The science fiction short story is an ancient and honorable art form. Many of the great SF authors of antiquity got their start practicing the craft and found their niche in the pages of Astounding, Galaxy and Analog. My first encounters with these magazines were as a high school student waiting for homeroom to finally be over. I read some great stuff like Astounding, Galaxy and Analog; like Ender’s Game by Orion Scott Card (yes a short story before it was a book, and before he became such a homophoic nutjob) and The Cold Cash War by Robert Lyn Asprin (also later made into a book). These great stories inspired my understanding of SF and made there way into my gaming in subtle and obvious ways. Unfortunately, the SF short story magazine is dead.
Galaxy went under in the 1980s and Astounding changed it’s name, and it’s focus, when it became Analog. Analog still exists as a print magazine but…it’s BORING! Seriously, the print magazines of today are simply no fun to read. The stories focus on high-minded technologic what-ifs to the detriment of a good tale. No elements of humor, of adventure are allowed to cross the page and the characters are as interesting as American cheese on white bread.
The good news is that there is a new place for the SF short story in the new millennium. Online publications like Lightspeed, Apex and Perihelion have stepped into the gap, and are publishing some very good stuff. I laughed out loud when I read To Dance With The Girls Of Ios Five by Ted Blasche in this months edition of Perihelion. For those who love a good SF tale as much as a good SF game, I highly recommend you check them out.