About BCS
Editorial: Why Science-Fantasy (Reprise)?
Posted in: About BCS, Science-Fantasy Month by Scott H. Andrews

Why science-fantasy? Or, why are there spaceships in my BCS this month? :)

We asked that question back in March 2012 when we did our first BCS Science-Fantasy Month

Beneath Ceaseless Skies is character-driven stories set in awe-inspiring worlds. That those worlds be pre-modern is only a personal preference, one that many fantasy readers and our editor share. But as our first BCS Science-Fantasy Month showed, that awe can come equally well from settings that are more advanced than our world, rather than less.

Science-fantasy has as rich a tradition as fantasy, from seminal early works like the 1930s space opera of E.E. “Doc” Smith (writing in the same era as Robert E. Howard) to best-selling sagas like Frank Herbert’s Dune (breaking out in the same decade as The Lord of the Rings).

Their futuristic fantastical settings are just as awe-inspiring as pre-modern fantasy worlds. Character-driven stories set in such worlds can be just as fun as literary adventure fantasy and can comment just as profoundly on what it means to be human. Or alien...

Our BCS authors seem to see such a commonality, because six of the seven stories in this BCS Science-Fantasy Month 2 are by returning BCS authors, whose fantasy stories we’ve published in the past. (One of them is even set in the same world as that author’s BCS fantasy stories, in a far-future era.)

So swap your plate mail for pressure suits as BCS takes another month to showcase great literary adventure science-fantasy; stories in secondary-world settings that are futuristic. These special double-issues include returning BCS authors Aliette de Bodard, Yoon Ha Lee, Seth Dickinson, Dean Wells, and more. They feature bonus stories and a bonus podcast episode, along with special science-fantasy cover art and giveaways for signed copies of a George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois anthology.

The full issue(s) are out early on ebook at Kindle Store and Weightless Books; the bonus stories will be released later on the website.

We hope you enjoy BCS Science-Fantasy Month 2! And if you prefer your fantasy worlds not so futuristic, rest assured that literary adventure fantasy will return to BCS next month.

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BCS at Boskone in Boston this Weekend
Posted in: About BCS, Appearances and Cons, BCS Podcasts by Scott H. Andrews

BoskoneThis weekend BCS will be at Boskone, one of the long-running Boston-area F/SF conventions.

I will be on several panels:

Alternate Voices (Sat 1PM): Stories told through documents, letters, and reports. (Such as the BCS stories “The Calendar of Saints” by Kat Howard, “The Governess and the Lobster” by Margaret Ronald, and “On the Origin of Song” by Naim Kabir.)

Great Podcasts and Where to Find Them (Sat 3pm): Panelists discuss some of their favorite podcasts, sites, and stories. (One of my favs being BCS 100: Boat in Shadows, Crossing” by Tori Truslow.)

From Pixels to Print: The Challenges of Running a Magazine (Sat 4PM): Funding, staffing, and managing your organization, and then printing (or enpixeling), distributing, and publicizing your precious products.

I will have the omnipresent stack of shiny gorgeous BCS flyers and postcards. If you see me in the halls, after a panel, or at the bar, feel free to say hello!

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BCS Circulation Totals for 2013
Posted in: About BCS by Scott H. Andrews

BCS reported our circulation statistics for 2013 to Locus magazine, for their annual February issue that lists such data for magazines in F/SF short fiction. We will also post them here.

In 2013, BCS published published 26 issues, containing 55 pieces of fiction (42 stories and 13 novelettes; all originals). We also released 22 podcast episodes.

BCS averaged 32,000 unique web visitors per month in 2013, up from up from 25,500 in 2012.

The BCS podcast averaged 5500 downloads per episode, up from 4000 in 2012. Many episodes from past years continued to receive 2000-5000 new downloads in 2013.

Highlights of 2013 included a Hugo nomination for Best Semiprozine, three World Fantasy Award nominations, a Parsec Award nomination for our audio podcast of “Boat in Shadows, Crossing” by Tori Truslow, and “The Telling” by Gregory Norman Bossert winning the World Fantasy Award for Short Story.

Overall, our biggest year yet at BCS! Thank you to our readers and fans, and we look forward to 2014.

(*The 32,000 unique visitors/month puts BCS with the second-highest readership among all the e-zines who provided stats to Locus.)

(**The 5500 podcast listeners was second to the one text-and-podcast e-zine that reported figures and well behind the top podcast-only zines.)

(***The 55 stories was the most original full-length stories among all the e-zines reporting to Locus, and the second-highest total of original fiction including flash and short-shorts.)

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Epic BCS
Posted in: About BCS, From the Archives by Scott H. Andrews

“Feathered Dragon,” by BCS Artist Matts Minnhagen

Swords! Dragons! Knights in armor!

Often fantasy short fiction readers, and writers, turn up their noses and groan at these classic elements of fantasy fiction.  But these elements have a powerful and endearing resonance with millions of readers, TV viewers, RPG players, and gamers.

