Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Thoughts on Short Fiction Reviews

Clarkesworld editor Neil Clarke has some interesting thoughts on short fiction reviews.  Read "The Sad Truth About Short Fiction Reviews" here.


Travis Richardson said...

Hey Sandra,

I've been thinking about this for a while and there needs to be a shift perspective. Since short stories are short, reviews should be (and not a long as the story) and since little money is put into reading them unlike $20+ for a book, there is less risk on capital investment to read a story than a book. (Time value is another issue too.) I think readers are less likely to search for short story reviews as they are book reviews. But what if there is a hub of short story reviewers in one place. Every week they put out a selection of recommended stories from the past week and create reading list with links. The reviewers would be looked at more like radio station disc jockeys who put up different songs songs. Readers might like one "story jockey's" taste over another and would follow that jockey/reviewer for the rest of the year. Not only would the jockey recommend current stories online or in newly released anthologies, but they could have "blasts from the past" with favorite classic recommendations mixed in with new content. Perhaps at the end of the month the jockeys could have best stories of the month, best of the season and best of the year. Jockeys can also say which genres they like, so first time readers can find the best ones. What do you think?

sandra seamans said...

There are quite a few sites that still do reviews of short fiction like Little Big Crimes and Kevin Tipple's blog. Both Hell Notes and Bookgasm both do reviews of magazines and anthologies occasionally along with SF Signal. Fiction Daily used to post links to three online stories a week but the past year they've been on and off, mostly off, and the same for Nasty Brutish Short. And The Short Review and New Pages sites stick mainly to literary shorts. For some reason the sites don't keep up the effort.

A hub is a great idea perhaps something like CrimeSpot would work for short story review sites, the problem is finding someone who would set it up. But if reviewers don't do the reviews or slack off after a while it won't last very long. If you could get the word out and get people excited about it then perhaps it would work.

I used to post a few reviews of my own and links to short stories but then everyone wanted to send me copies of their books and I'm just not a good reviewer, I just know what I like and want to share those stories with other readers.

Travis Richardson said...

Yes, the reviewer commitment would be essential. Especially as the reviewers could be tastemakers. I would hope to that end that followings would be gained. I feel there is so much terrific stuff out there, but it would be wonderful to have a collective of reviewers getting the word out on the awesome stuff. I bought the domains for and the other day. I'd want a decent website, not just a blog. Something that can be referenced with pages for individual reviewers or genres. I don't want to make promises, but I'll try to work at something (it'll take months if not a year, esp. with a baby.) Thanks for the crimespot and short review mentions. I hadn't heard of them before.

sandra seamans said...

This sounds really great, Travis. If you need names of reviewers or would like me to post that you're looking for reviewers please let me know. I can help get the word out when you're all set up. The links to those review sites I mentioned are over on the right down toward the bottom with the original title Links. :)