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About Outside

Updated January 1, 2007

We are closed. Please do not send any material. There is nobody to read or reply, so please accept our best wishes for good luck in submitting elsewhere. By all means, enjoy the articles and stories remaining on this museum site, which reflects an important little piece of early Internet/WWW history.--JTC

Updated November 5, 2002

Deep Outside SFFH (originally launched April 15, 1998 as Outside: Speculative & Dark Fiction) is making another transition in November 2002. Brian Callahan, co-founder, is moving on to concentrate on his new company, Sigh Co. Grapics of New Orleans. Brian remains a good friend and trusted advisor for the magazine's new incarnation as Far Sector SFFH.

John Cullen will remain as the sole proprietor of the magazine under its new name, Far Sector SFFH. The magazine's editorial policies will remain largely the same as it approaches its five-year anniversary in April 2003. John Cullen plans to continue the same focus on top-quality genre fiction from both new and established authors for years to come. The Deep Outside SFFH website with its treasure trove of articles and great fiction will remain as an archive for many years.

Deep Outside SFFH made history when it became the first web-only professional magazine of speculative fiction listed in Writer's Market (1999). It is the world's oldest surviving publication of its type from the early days of the internet boom, as detailed by Karen Wiesner in her official history of all things Webbish (see http://12.108.175.91/ebookweb/stories/storyReader$328). Also look for Karen's annual book at Amazon, Electronic Publishing: The Definitive Guide (2002 Edition), ISBN ISBN: 1931419035.

We wish to thank our writers and readers, and the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror communities in general, for their support during our long, happy, and successful run, and we look for your continued support as the magazine morphs into Far Sector SFFH and moves forward. In its publishing relationships, which include Print on Demand with LightningSource and all ebook formats with Fictionwise.com, Far Sector SFFH will continue to surf on the frontal curl of digital innovation. Stay with us as we enjoy the best that is to come.

Updated June 14, 1999

Deep Outside SFFH (DOSFFH), Clocktower Fiction's magazine of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, first appeared on April 15, 1998 (as Outside: Speculative and Dark Fiction). The parent publishing arm, Clocktower Fiction, has existed since 1996, absorbing two earlier web publishing sites—our first stories were published on Neon Blue Fiction (May 1996) and The Haunted Village (July 1996), and have been read by thousands of readers in over 60 countries to this day.

DOSFFH is the Internet's oldest SF/F/H magazine that pays SFWA rates to its writers, is open to submissions, and publishes professional quality genre fiction. We made history when we became the first Web-only SF/F/H magazine, without a previous print incarnation, listed in Writer's Market (1999 ed.).

As far as we know, the first quality SF Web magazine* was Andy McCann's Planet Magazine, which has continually published since 1996. (Read John Argo's Control Game in the 1997 issue).

Also noteworthy is the brief existence of Omni on the Web during 1998 after its cessation as a print magazine. The on-line version was probably the first pro Web-only sf/f/h magazine by a few months, but soon went out of business. Ellen Datlow and her staff then created the estimable Event Horizon.

*We prefer "magazine" to emphasize our 100% professionalism rather than "zine" or "e-zine," which have amateur connotations.


April 15, 1998

Welcome to Deep Outside SFFH, a magazine of speculative and dark fiction. We bring something else besides quality fiction -- we bring to the table a worldwide audience. Our readership is approximately two thirds in the U.S. and Canada, and one third in some 50 countries around the world. In a moment, I'll explain how this came to be.

The Internet is shaping up as a great leveler of playing fields and a great integrator of concepts and realities.

Early in 1996, Brian and I saw the potential in reaching some audience with our fiction, sidestepping the time-consuming and overly competitive gauntlet of agents, editors, and publishers. We saw it as every aspiring writer's dream -- the chance to step directly before the reader and thereby not be denied the ultimate challenge -- the reader's judgment as to whether he or she will like your story.

To our surprise, our two original websites (Neon Blue Fiction, a showcase for our noir mystery/suspense, and The Haunted Village, a showcase for our science fiction and darkly imaginative fiction) quickly took off. We get favorable comments from many readers, and the growth continues.

After the first year, we felt the logical next step would be to publish other people's work. We felt, however, that we should keep our fiction at arms' length from that of freelancers'.

First, we decided there should be a high-level publishing umbrella, and thus Clocktower Fiction went on-line in September 1997 after months of intensive development. The Haunted Village and Neon Blue Fiction became imprints of Clocktower Fiction. Another of Clocktower Fiction's purposes is to provide links and resources for authors, and development continues apace on that.

With Clocktower Fiction in place, we felt it was time to launch an Internet based magazine for freelance writers, and thus Deep Outside SFFH was born. Deep Outside SFFH's fiction is 100% authored by paid writers other than ourselves. It's a paying professional publication designed to reach as wide an audience around the world as the Internet permits.

We're excited and intrigued to find out what new submissions will come in the mail each day. There are many fine writers out there, many of whom will never be published in the paper and ink world, mainly because of that world's own bandwidth problems --so many good writers vs. the limited number of paper and ink venues constrained by numbers of retail outlets/shelf spaces, cost of materials, cost of production, inventory, and so forth. We are confident we will discover some new William Gibson, Michael Swanwick, or Cordwainer Smith. The Internet is making possible a heady new adventure for us and our readers -- not to mention our writers.

For us, the Internet is the most exciting medium in which to work. It's new, it's got cachet, it's mysterious and alluring and unknown. It's world wide, as mentioned before -- a list of countries will soon appear on Clocktower Fiction's main web page.

My own belief is that we are on the verge of the most astonishing revolution in publishing since Gutenberg. Here's why. We're headed for a technology of hand-held reader-appliances that will emulate the look and feel of a book, at a fraction of the cost. After all, when you strip the covers from a book, you have left exactly what we offer on the Internet -- a text file. And most of our stories have appealing cover illustrations. I give it 5-10 years before such readers appear, on a growth curve like that of the pocket calculator 25 years ago.

The first tide of change will come when school systems realize that, with the economies of scale, they can give each student (K through University) one hand-held reader (about the size of a hard cover book), capable of holding several gigabytes of memory -- enough to download all their texts at a fraction of the cost. The second tide of change will come shortly after that, as people begin to clamor for text files that cost $3 rather than $8 for a paperback or $26 for a hard cover. The pricing will make sense, and the demand will be there. In fact, the only thing missing right now is the technology. And that's being worked on in labs here and there across the country.

When that revolution arrives, we won't need to move. We'll be there already. We're there now.

Let me take a final moment to compliment my web partner, Brian Callahan, for his patient and brilliant design work. All the graphics you see on our webplex are his, except for some that our authors may provide.



 

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