And they can still be written grippingly well in fantasy fiction.  George R.R. Martin’s Ice and Fire novels feature many common fantasy elements, but he does them with equal focus on the characters as nuanced, flawed, conflicted real people.

At BCS, we favor literary approaches on classic elements, such as a focus on the characters, but the dragons or knights or thieves are still there. Here are a few past BCS stories that feature classic fantasy elements:


Dragon’s-Eyes” by Margaret Ronald

The Stone Oaks” by Stephen Case


Kurtana,” by Christian K. Martinez (coming next week in BCS #136)

The Giants of Galtares” by Sue Burke

Bearslayer and the Black Knight” by Tom Crosshill

Beyond the Shrinking World” by Nathaniel Katz


The Sword of Loving Kindness, Pt. I” by Chris Willrich

Thieves of Silence” by Holly Phillips

To Go Home to Leal” by Susan Forest

Walking Out” by Harry R. Campion


Ill-Met at Midnight” by David Tallerman

In the Gardens of the Night” by Siobhan Carroll

‘Epic’ feel or flavor (war, politics, intrigue, nations and hearts in the balance):

To Kiss the Granite Choir” by Michael Anthony Ashley

The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Her Field-General, and Their Wounds” by Seth Dickinson

Silk and Shadow” by Tony Pi

Of Shifting Skin and Certainty” by Justin Howe

From the Spices of Sanandira” by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Elves (yes, there have been BCS stories that feature elves!):

Now Ix, He Was a Lover” by Hannah Strom-Martin

 BCS readers, feel free to add your favorites!

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BCS World Fantasy Award Winner!
Posted in: About BCS, Awards and Accolades by Scott H. Andrews

Congratulations to Gregory Norman Bossert and his story “The Telling,” from BCS #109, which last night won the 2013 World Fantasy Award for best Short Story!

The Telling,” and its fellow World Fantasy Award nominee from BCSThe Castle That Jack Built” by Emily Gilman, are the first BCS pieces to make finalist for a major award.  They are great stories for the honor of a WFA nomination and also as examples of what BCS‘s fiction is all about: character-centered fantasy in awe-inspiring worlds, whether external or internal.

Congratulations to all the other winners and all the finalists who did not win, including “The Castle That Jack Built” and our Editor-in-Chief & Publisher Scott H. Andrews (me). We are honored to be in your company.

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BCS Interviewed on Odyssey Workshop Blog
Posted in: About BCS, Magazine Publishing by Scott H. Andrews

I was interviewed last week for the blog of the Odyssey Writing Workshop (of which I am a graduate).

The questions and answers ended up quite detailed, including about the time and tasks of editing BCS stories and rewrites and audio, about interaction with writers as an editor, about what I mean by “literary adventure fantasy” and some great examples of it, and several detailed elements about writing craft and things I see often in submissions.

Part one of the interview is up now, with part two coming next Sunday. It’s long, but if you’re interested that deeper level of what goes on editorially at BCS, definitely give it a look.

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BCS Goes Mobile
Posted in: About BCS, Anniversary Issues by Scott H. Andrews

As part of our fifth anniversary week, BCS  is debuting our new mobile-device website!

Now you can read literary adventure fantasy and listen to BCS podcasts on your smart phone or tablet, in a clean stripped-down layout built by Matthew Kressel, who built the new BCS main site last year.  It has mobile-friendly features like scalable larger/smaller font size, a removable floating menu, and a full page-width text layout.

Click here to preview the BCS mobile site in your web browser, or visit the regular BCS URL (www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com) using your mobile device.

And look for our Fifth Anniversary Double-Issue, live on the mobile and main sites this Thursday Oct. 3!

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BCS World Fantasy Award Finalists!
Posted in: About BCS, Awards and Accolades by Scott H. Andrews

The World Fantasy Award nominees were announced last night, and BCS has three finalists!

Two BCS stories are finalists for best Short Story:

The Castle That Jack Built,” by Emily Gilman

The Telling,” by Gregory Norman Bossert

And your humble Editor-in-Chief/Publisher, me (Scott H. Andrews), is a finalist for Special Award–Non-Professional.

Congratulations all!  These stories are the first BCS pieces to make finalist for any major award, and they are great stories for that milestone and for the honor of a WFA nomination:  character-centered fantasy in awe-inspiring worlds, whether external or internal.

Thanks very much to all who found us worthy!

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BCS Subscription a Top 5 Bestseller at Weightless Books
Posted in: About BCS, BCS Ebooks, Support BCS by Scott H. Andrews

The BCS one-year ebook subscription, available exclusively at WeightlessBooks.com, was one of their Top 5 bestselling magazines for the first half of 2013!

Thanks very much to all our subscribers, both previous and recent, for their support of BCS.

You too can get BCS issues a week before they appear on the website, delivered straight to your email or smartphone/ tablet or addressable e-reader, a full year for only $13.99. That’s 26 issues–55 stories–for only 26 cents a story.

Ebook sales are the magazine’s only source of revenue, apart from reader donations (which are tax-deductible because we are a 501c3 non-profit), so they are a great way to support BCS and get the stories early at the same time. We are grateful for your support.

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