Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tangent thoughts

This has been bothering me lately, but I'm not sure why, and I'm pretty sure no one else will know why either...

What happened to Tangent Online?

After being diligently run by Eugie Foster, Dave Truesdale came back in mid-September 2007 to reclaim his baby. Dismissed from her editing job, Foster strolled over to head up the revitalized Fix Online, where I now review short fiction and the like. There was no pressure to pick one site over the other or anything. Some said they'd stick with TO, others jumped ship and swam for a better fix (get it?), and a handful found it hard to side and chose to work for both review sites when the materials presented themselves. Fair is fair, but I've never dealt with Truesdale personally and only know what I do of him from online flamewars. So I went with the boss that I knew and trusted.

Within a month and some days, FO went live, downright swimmingly. The site has continued to publish reviews on a steady and excellent schedule, especially when one considers that this is a labor of love for reviewers, that their time and effort is spent because they know they have readers and a respectable place to post such thoughts. The site itself uses a Wordpress theme, looks very shiny, and does what it needs to do: get short fiction in people's faces. I'm fairly sure no one thought, "Gee, let's take five months to make the prettiest most elaborate site ever, that way when we post blocks and blocks of text it'll have a really nice border around it and people will love us dearly so!"

What has TO and company been up to since Truesdale's pillaging?


Not a single peep, unless you count an excuse-heavy post about what might or might not be happening in the future. Which is a shame, really. You ever have a friend that can kill a conversation immediately? That's what this feels like.

Truesdale says:

In all humility, Tangent and now TO changed the face of short sf/f reviewing for the *entire* field when it debuted in July/August 1993. That was almost 15 years ago. Even Locus, and then Locus Online changed demonstrably since Tangent came on the scene. Fact.

Okay, sure. Not arguing facts. But we're not living in the world that existed fifteen years ago. Things do need to be a bit speedier these days, and yes, there's irony there considering this is the publishing business and all, but come on. So long as the site is functional and not littered with Geocities ads then it is fine to continue posting reviews and such.

So much time has been wasted, so many missed opportunities, and for what? A little bit of "Mine! Mine! Mine!"

Thankfully, there is the Fix Online and even IROSF seems to have resurfaced. Sure, took longer than expected and it isn't completely finished, but they aren't worried about that. They want discussion, they want people's attention, they want to give something back. Not take it away.


Daniel Ausema said...

I never officially removed myself from TO, though I haven't agreed to review anything since Eugie left. But I still get their emails...which hasn't been much lately.

Supposedly people are still reviewing materials and sending their reviews to Dave. Pointless, it seems, with how long it's down, but supposedly someone who does a Year's Best antho asked that they continue and at least send the reviews to such editors while the site is down.

I had very few interactions with Dave either--those few were on the Nightshade forums and told me quite well that my tastes and opinions were very different from his. Doesn't necessarily mean anything for something like this, except that I never liked the idea of having my name connected with his at all through Tangent, even when Eugie essentially ran everything. In all I'm very pleased to be able to work with her and it not be Tangent.

Daniel Ausema said...

Speaking of sites down and lack of responses, what's the story on Trabuco Road? Is Ralan's right that it's a dead market? Back in November or so there was an update that hopes were to get things moving again soon (on Ralan's, never on the TR site or his blog)...but then a couple weeks ago it was listed as dead. And again nothing to indicate either way on the site or his blog--I just double-checked.

Do you know any more because of your involvement with it?

Paul Abbamondi said...

Yeah, I never really officially left TO either. Just moved away from it. The Fix is filling my short fiction reviewing needs.

As per Trabuco Road, yeah...it's dead. All I ever got about it was an email from the editor saying that he wasn't going to be able to get it back on track and publishing. I guess real life got in the way. Don't really know. A shame, too, as I'd picked a solid story out of the slush that I hoped to see published at some point.

But, really, that's all I know. Kind of in the dark as well.

Daniel Ausema said...

That is too bad--I liked the types of stories he was choosing.