I just found out through one of my writing groups that Realms of Fantasy is closing down after April's issue. Here's the full story:
Realms of Fantasy closing
By Ian Randal Strock
January 27, 2009
Breaking news: Realms of Fantasy is closing down following publication of its April 2009 issue. Managing Editor Laura Cleveland told SFScope the news came very suddenly, indeed, even Editor Shawna McCarthy (currently on vacation in Italy) hadn't been informed yet. The only reason we got the story is that rumors broke through the blogosphere today.
Cleveland said the April issue is currently at the printer, and will be published. The reasons she was given for the closure were plummeting newsstand sales. "Subscriptions are good, and advertising, until very recently, was fine." She blamed the economic downturn and newsstand distribution for the closure.
Publisher Sovereign Media first got into sf magazine publishing with Science Fiction Age, which Scott Edelman edited through its eight-year life. SFAge was closed while still profitable to make room for an even more profitable wrestling magazine. Realms of Fantasy has been with us for fifteen years and "was coming up on its 100th issue," Cleveland said. "We were excited about the special Halloween issue we'd been planning, which would have been our first."
The staff is obviously harried by the news, and that it's become public so quickly. Cleveland had been hoping to tell the authors and artists the news before it broke publicly. The magazine wasn't carrying a large inventory, she said, although she did note that they'd recently purchased a number of stories which now won't be published.
More news as we learn it.
I'm saddened to hear this news. I'm a subscriber because I enjoy their stories, even though they can have sad endings sometimes. (A recent issue had one story about a woman who lost her son and husband and another story about a child stolen by a trickster; that's too much for a mother to take. "Sonnets Made of Wood," by Leah Bobet, one of my fellow OWWers, was also quite agonizing to read.) I submitted a couple of my short stories to them, but they were all rejected. What a shame to lose another professional market for genre short stories. I hope that after the economy recovers--we must keep faith the economy will improve--this magazine will be reborn. Or is that another fantasy?