2022+ Update: Fictionwise Story Links 2002-2007+
Added Update 2022: Fictionwise Links Long Gone
In early 2012, Barnes & Noble closed down Fictionwise, the premier publishing site online for digital fiction. The owner of Barnes & Noble had purchased Fictionwise shortly before. The reason given was that B&N (somehow/for some reason) wanted to use Fictionwise's capabilities to launch a new B&N digital publishing venture. For a brief time after early 2012, some or all of the links to Fictionwise remained online, so we (Far Sector SFFH) kept our story links pointing from our list to their site.
When I became sole proprietor and publisher of the magazine in 2002, I changed the title from *Deep Outside SFFH* to *Far Sector SFFH*. I also changed the presentation modality. As Deep Outside SFFH, we published the stories we purchased directly on our website, which still exists and still carries some of the original fiction. I had been publishing my own work to the far greater readership of *Fictionwise*, and made a good decision: I would create and use a unique Far Sector SFFH page on Fictionwise's website. We continued to pay the author an advance, and then paid them quarterly fifty percent of whatever earnings we grossed from reader purchases. The new system worked well until, sadly, B&N purchased Fictionwise and closed the operation down.
As author of at least fifty books by now, and for a long time publisher of Clocktower Books, I have been very busy and have not often visited the museum page of Far Sector SFFH. When I revisited Far Sector SFFH to renovate the site in 2021, I discovered that a European company had purchased the dot COM domain for Fictionwise, so our story links (still active and unchanged) gratuitously pointed to the European website which has nothing to do with fiction publishing as far as I can tell (can't read Polish). Therefore, I was forced in late 2021/early 2022 to redirect all the story links to this note page *Fictionwise Links Long Gone*. I did manage to purchase the NET and ORG domains for Fictionwise, and point them to these pages lest some unspeakable agent put them to unmentionable use as history-conscious persons browse the Web to unearth pixel archeology.
The decision I had made, as publisher back in 2007 when I ended our wonderful, pioneering ten-year run online, was to let the story links expire. After all, our contract specified that the authors kept their copyrights throughout; all we acquired at purchase time was a one-year exclusive. A few authors asked us, after their year had elapsed, to delete our link because they had placed their story elsewhere, and the new publisher required exclusivity. We complied in each case without protest. I felt it was good and healthy for authors to continue placing their stories (of which we were proud as publishers) elsewhere. As the Update 2021 page/list shows, between Deep Outside SFFH (1998-2002) and Far Sector SFFH (2002-2007) we published an impressive list of authors.
Also in 2007, I decided not to ask the authors if they wanted to renew their contracts or keep their stories with us. It seemed to me our time had come and gone, gloriously. Now, as 2022 turns around, I have belatedly realized that our links were pointing into the far cosmos somewhere from Far Sector SFFH. As I decided in 2007, I have kept the list of author names and story titles to show what we did from 2002 to 2007. Please note that from 1998 to 2002, we were (the same magazine, different name) Deep Outside SFFH. The story links from that period are still largely present on the Deep Outside SFFH website.
Collectively, our authors had won, were nominated for, or were going to win every major world-wide SFFH writing award including Hugos and Nebulas in the United States. That in itself is tribute to our pioneering accomplishment, which deserves to be historically acknowledged. Among the accolades we received to date has been a page in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (see links below).
The publishing world is, first and foremost, a commercial and often crassly competitive, cruel environment. The final years of the 20th Century were particularly combative in that the print and pulp magazine cartels had established their territories, and nobody was going to take their money awayregardless of author talent or story merit. In particular, the print cartel (of late the Big Five in New York City, for one) felt challenged by the new digital modality that threatened their monopoly as print publishers. In the same breath, the new internet publishing possibilities threatened their place on their mole hill. Consequently, there was an ugly war against innovators like us. I believe that in the long run, when those petty interests fade into the past, honest and objective historians will sift through the battle debris of the past and seek the nuggets of truth that tell the real story.
From my personal perspective, I know that I wrote and published the world's first HTML novels as I call them. These include my novels Neon Blue (Suspense) and This Shoal of Space (SF) published under my pseudonym John Argo in 1996, and my political thriller CON2: The Generals of October, published as John T. Cullen.These are e-books, yes, and sometimes confused with the public domain books released, for example, by Project Gutenberg. However, mine are proprietary (owned by me) rather than the public domain stuff heisted by Gutenberg. More generally, my HTML novels are distinct as (1) proprietary; (2) published entirely online in HTML rather than on portable medial like disks or tape; (3) to be read online entirely at the time with no print versions; and (4) released in a then innovative format of weekly chapters. I usually published the next chapter (some novels being as many as 75 chapters long) releasing them on Sunday afternoons PST, so that my avid and clamoring readers around the world could enjoy them with their morning coffee as they arrived at work. Most readers did not have home computers yet, so they would sneak some fun time early in the day. More info on all this coming soon.
As noted elsewhere on this site, our magazine launched in April 1998. At the time, it was (as my then publishing partner and all-around genius Brian Callahan described it) "The world's first professional SFFH magazine published online that did not have a print precursor." That was a reference to our only competitor in that category, Ellen Datlow's online magazine *Event Horizon* which she published after Bob Guccione shut down her brilliant print magazine *Omni*. That's all 1998-1999ish history. As you can see on the 2021 Update page, we published brilliant autohrs including recipients of every major writing award in the SFFH world. We are, moreover, proud of all of our wonderful authors, every last one of them, with or without Hugo and Nebula awards and the like. It was a privilege to be first publisher of their stories, and they were happy to reach the light of readership through us. More info soon.
Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (Far Sector) our page at the ESF. Other links dating to early times can be found on the Clocktower Books Museum site (see next link).
Clocktower Books Museum with active links to the still live sites in our history dating to C&C Publishers' *Neon Blue Fiction* (Suspense) and *The Haunted Village* (SFFH) websites from early 1996 forward.
Clocktower Books Publisher (unique ISBN dedicated prefix is 0-7433- or 978-0-7433 as of 2022 and beyond).