in 3-4 weeks, but I don’t really see the point. The fact is they will get thrown away or recycled. I wish there was an option to get the iPad edition by subscription but there isn’t. In fact, their pricing of individual issues is way out of whack for the print+digital subscription. I paid less than $30 for 56 issues. That includes print and iPad versions. But without a print subscription, individual iPad issues of Time magazine cost $4.99 each!

In any case, I am happy I can get the issues on the iPad, even though they are not in the same format as New Scientist. And I am hopeful that I will be a little more up on current events than I have been.

The science fiction magazine e-format boom!

I hesitated to update the Kindle App on my iPad to the most current version because of a philosophical issue I had with Apple’s in-app purchase policy. And yet I am weak, and cast my morals aside when the right circumstances arise. Two events converged this evening that convinced me to update the app:

  • Event #1: Fantasy and Science Fiction is now available on the Kindle. There are two versions of it: a free version which contains one story from the issue as well as the non-fiction in that issue. Or the “extended” version which costs $0.99 and contains the full issue.
  • Event #2: I discovered that Analog and Asimov’s are also now available on the iPad version of the Kindle App. However, you have to upgrade to the most recent version of the Kindle App to get them there. Up until now, I could read Analog and Asimov’s on my Kindle, but they weren’t available on the iPad version of the Kindle app. But now they are.

So I caved, and now, I can read all three of these magazines: Analog, Asimov’s and F&SF on my iPad.

In fact, I can read Lightspeed and Clarkesworld on my iPad as well. The former can be purchased issue by issue, but the latter can be had by subscription.

Apex Magazine is also available in e-format. Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show is available for the Kindle (and other e-book format). There are other magazines that are available online or in e-book format. Many of them.

So when people ask if science fiction is dying, or if short science fiction is dying, I look around at all the science fiction magazines, particularly those that are available in e-book format and I say, “Hell no! We are in a short fiction boom the likes of which probably hasn’t been seen since the 1950s.” I simply cannot keep up with all of the great magazine science fiction that is being produced today. Not even close. And that is a good thing.

It makes me feel good because I love science fiction and I love short stories–reading them and writing them–and it is wonderful to see them alive and well and thriving.