Are Today's SF Magazines Too Wide-Ranging And Eclectic For Most Readers?

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"I think almost all of the big respectable science fiction and fantasy magazines have the same exact problem which is that they're eclectic. And, eclectic products have a much harder time finding an audience who will follow them. I'm astounded at the fantasy and science fiction readership, for example, who is willing to read both my story and a Peter Beagle story. I think that those satisfy very different experiential urges, and so having a magazine that caters to both my writing and Peter Beagle's writing means that you have to have a very special reader: someone who's willing to essentially genre jump and experience jump inside of a magazine. I don't think most people are actually like that. I think when we look at consumer magazines and stuff like that we see people narrowing themselves down significantly. I think that the magazines were conceived at the time when an astounding story simply was enough, but now I think that the readership has shifted a lot and so that now you have people who are specifically, "I'm really only a steampunk reader, I don't actually cross over much other stuff." "I really am a military SF reader, I don't really cross over into much other stuff." And so, I think that any generalist fiction magazine has a difficult road there. I mean, I don't know what other readers are like, maybe I'm just stereotyping off of myself, but I honestly don't like to be surprised by the next story I pick up. I kind of know what experience I'm looking for. There's a reason why I return to Elmore Leonard novels or something, because I really like the Elmore Leonard experience, and I want more Elmore Leonard-like experiences. I think it's interesting that a magazine like Analog which in many ways is spoken of being extremely old school and sort of the driest side of science fiction is also the one with the strongest readership, and I think that's because it's closer to providing a consistency of experience from story to story." — Paolo Bacigalupi in's Geek's Guide To The Galaxy podcast, via LibraryThing