Category Archives: On Spec Updates

On Spec # 108

In case you missed it, Issue #108 , Volume 29 No 1 is now available in both print and digital formats.  You can order your print copy by contacting us at onspecmag(at)gmail.com, or using the links on the Subscribe page of the web site.

Digital copies of this issue and others are available from Weightless Books, and this is a reminder that you can also set up a subscription there, and get your new copies sent to you automatically.

In this issue, you’ll find the first work of published fiction from our former editor, Robin S. Carson, plus an essay on writing  “Dark” fiction by Calgary author Sarah Johnson. A.J. Wells gives us an interesting discussion on the use of  “tragedy porn” in The Last Jedi.

New fiction comes to you from Timothy Reynolds, Sean Robinson, Allison Floyd, Marcelle Dubé, David Versace, Chris Kuriata, and Lisa Carreiro.  Poetry from Mark McCutcheon.

Editorial by Barb Galler-Smith on the dilemmas we may face as readers, when our idols prove to be more flawed than we are perhaps comfortable with.

Cat McDonald and Roberta Laurie bring us their interviews with cover artist, Bill Tracer, and featured author, Tim Reynolds.

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Do not go gentle…

The editors and staff at On Spec are heartbroken to learn that Harlan Ellison passed away this morning. Our condolences go out to his family and to his many loyal friends. He will be missed and mourned by generations of readers and writers who have admired him, learned from him, and on occasion, even fought with him.

RIP Kate Wilhelm

News has reached us of the death of Hugo  and Nebula Award-winning author, Kate Wilhelm on March 8, 2018. Our condolences go out to her friends and family.

She leaves behind a remarkable body of work, as well as many colleagues in the SF&F family who benefited from her teaching and mentorship over the years.  Kate was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame (2003) for her lifetime contribution to the genre. She will be missed.

We get submission queries

We were recently asked about our 6,000 word limit for stories. Yes, we have published longer stories over the years, but those were few and far between. Because we are limited to a certain number of print pages over the course of the year, we had to make an arbitrary decision concerning a story length cut-off. It also affects our pay rates, since we don’t pay per/word the way some magazines do.

That doesn’t mean we have closed the door on novellas, for example. After all, it’s our party and we can do what we want to. We’ll just be very selective.

And in the meantime, if you have a story that falls in the “about 6,000 words” category, please give it a long and hard look before you hit that submit button. If your first 3-5 pages is bogged down with back-story, for example, chances are good that the first reader won’t even make it to the end. Your job as a writer, first and foremost is to maintain the reader’s interest.

Make every word count!

Spreading the word

Here’s something our subscribers who are active on social media can do. When your subscription copy of On Spec arrives in the mail, please post a picture of yourself holding  the copy.

Then pour yourself a cup of something warm and comforting and sit down for a while and have another awesomely good On Spec reading experience. Once you’re done, post something about a story you liked. Tweet about the superb cover art. Look up one of the writers and send them a nice email to thank them for their work.

And tell all your followers about On Spec.

Maybe someone will share your  Facebook post. Maybe someone else will retweet. And maybe someone will stop looking at baby goat videos for just a few brief seconds and look up http://www.onspec.ca .

The baby goats won’t go anywhere, we promise.

And if we could get just one new subscriber because of something each of our current readers did to promote us, we’d be a very happy crew.