Monday, May 30, 2005

Isaac Asimov's bibliography usually talks of how he sold his first story to an SF magazine in his teenage years. Charles Dickens started off writing for magazines, as did Ray Bradbury. Almost every well known writer tends to get a few stories published, takes heart from the response he gets, and goes on to writer bigger, better stuff.

End of Fairytale. Go to a magazine stall in India and browse through the magazines. I challenge you to find a publication that contains more than a token two-page short story by an up-and-coming writer. Look through the so-called Literary sections of the newspapers. Try to find a place where a person who fancies himself a writer can get his stuff published. Nothing. Zero. Zip. I happened to ask this question to a reporter of the IE a few days back: "I write. Does IE publish any fiction?" She looked thoughtful for a bit. Then, wanting to be kind, said, "You can try sending it to <el-cheapo-supplement-that-I-hadn't-even-heard-of/>, it comes out once a month and sometimes prints stories if they're smaller than 1000 words." Thank you.

Hang on - you need to go back and insert a word in the preceding paragraph: "English". The "English" magazines and newspapers don't print fiction. Because if you happen to read the Sakal, or Gujarat Samachar, or even Aaj Ka Anand, you will by now be composing a scathing reply to me about being myopic and all that. My mom's read several proper novels, serialized into chapters in the Gujarat Samachar. Most prominent Marathi writers have at some time been featured in the Marathi magazines.

So why this imbalance when it comes to English media? I remember when I was a kid, there were English magazines which printed some good stuff - Mirror, Illustrated Weekly. Now, there's only the Reader's Digest ( I think - it's been a while since I got it.)

Dinker and I had a phone conversation on this topic the other day. For the few visitors to this blog who don't know yet, Dinker runs a web magazine specialized in Indian Fantastic Fiction, called Adbhut. And we got so riled up about this problem that we thought of starting up a magazine on our
own - say something to collect the best submissions on Adbhut every six months and print it in mag form. There is enough good material floating around the Blogosphere, to begin with, to fill up a decent-sized mag - and I'm sure most bloggers would be interested in getting published.

Someone has to do it, anyway...why not us?


Aditya said...

Sudds, all the best with your storied. I read the "Dev and Gauri's story" and it was a good.

Secondly, why don't you get atom(XML for RSS feeds) on your blog? Helps others :)

The paranoid android said...

sounds like a great idea..if you can garner the resources, considering the amount of great stuff evenin the indian blogosphere, articles ob wouldn't be a problem

PS: are u the sudarshan from pspl?

Abhishek said...

actually we don't have a tradition of good high quality english magazines. The ones that sell the most are usually big serious stuff like Outlook, IT etc.
On the other hand as u rightly point out, Marathi has a great tradition of fiction/non fiction writing. The Diwali Anka as they call it is huge and features the big names with relatively unknown figures. Even Sakal comes out with a weekly supplement featuring fictional stories etc.

Anirudh said...

Good luck. I am also worried by this problem. :(