Friday, October 19, 2007

The Mathematics of the Magazine - A Year In the American Majors

Or, talking about the three American digests now that I have read them all, and rated all the stories. I'd include JBU as a comparison when they are finished for the year, their December issue actually comes out in December it seems. Whacky, I know.

The magazines

Analog
Asimov's
Fantasy and Science Fiction

As a group, just talking about the fiction component:

The average story rating was 3.42
The percentage of above average stories was 63.

The median number of stories was 6.

If you want to subdivide that, it breaks down as, median :-

4 above average (4.26 mean)
1 average (1.81 mean)
1 below average (0.65 mean)


By magazine:

Analog

The average story rating was 3.31
The percentage of above average stories was 55.


Asimov's

The average story rating was 3.46
The percentage of above average stories was 68.


Fantasy and Science Fiction

The average story rating was 3.49
The percentage of above average stories was 67.


For comparison, in the almost 300 book anthologies and collections I have rated, the average story rating is 3.44.


If you were just going to get one, which one (favorite staple writers aside)?

If you don't want any Fantasy, you have to get Analog.

If you don't want much in the way of humour, get Asimov's.

If you want more Fantasy, pretty obviously get Fantasy and Science Fiction.

If you want better and more modern SF mostly and the occasional fantasy piece is ok, get Asimov's.

If you want the best science writing, get Analog.

If you want the best pop culture - books/movies, get Fantasy and Science Fiction.

If you want some of each of the last two, or middle-ground get Asimov's.

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