Monday, November 26, 2007

The Mathematics of Tone - A Year in the American Majors

Much like the post about the Year's Best Science Fiction books, here we look at the major American SF magazines.

As before, the categories are exclusive (rest,adventure,funny,downbeat), if a story gets put in one, it can't be in another, and this was from memory for the year, so somewhat approximate, but appears to make sense. Where different people would place them will vary.

Othr Advn Fun Downbeat
Analog 0.37 0.19 0.16 0.27
Asimovs 0.26 0.23 0.05 0.46
FSF 0.30 0.13 0.14 0.43
JBU 0.23 0.28 0.16 0.32

OVERALL 0.29 0.21 0.13 0.37



To cut and paste from The Mathematics of the Magazine - A Year in the American Majors post on my blot

http://notfreesf.blogspot.com/2007/10/mathematics-of-magazine-year-in.html

quick magazine breakdown :-

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.

Jim Baen's Universe

The average story rating was 3.42
The percentage of above average stories was 62.


If Analog's sales are highest, is that related to them specifically targeting a niche - no fantasy, etc., or does some of it have to do with it being more cheerful? Asimov's this year you could say almost lost their sense of humour entirely.

Jim Baen's Universe, as the editors have mentioned, appears to be seeking the 'middle way'. Not as much 'Analog SF' as Analog, but more mainstream aventure type stories, some of which of course are fantasy, of course e.g. stories by Modesitt and Nix for example, along with things like the recent Nancy Kress story in the December issue which I am sure Asimov's would have been happy to publish.

Clearly the downbeat thing rates more highly with some people - the preeminent experts like Dozois, Hartwell, Horton and Strahan, but also with average blokes like me, by those ratings, and by what the aforementioned gentlemen are publishing in their Year's Best volumes.

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