Baen Books to launch online sf mag edited by Eric Flint

Copyfighting SF writer Eric Flint will be editing a new online adventure sf magazine for his publisher, Baen Books. The magazine will be called Baen's Astounding Stories Universe.

The magazine will focus on publishing side-stories from the long-running serials that are Baen's stock-in-trade, and promises to pay enough that writers could make a substantial portion of their living from for them.

Eric's first book, 1632, was a cracking alternate-history/military sf novel about a small working-class mining town in contemporary Virginia that gets magicked back to Germany in the midst of the 30 Years War and where the local miner's union sets about using its technology advantage to bring democratic reforms to Europe, devoted to toppling monarchies in favor of technocentric constitutional democracies.

Eric convinced Baen to release its books as free, freely redistributable downloads, a move that has sold lots and lots more books, making it good karma and good business.

Baen's Astounding Stories Universe will sell for $6 an issue — I'm guessing we're talking about a PDF here? — and individual stories for a dollar. I'm not a huge believer in the market for pay-to-read electronic books, but it's really cool to see a publisher playing with it. Let's just hope they don't screw it up by adding DRM to it!

"Although the magazine is focused toward established popular writers, we also intend to make it a good place for new writers to emerge," Flint said. "To that end, we're setting aside a special 'Introducing … ' section of the magazine, which will be reserved entirely for new writers. We will publish at least one such story per issue, and probably two or three." Readers can also expect to see some classic reprints from authors who are no longer living.

In addition to the fiction, the magazine will also feature several factual articles in each issue. "Some of these will be straight-forward factual pieces, of the sort that SF magazines have been publishing for decades," Flint said. "Others will be more personal, anecdotal accounts of the interface between writers, scientists and the rest of the world that we think readers will find interesting."


Update: Eric Flint writes "In answer to your question, why in God's name would Baen started screwing around with DRM when we've never encrypted _anything_????

The magazine will come completely unencrypted, as do all Baen electronic products.

"PS.  It's not at all accurate to say that I "convinced" Jim Baen.  Jim started Webscriptions on an unencrypted basis before I knew anything about it.  And the Free Library got started when I put up MOTHER OF DEMONS — at Jim's suggestion."

Update 2: John Joseph sez "Baen has changed the name of the mag to Jim Baen's UNIVERSE. Rumor has it they were contacted by the rightholders to the name ASTOUNDING (Dell Magazines, one would assume), and rather than fight it out, they just dumped the name in favor of a new one."