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Eric Flint & Mike Resnick

Ever since its inception, science fiction has believed in breaking laws.

Men can't survive under water? Jules Verne had a little something to say about that.

We'll never leave the planet or the solar system? Not once H.G. Wells and Doc Smith addressed the problems.

Death is final, and no one can survive it? Mary Shelly had a morbid take on it, Robert Sheckley a satirical one, Robert A. Heinlein a political one.

Science fiction, when all is said and done, is just like the race of Man. Tell it something can't be done, and all you've done is guarantee that a way will be found to do it. Show us an immutable law, such as gravity, and you can bet we'll find a way to break it. You might very well define us as a race of lawbreakers.

Jim Baen's Universe follows in those proud footsteps.

Everyone knows that you can't publish new fiction on the internet and expect people to pay for it. The highways and byways of the web are littered with the corpses of publishers who tried.

It was a challenge the late Jim Baen couldn't resist—and lo and behold, here we are, a successful online science fiction magazine.

Well, the reasoning went, maybe you can publish online, but you can't pay the same prices as the print magazines, not if you plan to stay in business.

So we broke another law. We decided to pay more that the print magazines—in the cases of our lead writers, over 300% more—and we're still around and in fine health. Even our lowest rates match the best rates of the print magazines.

Well, if you do that, the reasoning went, you'd better chop the wordage and give them a bare-bones magazine, maybe 60,000 words, tops.

(You saw this coming, right?) Our issues average over 100,000 words apiece.

Okay, said conventional wisdom, you broke a law here and skirted one there and you lucked out and stayed alive, but you'd better appeal to the vast indiscriminate audience that wants totally unchallenging science fiction. Award winners and prestigious writers will scare away the very audience you need in order to show a profit.

So we ran Gene Wolfe and David Drake and L.E. Modesitt, Jr. and Gregory Benford and Barry Malzberg and Nancy Kress and Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Cory Doctorow and David Brin (yes, we're boasting) and Esther Friesner and Julie Czerneda and Kevin Anderson and Brian Herbert and Alan Dean Foster and John Ringo and Jo Walton (yes, we're still boasting) Sarah Zettel and Garth Nix and Jack McDevitt and John Barnes (tum te tum tum) and Jay Lake and Catherine Asaro and Laura Resnick and Charles Stross and Elizabeth Bear, not to mention yours truly—along with a number of authors who are less well known to the reading public but many of whom will be before long. Not only that, but in our very first year of existence, before a lot of the voters even knew we were there, we had a Hugo nominee, a Locus Award winner, and three stories in Gardner Dozois' Year's Best SF.

It's pretty easy to fill up a magazine with names like that if you're willing to spend enough money . . . so was there room for anyone else in Jim Baen's Universe? As a matter of fact, there was. Conventional wisdom says that you sneak in a brand-new writer maybe once or twice a year, no more than that; so, in the law-breaking tradition of science fiction, we ran twenty-one first stories by new authors in our first year of publication, and we'll run close to that many every year. Someone has to nurture new talent, and we don't see any of the other magazines doing so in any quantity.

What else can't you do?

Well, almost no one runs serials any more, so of course Jim Baen's Universe does. The sort of long novellas and short novels that were once the staple of science fiction have a place they can get published again. Print magazines have pretty much given up even illustrating their stories with line drawings, so we use full-color art.

As print magazines struggle for their lives against the ever-more-crushing realities of magazine distribution and shy away from innovation, we're willing to try anything once—and more than once if it works. You want to read half the current issue for free? Log onto and do just that. Want to have your submission critiqued by your fellow writers? Log onto Baen's Bar and you can get all the input you want before you officially submit it. Curious to know where your story is at in the selection process? You can get that from the internet too.

So . . . we're innovative, we're open-minded, and we're solvent—and this second annual anthology will give you an idea of what those traits lead to. We think they're truly fine stories, and that they stack up to any other anthology. We expect next year's to be even better, just as soon as we find a few more laws to break.


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