Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Why I Love Beneath Ceaseless Skies

The other day a good friend and fellow anthologist asked me if I had a home or new of one for a good, literary heroic fantasy. From the description, the story in question sounded like exactly my cup of tea, but, alas, I'm not currently editing any short story anthologies. I recommended that the writer-in-question check out the online zine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

"Isn't that just a minor, second tier website?" my friend replied.

I quickly set him straight. Not only does Beneath Ceaseless Skies pay pro rates, and not only is it an SFWA-qualifying market, but work from it has been favorably reviewed in Locus magazine, and several of its authors have gone on to have novel sales (most recently Erin Hoffman to me and Saladin Ahmed to DAW).

I've been a fan of Beneath Ceaseless Skies for some time. Although my pleasure reading time is severely curtailed (anytime I read something that isn't a manuscript for Pyr I am essentially either taking my company's money to not work or taking time away from my family), I do make a point of reading BCS when I can. And I have yet to read a bad story there.

Now, I am an old school sword and sorcery fan. But I'm not interested in Conan pastiche, and I do have an appetite for elegant prose. Enter Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which offers "the best in literary adventure fantasy." Hey, look at those two adjectives: "literary" and "adventure." Not two words that are often strung together, and yet exactly what I'm looking for.

I'm also a great fan of the way that Scott H. Andrews runs the magazine, making every issue available not only on the site itself, but also as a free PDF, Mobi prc, and ePub file and a $.99 Kindle file. It's the ePub format that's particularly of use to me, since I can click the link and have it load directly into Stanza on my iPad. It's getting ridiculously easy to generate quality ePub files these days, with even more conversion options coming (Scrivener 2.0 and, I believe, the next generation of Microsoft Word will both do this). Some of the older, more established magazines could benefit by being up in ePub like this themselves, and I have used it as an example of what to do write in conversations with other new magazines.

They also have an e-only anthology out, The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies: Year One, which I bought in the iBook store the minute it was released. It's up in all these formats (and only costs $2.99):

Smashwords.com, in five ebook & computer formats
Amazon Kindle Store, in Kindle/Stanza format
KoboBooks.com, in EPUB format
Apple's iBookstore, for iPad users

I highly recommend checking out the website, supporting them by buying the ebook anthology, and the downloading the latest issue. Plus, they are celebrating their 2nd Anniversary. BCS has published 45 podcasts and over a hundred stories in just two years.  This Thursday will see the release of their Anniversary Double-Issue, with stories from featuring Richard Parks and Tony Pi. I'll be there!


Aidan Moher said...

Glad to see some love for BCS. Absolutely one of my favourite publications on the web!

Lou Anders said...

The quality really struck me right off. As did for the format.

Don said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Lou. Hadn't heard of them and I'm a sucker for that sub-genre.

Lou Anders said...

Do check them out.