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Forty Years!

by Sheila Williams

Welcome to Asimov’s fortieth anniversary year! This monumental milestone will be celebrated all throughout 2017. Our current issue is filled with excellent stories by long-time favorites like Robert Reed, Allen M. Steele, Robert R. Chase, and Jack Skillingstead; writers who have been away for a while like Tom Purdom, Lisa Goldstein, Jim Grimsley, John Alfred Taylor, and Stephen Baxter; as well as up-and-coming new stars like Ray Nayler and Octavia Cade. We’re already forming an impressive lineup for the rest of the year. Authors like Karen Joy Fowler, Terry Bisson, Sarah Pinsker, Michael Swanwick, Bill Johnson, and Will McIntosh, who’ve all picked up Hugo or Nebula Awards for previous Asimov’s stories have new tales in our inventory. We’ve also got great new stories by writers like Kit Reed, James Gunn, Dale Bailey, Suzanne Palmer, and many, many others. In addition, future issues will feature essays about the magazine by Robert Silverberg and James Patrick Kelly, and numerous authors have contributed testimonials about what Asimov’s has meant to them.

The magazine was launched in the spring of 1977 with the eponymous “Spring” issue. Some of you may even have picked that first issue up at your newsstands. I was spending my junior year in college in London, so did not encounter Asimov’s until its “Fall” or “Winter” issue arrived at the Elmira College Bookstore. Immersed in senior-year studies, I didn’t pick it up again until I ended up at graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis the following year. There I found one of the 1978 bimonthly issues at a great shop near the University called Paul’s Books. I was a regular reader from then on. My professional connection began in June 1982 when I joined the magazine’s staff, so I’ll be celebrating my thirty-fifth anniversary at Asimov’s in tandem with the magazine’s fortieth!

Over the years, Asimov’s has come in many shapes, sizes, and frequencies. For some subscribers, we now exist in purely digital formats on their electronic devices. You’ll definitely see some changes in the magazine this year. Asimov’s will once again be published on a bimonthly schedule, although this time as six 208-page double issues. This sixteen-page increase over our current double issues means that we won’t be losing any of our fiction pages. We’ll also be expanding Peter Heck and Paul Di Filippo’s book reviews, and the On the Net column will now appear in every issue, which means you’ll get six Jim Kelly columns instead of the current five.

The change will allow us to publish more novellas. We’ve even got an entire short novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch preliminarily scheduled for our May /June issue. The change in frequency will also allow us to feature a higher percentage of original cover art. January/February is off to a great start with Maurizio Manzieri’s beautiful illustration for Sean Monaghan’s lovely tale about “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles.”

My circulation department points out that publishing Asimov’s Science Fiction bimonthly also allow us to hold the current subscription prices a bit longer. You will receive the same number of pages of fiction as in the past, and you will receive the same number of issue months that you have purchased.

Anniversary celebrations remain in the planning stage, but we do have some exciting news. In honor of our fortieth year, Prime Books will be publishing an anthology titled Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine: A Decade of Hugo & Nebula Award Winning Stories, 2005-2015 in November. This is a companion anthology to our earlier book—Asimov's Science Fiction: Hugo & Nebula Award Winning Stories—which was published by Random House. The new anthology will contain stories by Connie Willis, Ian McDonald, Robert Reed, Nancy Kress, Karen Joy Fowler, Kij Johnson, Mike Resnick, and many others.

We’ll make announcements about upcoming events on social media and in the pages of Asimov’s

Copyright © 2016 Sheila Williams

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