Editor's Desk: In the Months Ahead
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 an unexpected trip to the hospital. I’ve had three procedures so far and a fourth is still to come. It’s a complicated story involving an asteroid field of kidney stones and debris (seriously, that bad) and complications due to my cardiac history. Suffice it to say that there’s been a great deal of pain, discomfort, and reduced productivity. If that wasn’t enough, our printer decided that this was the time to become unreliable. After they ruined the initial and replacement runs for several issues, we moved to a new printer and I’m now waiting for a rather large delivery so I can ship out copies to all the people who are owed them. No sooner was that settled, we suffered a major outage and new complications with our website hosting.
In short, I’m already behind schedule. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Clarkesworld turns fifteen this year. If I’ve learned anything in that time, it’s that you have to be adaptable to survive in this business. There’s always another path to explore and sometimes you just have to wait it out.
For example, a few months ago, I made a big announcement about a new initiative to open submission windows in other languages, starting with Spanish. By this point in the year, I expected to have our Spanish language team fully assembled and making progress on the prep work that would allow us to launch mid-year. None of that has been able to happen and I can’t see assembling the team before my next medical procedure. To that end, I’ve pushed my timetable for the Spanish submission window back to September, but October may be more realistic.
Another project in the works is a major overhaul of our website. It’s been a while since we’ve done a large scale redesign and just changes in web technology alone make that long overdue. Furthermore, the magazine has grown considerably since the last refresh and now pushes the edges of what our current site can handle. I’ve had a long laundry list of feature enhancements I’ve wanted to incorporate, but couldn’t tack onto the existing infrastructure.
I had planned to time the rollout of the new site with a move to a new hosting service sometime around our anniversary (October), but the website hosting issue we experienced last month has made this a higher priority. In the last couple of weeks, this project has jumped far ahead of schedule and is now likely to happen sometime in the next few months. A few of our readers (volunteers from our Discord server for Patron and ClarkesworldCitizens.com supporters) have already started kicking the tires on a test site and offering up some fantastic feedback that are making it even better than originally planned.
Our submission system is something that doesn’t tend to have much relevance for our readers—even if it is how we get all our stories—but it is something that connects the two projects I’ve mentioned. Updates for this system will need to be completed before either can move forward. It’s slightly more complicated, but I hope to make significant progress on this key portion of the project in the next month.
As I mentioned, 2021 is also a major anniversary year. It’s hard to believe that we’re coming up on fifteen years. Clearly, we need to do something special to celebrate this milestone. I have a bunch of ideas, but so many of them depend on how things play out in the real world over the next few months. I think it best that I just close out the editorial with a tease that we’ll be doing something special in October and leave it at that.
Neil Clarke is the editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, and several anthologies, including the Best Science Fiction of the Year series. He is a ten-time finalist and current winner of the Hugo Award for Best Editor (Short Form), has won the Chesley Award for Best Art Director three times, and received the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award from SFWA in 2019. His latest anthology, New Voices in Chinese Science Fiction (co-edited with Xia Jia and Regina Kanyu Wang), is now available from Clarkesworld Books. He currently lives in NJ with his wife and two sons.