A long interview with Jetse de Vries, assistant editor at Interzone:
6. Every so often I stumble across discussions about how the short speculative fiction market in the UK is dying. But lately I’ve seen nothing but praise for Andy’s magazines, and Postscripts, another UK magazine, has also been receiving its share of praise. One would think with so much praise going around that the UK magazines are back on the rise. What are your feelings on the matter? Are the UK spec magazines reviving or dying?
Since the UK market is about the fifth of the size of the US market, it’s much more difficult to make a magazine financially viable. In that light, magazines like New Worlds (which ran over 200 issues) and Interzone (which will celebrate its 25th Anniversary next year) are the exception rather than the rule (and to a lesser extent BBR and The Third Alternative).
To the best of my knowledge, PostScripts Magazine is financed by the income that all the other titles of PS Publishing generate. A quality magazine, and I hope it thrives, because the more good magazines in the UK, the better.
So, while it’s relatively easy (and that *very* relative, mind you) to start a magazine in the UK, it’s extremely hard to make it earn its costs back. For example, a few years ago two new magazines were launched: 3SF and Spectrum SF. 3SF folded after its third issue, and Spectrum SF didn’t outlast its 9th issue (and especially Spectrum SF had top quality fiction). About two years ago I was asked to write a column about the UK Small Press for a planned UK science/science fiction magazine Orbital (which would have been a cross between SFX and New Scientist, as far as I could see), but that one never got off the ground. There’s Futures, an online feature of Nature, which is open for very short stories, edited by Henry McGee. Very recently there is Farthing, a nice new mag, although their publishing schedule is a bit erratic. And now a new major SF magazine called Hub has been announced (claiming a 15,000 distribution run), with its debut planned for September. I hope it works out, as the UK scene could certainly use a success story.