Oct 8, 2019
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Fireside cancels multiple contracted book titles
Yesterday Fireside Press contacted a number of its authors and cancelled their pending book titles. The messages received by those authors said that due to unexpected changes at Fireside, the publisher had to re-evaluate their plans for the upcoming year. As a result Fireside was cancelling the contracts for multiple titles which had been accepted and contracted but not yet scheduled for publication. Fireside reverted the rights for these books to their authors, although no kill fee was paid because that wasn’t in the contract.
All of these cancellations appear to have been for novellas in Fireside’s line of stand-alone book titles. No stories accepted by Fireside Magazine were affected.
One writer who spoke with me on condition of anonymity said, “Writers are carefully guarded about sharing good news. We wait until a contract is signed and even then, most of us are afraid to jinx the iota of joy this grinding job affords us on the best of days. To have a signed contract canceled without a real cause is the worst kind of reversal, just a real rug-puller.”
I spoke with Fireside publisher and artistic director Pablo Defendini about all this. He said, “While our overall plans remain the same, I’m adjusting our focus a bit after the editorial changes that happened this summer. Whenever there’s a change like that, it affects workflow, capacity, and resourcing throughout. Unfortunately, it’s had an effect on the amount of work I can reasonably take on, so I had to make some hard decisions.”
One of the recent editorial changes at Fireside was the departure of editor Julia Rios in April.
In August, Fireside announced that their print magazine Fireside Quarterly would change the nomenclature they use for each issue from month to season, such as spring issue, winter issue and so on. Stories in each quarterly issue of the print magazine are subsequently released in the magazine’s e-editions. (Note and update: An earlier version of this paragraph wrongly said the print magazine was changing to quarterly. Instead, only the nomenclature for issues will change. In addition, Defendini released a more detailed comment on all this on Oct. 9.)
In addition, that announcement also named the four guest editors who will be working on each issue of Fireside Quarterly in 2020. They are Maurice Broaddus, Kate Dollarhyde, L. D. Lewis, and Dominik Parisien.
Other News and Info
- A juror for a diverse writers grant offered by the Speculative Literature Foundation didn’t like that Laura Christensen’s story used the singular pronoun "they" to refer to someone of unknown gender. The judge went on to explain to Laura that “I should have referred to them as an ‘it’ and I was being too 21st century in my ‘inclusiveness.’” See the juror’s message here, along with face-desk responses to the juror's words from many other writers.
- Jim C. Hines offers his thoughts on the grieving process.
- The Guardian offers an insightful look at why Afrofuturism is taking over science fiction.
- Fascinating research suggesting some fairy tales may be more than 6,000 years old.
- Victoria Straus describes how one scammer traps unwary authors by presenting their organization as being allied with Penguin Random House. Spoiler: They’re not.
- The winners have been announced for the 2018 D Franklin Defying Doomsday Award, which honors disability advocacy in SFF literature. The winner’s are R.B. Lemberg for “Sergeant Bothari and Disability Representation in the Early Vorkosiverse” published in Strange Horizons and Ace Ratcliff for “Staircases In Space: Why Are Places In Science Fiction Not Wheelchair-Accessible?” published in io9.
- Hard to be sad about major Hollywood studios losing their right to iconic '80s film franchises because writers are daring to demand the return of their copyrights. The answer is, of course, simple: Pay the writers who own these copyrights enough money to buy them back. But as always, Hollywood studios hate anything which involves actually paying writers what they’re due.