Bewildering Stories News
Year’s End 2005
Cosmetics and presentation
Adaptations in the past year|
Behind the scenes
Greetings to all our gentle readers on Earth and in outer space! May your year-end holidays be merry and bright!
In truly Bewildering fashion, year’s end is the midpoint in Bewildering Stories’ fourth year of publication. Let’s take a brief look back at our virtual spaceship’s trajectory in 2005; it may give us a clue to where we’re headed.
The good ship Bewildering Stories “broke orbit” back in Year 2 by “going frameless.” That was the biggest and most important step we’ve ever taken. Since then we have been outward bound and, at long last, visible to Net finders’ radar screens. But now that we’ve reached cruising velocity we find that Bewildering Stories, like any ship, is always being painted.
Cosmetics and presentation
Veteran readers will have noticed small but visible improvements, such as the headers’ being centered and black and white color buttons attached to the “print this page” invitation in the footers. Our left and right margins have been widened to 13% each, which should make on-line reading just a little easier provided you’ve set your Net browser to use a screen font rather than a print font.
Almost everything prior to our “frameless” format remains in the old page style. The major exceptions are the novels in Special Features; both have been “modernized,” and Cyrano’s The Other World has a slightly different format of its own.
As always we’re glad to update our contributors’ early works on request; however, a systematic reformatting of all the files in Years 1 and 2 would be such a stupendous task that, realistically speaking, it may never be undertaken.
We’ve had a real stroke of good fortune with logos. Our departmental pages are now graced by Ian Donnell Arbuckle’s “rainbow” logo. Digital illustrator Christine Cartwright has provided a tasteful and imaginative set of logos that now adorn our story pages and home page. Illustrator Paul Campbell has enthusiastically volunteered to illustrate stories and come up with a home page illustration to replace our standard starfield background.
One of our most pressing Big Projects is updating our Art Gallery to include all the art work, from that of the early days to Claudio Parentela’s, Christine Cartwright’s and now Paul Campbell’s. Meanwhile, contributors have been sending us digital art for their stories on occasion. Thanks to them and our illustrators, the second half of Year 4 promises to be very colorful and imaginative indeed. Putting artwork on line requires fine-tuning image sizes; that’s a special project in itself and will take some time to do properly. Stay tuned: we have plenty of eye-catching surprises in store for you!
Credit must go to Michael E. Lloyd for some important cosmetic improvements in 2005. His novel Observation One led to the creation of our standard serials template. Bibliographical information no longer follows the title but is set off on the side, where it is equally visible but less obtrusive. We’ve also added the “Table of Contents” link to the serials header to make it easier for readers to follow a serial forward from one issue to the next.
Of course, Mike’s really big technical achievement is his comprehensive title and author index, which has taken its rightful place in the menu on all our pages. It goes far beyond the title indexes in the Biographies & Bibliographies and is invaluable for exploring Bewildering Stories by genres.
The Archive remains the quickest way to browse issues at random. To make the Archive index easier to use, we’ve had to jettison our colorful “pseudomonthly” titles, although they retain their place in earlier issue indexes. Bewildering Info now summarizes that aspect of the issue index page’s evolution.
Adaptations in the past year
Late in the year we decided that “In Times to Come” was too time-consuming to prepare and that it would be easier and more informative to publish the schedule of the next five issues. You can now access it from the home page or the Readers’ Guide. It’s updated weekly.
The schedule shows that our waiting time is about four to five weeks. That length was reached some months ago and has been holding steady ever since. To make the backlog manageable and keep the waiting time from rocketing out of sight, flash fiction and non-fiction had to be exempted from our limitation of seven titles per issue, although we do try to maintain a norm of two titles each in the categories flash fiction, poetry and essays.
It’s especially noteworthy that the year 2005 has seen such a flowering of poetry at Bewildering Stories that poetry now rates an anthology of its own. The genre was represented at first mainly by the valiant contributions of Thomas R. and Steven Utley. Since then we’ve had the good fortune to receive works from such talented poets as Mary King, Prakash Kona, C. Meton, Mary B. McArdle, Darby Mitchell, Thomas D. Reynolds, Carmen Ruggero, and Viacheslav Yatsko, among others. Who knows: maybe our scheduling priorities will bust our two-title “norm” for poetry in each issue; if so, we’ll count ourselves as very fortunate indeed !
The second most significant effect of Bewildering Stories’ success in Year 4, especially, has been our scheduling of serialized works. The section “Length” in our Submissions page now gives contributors a reasonably clear picture of the way in which novels, novellas and serials are scheduled. The gist is that we now use simultaneous installments up to our limit of 9,000 words per title in one issue; that allows us to keep longer works as compact as possible.
Behind the scenes
Our review editors have provided an invaluable service in the past year by making it possible to reply to submissions within one or two weeks. Ye Editor and Ye Copy Editor say a very grateful “Thank you” for all you’ve done. Ian Donnell Arbuckle has performed heroically in the face of multiple commitments; Danielle L. Parker has done wonders with reviews despite her “tin can and string” Net connection; and now that Katherine Allen has completed her novel, which begins in issue 179, she’s going to have her hands full !
In the new year, plans are to have Christine Cartwright’s full set of logos appear randomly on the home page, story pages and in the Readers’ Guide, as they now do on the issue index page. In addition, we plan to make the Art Gallery a department in each issue that will make all our artwork easy to view.
We’re looking forward to Contest 2, which is planned to open in January. We give hearty thanks to Danielle L. Parker for the idea and for the initial planning.
A “sleeper” with high hopes: we are very excited by the prospect that Bob Blevins’ new press, Adventure Books, will be able to issue print editions of our Retrospectives and contests, as well as other works. That would offer brand-new, sparkling opportunities for our contributors and illustrators alike!
And, who knows, maybe Jerry Wright’s efforts as our public relations manager will pay off in 2006 and Bewildering Stories will “get noticed” in print as well as on the Net. I’m sure we’d all be happy to live in that new timeline!
Happy New Year to our veterans and new contributors and readers alike!
Copyright © 2005 by Don Webb for Bewildering Stories