Editor's Desk: Worldcon Bound

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 183 – December 2021

In October, I attended Capclave, my first in-person convention since November 2019. It was small, low-key, and perfect for an overly introverted person to dip back into social waters after a long absence. Afterwards, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I needed nothing more than my normal post-convention recovery period. In November, I attended […]

Editor's Desk: Changing the Conventional Wisdom

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 182 – November 2021

“Everyone knows you can’t make money in short fiction.” —conventional wisdom Conventional wisdom often has an element of truth to it, but sometimes it’s used as an excuse to keep things the way they are or to discourage people from trying something hard. The problem is that it reframes beliefs and expectations rather than addressing […]

Editor's Desk: Fifteen

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 181 – October 2021

We were told we wouldn’t last a year, but here we are at our fifteenth anniversary issue and I have to say that it feels really good. To be fair to our early critics, the landscape for online fiction was more like a slaughterhouse back in 2006. While a lot of that was simply poor […]

Editor's Desk: Ten+ Years of Translation

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 180 – September 2021

August quietly marked the tenth anniversary of our first translation, “The Fish of Lijiang” by Chen Qiufan, translated by Ken Liu. So why am I talking about it a month later? Well, to be honest, it sort of snuck up on me. I am not the first editor to feel passionately about the importance of […]

Editor's Desk: No Solicitations

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 179 – August 2021

A month doesn’t pass where I don’t field a question or see a comment about whether or not magazines, Clarkesworld included, are welcoming to new authors. A lot of this stems from a belief that magazines prioritize “name” authors over newcomers in the submissions process. Of major concern is the practice of solicited submissions, works […]

Editor's Desk: An In-House Holiday

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 178 – July 2021

In October, Clarkesworld will celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of its very first issue, but for those of us behind-the-scenes, July (the seventh, to be precise) is where it all began. I was set on this path after a late-night conversation about the state of online fiction with Sean Wallace at Readercon. If you know your […]

Editor's Desk: What Do You Want?

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 177 – June 2021

“What do you want?” That was the question asked by the representative of the Shadows in Babylon 5. The Shadows were an ancient race that followed the first principles of chaos through warfare, evolution through bloodshed, and perfection through victory. For a younger race to reach their full potential they must endure the chaos of […]

Editor's Desk: A Quarantine Soapbox

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 176 – May 2021

Much like Matt Dixon’s robot on the cover of this month’s issue, I’ve felt a little boxed in this month. I’m currently in mandatory quarantine following a COVID test for the third time in the last two weeks. I should make it clear that I’m not at risk, though. This is solely for the protection […]

Editor's Desk: In the Months Ahead

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 175 – April 2021

My last few editorials have been consumed by a focus on our annual reader’s poll and the works we published in 2020. This month, I’m turning it around and looking ahead to a few of the things that will be happening here in 2021. First, let me set the stage. I started the year with […]

Editor's Desk: The Best from 2020

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 174 – March 2021

Over the last two months, Clarkesworld readers have been helping to determine the best story and cover art that we published in 2020. While there’s almost always someone (or a group of someones) who tries to sway the process, the voting went rather smoothly this year. Participation was up slightly over 2019 with the majority […]

Editor's Desk: 2020 Reader's Poll Finalists

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 173 – February 2021

In late January, we held the first phase of our annual Clarkesworld Magazine Reader’s Poll for best story and cover art. Maintaining the model we’ve used in recent years, the nomination phase took place online and lasted just under two days. The narrow window has continued to prove effective at minimizing the effects of ballot-stuffing […]

Editor's Desk: 2020 in Review

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 172 – January 2021

With the start of a new year comes the inevitable looking back at the previous one. Strictly by the numbers, here’s a quick snapshot of Clarkesworld’s 2020 output. 12 issues 69 authors 36 authors had never been published in Clarkesworld before 8 (possibly 10) had never been published before, 2 others were first professional sales […]

Editor's Desk: Don't Let Go of the Future

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 171 – December 2020

It’s tempting to write a year-in-review editorial, but honestly, I don’t feel up to writing about life-threatening surgery, pandemics, deaths, or the host of other stressful elements that make up this past year’s highlights. It’s pervasive and exhausting. We’ve all been through enough and I understand now why previous pandemics have been more-or-less removed from […]

Editor's Desk: Staring at the Ceiling

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 170 – November 2020

I started off the year with uncertainty. I knew I was heading into risky surgery that would result in weeks of recovery, so I decided that we’d start 2020 simple at Clarkesworld. No extra work. No new projects. Maintain the status quo. I decided that I wouldn’t need the extra stress and despite that, I […]

Editor's Desk: In Mourning

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 169 – October 2020

I was all set to pen an editorial celebrating our fourteenth-anniversary issue and the plans we have for next year, but I’m not sure I have it in me right now. Mind you, I’m extremely grateful to see the magazine reach this milestone and proud of the accomplishment. There are ups and downs, certainly, but […]

