If you've had your head buried in the sand for the last year, you can be excused for not knowing that Daily Science Fiction is one of the most exciting new SF/F magazines to emerge in 2010. Established by editors Jonathan Laden (a Clarion alumni and Writers of the Future author) and Michele Barasso, DSF has a simple publishing model–stories are emailed for free to subscribers five days a week. The stories are also archived on the DSF website.
Because DSF pays professional rates, they have been able to publish stories from top writers like Lavie Tidhar, Cat Rambo, Tim Pratt, Colin Harvey, Mary Robinette Kowal, and many more.
But despite this success, some people seem to wish DSF would go away. And yes, Locus Magazine, this head-in-sand attitude is coming from you.
I'd noticed that Locus hadn't been reviewing Daily Science Fiction. However, what this meant didn't click until I read this review on Diabolical Plots. After praising the September fiction offerings from DSF, Frank Dutkiewicz mentioned how he'd asked "the editor of a leading review outlet on why DSF is ignored. The answer I got back was there was too much to review and the editors must be nuts if they think they can keep up throwing so many stories, at the rate they pay, for essentially free."
Can anyone guess who this "leading review outlet" might be?
Here's a hint: After reading that quote, I went through my back issues of Locus. No reviews of any DSF stories until the current Feb. 2011 issue. I also checked Lois Tilton's online reviews of short fiction. Again, no reviews of DSF.
This is not acceptable.
To the credit of Locus, they did include Lavie Tidhar's DSF story "Butterfly and the Blight at the Heart of the World" on their 2010 recommended reading list. The story was reviewed by Gardner Dozois in that same Feb. 2011 "Year in Review" issue. As he says, DSF "has the ambitious – perhaps too ambitious – goal of publishing a new SF or fantasy story every single day of the year. Probably unsurprisingly, most of them are not terribly good, although some interesting stuff pops up occasionally."
I appreciate that Gardner took the time to review the story and DSF. His review is exactly why I subscribe to Locus. I'm not asking them to heap praise on DSF; I'm asking the magazine to treat DSF like any other outlet and simply review their stories.
I'll admit when DSF first came out I was also suspicious of their publishing model. But they've established themselves by now and deserve to be treated like any other professional-paying magazine. In fact, I recently submitted my first story to DSF and had it accepted. I wouldn't have done this if I didn't think DSF was a quality publisher.
I must also admit I was hesitant to criticize Locus for not reviewing DSF. Not only do they frequently review my fiction, I'm a long-time subscriber to the magazine. So while I hope other people will join me in calling for Locus to start reviewing DSF on a regular basis, don't take this as a reason to cancel your subscription or call the editors nasty names.
Locus holds an integral place in our genre community. I simply want them to remain integral by regularly reviewing professional-paying magazines like DSF!