Sad news today out of the Czech Republic—the SF/F magazine XB-1 has announced that their June issue will be their last. Economic problems and a lack of advertisers were among the issues mentioned as being responsible for the magazine's death.
XB-1 ran for two and a half years and was the successor to the groundbreaking SF magazine Ikarie. When Ikarie's publisher closed that magazine in late 2010, Ikarie's editors immediately started XB-1.
Now, I must admit more than a passing connection with XB-1. They've published translations of a number of my stories and, for the last two years, I've written a monthly SF column for the magazine. In addition to publishing great original stories, translations and non-fiction articles, XB-1 fostered and supported the entire Czech genre community. I've also found XB-1 editors and readers to be extremely passionate about their magazine, as detailed in the comments below the announcement of their closing.
There's some hope that the magazine can be revived just as the earlier Ikarie was brought back from the dead—in the announcement XB-1's publisher says they are very open to offers to purchase the magazine. And if a print magazine isn't possible, perhaps an online version will continue. I'm definitely hoping one of these options happen.
Ironically, this weekend I received my contributor copies of XB-1 covering all twelve months of 2012. XB-1 is a beautiful magazine, with amazing design standards and artwork. While I know e-publishing is both the trend of today and for the future, holding a copy of XB-1 reminds you of the power still held by printed magazines.