Editor's Desk: Warning, May Contain Marketing

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 168 – September 2020

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been editing The Best Science Fiction of the Year anthologies for five years now. Under normal conditions, volume five—covering 2019—would have been published by now, but 2020 has been anything but normal and I fear that it’s not quite done with us yet. But that’s a path I’d rather […]

Editor's Desk: Yes, Virginia, Short Fiction is Important

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 167 – August 2020

Short fiction is important. I feel like I shouldn’t have to say that, but in my years as both a fan and as a professional, I’ve seen it treated like a younger sibling or supporting character when compared to novels. It’s easy to come up with examples of this. I’ve spoken about the perceived financial […]

Editor's Desk: The Most Science Fictional Worldcon Ever

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 166 – July 2020

In recent years, I’ve had the privilege of being able to attend several Worldcons. It’s one of those rare occasions where I get to meet readers and authors that I might not normally see at the regional conventions I regularly attend. Last year, I made the trek to Dublin, Ireland to visit family and attend […]

Editor's Desk: SF/F Fiction Magazines, Pandemic Edition

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 165 – June 2020

When I was mining social media for ideas for editorials last month, several people asked if I could write something on how magazines have been impacted by the pandemic. While I had already been in contact with several editors, I didn’t feel like I had enough information or time to pursue it for the May […]

Editor's Desk: Focus Neil, Focus

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 164 – May 2020

Maintaining any semblance of motivation during this time period has been hard, certainly, and dealing with an unidentified uneasiness/anxiety has not been fun. Deadlines particularly have been difficult. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. When I find the strength to tackle the slush pile, I can’t help but notice a few things: […]

Editor's Desk: Lockdown

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 163 – April 2020

From all of us here at Clarkesworld, we wish you good health in these difficult times, particularly those of you who share my designation of “high risk” due to medical or age-related reasons. Covid-19 is a part of our daily lives. It’s hard to avoid when you can’t leave your house. I live in NJ, […]

Editor's Desk: The Best from 2019

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 162 – March 2020

Over the last two months, our readers have been helping us select the best story and cover art that we published in 2019. While the first round went very smoothly, there were several easily-spotted attempts to stuff the ballot in round two. With that obvious exception, we’d like to thank everyone who participated this year. […]

Editor's Desk: 2019 Reader's Poll Finalists

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 161 – February 2020

I’d like to start this month by thanking everyone for their support and understanding during my surgery and recovery over the last month. The procedure went off without a hitch. I’ll admit that I was nervous about the whole lasers-being-fired-in-my-heart thing, but I had an amazing team of doctors and probably the most space-age operating […]

Editor's Desk: A Bucket of Things

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 160 – January 2020

Normally, I struggle to think of a topic for my editorials, but this month I have three things on my plate and none can really wait. I’m going to briefly cover all of them right now and cover some in detail when I have the luxury of some worry-free time. Thing 1: That Whirring Sound […]

About the Story by Isabel Fall

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 160 – January 2020

Yesterday, I removed the story “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter” by Isabel Fall from the current issue of Clarkesworld Magazine. The recent barrage of attacks on Isabel have taken a toll and I ask that even if you disagree with the decision, that you respect it. This is not censorship. She needed this […]

Editor's Desk: Staring at the Hole

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 159 – December 2019

This month’s editorial was supposed to be about my adventures at a pair of science fiction conventions in China, but it won’t be. I’m sitting on the floor of my house, blasting some music by Infected Mushroom, and trying to work out how to tell you the story of how none of that came to […]

Editor's Desk: Your 9AM Wakeup Call

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 158 – November 2019

For almost seven years now, I’ve been living with a mechanical friend who lives in my chest and  monitors my heart for any abnormal activity and who is prepared to zap me if necessary. Boxy, as my kids dubbed it, while reassuring, is a single-minded cyborg enhancement. When it was first discussed, I had asked […]

Editor's Desk: And into Year Fourteen We Go

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 157 – October 2019

October marks our thirteenth anniversary! To celebrate, we have a larger-than-normal issue this month, highlighted in part by a novella and an extra translation. Both works were made possible by a grant from LTI Korea. That funding has allowed us to substitute original Korean translations  in place of nine reprints in our 2019 schedule. We’re […]

Editor’s Desk: A Journey “Home”

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 156 – September 2019

When Dublin first announced its bid to host a Worldcon, something weird happened: my family’s ears perked up. My parents were born and raised in Ireland—Navan to be precise—and immigrated to the US in the 1960s. While my grandparents were still alive, we made regular pilgrimages “home” to visit family and I have many fond […]

Editor's Desk: One Hundred Thousand Titles

EDITORIAL by Neil Clarke in Issue 155 – August 2019

In April 2015, I wrote a blog post about the most popular titles submitted to Clarkesworld after its first fifty thousand submissions. We started using that system in 2009, so it took about six years. Just under four years later, we passed the one hundred thousand mark, so I decided to jump back into our […]
Clarkesworld Year Twelve
Best Science Fiction of the Year