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There are, as I've discussed previously, a lot of different styles of magazine editorials. I'm pretty comfortable with the conversational style. There are dangers to the conversational style, though, chief among them being boring the snot out of the readers who do not know the Editor personally and thus do not care how the Editor's family reunion at the New Jersey Shore went. (It went quite well, actually.) Those readers are in luck this month! There's a lot going on at Strange Horizons these days, enough that we're going to devote an entire editorial to it and spare you a play-by-play of the events of my family reunion. You don't really want to hear about the fight over whether or not ants have queens, for instance, or about my teenage cousin's impresario rendition of the works of Hillary Duff. So let's talk about the magazine.

The New Look

As you've undoubtedly noticed, we've had a bit of a redesign. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Elaine Chen for creating this new look. Elaine is not only incredibly talented, she's a pleasure to work with, and we encourage anyone looking for a web designer to consider Elaine.

We're quite pleased with the new design (well, I am—it's possible that the rest of the staff is only humoring me), primarily because it gives the magazine a lighter and cleaner look. It also eliminates the frameset, making life easier for anyone trying to bookmark or link to individual pieces. The new design has some advantages on the maintenance side as well, but I'll spare you the gory technical details.

One of our priorities, both in the new design and the old, was accessibility. The new design is compatible with text-only browsers, doesn't make heavy use of graphics and shouldn't overwhelm older computers or slower internet connections, and doesn't require JavaScript or Flash or any other bells-and-whistles in order to function. We believe it to be compatible with accessibility standards for readers making use of various assistive technologies. We also tested fairly extensively with different browsers and platforms, and we waited to go live with the new design until we were pretty sure it wasn't going to break the magazine for any of our readers. As always, we're looking out for you. Let us know if we missed anything.

Open Staff Positions

If you've ever wanted to get in on the fun and be a part of the team that makes Strange Horizons happen, here's your chance! We've got openings in a couple of departments. The full job descriptions, along with information on how to apply, can be found here. All of our staffers are unpaid volunteers, and Strange Horizons staff members cannot submit fiction, poetry, or artwork to the magazine. Those are the drawbacks. The advantages, of course, are many and varied, ranging from "very attractive business cards" to "the knowledge that you're one of the cool kids" to "a sense of pride and accomplishment in helping produce one of the best magazines in speculative fiction." I'm also told that it can look very nice on a resume.

We're looking for art editors, to help create the monthly artist galleries and the illustrations that run with the first fiction piece each month. We're looking for an assistant webmaster, to help keep things working behind the scenes. We're looking for an articles editor, to keep up with our weekly output of interviews, science and history articles, and critical analysis. Nearest and dearest to my heart, because it's where I'm filling in until we've met our staffing needs, we're looking for people to work in our Development/PR group. Strange Horizons is funded almost entirely by grants and donations; it's important to us to be able to pay professional rates to our contributors while not charging fees to our readers, but doing that requires a lot of fundraising work. And while our reader base is growing steadily, it's also growing slowly, and we need some people on staff who can help us expand that readership and bring the work done by our contributors to an even larger audience. We need a few additional people on staff who can handle all of these projects on an as-needed basis, but we also need a Development Coordinator who can keep track of the projects that need doing and make sure the rest of us are meeting our deadlines.

We've got a great group of people here at Strange Horizons, and we'd love to have you join us.

Fall Fund Drive

Our next fund drive is coming up in September. We have fund drives twice a year, but those of you paying closer attention may have noticed that it hasn't been six months since our last fund drive. There's a reason for this. Strange Horizons fund drives were originally held in December and June, but we received a lot of complaints from donors (and potential donors) about having a fund drive so close to the year-end holiday shopping. We made a decision last year to change to a September/March schedule, and we compressed our fundraising schedule slightly in order to make the shift more gradual.

I'll save the big fundraising pitches for the actual fund drive, but there's one thing I find too exciting to keep quiet. Last fall we introduced the Strange Horizons membership card, available to everyone who donates $25 or more to our magazine. It's an attractive laminated wallet-sized card that identifies you as a member of our community. The first year's card featured original artwork by the Hugo-nominated artist Frank Wu. Beginning with the September fund drive, we're delighted to offer a membership card with original artwork by our own Readers' Choice Award winner Janet Chui. It's a great picture, depicting an imaginary Strange Horizons Tea Party, and it can be yours for just a small donation!

Speaking of Tea Parties. . .

The Sixty-Second World Science Fiction Convention will be held in Boston over the first weekend in September. I'll be there, along with many other Strange Horizons staff and contributors. I have to confess that I find WorldCon a little overwhelming (it's so big! there are so many people!), but if my last WorldCon experience is any guide, it can also be exhilarating at times. We'll be having our traditional Strange Horizons Tea Party on Sunday (5 September) from 4:30pm to 6pm. (We don't have the exact room location yet, but it will be one of the junior suites at the Sheraton, and we'll post flyers at the convention once we have the room number.) Since Strange Horizons launched at WorldCon in 2000, the tea party is also our birthday party. If you're going to be at WorldCon, you should stop by, have some tea and cookies, and meet all the lovely and talented people who will be in attendance. And wish us a happy birthday!




Susan Marie Groppi is a historian, writer, and editor. She was a fiction editor at Strange Horizons from 2001 to 2010, and Editor-in-Chief from January 2004 to December 2010.
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